The mantra of ‘under promise, over deliver’ often falls to the wayside to professional services organizations (PSOs) whose salespeople are prone to promising the world to prospective clients to win a deal – but this doesn’t have to be the case. PSOs with a systematic way to scope, deliver, and manage projects can turn a salesperson’s promises into successful projects on a consistent basis.
In this post, we examine the top four challenges to turning a sale into a project, as well as the simplest way to overcome those challenges.
4 Challenges to Turning a Sale into a Project
While there are easily ten or more challenges to successful project delivery, four stand out at the stage of turning the sale into a successful project. They include undefined goals, unclear delivery schedules, resource conflicts, and poor communication. Let’s take a closer look at each.
The project manager needs to understand the purpose of a project and be able to answer the question, “What was sold and for what business purpose?” Very often, the project manager lacks insight into the discussions and information sharing that took place between the salesperson and the prospective client. This prevents the project manager from reaching a consensus, both internally and with the client, regarding the goals of the project.
Unclear Delivery Schedules
Successful projects require clear delivery timetables. However, when the goals/milestones for a project are undefined, it’s nearly impossible to properly schedule delivery milestones.
As PSOs strive for near-100% resource utilization, they’ll inevitably run into resource conflicts when planning a new project. This is particularly true for scheduling the personnel resources with the most sought-after skill sets; the high demand for these professionals can cause bottlenecks that stall the launch of new projects and can affect ongoing project delivery schedules.
Communication forms the core of any professional services organization, as resources are constantly on the move and working across different project teams. Most PSOs run into project scoping and scheduling problems when they don’t have a process and system for communicating the project details to the right team members in real time. This reduces accountability for the people who are supposed to deliver results.
How to Create Successful Projects that Align with Promises
To stay on top of every project sold and launch them successfully, PSOs must manage project creation in a consistent, repeatable manner. To do so, they need to unify the people, processes, and information related to a sold deal and its resulting project. This means bringing together, in a single collaboration environment, information from several business systems:
- CRM system data regarding the conversations between the salesperson and the client, including the information they shared about the client’s needs and business goals, and the promises that were made to meet those goals
- ERP or accounting system data that provides insights into the costs the PSO will need to incur to deliver the project as promised by the salesperson
- PSM system information surrounding resource availability, cost estimations, and forecasts that will affect the project’s timetable and ultimate success
Until recently, the information residing in these three systems (CRM, ERP, and PSM) remained disconnected. Today, however, a unified PSM system brings information from all three systems together in real time. In addition, this modernized version of PSM also includes the necessary process and workflow tools for creating projects in a manner that prohibits conflicts, enforces communication rules, and delineates who is responsible for what and the timeframe to complete their responsibilities. As a result, everyone in the PSO knows exactly what to do and when to do it. This enables the project manager to create a successful project that aligns with the agreement the salesperson reached with the client when the deal was sold.
By establishing a unified system that captures the information related to a deal/new project and brings together the resources and workflows to deliver the project, you can rest assured that creating projects that align with promises will become easier and occur more often.
To learn more about consistently creating projects successfully, contact us today.
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.