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Ryan Felkel

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Improve Your Email Marketing Response Rates

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jul 03, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Email Marketing Over the past decade, email marketing has become a leading channel to generate brand and product awareness. Even better, unlike snail mail, marketers are able to get actual information about who opened the email and who followed the call to action. As a result, marketers can quickly determine what messaging is resonating with their target audience. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

Use a Good Sender Name

Having a good sender name is extremely important. People are less likely to open an email that comes from a “no-reply” sender name and email address. Instead, use a sender name and an email address that the recipient might recognize. For example, if you’re emailing existing clients about a new product offering, consider using the name of their account representative from your company.

Have a Strong Subject Line

Upon receiving an email, the recipient usually looks first to see who sent it and then reads the subject line. The subject line can be the determining factor as to if the email recipient will actually even open and read the email. Email subject lines should get to the point and not be too long.  Furthermore, clearly state what information you are sharing inside the email. Consider using triggers words like “sale” and “proven” to increase interest in your messaging. Lastly, always use the preheader text field that is available in all email marketing platforms. The preheader text provides a place to add a summary of the email.

Use Catchy Graphics

Graphics are an important element to an email. Maybe it can be something fun that relates to the messaging of the email or it might just be company logo. Graphics help break up the text and make the email less overwhelming to the recipient. Another type of graphic to consider is an emoji. Emojis have become very popular over the past few years and they are a great way to communicate.

Format and Layout

“The best email I have gotten is one that is a giant block of text,” said no one ever. For the messaging of your email, text should be short and broken up to make the email scannable for the recipient. Some ways to break up text are to use short paragraphs, lists and bullet points. As mentioned before, use graphics to help break up the text. Also, make sure the call to action is clear to the recipient. It needs to stand out and should clarify the next steps for the reader.

Test Different Days and Times

With a 40-hour work week, there are several days and times you can chose to deploy your email. By breaking up your target list of recipients, you can test several different days and times to send your email to determine which time is best. For instance, you might find that your targets are more likely to open emails in the evening. If this is the case and let’s say the email is going to several time zones, you may consider breaking up the target list by time zone and deploying the email to ensure all recipients receive the email in the evening of their time zone.

Segment Your Email List

One of the last things you want to do is send an email with irrelevant content to a recipient. If you’re promoting a marketing product, it is less likely that an accountant is going to find your information useful. Additionally, you do not want to be sending the same people multiple emails a week, especially with irrelevant content. This will likely result in high unsubscribe rates.

Start Improving Your Email Success Rates

Now to the most important thing…testing, testing, and more testing. A/B testing is a marketer’s best friend. A/B testing involves creating two different subjects, graphics, messaging, and format/layout to determine what resonates with your audience. Once you have created two versions, segment your target list in two and send one half one version and the other half the other version. Then sit back and start to compare the success of each email to determine what increased your email success rate.

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Topics: Building Business, Marketing

How Do You Measure Your Firm’s Success?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jun 05, 2019 @ 01:18 PM

Metrics Measuring your firm’s achievements and shortcomings are important to ensure continued future success. However, many firms are unsure of what factors indicate the health of their business. Also, some firm leaders believe one indicator, such as financial reports, is more important than other areas like talent management. Well, that is not necessarily the case. Let’s take a look at some of the indicators your firm should use to make informed decisions to improve business performance.  

Employee Recruitment and Retention Rates

One of the largest factors affecting the growth of architectural and engineering (A&E) firms is human capital management. Having the right people working on the right projects has a significant impact on the profitability and overall success of an A&E firm. From highlighting experienced staff members during the RFP process to actually delivering the project, talent affects all aspects of your business. Looking at recruitment rates, employee turnover rates and several other talent management metrics is essential to evaluating and measuring success.

Measuring Business Development

Wasted time on winning new business is very costly. Measuring win rates, revenue from top clients and net revenue growth will prevent wasted time. For some, this seems like a logical thing to measure, but many firms don’t track this information and they should. If you’re tracking these numbers and they continue to decline, then you know you have some major issues. You can quickly change this trend by evaluating what types of projects you’re winning and losing, and why.

Financial Metrics

Without a doubt, financial metrics are extremely important. Knowing things like total employee cost, overhead rate, and total payroll multiplier are necessary to keeping your finger on the pulse of your business. Diving deeper, measuring performance using metrics like operating profit on net revenue, utilization rate and the net labor multiplier from previous years can provide a clear picture of the performance of your firm. If these numbers slip in a negative direction, other metrics mentioned in this article could provide useful insight.

Overlooked Technology Needs

Historically, the A&E industry has been hesitant to adopt new technology. As a result, firms continue to use outdated technology that lacks the abilities to keep up with the changing A&E industry. This has become the number one hurdle for little firms to keep up with larger and faster growing firms. A&E firms need to evaluate their current technology.  Are your systems connected or is there a lot of manual entry from one software tool to another? Is your software up to date? Being behind on technology can greatly hinder your ability to even measure performance indicators.

Comparing Your Firm to Others

Ok, let’s assume your firm will measure these metrics and keep track of them. Even better, it will use current metrics and compare them to historical metrics to notice trends. However, does it compare itself to other A&E firms to determine where it stands in the industry? Well, it can. Make sure to download the Deltek A&E Clarity Industry Study to see how your firm stacks up against your competition. The Deltek A&E Clarity Industry Study is created in collaboration with ACEC, the Association Consulting Engineering Companies Canada, SMPS and AIA. The data collected comes from 386 US and Canadian firms and draws from over 250,000 data points.

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Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report

2019 Mergers and Acquisitions Trends

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 22, 2019 @ 01:45 PM

Mergers and AcquisitionsWith growing global political tensions, trade wars and volatile markets, one would assume that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity would slow down. However, this has not been the case.  As a result of US tax reforms and a reduction in the US regulatory climate, firms are retaining larger amounts of cash reserves. Furthermore, according to a recent Deloitte survey, M&A activity will continue to increase throughout 2019. Here are some reasons for this trend.

Need to Diversify

Architecture and engineering (A&E) firms must diversify their service offerings to continue to win new business. Diversifying in the A&E industry is usually in reference to purchasing or merging with another firm that has a different set of skills. For instance, an engineering firm specializing in soil science has a desire to offer a different service like water control which requires it to acquire or merge with another firm. Therefore, M&A activity will continue to grow to meet these needs. 

Generate Firm Growth

Historically, firms have used excess cash flow to pay down debt, purchase shares back or simply retain cash reserves as a backup. However, A&E firms are now finding that acquiring another firm is a simple and lucrative way to grow business. Essentially, this allows a firm to increase its market share and acquire a competitor’s client base.

Demographics are Changing

Many A&E firms are private companies owned by baby boomers. These owners are starting to look for an exit strategy, and an easy solution is to put the business on the market. By doing so, owners can request for bids to purchase their firms and obtain a fair market value. As a result, owners can capitalize on their success and enjoy retirement with a nice-sized nest egg.

Preparing Your Firm for a Merger or Acquisition

A&E firms desiring to take the M&A path need to make sure they have their internal records clearly documented. This includes providing understandable project financial reports, presenting any risks a buyer should evaluate, and having records that are easily auditable. Lastly, and probably most importantly, firm leadership should communicate their intentions and the expected results of the merger or acquisition with their employees. Is your firm ready?

 Mergers and Acquisitions

Topics: Professional Services, Mergers and Acquisitions

What Makes a Quality Business Software Solution?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 01, 2019 @ 02:56 PM

Business Software

For those of you reading this, I’m glad that you have a desire to expand your knowledge. While you might be a great accountant, business development person, project manager, HR professional, or C-level executive, you might not have a high level of IT knowledge. Yet, you are the professionals that must use your company’s business software solutions. Therefore, you need to ensure these business solutions are allowing you to be more productive. So, let’s see if your current business software solution is a quality one or not.

Simple to Understand

This sounds like a no brainer-but how simple is the software solution you use? Simplicity is more than a friendly user interface. When thinking about simplicity, you need to imagine inputting data and extracting actionable information.

Even more, it means being able to share information with others within and outside your firm. Taking this further, how many clicks does it take to get to your destination? And let’s not forget being able to easily obtain support from the software provider with quick resolution for your problem.

Pleasant User Interface

Software companies have entire teams of professionals dedicated to human-computer interaction, or in other words, how humans interact with machines. A quality user interface does make a software solution simpler, but more importantly, it entices users to want to use the solution. A software interface should be visually appealing and provide an intuitive environment. The better the user interface, the more likely employees will adopt using the software.

Integrates with Other Software Solutions

The fact of the matter is that businesses usually use more than one software to deliver services. For example, business intelligence (BI) software, like Entrinsik’s Informer BI tool, is becoming a leading software product used by companies to better analyze data. However, a core software must be able to integrate with a BI software to be able to extract the data.

Moreover, businesses also often use piecemealed together systems that are created as a business grows and/or a new gap needs to be filled. As a result, these individual solutions must be integrated together so they can communicate. If they are not integrated, employees will then have to manually input information from one system to another which waste time and is more prone to errors.     

Get Your Job Done More Efficiently

Does your current solution meet the needs of your business? Does your software help you better serve your clients and streamline your business processes? Lastly, will the software solutions you use be able to grow with you and your firm? If the answer to any of these questions is no, let Full Sail Partners help!

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Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services

The Value of Email Communication Management with Deltek PIM

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 @ 03:15 PM

Deltek PIM

Project-based firms do experience challenges during the project lifecycle from ensuring a project remains on schedule to keeping the client satisfied. With these challenges, however, there is one common denominator…communication. Communication is key to the success of a project whether it’s with the client or with your own project team. One of the most common forms of communication is email, but if you’re not included on every email that pertains to a project, how can you know what is going on? With Deltek PIM, the communication problem is solved, and your firm will reap the benefits.

Centralized Email Communication

With a simple click, an email can be stored within the project in Vantagepoint or Vision. Therefore, every employee working on a particular project can quickly access the email communications that contain important information about the project. This saves time and improves project communication. With Deltek PIM, an employee might notice a change to the project and can quickly search through the emails to see who made the change and why.

Improved Decision Making

Using Deltek PIM increases the collaborative work environment since everyone has access to project related communication. With more insight into the project information, team members can make informed and quick decisions. The impact of this efficiency is significant for project-based firms in the form of a higher profit on each project.

Quick User Adoption

If your firm is already using Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision, PIM easily integrates with these project management platforms. Even better, this integration makes it easy to use which increases user adoption. As a result, an investment into Deltek PIM offers value since firm employees will actually use this product as they are already managing projects in Vantagepoint or Vision.

Deltek PIM Does More

Not only does Deltek PIM provide centralized email, but it also allows for all project related files to be stored directly in the project in Vantagepoint or Vision. With PIM, you can store emails, all types of documents, easily organize drawings, and improve sharing since all these things are in one location. If you haven’t seen PIM, make sure to check our webinar listing page to view upcoming and past PIM webinars.

Deltek PIM 

Topics: Technology Solutions, Project Information Management (PIM)

Top Trends in the AEC Industry

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 @ 02:10 PM

Cloud ComputingOut of all industries and professional disciplines, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) leads in innovation. Not just in building design, but in how construction projects are completed. Among other efforts, the AEC industry is embracing modern technology to make projects and overall business more successful. Let’s take a look at some trends.

Moving to the Cloud

Taking your software to the cloud is becoming an extremely cheaper alternative to hosting your own software tools. Software/Desktop as a Service (SaaS/DaaS) is changing the AEC industry for the better. SaaS/DaaS gives employees the ability to access the software products they use from anywhere with an internet connection. As a result, it’s allowing firms to become more efficient and mobile.

Business development teams can retrieve important CRM information about their clients and prospects on-the-go. Project managers can update project records while they are on-site at the project. For AEC firms to stay competitive, they need to embrace SaaS/DaaS solutions to keep up with the changing times. Check out this link to learn more.

BIM Technology

Building information modeling (BIM) technology is not just for large firms anymore. It has now become economical for small firms and even the self-employed. With BIM, AEC firms can create digital models of structures…but it’s not just a 3D representation of a structure; it’s more like 6D. Whereas 3D is width, height and depth, the 4th D is time, the 5th D is cost, and the 6th D evaluates the environment and sustainability of the structure. 

Even more, it’s a shared knowledge base of project information. By using BIM, companies will be apprised of a project’s status by instant access to all project information, even emails. Want to take Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision even further with project management? Check out Deltek PIM here for more information.

Software Integrations Using the Blackbox Connector

Third party software solutions can now be integrated with Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision. Using the Blackbox Connector for Constant Contact or Mailchimp, email marketing efforts are automatically updated in Vantagepoint or Vision. Instead of relying on plain spreadsheets for company business intelligence, firm employees can easily create real-time graphical dashboards with the Informer integration for Vantagepoint or Vision. Learn more about the Blackbox Connector options for Deltek here.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

Many AEC firm leaders are hesitant to make an investment into new technology. However, evaluating current practices and exploring ways to use technology to help streamline your business processes can prove to have a true return on investment. How can Full Sail Partners help you embrace modern technology?

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Topics: Project Management, Technology Solutions, Cloud

Do More with the Deltek Learning Zone

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 @ 05:17 PM

Deltek Learning Zone If you’re a Deltek user, you know how robust the products are. As such, it can be a daunting task to learn how to use all the capabilities that Deltek products offer. Well, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you would think. The Deltek Learning Zone (DLZ) can help Deltek users get the most out of their Deltek product.

What is the Deltek Learning Zone?

The DLZ is a one-stop-shop that provides Deltek users with opportunities to learn from experts about Deltek products. More specifically, the DLZ contains numerous flexible educational options that allow you to learn at your own pace and in your own learning style. There are virtual live classes, self-paced learning classes, support videos, workflow and process infographics, as well as quick reference guides. Even more, Deltek has added a new hands-on training lab that allows Deltek users to practice in a test database.

What Are the Benefits of the Deltek Learning Zone?

There are a variety of benefits to using the DLZ:

  • Offers a user-friendly interface that allows users to minimize clicks to launch an online learning platform which is in a secure environment and tracks your progress automatically.
  • Provides an extensive content library that offers users a comprehensive collection of current content created by the people who design and build Deltek products.
  • Allows Deltek users 24/7 access to learn in their preferred style at their convenience using online training techniques.
  • Earns Deltek solution certifications proving you have mastered a Deltek product.

Maximize Your Deltek Investment

Start maximizing your firm’s investment in Deltek products with the DLZ. Using the DLZ, you too can become a Deltek expert and increase your ability to more effectively use Deltek products. Additionally, as new Deltek products are brought to bear like Vantagepoint, resources will be made available in the DLZ so there is no hiatus in learning. Let’s get learning!

Deltek Learning Zone  

Topics: Support, Technology Solutions, Deltek Vision, Deltek Vantagepoint

Email Marketing: The Truth Revealed

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 @ 05:02 PM

 

Email Marketing Blog 2.13.19Digital marketing, which includes email marketing, is a very effective strategy to growing your business. Most significantly, email marketing and outreach allows you to gain valuable insights into what information and messaging is important to your prospective and current clients. With each email sent, marketers can see open and click rates, and who opened and clicked on a link in the email. As a result, prospects can be easily identified, and messaging modified to grab the attention of other targets.

Email Marketing is Alive and Well

For many people, mainly the non-marketing folks, understanding how email marketing is effective can be difficult. In fact, many believe that email marketing is ineffective since they get so much spam and find it to be an annoyance. However, this is not the case. Email marketing actually has a very positive impact on your business. Here some are staggering facts about email marketing:

  • There are 3.7 billion email users in the world and that will increase to 4.1 billion by 2021 (Statista)
  • Email marketing has a 28.5% ROI compared to snail mail which has a 7% ROI on average (Chief Marketer)
  • 59% of marketers agree that email marketing generates their biggest source of ROI (Emma)
  • Email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring new clients than Facebook or Twitter (McKinsey)
  • 72% of people prefer to receive promotional information via email compared to 17% who prefer social media channels (MarketingSherpa)
  • Email marketing is 6 times more likely to result in a click-through than a tweet (Campaign Monitor)
  • 90% of people said they will opt-in to receive a newsletter to obtain updates about a company while 10% elected Facebook (Nielsen Norman Group)
  • 70% of B2B marketers agree that increasing their email list quality is their top priority (Delivra)
  • The average office employee checks their email 30 times per hour (Marketing Insider Group)
  • Checking email is the number 1 activity on the internet (Marketo)
  • Companies in the United States will spend more than $350 million dollars on email marketing in 2019 (Statista)
  • Email marketing drives on average $44 for every $1 spent (Campaign Monitor)

Email Marketing has a Bright Future

With all of these facts about email marketing, it is evident that the strategy works. While your firm is probably using email marketing as part of your overall digital marketing strategy, are you seeing the ROI and maximizing the benefits? Learn more about tracking and measuring email marketing success rates here!

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Topics: Building Business, Marketing, Technology Solutions

Top Reasons to Automate the Accounts Payable Process

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Dec 05, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

 

AP AutomationOne of the most time-consuming processes for accounting is accounts payable (AP). In fact, the entire process from receiving and reviewing invoices to paying the vendor is riddled with opportunities for errors. To make matters worse, 77% of invoices received by companies are in a manual format such as hard copies, PDFs and emails, and the average cost to process one invoice is $34. There is, however, a way to put an end to these ever-present accounting woes – automate the AP process.

Reasons to Automate the AP Process

Let’s look at the benefits of automation:

  • Save Time – Using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, AP automation software reduces the need for manually inputting information from an invoice into your firm’s accounting system
  • Eliminate Errors – With less reliance on manual input, the element of human error is greatly reduced
  • Faster Processing – AP automation software allows for faster approval since the software will flag invoices that have inaccurate information
  • Reduce Double Payments – AP automation software will flag a duplicate invoice when on the rare occasion a company accidentally sends two or more of the same invoices
  • Gain Greater Insight – With invoices in one system, firm leaders and the entire accounting staff can quickly evaluate spending using easy to read dashboards
  • Improved Relationships with Vendors – By paying invoices faster, your firm will have a better relationship with vendors and even possibly get an early payment discount
  • Better Staff Utilization – Instead of having accounting experts processing AP, they can work on more important accounting tasks

AP Automation Solution for Deltek Vision & Vantagepoint Users

For Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint, SAP Concur integrates with these ERP systems utilizing the Blackbox Connector integration. When you begin using Concur, you can have all your vendors email invoices to one specific email address. Concur will then use OCR technology to collect the information contained in the invoice which can be reviewed by a member of the accounting staff to approve or deny payment. Once approval has been given, a check or ACH payment can be made.

It’s important to note that Concur then uses Expense Types to link all invoices to the correct GL account. This information is then extracted on a nightly basis into your Deltek system keeping it up-to-date. See, it is actually quite simple. Let Concur AP automation work for your firm!

AP Automation  

Topics: Accounting, Technology Solutions, Professional Services

Things We Learned at Deltek Insight 2018

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 @ 11:44 AM

Deltek Insight 2018

It’s important to keep in mind that Deltek Insight is about much more than just Deltek and its products. This annual networking event always offers so much to those who attend - from what’s new with accounting standards to inspiring stories from keynote speakers to opportunities to exchange ideas with colleagues. For those who didn’t have the opportunity to attend Deltek Insight 2018, here are some interesting things we learned this year.

Fun Facts Learned at Deltek Insight 2018

  • FASB ASC 606 impacts must be taken against retained earnings in 2018.
  • Deltek Vision will continue to be supported through at least 2022.
  • Deltek products are evolving and one new enhancement is “Hey Deltek” - the natural language processing and interaction creation like Siri and Alexa.
  • Johnny Cupcakes doesn’t actually sell cupcakes but t-shirts. So many people love his creative branding and messaging.
  • “Failures are just experiences. Experimenting is how we grow,” according to Johnny Cupcakes who started 16 companies before he was 16. Most people think they might fail so they don’t even get started. His advice? Take more chances and fail faster. When we fail, we learn, and failure helps us redefine priorities in life allowing us to be successful.
  • B2B and B2C are old fashioned concepts. You should now think H2H (human to human connection). How is your role and work impacting lives and making them better? This human connection is what brings us closer and builds memories.
  • Johnny Cupcakes also suggested “do more of what makes you happy,” which reinforces that human touch. Life is too short. Your clients have the same needs as you. Doing more of what makes you happy in return makes those around you happy.

Deltek Insight is Always Full of Information

As always, this year’s conference provided much value to those who attended. If you want to know more about attending Deltek Insight in the future or have any questions about this year’s conference, reach out to us using the link below. We hope to see you at Deltek Insight 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Reach Full Sail!  

Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Insight