Introduction: CRM and Service Management

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2 Introduction: CRM and Service Management Do you find that your sales team spends more time talking to project managers than prospects? Perhaps you have implemented, or are thinking about implementing, CRM customer resource management software, only to discover that while it is effective at making the sales process more efficient, it doesn t go far enough in making the business of serving your customers more efficient. In this Fieldpoint ebook, we take a look at why the integration between CRM and service management is so critical to the success of field services organizations and how that integration can be improved. The key is bridging the twin silos of sales management and service management. Enabling information to be shared between these two areas of the business reduces errors, speeds reporting and produces real-time, reliable information each department can use to do its job more efficiently. And with the right tools in place, your field services team becomes an extension of the sales process by capturing information vital to growing revenue and delivering customer satisfaction. Let s look at five key questions every successful services company should be asking. 2

3 1. How do we better align our sales forecasts with our resources availability to make our commitments more accurate? Ideally your sales team has visibility into the status of resource commitments without having to contact project managers. The more timely, accurate and detailed the information they can access, the easier it is for sales to be responsive to a customer s requested project timeline. This process begins with the capture of detailed information in the field. Up-todate job costs, resource utilization and inventory levels feed into project schedules to provide a composite picture of the company s commitments. It s the integrated professional services automation software that facilitates this interchange between field technicians, project managers and sales management. Management can use this same system to monitor resource utilization organizationwide. By rolling up projects in this way, over- or under-utilization can be spotted before problems develop, which allows the sales team to engage proactively. 3

4 2. How do we better integrate our business processes between sales, service and finance? As organizations grow, the web of communication pathways between business functions becomes more complex and can become strained due to its dependency on key employees. In time, it becomes impossible for one or a few individuals to have the complete view of the business they once had. Professional service automation software consists of modules designed to replicate these communication pathways and provide support to the underlying departments. For example, bids and quotes generated in sales tie to project management, job costing and purchasing in service management. As contracts progress, finance can issue progress billings and generate updated inventory reports. Sales and service management has complete visibility into this service cycle to monitor resources and plan for future opportunities. 4

5 3. How do we integrate our systems so that sales information is efficiently passed on to the project managers? Sales teams and project managers are no strangers to workflow automation software for their respective areas. But as mentioned in the introduction, the goal is to bridge these two systems to create a unified view using software designed to serve the bidirectional communication needs of field services professionals. A service management solution should provide the following features and functionality: One-time customer-data entry, at the point the information is received. The ability to generate jobs automatically from quotes. The ability to generate project or maintenance contracts directly from quotes. Real-time evaluation of opportunities by sales and service delivery. Facilitation of department collaboration earlier in the process, leading to more accurate costing that ultimately drives profitability. Retention in the system of bids, job costing, inventory and personnel assumptions developed by sales, which becomes the basis for service delivery. Placement of project managers and sales on the same team, now jointly owning the opportunity. 5

6 4. How do we generate more sales opportunities from our customer base? The primary objective of leading services organizations, as reported by independent research firm Aberdeen Group in 2011, was revenue growth. Revenue growth was mentioned more than 2.5 times as often as the second most important objective: improving customer service. As new business becomes increasingly expensive to obtain, leading services firms are looking internally at strategies to leverage existing relationships. Professional service automation software delivers two key benefits in this regard: PSA software enables sales and sales management to proactively manage service delivery. Sales can define triggers or events that alert them to renewal dates, spending levels and customer service issues business terms that impact the customer relationship. Aberdeen research on service revenue indicated that a 5% reduction in renewal rates often translated to a 10% reduction in annual service revenue. In other words, a backward slide has a multiplier effect. PSA software can empower field technicians with revenue-impacting information such as service history, equipment/parts updates, manufacturer notices and the ability to collaborate with other technicians. The ability to close tickets and accept payment while on site may also speed up collection and reduce billing cycles. With the proper information and training, field technicians can identify and communicate opportunities to the sales team. 6

7 5. How do we give sales more visibility into our service operations and the client s history with the company so they are better prepared when speaking to our customers? End-to-end integrated software goes beyond the simple time and billing tools used by many field services organizations. The most efficient way to provide the detail that sales needs to monitor and manage customer accounts is to maintain a single customer record and update it in real-time. Begin by equipping field technicians with familiar and easy-to-use tools. Proven and reliable personal productivity software like Microsoft Outlook allows staff to automatically link appointments, s and tasks with project management software, which in turn is integrated with the CRM system used by sales. It is also important to recognize that mobile devices may not always be practical. In these cases, off-line syncing between the field systems and the enterprise system may make more sense. It s most important that data is collected in the field and delivered in a timely fashion with sufficient detail. 7

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