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| When Your Customer Needs Professional Services

When does onboarding stop? Or does it? In a subscription economy, an increasing number of companies are looking towards their Customer Success departments to scale and grow with their customers. Knowing when and why your clients might require further Professional Services to capitalize on their investment and your hard work in the implementation stage is sometimes a difficult roadmap to manage, especially when discerning the difference between what onboarding looks like at the first milestone and last. As the edges around the Customer Success and Professional Services departments become more and more blurred, often as a result of a smooth transition from implementation to subsequent delivery, it will be vital for those departments to work in tight collaboration in order to understand the outcomes the customer desires, identify the services they need and then execute it well.

So when do you go beyond onboarding?

Improve the quality of your Professional Services today to better serve the demands of customers tomorrow

B2B customer expectations are changing, with the desire to purchase outcomes rather than solutions and this has disrupted how Professional Services (PS) teams approach customer onboarding projects and how revenue, whether it is sourced at the annual recurring revenue (ARR) level or recognized through other business processes, is optimized. As these requirements evolve, pushing your businesses to come up with new ways of organizing onboarding but then subsequently delivering PS requires a step-change in order to keep pace. This is important for Professional Services teams in the software industry, who are a core driver of company financials that typically deliver 30-40% margins. PS teams are being challenged to adapt how they help their SaaS customers get the value they say they’re looking for from your services; see that value earlier and not only have you improved the financial efficacy of that project but you can go on to provide more services to a satisfied customer. This highlights the clear symbiotic nature that Customer Success and Professional Services are required to own as onboarding is the first tenet of that journey but not the outcome but both teams will have to be knowledgeable in what those outcomes are.

Companies who used to sell on-premise solutions with large delivery teams, which had slower implementation times, would struggle in this current world given the old PS models being used. For the business, reporting methods often focussed on how margins had been affected in the project delivery using the classic metrics such as revenue per consultant or billable utilization and costs here typically become a barrier to entry for the customer. Furthermore, on the customer side, without an overview of the onboarding plan and knowledge of when it comes to an end, or at least is turning into services, means they are unlikely to be well-informed of when they are likely to see an outcome resulting in dissatisfaction and churn.

Many professional services teams still scope out their projects using a range of metrics which today no longer shows the true value of what is being delivered. In this subscription climate, created in part by SaaS customers, it is important for your PS team to augment how they offer and implement services and communicate this both before and after onboarding is complete. More than ever it is critical for your PS team to bring internal teams like sales (who help to create your customer expectation of what your service will deliver), customer success and your services team together so they share goals and KPIs, getting the most out of cross-collaboration, resource allocation for the internal teams which makes the most sense for the project and closely aligning with how your customer defines value in your services helps your PS team optimize your project delivery. Then metrics like Time-to-Value and, perhaps more importantly, Time-to-Outcome, can be your new communication tools both internally and externally.

The Outcomes Era is NOW

As your organization matures, how your Professional Services team carries out customer projects in this outcomes era requires them to understand what your SaaS customer’s outcomes need to be beyond the implementation and onboarding stage. You have to know how these ‘outcomes' will help to solve their challenges and set them up with a scalable and repeatable way to get the best from your services. Technology and services automation continues moving businesses away from traditional ways of managing projects and adjusting your strategy to align with your SaaS customers' expectations on speed, outcomes and value helps your PS team better manage that customer's lifecycle and improve your customer ARR. Happy customers stay with you longer, can become advocates for your business and will represent more cross-sell or upsell opportunities over time.

Want to maximize ARR through your professional services?

In Precursive’s new Playbook Traditional Services Delivery is DEAD you can learn how to maximize ARR through outcomes-led Professional Services. We have uncovered with voices from Sage, Cognite and Infosys, what your Professional Services team needs to think about in order to better serve customers and maximize ARR. This playbook covers questions like:

  • Why is it important to define your customers ‘outcomes’?

  • What does speed, outcome and value mean to the customer?

  • How does professional services help maximize ARR?

  • What are the new ways of building a world-class PS organization?


Download our Playbook now aimed at fast-growth businesses who want to see success faster.

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