Your biggest challenge - differentiating your firm or practice

Posted by  Paul Rollason

Once you have won the hearts and minds of your clients – relationship is your most powerful weapon, but what about before the relationships are formed.

Whether new client engagement is a result of networking, referrals, Marketing, your business development team or just through your own hard work – what will make all that effort worthwhile?

In the competitive Professional Services industry where client demands are continuously growing - what can you do to differentiate your firm, your practice and your client facing staff? What will make your new prospective client sign on the dotted line, and perhaps equally importantly, what will allow you to develop strong relationships?

We all know that clients want value for money, they want to know that we are being collaborative, efficient and effective, but above all else, they need to feel confident that the right people are delivering the right service for them.

Delivering Confidence

A significant starting point is being able to reference similar projects, matters, cases and assignments, even where anonymised. Your immediate access to key data demonstrates that you really are the right partner because you’ve handled similar work previously. From your perspective, you can see projected profit levels to help you to plan, estimate, and forecast new business – especially helpful where you are being asked to consider alternative fee arrangements.

Delivering the Right Professionals

On the client side, many of us have experienced the feeling that the person responsible for key deliverables is perhaps learning on our time, needing to do more chargeable research than we had expected and demonstrating an inability to make a decision without approval. When resourcing a project, matter, case or assignment, you need to be able to see the skills and availability of your available resources. Where the ERP solution you are using provides a weighting for suitability and even indicates what training would be required to make other member of the practice suitable - you get an immediate advantage of most of your competitors.

Delivering Value for Money

Most clients don’t want the lowest cost – they want the best value for money. Access to recent and historical data for similar, maybe even identical projects, matters, cases and assignments allows you to set the right expectations from the offset. You can save valuable time by re-using people, processes and learnings from the same types of project that you delivered within the same sector or geography. This empowers you and your firm to only win work where you can meet your planned levels of profit and ensures the client really does receive value for money.

ERP solutions like Unit4 Business World empower back office staff to deliver a best of class financial and billing service whilst giving you immediate access to the information you need, whenever you need it to truly differentiate yourself, your practice and your firm. “What’s the true cost of doing nothing”?

From IT services and business consulting to field service and staffing, professional services firms can focus on maintaining long-term relationships as well as close management of projects, resource planning and scheduling with Unit4 Business World; a people-centric ERP solution, designed for change. Successful professional services firms know that the challenge is delivering projects and services flawlessly, on time and within budget. With the combination of Business World functionality and our expertise in professional services projects, we enable your business to improve the management and control of projects and service engagements, have an integrated, single view of data across your business, manage and control your projects in the most efficient and effective way through real-time intelligence at all time and control project budgets and profitability.

Paul Rollason has spent more than 20 years working with Professional Services Organisations. He now works for Unit4 Business Software helping Professional Services Organisations in UK & Ireland to streamline their work, winning, project / matter delivery, HR and financial operations through periods of growth, diversification and M&A. 

Paul Rollason