Full Sail Partners Blog

Focus on the Future with Sales Forecasting

Posted by Lindsay Diven on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Forecasting

Are you simply betting that your future will be bright? Or are you using your data to plan for tomorrow? As my data-loving, gal-pal, Stacey Ho, CPSM, puts it: “Forecasting is a little bit of science, and a little bit of crystal ball.” In this blog, I’ll share what forecasting can tell you, and how to get started today using anything from Excel to a major ERP finance software system. Your firm, no matter what size, can take small steps to plan for a bright future.

What is forecasting?

Forecasting is a way to use your pipeline to demonstrate potential future sales. It helps your firm make smarter decisions or know when to course correct. Forecasting can tell you if you need to identify more work, improve your hit hate, recognize “must-win” opportunities, or even when to hire more staff.

Get Started with Forecasting

To get started with forecasting, you will need to set yourself up for success. This is done through aligning the right people, process, data, and technology:

PeopleYou will first want to have a good understanding of who is responsible for data collection, maintenance, input, etc. and who will be gathering and reporting on the data. Consider who has both the knowledge and the time to put the forecast together. Lastly, make sure you have buy-in from your firm leadership.

ProcessOnce you have the people identified, it is time to start working on the process. This includes setting sales goals for your firm, so you have them to compare the forecast to and which can be developed using a top-down or bottom-up approach. You will also want to determine the frequency in which you report the forecast and how often you will update it. The frequency can be weekly, monthly or quarterly. I recommend beginning with quarterly and eventually increasing to monthly for firms just starting to forecast, Additionally, you will need to decide how far out into the future your forecast goes. The two most common forecasts are the current calendar or fiscal year and a rolling 12-month report.

DataTo build your forecast you need data. This includes dates, dollars, and status. I will go into more detail regarding the minimum data you need to build a forecast in just a bit.

TechnologyOnce you have identified people, process, and data, you will have a pretty good idea of what type of technology is needed. CRM systems, like Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint, are developed specifically to make reporting forecasts seamless and automated. Once the information is entered into the system, you can build reports or dashboards easily, segment the data by office or market, and schedule the reports to be delivered automatically.

What are the Minimum Pieces of Information for Effective Forecasting?

Since a forecast is predicting your sales into the future, there are some minimum pieces of information you need to record to develop a forecast report. Those pieces of information are:

  • Opportunity or Potential Project Name – The report is a cumulation of all your future potential projects. So, ideally every opportunity or potential project would be entered into your CRM system.
  • Anticipated Fee – In order to forecast expected sales, you will need at least an estimate of anticipated fee for each opportunity.
  • Date – This can be a date for when you expect the contract, when the proposal is due, or when you expect to begin work on the project. Again, because the forecast is based on a date range, you need to input some date to base the report on. I would recommend capturing a contract or expected start date. No matter what type of date field you choose, be sure to enter and update that data field consistently among all your opportunities.

There are some other data fields that will make your forecast reports even better:

  • Probability – Chances are you are not going to win every opportunity you pursue, so I like to apply a probability to each opportunity. This probability is the likelihood your firm will win the opportunity.
  • Weighted Fee – Weighted fee is what you get when you multiply the estimated fee by the probability. When you calculate this, and use the weighted fee in your forecast, it is more conservative than just using the estimated fee. Sometimes, this gives you a better idea of what your sales will be.
  • Office or Market Segments – I like to develop my forecast reports around the same segments as the other financial reports my firm does. So, if your firm reports P&L around offices, divisions, or studios, then you can set up your forecast reports the same.

Maintaining the Forecast

Now that you have set up your initial forecast report, make sure you maintain it on whatever frequency you decided above. Maintenance encompasses:

  • Data Auditing – This includes routine data updates such as updating the contract or estimated start dates, updating estimated fees, and probabilities.
  • Actualizing – Data actualizing happens when you turn the opportunity into a sale. This involves marking opportunities as wins or losses, updating the estimated fee to the actual final negotiated contract amount, and changing wins to 100% probability if you are using a weighted fee.

How to Use Your Forecasts

While forecasting can tell your firm if it will meet its goals, there are some other uses of sales forecasting. In my experience, forecasts have been used to:

  • Identify your top 10 or “must-win” projects that will allow you to meet or beat your goals
  • Know where your future work is coming from, specifically what clients or markets
  • Understand how increasing your probability (chances of winning) can affect your entire forecast
  • Develop estimated plans of efforts for all your potential projects and combine those with your contracted backlog effort. You can assign resources (named or generic) and see how utilized your teams are.

Get a Clear Picture of the Future

Stop guessing what the future will look like for your firm by developing a sales forecast. With some minimum information that is tracked in a CRM like Deltek Vision or Vantagepoint, you can easily build a forecast report that will give your firm a clear picture of the future. Ready to get started?

Deltek Vantagepoint Visuals

Topics: Marketing, Professional Services

Marketing Plays Well with Others

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Marketing can integrate

Those in marketing for professional services have a level of knowledge they had to build, likely for a field they did not pursue, and use that knowledge of services to build a brand. In doing so, marketers paint a picture of the firm that they promote. Usually marketing professionals find themselves helping many departments throughout the firm. Not only is collateral client-facing, but marketers often have a responsibility to market to the firm internally. Over the years, I have found many marketers to be integrators in a firm so let’s check out how marketing plays well with others:

Know the Brand

The brand is more than the firm’s identity and reputation. According to an SMPS article, “…strong branding is viewed through three lenses: overall firm branding, personal branding, and employer branding. All three are crucial to a strong brand foundation—and all three are connected in important ways that contribute directly to your firm’s success.”

Marketing has the fun responsibility of viewing the firm with a broader lens and shining the best light on firm strengths. As marketers believe in the services the firm can provide, they can use various channels to get the right message to the right audience. Therefore, knowing internal teams is just as integral as knowing clients.

A lot can change in a firm, whether it be people, services, or goals, and marketers need to be in the know of company happenings to properly communicate the appropriate message. After all, the only constant is change. Marketers find themselves having to be very flexible with messaging as well as keeping up with the dynamic structure of the firm.

Master the Service Lineup

Professional services firms typically have printed material, a digital footprint, and many proposals created for specific clients. Marketers must have knowledge of the firm’s services and a strong bond with technical staff to collaborate and create content. While a majority of technical staff has vast knowledge of what services its group offers, it’s important to educate everyone on all of the firm’s offerings, even if at a very high level. This can lead to more aware project managers as well as cross selling. All marketers should take advantage of education opportunities.

Knowing that many marketers have a great understanding of the firm’s services, they can become integrators within the firm, matching up employees that can benefit from bigger discussions. Collaborations do not stop with technical departments.

Recruit Like a Pro

Great minds come together for the greater good when human resources and marketing collaborate. Recruiting can be quite time-consuming; however, attracting top talent can tighten the candidate funnel. Pulling together human resources’ knowledge, the firm’s brand, and creatively crafting the right message can yield strong new recruits for consideration.

To that note, a firm’s digital footprint can play a huge role in a candidate’s interest. Using social media as a recruiting strategy can have phenomenal results. According to harver.com, 92% of recruiters use social media in their efforts. It is a way to engage passive candidates and employees, make connections, and share quality content.

Naturally, recruits or potential candidates google the firm and can be quick to judge on initial findings. It is imperative that a firm’s brand stand out on social media, such as LinkedIn, and on the firm’s website and network.

Set Standards from the Start

After an offer is accepted, it is also beneficial to include marketing in onboarding efforts to educate the new hire on the following, at a minimum:

  • Branding guidelines (colors, logos, firm names, and more)
  • Branded swag
  • Proposal resume building
  • Email signature
  • Collateral that covers all firm services

As marketers share branding guidelines and set brand expectations from the start, new hires are immediately in the know when it comes to firm resources that are client-facing.

Own that Hat Closet

Marketers may notice that they wear many hats as time passes at a professional services firm. Each hat will give different insight into the firm and potentially challenge the “norm.” There are conversations with all roles of the firm, from C-suite to staff level. All of these collaborations help build the firm’s message that is distributed through email campaigns, mailers, proposals, onboarding, and both digital and social content. With each hat that is worn, many areas are weaved together for a more cohesive firm and a stronger brand.  

Talent Management

Topics: Marketing, Professional Services, HR

The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report: Business Development Trends

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on Wed, Sep 09, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Deltek Clarity 41st

“The only constant in life is change.” In the business development world, truer words have never been spoken. The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report was conducted at the beginning of 2020 and shows how companies performed during the 2019 fiscal year. Since then, much has changed in the world. The United States is officially in a recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. Recessions in the A&E industry have proven to be a high-pressure exercise in change management. So, what can we learn from the Clarity report and also from previous recessions in the A&E industry?

Business Development Trend Challenges

The Clarity report showed that challenges from a few years ago remain the same. Time is always a challenge, especially finding time to nurture client relationships. Competition for work continues to get tighter and many firms still struggle to identify new prospects. The A&E industry is overall accustomed to in-person interactions. That dynamic has changed drastically in 2020, requiring firms to identify new ways to develop connections and build relationships.

Getting into Position

Firms that participated in the study were asked to share in which markets they expect their firm’s position to grow, tread, or decline. Over the next 18 months, the transportation market takes the lead at 67% of firms expecting to grow there. Next up is the water/wastewater/stormwater market, followed by the health care market. Firms can remain flexible and be ready for a market shift given the election year and the global pandemic. Market research is always important, and now proves this notion even more.

Tracking the Hit Rate

The Clarity report shows that there’s room for improvement in how firms can use hit rate as a valuable metric. The six-year trend has varied from a 40% - 50% hit rate. Recently, more small and medium-sized firms have formalized a go/no go process, but consistency may be the biggest challenge. Formalizing the system can streamline processes, dedicate resources effectively, and drive the hit rate up. Firms should push business development teams to focus on quality of pursuits, rather than quantity. This is even more important when resources are limited to avoid burnout.

Bringing in the Work

As seen in the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity report, most roles within a firm have some level of responsibility for business development. Executive teams take the lead on the responsibility along with business development staff if that is an option. Marketing groups seem to lead some efforts and the seller/doer model is common in A&E firms. Regardless of who is bringing in the business, only 41% of firms have a formal business development process. Streamlined processes could ensure teams are working efficiently and communicating effectively.

As part of broader marketing efforts, the study asked about marketing techniques for the first time. The survey showed social media posts are the primary marketing technique used by 87% of firms. Traditional trade shows and exhibits are a primary technique for 65% of firms. From there, thought leadership and content marketing are of importance as this showcases the industry experts. This will be a good one to track year after year to see where the trends take us. The survey also asked about the importance of these techniques over the next five years. Social media remains at the top, followed by thought leadership. Trade shows and exhibits surprisingly bump down to the number four spot. In today’s marketing, focusing on your online presence is even more critical.

The Outlook for Business Development

Change brings opportunities. Now more than ever, business development teams should concentrate on strategic planning to narrow in on how to refocus existing business opportunities and develop new business prospects. Firms focused on being flexible and adaptable will continue to flourish in our ever-changing world.

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Topics: Marketing, Technology Solutions, Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report

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

Ways to Track Marketing Success

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, May 29, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Digital Marketing

When you are determining what marketing techniques are going to be the best for your company, there are some important things to consider. It’s common for business owners to cast a wide net in their initial marketing plan, throwing everything they can against the wall to see what sticks. However, continuing to throw money at a marketing strategy that is not generating conversation will result in loss of revenue and time. Fortunately, there are ways that you can avoid this by tracking the success of your marketing techniques and being able to adjust the ones not yielding results.

Website Analytics

Let’s start with one of the easiest and most common methods of tracking marketing success: website analytics. Utilizing this method, you can see who is coming to your site and from what sources. This lets you know which marketing tactics are creating the most clicks and how those clicks could be converted into leads or sales. A lot of website analytic tools are easy to setup and simple to use.

Email Outreach

Email marketing is easy to track and measure. Most email marketing platforms offer a host of data that will help you gauge the efficiency of your email campaigns. Your task is to find those metrics that best suit your email marketing goals and to keep an eye on them. There are many different things that are important to look at when it comes to the success of email marketing. Deliverability, open rates, click-through rates, conversation and bounce rates. These all can give you a better idea of how your email marketing campaign is going.

Phone Tracking

Call tracking is one of the most effective ways to evaluate lead generation sources. By taking advantage of call tracking technology, you can see what marketing ventures are generating the highest number of phone calls. This gives you the opportunity to keep track of who is calling from where and gauge where your budget is best spent.

CRM Tracking

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps sales staff stay organized and track marketing campaign results. Using a CRM software, sales professionals create profiles for each prospect including name, company, phone number, lead source, and any other relevant information. CRM platforms not only lead the way in tracking initial marketing efforts but continue to serve in following the future of client dealings.

Save Time and Effort by Tracking Marketing Success

Tracking marketing success is quite effective when using the right techniques. You can learn what works and what doesn’t when marketing to contacts to create more business and ultimately generate more income for your firm. Using a tool like the Deltek CRM, you can easily.

Email marketing, battle for the inbox

Topics: Marketing, Technology Solutions, CRM

Track Business Development with Informer Business Intelligence

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Feb 20, 2019 @ 11:30 AM

 

Business Intelligence Business development is crucial to the future of any company. Therefore, efficiently tracking it should be a top priority. So why are so many firms still using outdated spreadsheets that require so much effort to review? Well, once they get their hands on the Informer business intelligence (BI) tool, executives, business developers and marketers alike will be asking themselves that very question. Let’s see how the Informer BI solution will add value to your firm.

Colorful Graphics Save Time

The days of having to spend hours reviewing the specifics of opportunities and the sales pipeline on black and white pieces of paper are over. With Informer, colorful graphics draw attention to the information you seek. Essentially, you can set up your graphical dashboard using whatever dash parts you feel are the most important and drill down into the details as needed. These dashboards refresh automatically to keep your data up to date.

Different Visual Options

With Informer BI, there are different visual options available. Based on the fields selected, Informer automatically creates different visuals and you can choose from a saved list. You can customize your chart visuals depending on what you would like to see and how you would like to see it. Chart types vary from trends to pie charts to bar graphs to scatter plots. There are even geographic heat maps that show where your core opportunities are and where your firm needs to do more business development.

Keep a Finger on the Pulse of Business Development

Business developers are concerned with the health of the sales pipeline. They, of course, want opportunities sold as fast as possible and a way to track the win rates. Another great feature of Informer BI is the option to set up alerts when opportunities are closed. When an alert comes in, you will be drawn back to your dashboard to see what has changed. Informer even allows you to set up comparison boards with side by side displays. You can track win rates from month to month, year to year or even by location.

Get Informer Now

There is no need to waste any more time with those old fashioned and dated spreadsheets. Informer BI shows you exactly what you need to know about your business development as the opportunities unfold. Even more, Informer integrates with Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision. So, what are you waiting for?

Blackbox Connector for Informer  

Topics: Building Business, Marketing, Technology Solutions

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

Getting to Know Marketing Campaigns in Deltek Vision

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 @ 03:37 PM

Digital MarketingIf you’re a marketing professional that uses Deltek Vision, you should definitely be taking advantage of the marketing campaigns Info Center available in Vision. First and foremost, any marketing effort from email blasts to clients to attending a conference can and should be tracked in a marketing campaign. Also, marketing campaigns in Vision provide visibility into the success of your marketing efforts and people within your firm can see prospects that were targeted for a specific campaign. Here are some ways you can use marketing campaigns to improve your firm’s marketing efforts.

Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Let’s say you have a segment of an industry you want to market your services to - how does Deltek Vision and the marketing campaigns help you? Using Vision’s advanced search functionality, you can drill down in your CRM system to identify prospects you want to reach with your campaign. Even more, you can associate them to a marketing campaign in Vision to allow you to track these prospects and easily create lists.

Want to create an email blast to send to your identified prospects to promote your services? If you use marketing campaigns in Vision and a third-party email marketing platform like Constant Contact or MailChimp, there’s an integration to make this happen. You create the email in the automated marketing platform you use and then quickly associate the targets in your Vision marketing campaign to the email you created. The need to export and import contacts is eliminated.

Furthermore, in the Vision marketing campaign, you can see your email stats such as clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. All of this data allows you to evaluate the success of your effort. If it sounds too good to be true, learn more here.

Industry Conferences

At industry conferences, you’re likely to attend educational seminars and social events in the expo hall. You’ll have many opportunities to network with existing clients and prospects, as well as find new leads. So, what do you do with all those notes and new business cards? If you created a marketing campaign prior to the conference, you can simply add these people with notes to the marketing campaign in your spare time at the conference.

Additionally, if you attend the same conferences every year, marketing campaigns can track who was there in prior years. The campaign notes also show which people are consistently spoken to at each event. This allows you to preplan who you want to target and what you want to talk to them about next time.

Wait, there’s more! If you are an event sponsor, you may also be able to get a list of who is registered for the conference. These people can be added to the marketing campaign prior to the event which makes adding notes on the targets easier since they are already associated to the campaign you created. You can also choose your targets knowing with near certainty that they are attending the conference.  

Event Hosting

Does your firm host webinars or client events? If the answer is yes, you probably target a specific segment of your clients and prospects to market your events. Like the targeted campaigns mentioned above, you can quickly segment your contacts to identify who you want to invite to your event. When using a marketing campaign in Deltek Vision to assist you, you can easily add these contacts to your campaign and track who attended. This information will help your firm evaluate the success of the events you do.

More Benefits to Using Deltek Vision Marketing Campaigns

By using Deltek Vision marketing campaigns, you’ve seen that you can easily track touchpoints with leads, prospects and clients to gain visibility into the entire lifecycle of developing business. Furthermore, you can learn what works and what doesn’t work when marketing to contacts to create more business. However, once you create a marketing campaign, you can also create a project in Vision for that marketing campaign. You can bill your time and expenses associated with it to better improve your ability to track the ROI of your marketing efforts. So, what are you waiting for? Start using marketing campaigns in Vision today to show the success of your marketing efforts.

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Topics: Marketing, CRM, Deltek Vision

Reasons Why You Should Attend a Professional Conference

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 30, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Get IdeasAttending a professional conference is a great way to learn solutions to obstacles you currently face, new ways to challenge yourself, and learn about trends in your industry. Additionally, you should never hesitate to ask your employer to allow you to attend a good and relevant conference on their dollar. Furthermore, managers should require employees to go to professional conferences to get out of the office and learn new things they can bring back to share with their coworkers. So, what are the benefits of attending a professional conference?

Network with Likeminded People

Sure, your LinkedIn network is huge. However, when was the last time you spoke to someone in your network face to face, or have you ever met them face to face? Professional conferences attract people from all different geographies from different continents to regional or smaller local conferences. In other words, conferences bring people together in one place in an environment that promotes talking to others. So, don’t be shy! Get out there and meet new people.

Get Fresh Ideas

In reality, you sit in our workspace and either not talk to coworkers about your ideas and their ideas because you are the only person in that role, or you’re talking to the same people about the same ideas every day. As a result, you tend to grow stale on the subject that you’re respected as an authority upon. Therefore, this is probably the number one reason to attend a professional conference.

When attending a conference, you get to attend seminars and panel discussions led by respected industry leaders and take part in roundtable sessions. Here you can get fresh ideas on challenges others are facing industry trends. Remember, you’re going to be inundated with a lot of information, so make sure to stay attentive and take notes.

Present Your Ideas to Others

In today’s age, your company’s brand is built on the brand of its employees. Prospects and clients are more likely to make a purchase from a company that they know, and trust employs thought leaders in their respected industry. This means employees must build their personal brand by showing they are a thought leader in their industry.

Becoming a thought leader requires making presentations about your ideas to peers to develop your “authority” reputation. It will also give you confidence in your work. Here’s a tip, make your presentation fun and interactive to keep the audience’s attention.  

Meet an Expert

You read their blogs and books, and if they have a television show or podcast, you probably tune into that too. Even more, their a mentor to you, but you’ve never talked or corresponded. However, that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

Industry experts attend the conferences you should want to attend. They give presentations about their ideas, you know…the ones you read about, but now you can easily interact with your mentor and ask questions while attending a conference. Most importantly, experts also attend the conference social events, giving you a chance to have a face to face conversation. Keep in mind, they’re humans too. So, don’t get nervous when having your one on one time.

Make the Most of Every Professional Conference You Attend

Last tip! Keep a pen handy and remember your business cards at all times! Conferences are short, and you’ll be having a lot of fun. Remembering what you talked to someone about and having them remember you isn’t easy. With your pen, write notes other people’s business cards about what you talked about and make sure you have your cards, so they can do the same. There are so many benefits to attending a conference, but it’s up to you to make the most out of it.

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Topics: Tips, Marketing, Professional Services

Using Business Intelligence for Successful Firm Performance

Posted by Wes Renfroe on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Business Intelligence Technically, business intelligence or BI has been around for centuries. It is simply the review/analysis of business data. Traditionally, this review had been focused on the past performance of financial data which was easiest to access. As this was financial data, the only people who had access were senior management teams and lower level employees were provided little, if any information. Fortunately, we have come a long way since the old days.

Old Days No More

Financial trends have become easier to access and report against, and we have gotten better at creating and using tools to let us peer into the murky future. Solutions such as resource (people) planning, project planning and CRM (client relationship management) now allow us to track what we see on our immediate horizons. With a combination of these past-looking and forward-looking tools, we can provide a comprehensive view of our performance and where we see upcoming opportunities.

New Problem with Amount of Available Data

So, here’s the new problem. We have access to so much information that it is easy to get overwhelmed. There needs to be a way to draw our eye to a potential “opportunity.” We have also restructured enough that simply having a team who looks at the information and communicates the “opportunity” down the channels isn’t enough. We now require everyone in the company to see the potential and act on it. 

Power of Modern BI Tools

Modern BI tools are the solution to this problem. They allow for consolidation of information into a single data warehouse, so management can see the trends, but this information can also be maintained ‘real-time’ or very close to it depending on the situation. The information can then be presented in a cohesive format that provides an easy view of how the company is performing against its goals.

Furthermore, this information can be disseminated through all the employees (as appropriate) so they can then make informed decisions about their day to day priorities. Additionally, with our mobile workforce, modern BI provides people access to what they need when they need it. Ultimately, the best BI will offer a visual that will call out an issue (or opportunity to improve) and then allow direct access to the data to see what the detail is. 

Example of How Modern BI Works

Below is an actual Division Manager view that shows her the team’s utilization, backlog and outstanding AR. She might look at the AR third column (with the big past due amount) and want to see the specifics:

BI Blog Image 1.png

A simple click of a button will drill down to the clients and let her know there really is only one problem:

BI Blog Image 2.png

She can even go down further to the detail level and see more:

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This information will be available to her at the job site, the soccer match or while she grabs a coffee on the way to work. Modern BI tools are very convenient and effective.

Ensuring Successful Firm Performance with Modern BI Tools

Today’s BI is the best way to stay in touch with your company’s performance. A responsive, well thought out BI tool will allow the company to focus on performance metrics that can easily be drilled down to the individual and rolled up to the management team. This modern BI will enable everyone on the team to pull in the same direction and ensure success for the entire company.

Blackbox Connector for Informer 5 and Deltek Vision

Topics: Building Business, Marketing, Technology Solutions