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The Importance of Benchmarking in Measuring Business Growth

Posted by Lindsay Diven on May 02, 2024

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For project-based firms like those in engineering, architecture, and consulting, failing to measure and understand business performance against industry standards can lead your business towards stagnation or decline. Benchmarking, the critical practice of comparing business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies, is not just beneficial—it's essential. Without it, firms remain blind to their operational inefficiencies and market position, risking obsolescence.  

By rigorously examining internal operations against recognized standards, firms can pinpoint critical deficiencies and implement strategic changes, ensuring survival and fostering growth in an ever-evolving marketplace. This article will guide you through the importance of benchmarking, how to get started, identify key performance indicators, and effectively integrate these practices to drive business success. 

Why Benchmarking Matters for Project-Based Firms 

For project-based businesses, every project represents a complex interplay of resources, time, and client requirements. Benchmarking provides a structured approach to analyzing these elements by focusing on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive business success. It allows leaders to make informed decisions based on data-driven insights, rather than intuition alone. 

The importance of benchmarking in this sector cannot be overstated. It helps firms: 

  • Identify Efficiency Gaps: Benchmarking can highlight discrepancies between a firm’s current practices and the industry's best, allowing for targeted improvements. 
  • Enhance Competitive Advantage: Understanding where you stand in the market can help you leverage your strengths and address weaknesses, setting you apart from competitors. 
  • Drive Strategic Planning: With a clearer picture of how well you perform against benchmarks, you can prioritize initiatives that drive growth and enhance profitability. 
  • Improve Financial Performance: By aligning operations more closely with successful benchmarks, firms can improve profitability through better resource management and cost control. 

Getting Started with Benchmarking 

Implementing a successful benchmarking process involves several steps, from choosing relevant KPIs to analyzing external data. Here’s how to get started: 

Step 1: Define Relevant KPIs 

Selecting the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial as these metrics will guide your benchmarking efforts and influence strategic decisions. For project-based firms, understanding both financial and operational performance is essential. Consider the following essential metrics: 

  • Utilization Rate: This measures how effectively the firm uses its billable staff. A high utilization rate often correlates with higher profitability and is a clear indicator of workforce efficiency. 
  • Net Labor Multiplier: A critical profitability metric that assesses how much revenue is generated per salary dollar paid. It highlights the financial effectiveness of human resource investment. 
  • Operating Profit: Looks at the firm’s earnings before interest and taxes, providing insight into operational efficiency and overall financial health. 
  • Current Ratio: This financial ratio measures a company's ability to pay off its short-term liabilities with its short-term assets. A strong current ratio indicates good liquidity health, crucial for maintaining smooth operations and responding to unforeseen challenges. 
  • Employee Turnover: An important metric for understanding employee retention and satisfaction. High turnover can indicate underlying issues in workplace culture or compensation, affecting project continuity and increasing recruitment and training costs. 

Beyond these metrics, firms should also tailor additional KPIs based on their strategic goals and industry specifics. For instance: 

  • Client Satisfaction Scores: Measure the satisfaction levels of your clients through surveys and feedback mechanisms. High satisfaction scores are often indicative of repeat business and client referrals. 
  • Project Completion Rate: Tracks the percentage of projects completed on time and within budget, crucial for maintaining client trust and operational efficiency. 
  • Billable Efficiency: Compares billable hours to total hours worked to assess how much of the workforce’s time is generating revenue. 

By defining these KPIs, firms can not only gauge their current performance but also set benchmarks that align with both industry standards and internal aspirations. This holistic view enables leaders to make informed, strategic decisions that drive growth and improve efficiency. 

Step 2: Gather Internal Data 

Once KPIs are defined, the next step is to compile data from your operations. This involves tracking these metrics over a significant period to establish an internal baseline. Utilize your existing ERP, such as Deltek Vantagepoint, to extract historical data, ensuring it’s accurate and comprehensive. 

Step 3: Find External Data for Comparison 

Once you've gathered and analyzed your internal data across selected KPIs, the crucial next step is to seek external benchmarks for meaningful comparison. This process, while challenging, is essential for gaining real insights and is entirely achievable with some diligent effort. 

A straightforward approach might involve hiring a consultant to dive deep into the metrics and performance of your competitors. However, a more cost-effective method is to leverage existing third-party studies and industry reports available online. These resources provide a wealth of comparative data and are often underutilized. 

Take, for example, Deltek's annual performance study specifically tailored for the architecture and engineering sectors. This comprehensive analysis reviews critical KPIs and distinguishes high-performing firms from their peers. Interestingly, recent findings suggest that while overhead and utilization rates are consistent across the board, top performers often share distinctive traits. These include enhanced efficiencies throughout their project lifecycle and a robust set of standardized company practices. 

In addition to industry-specific reports like Deltek's, broader marketing and business studies can also offer valuable insights. For instance, the marketing research firm Hinge regularly publishes analyses on high-growth firms across various professional services industries. These reports not only highlight what successful firms do differently but also challenge common misconceptions, such as the idea that high growth in certain smaller firms is merely an anomaly. 

The key takeaway is that valuable data is out there; you just need to know where to look. By comparing your internal metrics against these rich data sources, you can identify where you stand relative to the industry's best and learn from the strategies that set top performers apart. This process doesn't just measure your current performance—it provides a roadmap for where you need to go to achieve similar success. 

Step 4: Analyze the Data 

With both internal and external data at hand, perform a thorough analysis to identify trends, gaps, and opportunities. Look for patterns where your firm excels or underperforms compared to industry benchmarks. This analysis should go beyond mere numbers; it should help understand the underlying causes of discrepancies and what they mean for your business operations. 

Step 5: Incorporate Benchmarking into Management Practices 

Effective benchmarking should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Integrate these practices into your regular management routines. Regularly update your benchmarks and internal assessments to keep them relevant. Use benchmarking insights to set realistic performance goals, inform strategic decisions, and drive continuous improvement across your organization. 

Harnessing Benchmarking for Strategic Advantage 

Benchmarking transcends being merely a tool for measuring success; it is a comprehensive strategy that cultivates a culture of continuous improvement and strategic agility. For leaders of project-based firms, embedding benchmarking into daily business operations is crucial for illuminating the pathway to enhanced performance and enduring growth. 

By adopting benchmarking, your firm not only aligns with industry standards but also positions itself to proactively respond to evolving market conditions and capitalize on emerging opportunities. In a business landscape that is constantly changing, the firms that will flourish are those committed to measuring, comparing, and adapting based on solid data. 

To further explore how benchmarking can be seamlessly integrated into your strategic planning, I invite you to learn more about our Navigational Analysis Process. This tailored approach will guide you through identifying, analyzing, and leveraging critical data to not just meet but exceed industry benchmarks, ensuring your firm's competitive edge. Let's navigate your path to success together—click the image below to begin your journey. 

 

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Resume and Project Information Management Using Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Lindsay Diven on February 01, 2024

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In the competitive landscape of architecture/engineering (A/E) consulting, two critical assets set firms apart: their people and their projects. As a former marketing director for a large A/E firm, I fully understand the challenges involved in managing these assets effectively. Utilizing Deltek Vantagepoint, we offer streamlined solutions for managing both resumes and project information, ensuring your firm's unique strengths are showcased in every proposal, presentation, and marketing effort.

Strategic Resume Management: Capturing and Updating Professional Profiles

We perceive professional resumes not just as documents, but as dynamic profiles that showcase the strengths of your firm's most valuable assets: its people.

Starting Strong: Capturing New Hire Information

The journey of efficient resume management begins when a new employee joins your firm. This is a golden opportunity to capture their excitement and fresh perspective. Here’s how we recommend utilizing Deltek Vantagepoint and your HR processes to streamline this step:

  1. Coordinate with HR: At the point of hiring, collaborate with HR to integrate marketing and resume information collection into the onboarding process. Utilize HR’s existing data collection methods, adding specific forms or questions relevant to marketing needs.
  2. Gather Comprehensive Information: Collect essential data such as bios, previous projects, licenses, awards, special skills, software proficiency, languages, and contacts. For strategic hires, consider a dedicated marketing onboarding session to align their expertise with your firm’s marketing strategies.
  3. Automate with Deltek Vantagepoint: Leverage Deltek Vantagepoint to automate the information capturing process. This system can be set up to alert the marketing team of new hires, enabling the collection and updating of resume details seamlessly into your database.

Ongoing Updates: Keeping Resumes Fresh and Relevant

Regular updates are crucial to maintain the accuracy and relevance of resumes. Here's a streamlined approach:

  1. Determine Update Frequency: Decide how often resumes need refreshing. This can be annually, bi-annually, or aligned with each person’s work anniversary.
  2. Strategic Distribution: Utilize Deltek Vantagepoint to manage and schedule resume updates using email alert workflows. Provide current resumes to employees, along with clear instructions and deadlines for updates.
  3. Engage Personally: Consider conducting brief interviews or meetings, especially with key personnel, to ensure comprehensive and up-to-date information.
  4. Update the Employee Record: Once the updated information is gathered, use Deltek Vantagepoint to keep your database current. This ensures that any proposal or marketing material has the latest information at hand.

Case Study: Streamlining Annual Resume Updates at a Growing A/E Firm

A prime example of effective resume management was at my previous firm, a growing A/E firm. As the firm expanded to around 300 employees, we recognized the need for a structured yet flexible system for annual resume updates. Our strategy involved breaking down the updates into manageable monthly tasks, leveraging both Deltek and a work anniversary-based schedule. Here's an overview of our process:

Planning Phase: Leveraging Deltek Vantagepoint for Organization

  1. Monthly Employee Selection: Utilizing Deltek, we extracted a monthly list of employees based on their work anniversaries. This systematic approach ensured that every employee's resume was updated annually, without overwhelming our resources.
  2. Preparation of Update Materials: We compiled the existing master resumes from our database, along with a custom-designed resume update memo and instructions.

Gathering Phase: Personalized and Coordinated Efforts

  1. Distributing Update Materials: The update materials were personally delivered to employees in our main office. For our six satellite offices, we collaborated with marketing coordinators or office managers to ensure distribution. In cases where direct handover was not feasible, we used email as an effective alternative.
  2. Setting Deadlines and Reminders: A two-week timeframe was typically given for updates, with reminders set up in Deltek to keep track of deadlines.
  3. Scheduling Interviews When Necessary: For certain key roles or when detailed updates were required, we scheduled one-on-one interviews, adding a personalized touch to the process and ensuring comprehensive updates.

Updating Phase: Keeping Our Database Current

  1. Collection and Review of Updates: We gathered the revised resumes and additional information provided by employees, reviewing them for completeness and accuracy.
  2. Editing and Finalizing Resumes: Necessary edits and rewrites were undertaken to ensure that the resumes accurately reflected each employee's latest achievements and experience.
  3. Database Updating: Using Deltek, we updated our central database with the new information. This not only refreshed individual resumes but also ensured that our entire resume pool was current and ready for use in proposals and marketing efforts.

This case study highlights the efficacy of using a structured, technology-driven approach to manage resume updates in a large firm. By leveraging our Deltek database, we were able to streamline the process, maintain high-quality resumes, and ensure that our marketing and proposal materials always featured the most up-to-date and relevant information about our team members.

Project Information Management: Keeping Project Portfolios Up-to-Date

Just as vital as managing resumes is maintaining up-to-date project information. This includes project descriptions, milestones, and outcomes – all crucial for marketing and business development efforts. Here’s how to effectively manage this process:

  1. Diverse Update Methods: Consider annual updates, project milestones, pursuit-driven updates, award submittals, and initiative-driven updates. Choose the method that best aligns with your firm's needs and project types.
  2. Project Update Process: Establish a routine for gathering project information, such as sending out Project Information Profiles (PIPs) alerts to project teams and scheduling site visits for in-depth understanding.
  3. Automated Reminders and Checkpoints: Use Deltek Vantagepoint to set up workflow alerts for project updates at various milestones, ensuring no project goes unaccounted for.

Forward-Thinking Project Management: Begin with Your Goals in View

An essential aspect of managing project information effectively is to start with a clear understanding of how this information will be utilized. For instance, if a project is a potential candidate for a Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) award, it's crucial to collect comprehensive design and construction details right from the start. Anticipating the requirements of award submissions or other future uses can guide what data to gather throughout the project's lifecycle. Utilizing past award criteria as a template for data collection ensures you capture all necessary details for future submissions.

Case Study: Site Visit Program

A practical application of this forward-thinking approach can be seen in a construction firm in Florida, which has established an effective site visit program to collect robust project information. Their marketing manager shared insights into their process, which I’ve adapted to optimize using Deltek Vantagepoint.

  1. Pre-Visit Preparation: Prior to site visits, a Project Information Profile (PIP) is sent to the project team via an email alert workflow. The project engineer fills in key details like project costs, square footage, and client information into the project record linked in the email.
  2. Collaborative Meetings: The project's key personnel, including the project manager, safety manager, and quality control manager, convene to discuss the project with the marketing representative. These meetings, often accompanied by informal gatherings over meals, foster open communication and information sharing.
  3. On-Site Insights: The marketing representative tours the site, gaining a visual understanding of the project. This first-hand experience is invaluable when drafting project descriptions and stories later.
  4. Drafting the Project Story: Back in the office, the marketing representative uses the insights gathered to draft a compelling narrative of the project, which is then refined and stored in Deltek Vantagepoint.
  5. Final Review and Approval: The draft is sent back to the project team for final review and approval, ensuring accuracy and completeness.

Additional highlights of their site visit program include:

  • Continuous Engagement: A marketing representative is assigned to each project from start to finish, responsible for collecting initial information, attending key meetings, and ensuring all relevant documents are stored in Deltek Vantagepoint. Because Vantagepoint project records often get created in the pursuit stage, the marketing coordinator field is often populated in the project record.
  • Strategic Site Visits: Site visits are conducted at critical project milestones, such as kickoff, mid-point, and completion, to gather dynamic information, including lessons learned and design insights. Workflow alerts and reminders can be sent to applicable project leads when such milestones are met.
  • Leveraging Award Criteria: Award submission questionnaires are used to guide the questions asked during site visits, ensuring comprehensive data collection aligned with potential award submissions.
  • Integrated Photography Sessions: Marketing representatives coordinate with photographers during project photoshoots, ensuring visual documentation aligns with the project's narrative.

This case study exemplifies the benefits of a strategic, goal-oriented approach to project information management. By integrating these practices with Deltek Vantagepoint, marketing professionals can ensure their project portfolios are detailed, up-to-date, and ready to meet any marketing or proposal need.

Integrating Resume and Project Information Management

Combining the management of resumes and project information provides a holistic approach to showcasing your firm's capabilities. Both elements are integral to crafting compelling proposals and presentations, and their management should be interlinked for maximum efficiency and impact.

  1. Unified Database Management: Use Deltek Vantagepoint as a central repository for both employee and project information, ensuring consistency and ease of access.
  2. Streamlined Processes: Establish integrated workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint for updating both resumes and project information, reducing duplication of efforts and enhancing collaboration between departments.
  3. Regular Reviews and Updates: Schedule periodic reviews of both resumes and project portfolios to ensure they reflect the most current and relevant information, leveraging automated reminders and scheduling tools within Deltek Vantagepoint.

Transform Your CRM Practices with Deltek Vantagepoint Workflows

Mastering the art of resume and project information management is crucial for A/E/C firms striving for excellence. Full Sail Partners' expertise, coupled with the power of Deltek Vantagepoint, provides a robust solution to streamline these processes, ensuring your firm's assets are always up-to-date and compellingly presented. Embrace these strategies to transform your information management into a strategic asset, enhancing both marketing and business development efforts.

As a next step in your journey to CRM excellence, we invite you to watch our webinar: "Automating CRM Success with Deltek Vantagepoint Workflows." You'll learn how to build and implement effective Vantagepoint workflows for CRM information collection and management, gaining insights into streamlining updates for projects in pursuit, enhancing project information management for proposals, and optimizing employee data processes. Just click the image below to watch today.

 

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Deltek Vantagepoint CRM Workflow Examples to Streamline Data Management

Posted by Lindsay Diven on December 14, 2023

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For marketing professionals and business developers in project-based firms, managing client relationships effectively is critical. Deltek Vantagepoint workflows provide powerful tools to automate and enhance your CRM processes, ensuring your team stays ahead in your competitive markets.

Below are five different CRM workflow examples that you can create in Vantagepoint to help speed up and automate your data management processes. Read to the end to get a bonus tip and some additional information about workflow actions and maintenance.

1. Automate Role Assignments for Efficiency

Consider the setup of a new potential project within your CRM system. The usual process may involve manually assigning a client manager or principal based on client relationships and organizational hierarchies—a task prone to human error and time-consuming cross-referencing. However, with Deltek Vantagepoint workflows, these assignments can be automated.

CRM Workflow Example: When you enter a new potential project into the system, the workflow can automatically assign the client manager and principal based on predefined rules related to the client and their organization. This not only reduces the potential for errors but also streamlines the process, freeing up your team to focus on strategy and client engagement.

2. Proactive Alerts for Immediate Action

Alerts are a critical component of staying proactive and responsive. In Deltek Vantagepoint, workflows can be set to trigger alerts—both emails and notifications—based on specific conditions within the CRM.

CRM Workflow Example: When a project’s stage is changed to “Won” or “Awarded,” an automated email can be sent to the project team, finance, and operations, prompting them to continue the project setup process. This seamless communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and ready to move forward without delay.

3. Uphold Data Quality with ‘Data Police’ Workflows

Data integrity is a non-negotiable aspect of CRM systems. Workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint can act as your 'data police', ensuring that data quality is maintained without the need to make every field mandatory.

CRM Workflow Example: If a new contact is added without crucial information such as their title or email, a workflow can display an error message, prompting the user to complete these fields before saving. This enforces data integrity rules while maintaining user-friendliness. Similarly, if a field critical for project execution is missing—such as a contact’s role or key project detail —a warning can prompt the responsible party to complete this information before proceeding.

4. Automated Reminders for Timely Follow-ups

Workflows can also be employed to keep your team on track with their responsibilities, from updating records to renewing licenses.

CRM Workflow Example: If a proposal’s due date passes without a change in its stage, a workflow can automatically send a reminder to the responsible team member. Similarly, reminders for license renewals or contract expirations can be set, ensuring compliance and uninterrupted service.

5. Dynamic Field Requirements Across Pursuit Stages

Tailoring the amount of information required at different stages of a project pursuit can greatly enhance CRM efficiency, a strategy highlighted by Stacey Ho from Otak. In Deltek Vantagepoint, workflows can be set up to adjust field requirements as a project moves from an early pursuit stage to a contracted project.

CRM Workflow Example: At the “proposal submitted” stage, the workflow might prompt users for comprehensive data including estimated fee, project manager name, etc., while at the “lead” stage, it focuses on basic project information like client name and project name. This ensures relevant and timely data collection without overwhelming the user.

Implementing Stacey Ho’s approach in your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows means your data collection is as dynamic as your pursuits, ensuring you have the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.

Bonus Tip! Proactively Audit Your CRM Data with Scheduled Reports

Regular data audits are crucial for maintaining the accuracy and relevancy of your CRM system. While not technically a workflow, you can leverage the power of monthly scheduled reports to keep your data in check. Instead of overwhelming annual audits such as when you’re preparing your firm’s holiday cards, monthly reports break down the data review process into manageable segments. This allows for more frequent and focused evaluations of your CRM data, ensuring its ongoing accuracy and usefulness.

And a bonus to routine data auditing is that you can see who is creating the records and use these monthly reports as an opportunity to do continuous CRM training!

Example: Set up a monthly report in Deltek Vantagepoint to track new and modified firm and/or contact records. This report can highlight changes in contact details, the addition of new firms, or updates to existing records. You can also create these reports to show you who created the record. By regularly reviewing this report, your team can quickly identify and rectify discrepancies, update obsolete information, and confirm the integrity of new data entries.

These reports enable your team to proactively address data discrepancies and maintain a high standard of data quality. Regular monitoring ensures that your CRM database is not just up to date, but also a reliable foundation for your marketing and business development activities. Diverse Workflow Types to Enhance Your CRM Approach with Deltek Vantagepoint In the realm of CRM management using Deltek Vantagepoint, it's vital to recognize the different types of workflows available to optimize your processes.

User-Initiated vs. Scheduled Workflows

User-Initiated Workflows: These are activated by direct interaction—when a team member makes a change to a record and meets certain criteria, the workflow jumps into action. This hands-on approach ensures that workflows are triggered by deliberate updates, making sure that every client interaction is captured and acted upon.

CRM Workflow Example: A director of marketing updates the status of a marketing campaign. Upon saving, a user-initiated workflow can trigger a sequence of follow-up tasks for the team to execute, ensuring that no opportunity for client engagement slips through the cracks.

Scheduled Workflows: This workflow type functions autonomously, running at predetermined times regardless of user activity. It’s the silent engine in the background, keeping the CRM machine well-oiled and functional without the need for constant user intervention.

CRM Workflow Example: Imagine a scheduled workflow that evaluates project stages every Friday at 5 PM. If a project in an “In Pursuit” stage step has been idle for a certain period (more than 60 days, for example), the workflow can prompt a notification to the assigned business developer to take action.

Workflow Actions: The Muscle Behind Automation

Workflow actions are the actual mechanisms by which automation is applied within your CRM. While these may vary across different systems, Deltek Vantagepoint offers a robust selection of actions:

  • Errors or Warnings: These are crucial for maintaining data accuracy. If a field is incomplete or incorrect, the system can flag this with an error or warning—either as a simple notification or by preventing the user from proceeding until the issue is rectified.
  • Email Alerts: Tailored emails can be dispatched to specific individuals or groups based on their role or involvement with a record, such as notifying a Project Manager when a project is awarded.
  • Alert Notifications: Similar to email alerts, you can send a notification to a selected person or group when the conditions that you specify for the workflow are met, ensuring visibility and prompt attention.
  • Field Updates: Changes in one part of the record can trigger updates in another, keeping the data congruent and up-to-date without manual entry.
  • Activity Creation: A core function in Deltek systems, this action can, for instance, automatically schedule a debriefing meeting when a project is marked as lost.

Advanced users may also employ more complex actions such as executing stored procedures or SQL scripts, providing a level of customization and control suited to unique business requirements.

Incorporating these varied workflows into your CRM strategy with Deltek Vantagepoint not only increases efficiency but also provides a structured, error-minimized approach to client relationship management. Understanding and utilizing the full spectrum of workflow actions available in Deltek Vantagepoint is key to harnessing the full potential of your CRM system, turning routine data management into strategic asset management.

Regular CRM Workflow Maintenance

Maintaining the efficiency and accuracy of your workflows is as crucial as setting them up. Julie Huval from Beck Technology shares a proactive approach to ensure that your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows continue to function optimally.

Biannual Workflow Checkups: To keep workflows running smoothly, it’s important to conduct regular maintenance. Beck Technology implements a biannual cleaning routine, which involves revisiting and updating their workflows to ensure they align with current business processes and data requirements.

Example: Julie maintains a running list on their Kanban card of items to be reviewed and cleaned every six months. This list serves as a living document, constantly updated with new items identified by the team. When the scheduled cleaning quarter arrives, a new Kanban card is created from this master list to guide the cleaning process, ensuring nothing is overlooked.

Adopting a similar maintenance strategy for your Deltek Vantagepoint workflows, as practiced by Julie Huval and her team at Beck Technology, can significantly enhance the longevity and effectiveness of your CRM system. Regular maintenance not only keeps your workflows aligned with your current business needs but also paves the way for continuous improvement and efficiency in your data management practices.

Leverage Deltek Vantagepoint CRM Workflows for Competitive Advantage

By embedding Deltek Vantagepoint workflows into your CRM strategy, you can enhance the productivity of your marketing and business development teams. The automation of mundane tasks, timely alerts, strict data governance, and the setup of automated reminders can transform the pace and precision of your client management operations, ultimately contributing to a streamlined, efficient, and more profitable business practice.

As we've explored the various ways Deltek Vantagepoint can revolutionize your CRM strategy, remember that these insights are just the beginning. To truly harness the full potential of these dynamic workflows, firsthand experience and guidance are invaluable. We invite you to watch our webinar, where we'll dive deeper into the practicalities of setting up and optimizing various CRM workflows in Deltek Vantagepoint. Click the image below to access the webinar.

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From Learning to Networking: Navigate Deltek ProjectCon 2023 with Full Sail Partners

Posted by Lindsay Diven on September 14, 2023

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Why Deltek ProjectCon 2023 is a Must-Attend Event 

Are you prepared to propel your project-based business to the forefront of industry excellence? Look no further than the horizon of Deltek ProjectCon 2023 – an indispensable event for professionals deeply entrenched in project-focused industries. Overflowing with motivation, education, and unparalleled networking prospects, this year's conference emerges as an irreplaceable milestone on your journey.  

As proud sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters, Full Sail Partners eagerly extends an exclusive invitation to navigate this transformative journey, set to unfold at the enchanting Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida, from October 16 to 18. Deltek ProjectCon isn't just a conference; it's an experience designed to empower you and your project-based firm.  

First off, here's a closer look at 3 big reasons why you ought to immediately circle this event on your calendar and claim your spot. 

#1: Learning Beyond Limits 

The Deltek annual conference boasts an impressive lineup of 300+ engaging sessions across 15 racks that promise to deepen your product knowledge and provide valuable insights into industry trends. Earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits as you discover innovative solutions and services that will fuel your project success. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your journey, the learning opportunities are boundless. 

Take a moment to review the session catalog here. 

#2: Forge Unbreakable Connections with Your Fellow Deltek Users 

Connectivity is key in the world of project-based business, and Deltek ProjectCon offers unparalleled networking opportunities. Engage with Deltek experts, peers from your related industry, fellow attendees, and, of course, the Full Sail Partners’ Crew! From one-on-one meetings to interactive braindates, you'll forge authentic connections that can propel your career and business forward. 

#3: A Fusion of Fun and Learning 

Deltek ProjectCon understands that it’s not all about business; it’s about having fun and building memories that matter too. Immerse yourself in special networking events, participate in philanthropic activities, and let loose at the epic customer appreciation party. It's a chance to relax, unwind, and recharge while still gaining valuable insights. 

If those reasons alone don’t give you enough motivation to come to Deltek ProjectCon this year, just remember that the Full Sail Partners’ team of experts will be available to conference attendees. We will not only be active participants in the event but will be presenting a valuable learning session that is one of a kind. And just like every year that Deltek has put on the annual conference, we will be bringing the knowledge that comes with more than 275 years of experience with Deltek products. 

Full Sail Partners: Your Guide to Project Management Superpowers 

As we step into our role as sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters at Deltek ProjectCon 2023, Full Sail Partners offers an exciting opportunity to witness our expertise firsthand. Brace yourself for a front-row seat to our presentation, "Unlocking Vantagepoint Integration Superpowers with Blackbox Connector," scheduled for Tuesday, October 17, at 2:00 p.m. ET.  

In this informative session, we’ll unveil how our turnkey Deltek Vantagepoint integration can revolutionize your connections with third-party applications. Say goodbye to coding headaches and hello to our seamless Blackbox Connectors for ADP Workforce Now, SAP Concur, Entrinsik Informer, Intuit Mailchimp, and more. Our low-code implementation strategy saves time, cuts costs, and eliminates upgrade worries, unleashing the true power of Blackbox Connector to transform your business with efficiency and productivity. 

Here’s what you can expect to learn during our session: 

  • Unveiling the key benefits of turnkey Deltek Vantagepoint integrations and their far-reaching effects across diverse business functions. 
  • Unpacking the tactical deployment of low-code strategies, ensuring seamless Deltek Vantagepoint system integration with third-party applications. 
  • Identifying avenues for process enhancement through harnessing the prowess of Blackbox Connector. 
  • Hearing compelling tales of successful Blackbox Connector implementations, directly from user experiences. 

Join our presenters, Pete Nuffer and Sarah Gonnella, in this very enlightening and inspiring session. To ensure you don't miss out, make sure to include our session on your must-attend list. You can conveniently add it to your program by clicking here 

Unraveling the Full Sail Partners’ Experience 

The engagement doesn't stop after the presentation. Our experts are excited to connect with you at kiosk 5A in the lively XPO hall. Keep an eye out for our easily recognizable red shirts – the Full Sail Partners’ Crew is ready to address your questions, provide live demos, and assist you in realizing the full capabilities of your solutions. This is a valuable chance to tap into our collective expertise and equip yourself with the resources necessary to invigorate your project management pursuits. 

And we love meeting new clients “in real life” as well as catching up with familiar faces. So, stop by and say hi! 

Unlock Your Project Management Future at Deltek ProjectCon 2023 

If you're primed to amplify your project-based firm and open the door to unprecedented achievements, then Deltek ProjectCon 2023 beckons. Save the dates – for October 16 to 18 – and immerse yourself in the world of learning, connection, and fun to be had this year at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Florida. The horizon of Deltek Project Nation awaits you, and together, we shall cultivate a future where your project management prowess knows no bounds. 

Ready to secure your spot? Click the image below to register for Deltek ProjectCon 2023 today! Be sure to mention you heard about the conference from Full Sail Partners during your registration. We're eagerly counting down the days until we meet you there. We can't wait to see you! 

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Why You Should Be Using Deltek Dashboards

Posted by Lindsay Diven on August 10, 2023

08-10-23 Why you should be using DVP Dashboards_BannerAre you making the most of your time and resources? Well, let me tell you about something that can really give you a boost—Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards! Dashboards are like the superheroes of your system, but unfortunately, they often go unnoticed and underutilized. They're made up of dashparts, or widgets, which act as your gateway into the magnificent world of your Deltek system. If you're using Deltek Vantagepoint, you're in for a treat because these dashparts are incredibly diverse, offering reports, metrics, links, alerts, tips, and so much more! 

Major Benefits of Deltek Dashboards

Now, let's dive into these major benefits of Vantagepoint Dashboards that will revolutionize the way you work. 

Instant Access to Information 

Imagine waking up in the morning, opening your system, and boom! You're greeted with a dashboard that presents you with all the essential information you need for the day. Daily reports, task reminders, and alerts that require your attention are all neatly displayed, tailored to your specific role. It's like having a personal assistant who ensures you stay on track and meet your goals and objectives. Who wouldn't want that? 

Say Goodbye to Repetitive Navigation 

We've all been there—endlessly clicking through the navigation panel to find the data we need. It's a time-consuming and monotonous task that can drain your productivity. But fear not! Vantagepoint Dashboards are here to rescue you from this clicking madness. By utilizing dashboard components, you can create shortcuts to reports, URLs, records, and more, reducing your clicks to just one or two. That extra time saved allows you to focus on the things that truly matter in your work. It's like having your own teleportation device, whisking you away to the exact information you need with a single click! 

View Role-Specific Data 

We all have unique roles within our firms, and Vantagepoint Dashboards understand that. You can customize your dashboards to focus on the specific data that are relevant to your role. But wait, there's more! Deltek also offers predefined dashboard configurations that can be pushed out to you based on your role. So, if you're a project manager, you can have project budgeting, billing information, and accounts receivable invoicing right at your fingertips. With role-specific data, Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards equip you with the tools necessary to excel in your job. It's like having a personalized command center that caters to your every need. 

Enhanced Data Visualization 

Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards are designed to present complex data in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format. By utilizing charts, graphs, and other visual elements, these dashboards transform raw data into meaningful insights. You can quickly grasp trends, spot anomalies, and make informed decisions without getting lost in a sea of numbers. 

Real-Time Updates 

Stay on top of your game with real-time updates provided by Vantagepoint Dashboards. No more waiting for manual reports or struggling with outdated information. Dashboards pull data directly from your database, ensuring that you have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips. This real-time access enables you to respond swiftly to changes, address issues promptly, and make agile business decisions. 

Collaboration and Transparency 

Vantagepoint Dashboards promote collaboration and transparency within your organization. You can share dashboards with team members, enabling everyone to access the same data and metrics. This fosters better communication, alignment, and teamwork across departments. Whether it's sharing project progress, financial metrics, or sales performance, dashboards facilitate a unified understanding of your firm's goals and progress. 

Customizable and Flexible 

Vantagepoint Dashboards offer a high degree of customization and flexibility. You can tailor your dashboards to suit your specific needs, preferences, and roles within the organization. Choose the metrics that matter most to you, arrange them in a way that makes sense, and create a personalized view of your data. This flexibility ensures that you have a dashboard that perfectly aligns with your workflow and helps you focus on what's important. 

Improved Efficiency and Productivity 

By centralizing relevant information and providing quick access to key metrics, Vantagepoint Dashboards significantly improve efficiency and productivity. Instead of spending time searching for data or generating reports manually, you can focus on analyzing insights, identifying areas for improvement, and taking proactive actions. Dashboards streamline your workflow, eliminate unnecessary steps, and allow you to work smarter, not harder. 

Now that you've witnessed the awesomeness of Deltek Dashboards, it's time to harness their power and boost your productivity to new heights. Regardless of your role, these dashboards offer benefits that can supercharge your workday. From instant data access to time-saving navigation and role-based setups, there's something for everyone. So, don't wait any longer—unleash the full potential of dashboards at your firm! 

Experience the Power of Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards: Watch the Recap of Dashboard-Palooza's Electrifying Acts! 

Did you miss out on the electrifying events of the year? Don’t worry! We've got you covered. Dashboard-Palooza was a roaring success, providing attendees with valuable insights and actionable takeaways. It showcased the true power of Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards, empowering collaboration, and efficiency for A&E firms. Whether you're a project manager, a finance or project accounting wizard, or a sales and marketing maestro, these dashboards are designed to help you thrive in your respective domains. Watch all of the Dashboard-Palooza acts by clicking the image below. 

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How Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards Empower Collaboration and Efficiency for A&E Firms

Posted by Lindsay Diven on July 27, 2023

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This summer, we hosted Dashboard-Palooza, a virtual mini-demo series that highlighted the enhanced dashboard functionality of Deltek Vantagepoint. These demonstrations showcased how these powerful dashboards can revolutionize collaboration and efficiency for A&E firms. Our experts took center stage and provided actionable insights to project managers, finance and project accounting teams, as well as sales and marketing professionals, helping them drive their success. Let's recap the highlights from each mini demo. 

Project Management Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards 

Traditionally, project performance is measured monthly after time and billing has been processed. This leaves a gap in time where many issues could have been detected and addressed. What’s more, is that users must read every line in a report to understand what is important. 

In our opening act, Rana Blair, our rockstar expert, demonstrated how Deltek Vantagepoint's Project Management Oversight Dashboards can empower project managers to gain valuable insights and streamline their workflows. These dashboards offer visibility into key metrics such as budget, schedule, and resource allocation, enabling proactive steps to keep projects on track. Rana showcased her favorite dashboards and dashparts as summarized below. 

My Team's Project Overview Dashboard 

Project team leaders, principals, and directors can gain quick insight into their team’s performance even when they are busy with other competing priorities like business development, management meetings, issues to respond to, and several projects to monitor performance for. This dashboard makes it easy to see project performance for their team. It’s designed to identify when something is out of tune. 

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My Project Performance Dashboard 

An individual project manager needs a bit more detail. Reports can provide a lot of facts and figures but may be difficult to interpret what it all means. A dashboard like the My Project Performance Dashboard provides basic visual information about the state of the projects, lets the project manager quickly see where projects might be going sideways and offers the ability to jump to the issue to dig in further. 

Keeping the users in your Deltek Vantagepoint system with the data increases the likelihood that they will see and address issues in a timely manner. 

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My Project Percent Complete Entry from Dashboards 

The interactivity of Dashparts is increasing with every release of Deltek Vantagepoint. Most dashparts can be built with drill down capability and the ability to jump from the dashpart to the specific record for a closer look.  

The Project Percent Complete Dashboard is no different. This includes a simple project list on the right-hand side. Users can click on the contact’s name, for example, to bring up the contact information to quickly send an email or make a phone call. This dashboard also includes one of the most popular interactive dashparts, Percent Complete Entry. Users can update the weighted percent complete for their projects. It’s never been easier to update percent completes! 

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Click here to watch the opening act of the Dashboard-Palooza to quickly oversee and manage your project performance. 

Finance & Project Accounting Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards 

Theresa DePew took the stage for the second act of Dashboard-Palooza, where she showcased the Finance & Project Accounting Oversight Dashboards of Deltek Vantagepoint. With these dashboards, finance, and project accounting professionals can stay on top of critical metrics like revenue, expenses, and profitability. Theresa's mini-demo empowered attendees to make informed decisions and manage finances and projects like pros. Just a few of the dashboards are summarized below. Watch the entire second act by clicking here. 

Finance Dashboard 

This dashboard provides a snapshot of the firm financials. We’ve built this dashboard to include Profit & Loss Accounts Last 3 Months, AR Unpaid Detail, and Receipts -This Month dashparts. 

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Billing Review Dashboard 

This billing review dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of your firm’s unbilled and accounts receivable. You’ll notice that this is a project-based dashboard that allows you to add a filter at the top of the dashboard which filters the data for the entire dashboard not just a dashpart. This filter uses the same project records saved searches that you would find in the Projects hub. 

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Draft Invoice Approvals and Unbilled for Project Managers’ Dashboard 

A&E firms need to bill clients in a timely manner to have a steady cash flow to run their firms. That’s why keeping track of invoice approvals and those projects that have yet to be billed is so critical. This dashboard makes it easy for project managers, principals, and accounting teams to quickly see and manage the invoice process. Best of all, this is an out-of-the-box dashboard that comes built for you with Deltek Vantagepoint. 

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Project Financials Dashboard 

This dashboard was created by one of the Full Sail Partners’ consultants. The “Billed Amount by Target Sectors” shows you how much has been billed by Project Type (or market sector). This dashboard also contains “YTD Billings and Revenue” and “Project + Linked Promo Cost” dashparts. 

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If you would like to see these dashboards in more detail, check out Theresa’s mini-demo here. 

Marketing & Sales Oversight in Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards 

In the final act of Dashboard-Palooza, Amanda Roussel took us on a journey through the Marketing & Sales Oversight Dashboards of Deltek Vantagepoint. Attendees discovered how these dashboards can help teams identify opportunities, optimize strategies, and drive revenue growth. Amanda's featured dashboards and dashparts included: 

Firms’ Sales & Marketing Dashboard 

This informative dashboard offers valuable insights and customization options for showcasing marketing stats and individual performance metrics. It includes a Pursuit Count chart displaying pursuits at different stages, with estimated and weighted fees. The dashboard also features a Proposals Submitted This Year section, a Year-to-Date Projects Awarded overview, a comprehensive Sales Pipeline view, and a Client Activity Status report. With visual representations, filtering options, and color-coded indicators, this dashboard empowers A&E firms to optimize marketing strategies, track progress, and nurture client relationships effectively. 

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My Active & Upcoming Proposals Dashboard 

This next Dashboard in Deltek Vantagepoint focuses on personal involvement within pursuits. The "My Pursuits by Stage" chart provides a filtered view, displaying stages from lead to contract management, along with estimated and weighted fees. The "My Active Pursuits" table, specific to the Business Development Lead, offers insights into upcoming proposal due dates and enables sorting and filtering. The "My Activities" dashpart allows for efficient task management, with toggles for timeframes, completion markers, and notes. The "My Sales Awarded YTD" tracks estimated fees for awarded projects. Lastly, the "My Pursuits + Linked Promo Cost" dashpart showcases promotional project details, including linked promotional costs, hours, and a visual indicator for high percentage charges. 

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Firm Hit Rate Performance Dashboard 

The Firm Hit Rate Performance Dashboard in Deltek Vantagepoint provides an overview of the firm's success rate. The "Firmwide Hit Rate YTD" chart calculates hit rates based on estimated fees, presenting the percentage of awarded versus lost projects. The "Hit Rate by Project Type YTD" breaks down hit rates by project categories, displaying wins versus losses and estimated fee amounts. Additionally, the dashboard offers insights into the reasons for winning and losing projects in the last quarter, represented by pie charts based on project count. The "Pursuits Won & Lost Last Quarter" section on the right-hand side provides a summary of the firm's performance in terms of pursuits won and lost. 

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By leveraging Deltek Vantagepoint's Marketing & Sales Oversight Dashboards, A&E firms can unlock the power of data-driven decision-making, ultimately achieving remarkable sales and marketing results. To see all of these in more detail, check the final act of this series. 

Experience the Power of Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards: Watch the Recap of Dashboard-Palooza's Electrifying Acts! 

Dashboard-Palooza was a tremendous success, providing attendees with valuable insights and actionable takeaways. Deltek Vantagepoint Dashboards empower collaboration and efficiency for A&E firms, enabling project managers, finance and project accounting teams, and sales and marketing professionals to thrive in their respective domains. Click the image below to watch each act in the show. 

 

 

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12 Expert Tips to Get Project Managers Excited About Entering CRM Information

Posted by Lindsay Diven on July 06, 2023

07-06-23 12 Tips PM Excited about CRM

Congratulations! Your firm just spent months evaluating different CRM systems, selecting one, and then countless hours configuring the system and entering the initial information into the system. You can now sit back and let this wonderful new CRM system do all the work for you, right?!?! Wrong! 

You’ve probably heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out” at least a dozen times throughout your CRM process. Well, the real problem is to get ANY information into the system – garbage or not! After working for nearly two decades begging people to enter their information into the CRM, I’ve discovered a few tips to help *encourage* my project managers, principals, and other seller-doers to get their information into the system – good or bad information.  

In this article, I’ll share 12 expert tips to get your project managers enthusiastic and motivated to leverage the power of CRM. Let's dive in! 

Tip #1 Provide Training

Knowledge is power! To ensure project managers feel confident using the CRM system, offer training sessions. Offer training sessions early and often. Offer training in different formats – written, lecture, and hands-on. Offer the training in big groups and one-on-one. Offer training in scheduled sessions and on-demand as needed. Offer bite-sized training teaching them only what they need to know for certain tasks like entering a contact or updating an opportunity.

I hope you’re beginning to realize that training isn’t just a check-the-box type task. You can’t just host one lunch-and-learn and expect everyone to remember everything and then do it. Instead offer regular on-going training in different formats. Create and provide cheat sheets, checklists, and short video tutorials.

When someone asks you to enter information, use that as a teaching moment to share your screen and go through it with them. In my experience, people are hesitant to add information to the CRM because they don’t know how and/or they are afraid of messing something up.

Teach them how to navigate the system, input data effectively, and explore its powerful features. By equipping them with the necessary skills, you empower them to excel in their role.

Tip #2 Emphasize Benefits

Paint a clear picture of how entering CRM information benefits both the project and individual project managers. Showcase how it improves project visibility, streamlines collaboration, and enhances data-driven decision-making. When project managers understand how CRM contributes to their success, they'll be motivated to embrace it.

I highly encourage all my CRM implementation teams to enter as much information as possible into the system before it’s rolled out to the users. This includes information about key clients, contacts, and activities. Then in the training, you can show a key client record with all the history and conversations. Displaying these complete client records during the training shows what’s possible but with real-life, real-time information that will be more meaningful to the audience.

Tip #3 Simplify User Interface

Nobody wants to get lost in a maze of complex screens and confusing menus. Ensure that the CRM system has a user-friendly interface. Keep it simple, visually appealing, and intuitive to navigate. By reducing the learning curve, project managers will feel more at ease while entering CRM information.

Tip #4 Set Clear Expectations

Clarity is key! Clearly communicate the expectations around CRM usage and data entry. Make it an integral part of project management responsibilities and ensure all project managers understand the importance of timely and accurate data input. When expectations are crystal clear, project managers can align their efforts accordingly.

I recommend keeping the data entry tasks simple at first. For example, just ask them to enter a new contact for each new business card they get. Another example would be for you to create all new opportunity records, but you just want them to go into existing records to update the stage and/or add notes – only updating one or two fields in existing records. Start small until they get comfortable with the system.

Tip #5 Align with Existing Processes

Integrate CRM data entry seamlessly into existing project management processes. When the CRM system complements its current tools and workflow, project managers will perceive it as a valuable addition rather than a burdensome task. By making it a natural part of their routine, you'll see increased adoption.

If your firm is already using the accounting functions of Deltek Vantagepoint, then your project managers should already be comfortable working within the system to set up and manage project financials as well as complete their timesheets. Introducing additional fields and processes to track client relationships and pursuits shouldn’t be too heavy of a lift.

Tip #6 Offer Mobile Accessibility

In today's fast-paced world, mobility is crucial. Provide project managers with mobile access to the CRM system through a dedicated app or mobile-friendly website. This allows them to update information on the go, making data entry more convenient and efficient. Mobile accessibility brings flexibility to their fingertips.

Deltek Vantagepoint has a Mobile CRM app. Don’t forget to show your project managers this capability. I’ve found that the interface for the Mobile CRM app is often easier to understand and enter data for beginning CRM users.

Tip #7 Integrate with Outlook for Gmail

Chances are your project managers spend a significant amount of time inside their Outlook or Gmail inbox, managing emails, scheduling meetings, and coordinating with team members. So, why not bring the CRM system to their inbox? By integrating the CRM with Outlook or Gmail, you can streamline their workflow and make CRM data entry a seamless part of their email management process.

With the Vantagepoint Outlook Integration, for example, CRM users are able to do the following directly from Outlook:

  • Track and log emails as Activities
  • View, add or update Firm, Contact, or Project records
  • Send scheduling links to Contacts
  • Record scheduled meetings as Activities

To see the Outlook Integration in action, check out this mini-demo showing how it looks in your Outlook inbox and this mini-demo to see how you can sync your calendar.

Tip #8 Gamify the Process

Who doesn't love a good game? Introduce a touch of gamification to make CRM data entry engaging and fun. Create leaderboards, recognition, or rewards for project managers who consistently maintain accurate and up-to-date data. Gamification injects a sense of friendly competition and encourages active participation.

Tip #9 Regularly Communicate Value

Communication is vital to maintain enthusiasm. Regularly share success stories, metrics, and insights derived from the CRM system. Demonstrate how CRM data contributes to project success and celebrate wins. When project managers see the impact of their data, they'll be motivated to continue entering information diligently.

Tip #10 Seek Feedback and Iterate

Project managers' opinions matter! Actively seek feedback on the CRM system and data entry process. Listen to their suggestions and concerns and iterate accordingly. By involving project managers in the improvement process, you create a sense of ownership and make them feel valued.

Tip #11 Provide Ongoing Support

Support is the backbone of success. Identify one team member as a CRM super user in each office or department. This superuser is then available to answer any questions, help troubleshoot issues that occur, collect feedback from users, and/or identify other areas for improvement and automation of the system.

By providing the necessary support, you ensure project managers feel empowered and encouraged throughout their CRM journey.

Tip #12 Lead by Example

Actions speak louder than words. As a leader, actively use the CRM system yourself. Lead by example and showcase the benefits of CRM to your team. A great way to do this is to ditch the spreadsheets and display the CRM system on the screen in business development/marketing meetings. Actually, bring up the list of the records on the screen and update them in real time during the meeting. This shows the project managers just how easy it is to use your CRM system.

When project managers see their leaders engaging with the system, it reinforces its importance and encourages adoption at all levels.

Unleash the Power of Your CRM

By following these 12 expert tips, your project managers will not only see the value of entering CRM information but also enjoy the process. Remember, CRM is not just about data entry; it's about leveraging insights to drive project success. Together, let's harness the potential of CRM and take our projects to new heights.

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is a powerful solution designed specifically for project-based businesses. With its user-friendly interface, seamless integration with Outlook and Gmail, and robust features, it empowers project managers to streamline their workflows, enhance collaboration, and make data-driven decisions. By leveraging Deltek Vantagepoint CRM, you can elevate your project management success like never before.

To learn more about how Deltek Vantagepoint CRM can revolutionize your project management processes, visit our resources page. Discover firsthand how this innovative solution can transform the way your project managers enter CRM information, unleash actionable insights, and drive project success.

Together, let's harness the full potential of Deltek Vantagepoint CRM and propel your projects to new heights. Don't wait - take the next step toward unlocking the power of CRM today!

 

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Ten Tips for Improving Your Business Proposal Process

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 15, 2023

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Hey there fellow project-based businesses! Are you tired of losing out on new opportunities to your competitors? Do you struggle to produce powerful and convincing proposals that win new business? If so, you're not alone! With the competition for new business constantly increasing, it's more important than ever to have an efficient and effective business proposal development process. 

That's where we come in. As a provider of Deltek Vantagepoint software and consulting services, we know what it takes to streamline the proposal development process and increase your win rate. In this blog, we'll share with you some hot tips to help you improve your business proposal development process. 

From creating checklists and assigning tasks to subject matter experts, to knowing when to bid or no bid, and avoiding information overload, we've got you covered. We'll also dive into the importance of using graphics, creating an executive summary that wins, and keeping in touch with your references. 

By implementing these tips, you'll be able to increase your proposal process efficiency and gain a competitive edge. So, let's get started and win some business! 

Tip #1 – Create a Checklist 

PP Icons-01Let's say you're working on a proposal for a huge project that your company has been eyeing for months. You've spent weeks pouring your heart and soul into it, working long hours and sacrificing your weekends to make it perfect. You finally hit the submit button and breathe a sigh of relief, feeling confident that you've done everything right. 

But then, a few days later, you receive an email from the client stating that your proposal was rejected because a crucial document was missing that you forgot to include. Your heart sinks as you realize that all your hard work has gone down the drain because of a simple mistake. 

This is where creating a checklist comes in. By starting the proposal process with a checklist, you'll be able to ensure that you don't forget anything important. You can study the request for proposal (RFP) and create a comprehensive list of all the requirements, forms, and documents that need to be included in your submission. 

Not only will a checklist help you avoid the worst-case scenario of submitting an incomplete proposal, but it will also help you stay organized and on track throughout the proposal development process. You'll be able to check off each item on the list as you go, giving you peace of mind that you're on the right track and that you're not missing anything important. 

So, take the time to create a checklist at the beginning of your proposal development process. It may seem like a small step, but it could save you from a major headache and disappointment down the line. 

Tip #2 - Identify Areas of Focus for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) 

PP Icons-02Now, imagine that you're working on a proposal for a major construction project, and your company is going up against several other firms to win the contract. The proposal is due in just a few days, and you're feeling the pressure to get everything done on time. 

You've got a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) working with you, but they're all busy with other projects and responsibilities. You've assigned them sections of the proposal to work on, but you haven't given them specific guidance or direction. As a result, they're all working in different directions, and their contributions don't mesh well with the rest of the proposal. 

When you finally put all the pieces together, you realize that the proposal doesn't flow well and that some of the information is contradictory or incomplete. You try to fix it on your own, but it's too late. The deadline has passed, and your proposal is rejected because it's not well-organized or well-written. 

This is where identifying areas of focus for SMEs comes in. By working with your SMEs to identify key sections of the RFP that are relevant to their expertise, you can help them focus their time and energy on the most important parts of the proposal. You can also provide them with clear guidance and direction on what you're looking for, and how their contributions should fit in with the rest of the proposal. 

By doing this, you'll be able to ensure that everyone is working together towards a common goal and that the proposal is well-organized, well-written, and cohesive. You'll also be able to make the most of your SMEs' limited time and expertise, which will help you create a stronger proposal and increase your chances of winning the contract. 

So, don't underestimate the importance of identifying areas of focus for SMEs. It may take a bit of extra time and effort, but it will pay off in the end by helping you create a more effective and efficient proposal development process. 

Tip #3 – Have a Kickoff Meeting 

PP Icons-03The kickoff meeting is a crucial step in the proposal development process. It's the first time that everyone working on the proposal comes together to discuss their roles, set expectations, and establish a plan of action. Here are some key things to keep in mind when planning your kickoff meeting: 

  • Bring everyone together: The kickoff meeting should include all the contributors who will be working on the proposal. This includes subject matter experts, writers, editors, graphic designers, and anyone else who will be involved in the process. 
  • Set expectations: Use the kickoff meeting to set clear expectations for everyone involved in the proposal development process. Discuss timelines, writing assignments, and writing guidelines, and make sure that everyone knows what's expected of them. This will help ensure that the proposal is completed on time and meets all the necessary requirements. 
  • Discuss the win strategy: Use the kickoff meeting to discuss the win strategy and major themes of the proposal. This is your chance to brainstorm ideas, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a plan to differentiate your firm from the competition. By doing this, you'll be able to create a proposal that speaks directly to the client's needs and showcases your unique value proposition. 
  • Assign tasks: During the kickoff meeting, assign specific tasks to each contributor. Make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and when it needs to be done. By doing this, you'll be able to keep everyone on track and ensure that the proposal is completed on time and to the best of your team's ability. 
  • Establish communication channels: Finally, use the kickoff meeting to establish communication channels for the proposal development process. Make sure that everyone knows how to communicate with each other and how often they should be checking in. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the proposal development process runs smoothly. 

In summary, the kickoff meeting is a crucial step in the proposal development process. By bringing everyone together, setting expectations, discussing the win strategy, assigning tasks, and establishing communication channels, you'll be able to create a proposal that stands out from the competition and meets all the necessary requirements. 

Tip #4 – Know When to Bid or No Bid 

PP Icons-04Knowing when to bid or no bid is a critical decision in the proposal development process. To make this decision, evaluate the risks involved in the project, consider your competition, and assess your firm's capabilities. You should also look at the financials to ensure that the project is financially viable and that you'll be able to make a profit. 

If the risks outweigh the benefits, the competition is too fierce, or you don't have the necessary capabilities or financial resources, it may be best to no bid on the project. Trust your instincts and don't let the pressure to win new business cloud your judgment and lead you into making a bad decision. By making an informed decision about whether to bid or no bid, you'll be able to focus your resources on the most promising opportunities and increase your chances of success in the long run. 

Tip #5 – Avoid Information Overload 

PP Icons-05Does this sound familiar? You've spent weeks gathering data, conducting research, and writing the proposal. You're confident that you've provided all the necessary information and then some. 

However, when the client receives your proposal, they're overwhelmed by the amount of information and technical details. They can't find the key points and important details buried in the mountains of data and irrelevant text. 

As a result, they rejected your proposal and chose another firm that presented a more focused and concise proposal. Your proposal failed to convey the key points and information that the client needed to make an informed decision. In the end, all of your hard work and effort went to waste. 

To avoid this scenario, it's important to remember that more information doesn't always make a better proposal. Instead, you should focus on providing the necessary information that supports your proposal and clearly conveys your message to the client. 

To do this, you can: 

  • Focus on the key points: Identify the key points and information that the client needs to know and make sure that those are highlighted in your proposal. 
  • Be concise: Use clear, straightforward language and avoid jargon or technical terms that the client may not be familiar with. Keep your proposal concise and to the point. 
  • Use visuals: Consider using visuals, such as charts, graphs, and diagrams, to help convey complex information in a clear and concise way. 
  • Avoid including irrelevant information: Don't include irrelevant information or details that don't support your proposal. This can distract the readers and make it harder for them to understand the key points of your proposal. 
  • Use an appendix: If you have additional or unrequested information that you want to include, consider using an appendix. This allows you to provide the information without overwhelming the readers with unnecessary details. 

By following these pointers, you can avoid information overload and create a proposal that is clear, concise, and effective in conveying your message to the client. 

Tip #6 – Avoid Stale Boilerplate Content 

PP Icons-06To avoid stale boilerplate content, conduct periodic reviews of your proposals and identify any outdated or inaccurate information. This is important because boilerplate content that is outdated or inaccurate can damage your credibility with the client and lead to a lost opportunity. To keep your proposals fresh and current, update any outdated or inaccurate content and customize it for each specific proposal to show the client that you understand its unique needs. 

When conducting reviews, consider the following questions: 

  • Does the content accurately reflect our current approach, services, and focus? 
  • Are there any outdated statistics, case studies, or references? 
  • Is the language clear, concise, and free of jargon? 

Once you've identified any outdated or inaccurate content, update it to reflect your current approach and services. This may involve researching new statistics or case studies, rewording content to reflect changes in your approach, or removing irrelevant information. 

Customizing your boilerplate content for each specific proposal is also important. This shows the client that you understand its unique needs and requirements and are committed to meeting those needs. Use the client's own language and terminology, and make sure to address specific concerns and challenges. 

Avoiding stale boilerplate content is crucial to creating effective proposals. By conducting periodic reviews, updating outdated or inaccurate content, and customizing your content for each specific proposal, you'll be able to create proposals that are fresh, relevant, and effective in communicating your message to the client. 

Tip #7 – Use Graphics 

PP Icons-07Using graphics in your business proposals can be a powerful way to convey complex information and help your proposal stand out from the competition. When using graphics, make sure that they are relevant to the content of your proposal and support your key points. This will help you to emphasize important information and convey complex data concisely. 

To use graphics effectively, keep them simple and easy-to-understand. Use high-quality graphics that are visually appealing and easy to read and avoid cluttering your proposal with too many graphics or using graphics that are too complicated or difficult to understand. By using graphics to convey complex information, you can help the client to understand the data more easily and make a stronger case for your proposal. 

Tip #8 – Write an Executive Summary that Wins 

PP Icons-08Writing an executive summary that wins is crucial to making a strong impression on the client and winning the project. To do this, focus on the key points of your proposal and highlight the most important information that the client needs to know. Keep your executive summary clear, concise, and to the point, and use language that shows that you understand the client's needs and requirements. 

Use your executive summary to differentiate your firm from the competition and highlight your unique value proposition. Use a strong opening sentence or paragraph to grab the client's attention and make them want to read more. By creating an executive summary that is focused, clear, and compelling, you can make a strong impression on the client and increase your chances of winning the project. 

Tip #9 – Keep in Touch with References 

PP Icons-09Keeping in touch with references can help to build and maintain relationships that can be valuable for future business opportunities. After using a reference in a proposal or project, take the time to thank them for their endorsement and let them know that you appreciate their support. This can help to strengthen your relationship with the reference and increase the likelihood that they will recommend you in the future. 

In addition to thanking your references, it's also important to keep them informed about future reference requests. Let them know about any upcoming opportunities where you may need to provide references and ask if they would be willing to serve as a reference again. By keeping your references in the loop and showing your appreciation, you can build strong relationships that can be valuable for future business opportunities. 

Tip #10 – Set Firm Deadlines 

PP Icons-10You're working on a proposal for a major project with a tight submission deadline. You've set internal deadlines for each stage of the proposal development process, but some team members are not taking these deadlines seriously and are falling behind in their tasks. As a result, the proposal is not progressing as quickly as it should be, and there is a risk that you will miss the submission deadline. 

To avoid this scenario, it's important to set firm deadlines and hold team members accountable for meeting them. Make sure that all team members understand the importance of meeting their deadlines and the consequences of not doing so. By setting firm deadlines and holding team members accountable, you can ensure that the proposal is completed on time and to the highest standard possible, increasing your chances of winning the project. 

Setting firm deadlines is crucial to keeping your proposal development process on track and ensuring that you meet the submission deadline. Treat internal deadlines as firm deadlines, hold team members accountable for meeting them, and make sure that all team members understand the importance of meeting their deadlines. By doing so, you can ensure that the proposal is completed on time and to the highest standard possible. 

Increase Proposal Process Efficiency 

In conclusion, it's important for project-based firms to have an efficient and effective business proposal development process to increase their chances of winning new business. By incorporating these tips into your proposal development process, you can gain a competitive edge, increase your firm's win rate, and ultimately, grow your business. If you want to increase your business proposal efficiency even more, see how to leverage Deltek data to power OpenAsset and how a DAM can help firms increase productivity and scale for growth by clicking the image below. 

 

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Top 10 Reasons Professional Services Marketing Pros Love Deltek Vantagepoint CRM

Posted by Lindsay Diven on April 06, 2023

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As a veteran of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry for over 17 years, I've seen firsthand the importance of having a reliable and effective CRM system in place. When it comes to professional services marketing, Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is the go-to solution for many professionals in the industry. In this blog post, I'll explore why professionals in the industry love Deltek Vantagepoint CRM and why it's an essential tool for successful marketing and business development. 

1. Robust and Customizable Dashboards 

One of the most significant benefits of Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is the robust and customizable dashboard. The dashboard provides an overview of all essential information, including opportunities, leads, clients, and projects, in one centralized location. The dashboard is fully customizable, allowing you to choose the specific metrics and data that are most important to your marketing efforts. The ability to view all relevant data in one place helps marketing professionals make informed decisions and streamline their workflows. 

2. Natively Built Integration with Other Deltek Vantagepoint Modules 

The natively built integration between Deltek Vantagepoint CRM and other Vantagepoint modules offers numerous benefits to marketing professionals in the architecture and engineering (A/E) industry.  

First and foremost, the integration provides a complete view of the client's journey, from initial contact to project completion. This means that marketing professionals can easily access all relevant data related to a client, including project milestones, billing and invoicing information, and resource utilization. Having a complete view of the client's journey allows marketing professionals to make informed decisions about how to allocate their time and resources, resulting in more successful marketing campaigns and a better overall client experience. 

Another significant benefit of natively built integration is the prevention of duplication and errors. Because all data is up-to-date and accurate across all modules, there is no need to manually input information into multiple systems, reducing the risk of errors or duplications. This also means that marketing professionals can spend less time managing data and more time focusing on high-value activities, such as nurturing leads and developing targeted marketing campaigns. 

In addition, the natively built integration ensures that all data is secure and protected. Because there is no need for custom connections or plugs, there are fewer potential vulnerabilities in the system, reducing the risk of data breaches or security threats. The integration also ensures that all data is backed up and recoverable in the event of an outage or other issue, providing peace of mind to marketing professionals who rely on the system to manage their critical client data. 

3. Robust Reporting Capabilities 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM offers robust reporting capabilities that allow A/E professionals to analyze and measure the effectiveness of their marketing and business development efforts. The reporting capabilities include customizable reports, dashboards, and analytics, giving A/E professionals the insights that they need to make data-driven decisions. The reporting capabilities also allow A/E professionals to track the ROI of their marketing campaigns, pipeline and forecasting, and win rate percentages enabling them to make adjustments and improvements as necessary. 

4. Comprehensive Contact Management 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM provides comprehensive contact management capabilities that allow marketing professionals to manage all client and prospect data in one place. The contact management capabilities include contact details, communication history, and relationship tracking, ensuring that marketing professionals have a complete view of all interactions with clients and prospects. The comprehensive contact management capabilities also enable marketing professionals to segment their contact lists for targeted marketing campaigns

5. Mobile Accessibility 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is mobile-accessible, allowing marketing professionals to access critical information and tools on the go. The mobile accessibility feature enables marketing professionals to stay connected and informed, no matter where they are. The mobile accessibility feature also allows marketing professionals to quickly respond to client and prospect inquiries, improving customer service and satisfaction. 

Watch a brief demonstration of the Deltek Vantagepoint CRM Mobile App here

6. Connection to Outlook and Gmail 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM allows marketing professionals to connect their Outlook and Gmail accounts, enabling them to synchronize email communications and appointments with their clients and prospects. This integration ensures that all communications are recorded in the CRM system, providing a complete view of all interactions with clients and prospects. The integration also enables marketing professionals to schedule follow-up activities and reminders directly from their email accounts. 

7. User-Friendly Interface 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM has a user-friendly interface that is intuitive and easy to use. The interface is designed to be customizable, ensuring that marketing professionals can easily navigate to the specific data and tools they need. The user-friendly interface also ensures that marketing professionals can quickly onboard new team members and get them up to speed. 

8. Manage the Entire Project Lifecycle in One Place 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM allows marketing professionals to manage the entire project lifecycle, from opportunity to project closeout. The system provides a complete view of all project-related information, including proposal and contract details, project milestones, and financials. The ability to manage the entire project lifecycle in one system streamlines the workflow, reduces duplication, and improves collaboration among team members. 

9. Real-Time Data Access 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM provides real-time data access, ensuring that marketing professionals always have access to the latest information. The real-time data access feature enables marketing professionals to respond quickly to changing market conditions and client needs, ensuring that they remain competitive in the industry. 

10. Customizable Workflows 

Deltek Vantagepoint CRM provides customizable workflows, enabling marketing professionals to create workflows that align with their specific business processes. The customizable workflows feature ensures that marketing professionals can automate tasks, streamline processes, and improve efficiency. 

In conclusion, Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is an essential tool for marketing professionals in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Its robust and customizable dashboard, integration with other Deltek Vantagepoint modules, robust reporting capabilities, comprehensive contact management, automation and workflow, mobile accessibility, and user-friendly interface make it the go-to solution for professional services marketing. With Deltek Vantagepoint CRM, marketing professionals can streamline their workflow, increase efficiency, and make informed decisions that drive results. 

 

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Leveraging the Client Engagement Lifecycle to Drive Results

Posted by Lindsay Diven on January 26, 2023

01-27-23_ClientEngagement_BannerEngaging clients is essential to any business, but it can be difficult to know where to start. However, by understanding the client engagement lifecycle, businesses can develop a process for engaging clients that leads to long-term relationships. 

What is the Client Engagement Lifecycle 

In every sales transaction, buyers (or clients) go on a journey that begins the moment they decide they need services and continues to when the contract is eventually signed. This is called the client engagement lifecycle. And you can imagine this as a funnel with the following phases: 

  • Attract 
  • Nurture 
  • Convert 
  • Grow 

A prospect is initially attracted to your firm and starts at the top of the funnel and goes through each phase until eventually you are providing services for them.  

Client Engagement Lifecycle Stages 

Now let’s go through each client engagement lifecycle stage in a little more detail.  

Attract

The client engagement lifecycle begins when you bring in new prospects. You can think of this as the top of the funnel. During this stage, it’s important to identify your target markets and personas such as project managers, facility managers, and/or directors that will be interested in your services.  

To do this, you’ll want to create marketing content and promotions that resonate with these key personas. The goal is to attract them to your firm using your expertise and/or answering their questions.  

The marketing content can be varied. It could range from written blogs to videos, webinars and podcasts. You just want to make sure the content is relevant to your target markets and personas and helps them solve common obstacles within their industry. 

Sales and technical staff will usually have little-to-no engagement in this stage of the lifecycle.  

Nurture

Once prospects have been attracted to your firm with your attract-type content, it’s important to maintain the prospects’ interests so they stay in the funnel. This is typically done through digital efforts like email marketing and offline efforts through phone calls and networking events.  

Knowing what content has sparked and sustained this interest is important so you can produce new content to continue to drive awareness. Additionally, the original content that brought them into the funnel should leave them with unanswered questions. 

During this stage, familiarity with the content which first attracted the prospects will help you determine questions they might now have. Your new content should be more specific to answer these questions with fact-based information that also communicates your expertise. Email campaigns provide a great avenue to share this fresh content. 

Your sales managers or technical team members may also follow up with the prospects to ask further questions and make introductions to your firm and its services. 

Convert

As your prospects move from the attract and through the nurture phases, it’s now time to get those prospects to make a conscious decision to move further. This is not to say they were not interested in your services before, but rather the content that you have been sharing has made them recognize you are a trusted authority and a subject matter expert. 

This stage is when specific, offline conversations need to begin, and you should convert these prospects into advocates. For professional services firms, this means that your technical staff may be meeting with the prospects over the phone or in meetings to talk about a specific project. The conversations are turning to either a request for proposal and/or proposing specific services.  

The content produced in this phase supports proposals, presentations, and other sales-related documents to close the sale!  

Grow

Congratulations, you now have new clients in your funnel. This is the stage where you will foster the ability to provide additional services to your clients. 

The tricky thing here is creating content that will be important to your clients in the future. For some clients, this is a few months down the road, and for others, a year or more. A great tool to use is a monthly or quarterly newsletter for sharing your newly created content to create new opportunities. 

Using the Client Engagement Lifecycle to Your Advantage 

Understanding the client engagement lifecycle for your specific firm and targeted markets works as an advantage for your marketing and business development efforts. When you identify your client engagement lifecycle for a specific market or persona such as a facilities director for a University Campus.  

You can then begin to create marketing content that specifically appeals to that facilities director. This specific content strategy will work to attract the right type of prospects and generate leads for your firm.  

The client engagement lifecycle is a valuable tool for businesses to use when developing their client engagement strategy. 

Wrapping it All Up 

The client engagement lifecycle is a process that businesses use to manage and improve their relationships with clients. It typically includes stages such as attract, nurture, convert, and grow. By understanding and leveraging each stage of the client engagement lifecycle, businesses can drive results by identifying opportunities for improvement and developing strategies to increase client satisfaction and loyalty. This can lead to increased revenue, repeat business, and improved overall performance. 

To learn more about content marketing strategies for each stage of the client engagement lifecycle, click the image below for our series. 

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