Professional services firms have different goals and different measures of success from other companies. The more billable your consultants are, the better the revenue flow for the organization. The more profitable your projects are, the more impressive the bottom line. But services companies face numerous hurdles in finding business. We have identified five key marketing and sales challenges professional services organizations face that can be addressed with a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

1. Tracking Marketing Campaign Effectiveness

Regardless of what marketing strategy your company employs, organization leaders want to know what the return on investment is for the marketing spending. A CRM system can track a lead from when it is created, through the sales process and, ultimately, until the sale is completed. By tagging leads to a specific campaign, service firms can run reports that show key metrics by campaign such as: total leads, total sales opportunities and pipeline, and total revenue.

2. Proactive Prospect Engagement

A CRM system gives several layers of sales intelligence to a business development team. Rather than wait for prospects to come knocking on your door, a savvy sales professional can leverage information such as web site visits, page views, downloads and social interaction to get a 360-degree view of the prospect. This enables you to speak intelligently about their interests and challenges once you connect with them rather than dealing with the dreaded cold call. All of this information can be captured in a CRM system, and then put to use by your business development team as they continually develop sales pipeline.

3. Fast, Accurate Proposals

Services firms often must submit sales and/or project proposals when trying to win new business. This can be a time-consuming process that feels like you are “recreating the wheel” each time a new proposal is required. A CRM system can eliminate this issue through the use of templates and proposals that can be stored in the system and re-used as needed. Search for a template that is a close match to a current opportunity, and a few updates are all that is needed. This maintains consistent messaging and accelerates the proposal cycle.

4. Managing Pipeline and Forecast

By looking at all services projects across the organization, sales leaders have a better grasp of what revenue to expect and when, as well as the health of the sales pipeline. CRM systems provided detailed reports and dashboards that provide key business development metrics, including total revenue by project/client/quarter, or even profitability by the same measures.

5. Synchronized Client Management

Know the entire history of a client, good and bad, by tracking activities and other information in a CRM system. Even is a new Account Manager or consultant is brought into an ongoing project, the transition can be seamless since all information surrounding that account is captured in one area. Collaboration, communication and continuity are established so clients can be managed properly through an aligned sales and services effort.