Ahhh…the life of a Solution Consultant! They sit warm and snug in between the Sales and Service departments. Solution Consultants inherit a hybrid role of ambassadors for their company’s products during the pre-sales process while effectively assessing scope and mitigating risk for the Service Delivery Team. They also bridge the gap of the high-flying energy and emotional rollercoaster of Sales to the pragmatism and well-drawn lines of Professional Services. Outside of showcasing product offerings to potential customers, a big part of their job is to communicate what exactly our new customers are looking to accomplish. The Services Team needs to know things like objectives, scope and risks which were collected during the pre-sale process. Solution Consultants own the post sales knowledge transfer process which saves our customers a ton of frustration from not having to repeat themselves and allows our professional services team to kick off a project on solid ground. It also ensures that the customer-vendor relationship is fluid from their initial contact to being live on the system.
Now let’s pretend for a minute that the role of a Solution Consultant did not exist. Here is a sample interaction between an Account Executive from Sales and a Consultant from Services during a project kick-off meeting:
Consultant: “So which modules did the customer choose?”
Sales: “Resource Purchasing.”
Consultant: “Resource Purchasing?? You mean the Resource Management and Purchasing modules?”
Sales: “Yah, those too.”
Consultant: “I think I’m going to be sick.”
The rest of the meeting didn’t go as well…
Now along the same lines, your CRM system – used by Sales – and your PSA (Professional Services Automation) system – used by Services – most likely faces a similar dilemma. All of that great pre-sales information that is captured in your CRM stays there, with no “ambassador” to communicate what the deal is all about to the life blood of the Services team…their PSA System. During a recent webinar, we ran a not-so-scientific poll to an audience of about 300, asking whether their CRM and PSA solutions were integrated. 87% came back saying they were not. Now I was expecting a fairly large number to come back negative, but not to that extent!
So how would you get your systems communicating? Well, we first have to assume you are already using a CRM and an awesome PSA like PSA by Upland Software. Next, we need to figure out which pieces of information your CRM system will pass over to the project in the PSA. Some of the more obvious items are mentioned above, but quite a few of our customers are sending over fairly sophisticated pieces of information.
Individually, CRM and PSA systems are invaluable to their respective audience. However if they are properly integrated, they become invaluable to the entire organization!