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Cracking the sales-services alignment code — learn from The Best and compare with The Rest

Posted by  Martijn van der Hoeden

The top 5 percent of the surveys' professional services businesses “rely on” customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve marketing and align sales and services, according to a new benchmarking report.

The Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report (PSMB) says 2017 was the “best year ever” for the global professional services (PS) industry, which is “poised for another record year” in 2018.

Part of the reason for the success of the top-performers, says the report – which compares service execution metrics between The Best (the top 5 percent) and The Rest – is down to harnessing the combined power of software for CRM and professional services automation (PSA).

“Proven success formula”

Using integrated CRM and PSA applications continues to be “one of the proven success formulas” for aligning sales and service delivery, says the report author, Service Performance Insight (SPI), a third-party research firm.

“Almost all of this year’s best-of-the-best rely on CRM applications to improve their sales and marketing effectiveness,” says SPI’ 11th annual study. “Several firms credited the tight integration between their CRM and PSA applications to provide real-time visibility and act as a catalyst in building collaboration between sales and service delivery.”

According to PSMB 2018, these integrated software systems provide real-time visibility and greater insight into customer information as well as information sharing and collaboration between sales and service delivery. It coordinates the entire customer lifecycle and “shines a light on issues and opportunities,” says SPI, enhancing both sales and service delivery effectiveness.

Interviews with the leaders of these companies revealed they do not have the gap between sales and service delivery which is so apparent in many PSOs.”

Results from surveys and live interviews with leaders revealed that for The Best repeat business and referrals are the primary source of new business, a strong testimony to superlative client relationships and results. Their percentage of reference clients is 88.8 percent compared to only 74 percent for The Rest.

When The Best do compete, they are far more likely to win: sales and delivery collaboration produced higher bid-to-win ratios compared to The Rest (6.81 versus 4.70 ratio).

The Best has a higher deal pipeline relative to quarterly bookings forecast (295 percent for The Best, 168 percent for The Rest)

Get the inside track

2018 PSMB allows you to gauge your own organization's process ‘maturity’ against the top-performing firms as well as against similar organizations in terms of vertical market, size, business type and geographical location.

Read the report overview, or summaries of the other service performance pillars: human capital alignment, service execution, and finance & operations.

Download the 2018 PSMB report for free.

Martijn van der Hoeden

As Founder of the PSA Suite and Global Head of the PSO Center of Excellence, Martijn van der Hoeden drives to provide the Professional Services Organizations to improve their performances and maximize their organizations efficiency with the Unit4 PSA Suite.