In this third edition of the Service Sales Maturity blog, we would like to talk about forecasting. As a reminder, we are focused on the processes and effort it takes to SELL services, i.e. generate an accurate Statement of Work and downstream reports. In this series we will share the levels of maturity we have observed and what it takes for businesses to streamline their process using technology and automation, which all leads to a dramatic reduction in the sales cycle. You can read the original post here.
Proper forecasting is one of the holy grail’s of professional services. Getting it right makes you a hero, getting it wrong can spell disaster. And it’s not just the PS department that cares about this critical function. The C-suite is laser focused on PS forecasting, and every quarterly board report seems to talk about utilization, gross margin, headcount and billable hours.
So how do you know if your PS forecasting process is mature? To us, it comes down to two simple questions: Do you use booked and DRAFT orders to determine resources? And, have you standardized and automated resource planning for repeatable services?
A lot of companies we speak with have some level of automation and technology linking their CRM to PSA/project management suite. However, this only gives you a partial view of your pipeline as it does not include what COULD be booked in the future. That’s one of the biggest complaints we hear from our customers – the inability to accurately predict the future PS needs of the business. Here is where we see the cutoff from a maturity perspective:
In our first piece, we mentioned “leveraging repeatability”. We have observed that our clients who are further along in their services’ sales maturity have consistently been able to leverage repeatable services and/or repeatable aspects of their services to standardize and automate their resource planning. This clearly results in less work and more precision.
Those who get it right will enjoy a more accurate forecast, higher margins and kudos from the C-suite.
Next time we will discuss playbooks and how buyers and sellers should be guided to the right services quickly based on what products they have purchased from you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org of visit us at workrails.com to learn more about how SOW automation can transform your services business.