Many CRM solutions don’t come equipped with extensive project management tools. But many professional services firms need service management as well as sales pipeline management. Incorporating all the tools you need into your CRM system presents a definite advantage. After all, delivery of services after a sale is made is the key to customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
There are different approaches. Your team can utilize workflows and tasks around their service deliverables. You can acquire add-on project management capabilities from Microsoft Marketplace. Or you can perform uncomplicated customizations that will align with your particular needs and processes.
Integrating project management
There are five key areas you’ll want to focus on when integrating project management into your CRM strategy:
- Leverage your data.
You’ll want to take advantage of the data your team acquired during the sales process and make sure it is converted into a project record. Capturing and using that data will ensure the continuity of information, eliminate repetitious manual re-entry, and assure that everyone is on the same page when you move on from sales management to project management.
- Define your project
Every project has a start and end point. Those points, along with project task milestones, will define your project. Capturing the necessary data associated with each step of the project will be essential when it’s time to evaluate your progress, report to your customer, and bring the project in on time and on budget.
- Measure your progress.
Isn’t it true that you can’t manage what you don’t measure? You need a record of resource and time management for each of the tasks that comprise the project. The data needs to be readily available and easy to access. That will provide project team members with a real-time gauge of each step and the overall status of the project. That way, you’ll have a clear picture of the milestones and the overall progress against the budget.
- Take advantage of project templates
As you take on more projects, you’ll notice what guidelines and parameters work best with your tasks and deliverables. Create templates to reflect your company’s approach, processes, and goals. Taking the opportunity to create custom workflows for specific kinds of projects has several advantages. Defining parameters for specific project responsibilities will facilitate coordination and expedite the onboarding of future projects.
- Optimize your resources.
Designate the project team for every project and then track the efforts of each team member. You’ll have an easy way to measure actual work hours against the estimated hours allotted for each project task. The visibility you gain into how resources manage time and tasks will help you adjust expectations going forward. You’ll have the information and insights necessary for more accurate estimates.
We’ve worked closely with numerous clients who manage their professional services with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Consultants, software providers, biotech companies – really any organization engaged in delivering professional services to their customers. We understand how to quickly add more robust
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By Ryan Plourde, Crowe,