Tying Project Management to Your CRM is Paramount

crm-software-636x425.jpgProfessional services firms’ business cycles naturally progress from marketing to sales to managingthe services engagement.  Therefore, it seems logical that integrating project management into a CRM system would be a priority. However, too many Professional Services firms remain focused on too long on tracking marketing activities and sales, not managing the customer relationship after the sale.

Professional Services companies must recognize that project management is an essential and naturally intertwined part of Customer Relationship Management. Properly managing deliverables, timeframes, and budgets will determine customer contentment and your success. Streamlining your service engagements, while serving your customers well, will allow you to scale your service operations efficiently.

It’s all too logical to build project management within your CRM system. Information captured during the sales process easily feeds the project record.  Information that serves sales pipeline management will also serve the project team. Your CRM database becomes the perfect container for your service business.

Project Management for Professional Services

Professional Services companies would do best by defining projects based on their service delivery model. All projects have a start and end date with tasks in between that will define the project. Make sure you capture the project attributes that you will need to efficiently report to the customer and internally manage resources assigned to projects.

Follow these steps to effective project management:

  1. Make sure you can measure what you manage. Create a simple process to gauge resource and time management against the project tasks that comprise the project. This will give you an internal measurement of each project’s status and how well you are delivering against milestones and the overall project budget.
  2. Use project templates. Create templates for the specific types of projects you engage in. Create workflows for project types and define checklists for specific project tasks. This will facilitate internal communication and accelerate standard project creation in the future.
  3. Utilize resources. Define a project team for every project and make it easy to capture the efforts provided by each team member. This will give you a simple way to measure actual versus estimated time for any project task. Providing visibility into estimated hours will also set internal expectations for time management and allow you to readjust estimates when appropriate.

Delivering projects on time and on-budget is obviously key to your and your customers’ health. So ask yourself:  Is project management a key part of our CRM system?  If not, what steps should we take immediately?

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About TimeLinx
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.