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The silver bullet for managing sales opportunities

Posted by  Bas van Woudenberg

Opportunity management can be a silver bullet if you can make it an automated, self-driving process using integrated technology. Here’s how to manage sales opportunities better to win more business.

The top-performing PSOs win more than two out of every three bids they make, according to the latest benchmarking analysis, with 14 percent higher average revenue per project*. To see how they’re doing it, let’s take a close look at how professional services automation (PSA) can help your organization gain transparency through its sales pipeline to better manage sales opportunities and customer relationships.

Knowing where to compete

Alignment between departments and transparency across systems to access and share data is pivotal for managing sales opportunities. Opportunity management is all about identifying who, where and how to compete by managing client information, sales activities, proposals and contracts.

But, in an uncertain landscape and highly competitive marketplace, a standalone CRM solution just won’t cut it anymore, according to industry analysis*.

When pitching for projects your organization needs foresight to know which sales opportunities to spend time on. But with multiple, siloed departments (with communication barriers) using siloed data and offline legacy systems, this can be a labor-intensive process prone to delays.

Foresight through automation

The best organizations manage project opportunities before the work has been won. But a standalone CRM solution can’t do this by itself, not when it works alongside multiple, offline legacy software systems. The way to gain foresight is through a blend of integration and automation.

At the heart of this lies the need for streamlined, automated processes and decision-making enabled by access to a single version of the truth and easily accessible data. This helps mend schisms between siloed departments, like sales and service; it boosts your organization’s ability to manage sales opportunities so you know which ones to spend time, money and resources on.

Manage opportunity, win more business

When you improve data transparency across systems and enhance communication between departments, through integrated solutions and automated processes, it’s like a silver bullet — a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem created by reliance of software that’s decades old.

The magic of the integration aligns sales and service, coordinates the entire customer lifecycle and shines a light on issues and opportunities, according to PSO executives*. For those that rely on a PSA application, says industry analyst, Service Performance Insight, this enhances the delivery effectiveness of both departments and manifests in 14 percent higher average revenue per project.

The magic of the automation means your organization can create self-driving procedures for the sales team by repeating previous, similar, successful, processes. PSA and CRM integrations also creates visibility throughout the pipeline by providing a real-time overview of where all opportunities are in your sales cycle.

A well-managed, transparent sales pipeline helps you understand your process and increase sales effectiveness.

Insightful machine learning

With up-to-date visibility over metrics like profit per client, consultant or project, your teams create more accurate proposals and your organization can increase its bid-to-win ratio.

Much like using automated, repeatable processes, you can bid for future projects based on past project successes. Using machine learning and predictive analytics, you can make predictions on the estimated cost, time and effort involved in a new project based on previous, similar projects.

This makes it easier for senior management to decide which projects to bid for, and which ones to let pass by.

Opportunity management can be a silver bullet if you can make it an automated, self-driving process. To learn more, download the e-guide: Managing customer relationships to win more business.

*Source: 11th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report 2018, by third-party research firm, Service Performance Insight.

Bas van Woudenberg

Bas van Woudenberg is a professional services sector veteran, aiming to support organizations to improve utilization rates, customer satisfaction, and financial results. Bas is also the director of the Unit4 PSO Center of Excellence.