Integrating project management capabilities into your Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation seems like a logical step for any professional services based business. However, managing the service delivery after the sale oftentimes takes a back seat to the upfront sales and marketing activities required to get the customer in the first place.
5 key aspects to focus on when integrating project management into your CRM strategy:
1) Leverage the opportunity information captured during the sales process and “convert” this information to a project record. This will enforce proper sales pipeline management and save a considerable amount of administrative time for the project team once they are ready to engage in the project.
2) Define the project based on your service delivery model. All projects have a start and end date with tasks in between. Make sure you capture the project attributes you will need to efficiently report externally to the customer and internally to the resources engaged on the project.
3) You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Instill a measure of resource and time management against the project tasks that make up the project. This process needs to be simple and readily accessible. This will give you an internal gauge of each project’s status and how well you are delivering against milestones and the overall project budget.
4) Utilize project templates. Create a playbook for the different flavors of projects you engage in. Take the time to create workflows for specific types of projects and define checklists for specific project tasks – this will help facilitate internal communication and will expedite standard project creation in the future.
5) Resource utilization. Define the project team for every project and provide an easy way to capture the tasks assigned to each team member. This will provide visibility into resource allocation and allow you to forecast resource availability. It will also allow you to measure against resource utilization goals.
For professional services firms, properly managing expectations on deliverables, timeframe and budget will ultimately determine your customer’s perception of a successful customer relationship with your company.
Over the years AbleBridge has helped many customers streamline their services operations with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We also provide a more turnkey solution with our CRM Add On,