CRMs have been a tough sell for many professional services firms because they were seen as adding work. So, I often end up implementing a simplified system that mainly used the Opportunities tracking module. I think that the newer cloud based systems have overcome many objections and their use is finally starting to sink in. In this example, a system was established using charge codes in the time sheet system and the data was trended. I now call this FosterGrowth’s Revenue Forecasting Tool (RFT) which is discussed elsewhere.
The backlog began to grow and the operations and accounting department could see the sales activity trends far in advance of opportunities and backlog trends. In a quarterly meeting with the bank that had the company’s credit line, the CFO shared this data. The bank loved it as it projected the health of the firm far longer than a backlog trend chart. So, the bank started asking for it.
When Accounting saw how the bank valued the data, they become a champion of the data and provided this data to not just marketing and sales staff, but division managers and operations managers. At that point it really took off because the system had broad support and people were recognized for their contribution in early and final sales stages.
All of a sudden it was no longer bad to charge time to overhead numbers associated with sales. The sales investment was transparent and the outcome clear. Sales boomed and profit followed. At the time, the firm was 350 employees. They are now 900. Another firm that adopted this strategy grew their backlog grow over 70%, increased profit to over 20%, tripled the stock price- allowing owners to sell at a very high multiplier.
Even if a firm does not desire rapid growth, this approach works well to increase profit and sustain consistent backlog. The point is that the process can be managed to achieve the desire outcome. Other than buying a company or hiring a “knight” who can bring in work, what have you found works well in securing predictable and consistent revenue with the desired profit? Comment here or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.