Full Sail Partners Blog

2020 Trends in the Professional Services Industry

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Looking for Trends

Firms in the professional services industry must adapt to compete in today’s world. Through acquisitions and other partnerships, many professional services firms have been entering into new markets. These firms now have the need to offer a wider range of services to a larger client base. Additionally, many firms have increased their global presence which affects the way client needs have been handled in the past. Let’s check out the top trends for professional services firms as they deal with evolving client expectations and staying competitive.

On-demand Workforce

As new demands arise with the increasing service offerings by professional services firms to more clients, an on-demand workforce is necessary. This workforce can include contractors, part time staff and temporary workers in addition to full timers to meet staffing needs. Firm leaders will need to learn how to manage this future workforce and cultivate a culture that will be attractive to top talent with the key skill sets to render firm services.

More Flexible Service Rendering

Competition for the professional services industry has increased with rapid globalization. Clients expect professional services firms to support them and deliver high quality services from anywhere in the world. With location not being the priority, client demands can be met with operational and staffing flexibility. It is very important to stay abreast of who would be competent and available for doing the needed work.

Perception as Advisors

Professional services firms are changing the way they price services. There has been a shift from the traditional per-hour revenue model to a more value-oriented model. With value-based pricing, professional services firms are setting their prices primarily on perceived or estimated value of the service to the customer rather than historical prices. This value-based pricing encourages the relationship of a professional services firm being an advisor rather than just a service provider.

Leveraging Automation

With technology changing at such a fast pace, professional services firms are increasing their offerings with the use of automation. Using automation allows firms to simplify complicated and/or difficult processes saving a lot of time while delivering quality services. Automation also makes it easier to find the source of problems and provides the ability to remedy them quickly. Additionally, automation can help reduce errors and eliminate repetitive tasks.

Staying Competitive in Today’s World

Professional services firms must stay competitive in the global world of today. In order to do so, they must keep a pulse on their evolving client needs. Even more, they must be ready to provide a flexible workforce rendering quality services as fast as possible to wherever needed. The use of automation is a necessity for success. Furthermore, professional services firms must focus on satisfying their client expectations to ensure their services continue to be utilized.

Thinking Out Cloud

Topics: Tips, Building Business, Professional Services

Start the New Year with These Resolutions

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Jan 08, 2020 @ 11:05 AM

Checklist

Usually when you think of a New Year’s resolution, you think about a habit or trait that you find undesirable and want to improve upon to achieve a personal goal. However, a New Year’s resolution can apply to more than an individual. For business leaders, the start of a new year is the perfect time to make changes within their organization that they believe will increase the overall performance and success of the company. These changes are typically new initiatives for certain roles and departments.

So, what are the best initiatives for your firm to tackle for the new year? Fortunately, the team of Full Sail Partners’ consultants works with a wide variety of professional services clients and have been able to glean unique insight about the common challenges’ firms have experienced over the previous year. Based on these challenges, here is a list of New Year’s resolutions your professional firm may consider adopting.

Top New Year’s Resolutions for Professional Services Firms     

In no particular order, here are the New Year’s resolutions your professional services firm may consider enacting:

  • Clean up your favorite personal and global reports and searches
  • Find a business intelligence solution that can provide your firm with actionable insights
  • Set up a reminder one month prior to year-end for project and department managers to validate unbilled services
  • Ensure you are taking advantage of all the formatting options for Invoice Templates and review them to make sure that all are up to date with addresses, images, etc. 
  • Consider using Resource Planning for more than project budgeting for things like revenue projections and calculating earned value management
  • Embrace client feedback to improve relationships and create more repeat business
  • Make sure that Opportunities are only associated with one Regular Project Record and one Promo Project Record
  • Review your database for duplicate records and records that require updating
  • Have billable employees update their timesheets on a more frequent and consistent basis
  • Begin preparing to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint using this webinar series

Start the New Year off Right!

With the start of a new year, it’s common to reflect on the previous year to identify areas and things that went well and to evaluate what could have been done better. Looking forward, firm leaders need to pinpoint ways to improve future performance by establishing specific initiatives which are best for the firm’s needs. Therefore, start this year off right and implement change that will guarantee your and your firm’s future success!

Reach Full Sail Partners

Topics: Tips, Support, Building Business

What is a CRM System and Why Your Firm Needs one?

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 @ 12:50 PM

CRM Solutions

A CRM system, or Customer Relationship Management system, is a technology tool that allows you to track important details about your customers. Firms need to know which product or service the customer currently has and want the ability to monitor the customer’s buying journey and needs. A CRM system also helps support the firm’s overall goals and strategies within each department. Let’s take a better look at what a CRM system can do for your firm.

Create More Revenue with a CRM

Sales teams use a CRM to conduct research as well as find new leads for future opportunities. A CRM system offers an abundance of information that can increase productivity when it comes to generating new sales. The CRM system can be used to track client communications which enables sales representatives to build stronger relationships with their customers and create new streams of revenue that grow firm profits. Furthermore, a CRM system can provide interactive analytical tools that give the sales force an accurate insight into a customer’s interests and needs. Sales representatives can then have more productive conversations with their leads and continue to develop personal relationships.

Along with building stronger relationships, a CRM solution can help a firm figure out the most effective sales practices and use that information to better their sales team. Staying abreast of proven processes will keep your sales team up to date on the fastest and most effective way to move a lead to a sale. 

Work More Efficiently

Similar to sales, marketing can benefit tremendously from the use of a CRM system. First off, the relationship between the marketing team and sales team is crucial to ensure customer needs are being met. With everyone actively using a CRM system for customer information, sales and marketing results can be seen across the board. Communication between sales and marketing will improve since both teams will have access to the most relevant data.

A CRM system can also be used to track marketing campaign success. The marketing team can evaluate how effective different marketing campaigns were including the costs which can help determine the best use of marketing department funds. With this available data, the marketing team can additionally change certain parts of the campaigns and maybe personalize some better for certain customers.

Improve the Customer Experience

Making sure customers are satisfied with their experience with your firm is very important. The customer service team relies on being able to measure things such as customer retention, satisfaction, and what is and is not working. This data can be tracked using a CRM system. If a customer did not have a good experience, the cause of the problem can be determined, and customer service can figure out what needs to be done in the future to prevent that situation from happening again. This information can then be relayed back to the sales and marketing teams so they can fix the issue on their side.

Why a CRM System is Right for Your Firm!

To be successful in any business, working smarter and most efficiently is very important. A CRM system can provide your firm with the metrics and relevant data to see how well your firm is meeting customer needs. Additionally, a CRM system offers the most accurate and up to date information allowing all department teams to work together seamlessly and effectively. Are you ready to take advantage of a CRM system?

Grow Revenue with a CRM  

Topics: Client Relationships, Building Business, CRM

Streamline Your Business Processes with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Oct 23, 2019 @ 01:37 PM

Deltek Vantagepoint-1

Deltek strives to continually improve its products to ensure clients are best able to utilize the software.  To make it easier for you and your employees to take full advantage of Deltek Vantagepoint, changes have been made to the accounting, screen designer, billing, security, and project lifecycle features. These features are now effortless to use so let’s take a look at some and see how they help with efficiency.

Accounting and Billing

Improvements have been made to reduce error in the accounting and billing processes. The changes include features such as retaining last sessions information, a maximize button giving you more information, adding columns to transaction tabs, and much more. You no longer must select the modify tool to edit timesheet comments, and an all new Fees Tab works with billing phase grid. The transaction center also got an update allowing the transaction entry process to go smoother with billing. The settings that come along with accounting and billing have also been organized in a more logical way making it easier to navigate the system.

Security

Security is a big deal when it comes to client business information. Making sure that Deltek Vantagepoint provides maximum safety for data and information is a major concern so the security browser and module has been enhanced. Enhancements include role security in the browser, additive security model, fields secured on server for protection, and more navigation menu access rights. With the update, there are extra steps you can take to guarantee safety such as deleting security roles that are no longer being used. For more tips on how to maximize Deltek Vantagepoint check out this webinar.

Project Lifecycle

Project lifecycle is something you always want to monitor, and there are many benefits that Deltek Vantagepoint offers to create seamless transitions from different projects. This includes entire project lifecycle reporting, structural opportunities, and one record to track the entire project lifecycle. Similar to security, there are certain steps you can take to optimize opportunity convergence. You can now link any opportunities and project records that represent the same project making sure that each project is only linked to one opportunity. For more information check out this webinar.

CRM and Proposals

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps sales staff stay organized. Recently, clients and vendors have been combined into the Firm hub which allows you to track activities, contacts, address changes, etc. all in one place. The qualified statuses of contacts can also be checked to see progress and figure out what needs to be done to create a new customer. Additionally, Vantagepoint has a new drag and drop proposal builder. You can actually see what your proposal looks like as you build it. To see more that Deltek Vantagepoint can do with CRM and proposals check out this webinar.

Preparing for Deltek Vantagepoint

This new solution is based on Vision with reimagined features and capabilities that can help you streamline your business processes. When you are you ready to get started, we are here to help! For further details about what Deltek Vantagepoint has to offer, click on the on the link below to access our entire webinar series about Vantagepoint.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Topics: Building Business, New Features, Deltek Vantagepoint

Why Clear Business Intelligence is Important for Future Success

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Business Intelligence

Business leaders cannot run their firms successfully if they don’t have all relevant information at their fingertips. With clear business intelligence, data can be consistently analyzed and interpreted allowing for the creation of actionable goals. KPI dashboards can also be set up by all department heads enabling them to focus on their specific needs. With all departments having the insight to work more efficiently and effectively, there will be an across the board positive impact on the firm. Let’s see how clear business intelligence can ensure firm success.

Ensuring Productivity

By tracking sales or marketing progress in business intelligence dashboards, firm leaders can keep a pulse on their staff’s efficiency. If the numbers are not meeting expectations, managers can meet with teams to recalibrate the strategies to improve them. Firms will operate successfully if inefficiencies are eliminated and sales goals are met in a timely manner. Ultimately, using business intelligence will accelerate the firm’s ROI.

Improving Customer Satisfaction

Business intelligence can be used to improve the firm’s ability to meet customer needs. It can first be used to identify the target audience or the most valuable customers. Then it can track the customer interactions making sure they are receiving the support and resources necessary for them to be satisfied. Pinpointing the proper prospects for growth and ensuring current clients are getting what they need will ensure future success.

Managing Risk

Being able to see data on a constant basis allows those in charge to identify problem areas before they become disastrous for the firm. With graphs and charts in the dashboards showing the significant data in real-time, leaders can evaluate current situations noting any red flags. Being proactive and tracking this information allows for corrective action to be taken before the matter is unmanageable.

Making Smart Decisions

Overall, it is crucial for firms to have a full understanding of the organization’s entire operation in order to make informed decisions. Whether it is to determine long term staffing for a new project or evaluate the efficiency of marketing campaigns, seeing complete data is necessary to make smart firm decisions. Business intelligence allows firms to see all aspects of the operation and make choices leading to firm success.

Blackbox Connector for Informer

Topics: Project Management, Building Business, Professional Services

Improve Business Development with Technology

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Sep 25, 2019 @ 01:22 PM

Build Business

Business development can be a challenge especially when firms are already busy with day to day activities. Leaders must figure out what is worth putting effort and money into to get the pay-off they want. Fortunately, Deltek and Full Sail Partners offer many different solutions that are technology forward and can help make business development easier for you. Let’s take a look at some of these and see how they support business development.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Deltek has recently revamped Vision, creating a more powerful and user focused system that is designed for professional services firms. Deltek Vantagepoint can be used to improve productivity, increase profitability and make smarter business decisions. It also allows business development teams to quickly put together proposals that will give them an edge over the competition. So, by using Deltek Vantagepoint, you will have a platform that promotes business development with easy to use tools.

Blackbox Connector

Blackbox Connector provides the opportunity to connect Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint to 3rd party software. For business development purposes, Constant Contact and Mailchimp Blackbox Connectors will help make it easier to nurture relationships with potential new business. What is sent out via Constant Contact or Mailchimp is brought back into Vision or Vantagepoint with the Blackbox Connector making it convenient for you to track your marketing efforts which leads to new business.

Deltek PIM

Efficiency is one of the leading attributes to great business development. Deltek PIM offers your employees one place to access all your files across all aspects of your business. With all emails and documents in one place, it is simple to research and determine where new business might be found saving you a lot of discovery time. This can be an asset when trying to advance your firm’s business development.

Informer

Informer is a business intelligence tool which allows your firm to collect data and analyze it. Business intelligence provides insight you can use to make better business decisions and evaluate areas for business development. Visual options in dashboards can display a variety of charts and graphs which give you vital information. For instance, you can identify which clients have used your services the most and may require further assistance. Informer thus allows you to pinpoint business development potential.

Deltek Learning Zone

Deltek Learning Zone is a great resource to find out more about tools that can help your firm further its business development efforts. DLZ offers virtual live classes, self-paced classes, support videos, infographics, and many more ways to learn. You can find experts that have a lot of knowledge regarding the best way to target business development using Deltek products. This will help your firm plan a course of action for your business development strategy.

Making Business Development Easy

Time is a precious commodity to all firms. With the many offerings from Deltek and Full Sail Partners, your business development efforts can be handled more efficiently and effectively. It is crucial to target business development if you want to set your firm apart from the competition. Use these resources and stay on top of the business development game.

Deltek Vision Workflows

Topics: Tips, Building Business, Professional Services

Introducing the Vantagepoint Feature “Hey Deltek”

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Sep 11, 2019 @ 11:20 AM

Deltek Vantagepoint-1

If you’re a Deltek Vision user, you’ve probably already heard about the latest and greatest version of Vision…Deltek Vantagepoint. Even better, Deltek keeps announcing new features that have never been available before in Vision. One of the coolest features to be offered now is “Hey Deltek.” Just like “Hey Siri” and “Alexa,” “Hey Deltek” allows users to speak directly to Vantagepoint to do several different things. Here’s a look at what “Hey Deltek” can do for you.

Add a New Lead

On average, an architecture and engineering (A/E) firm adds 15 new leads to its CRM system per week. First, consider the time it takes to develop one lead into an opportunity you want to include in your CRM system. Now, think about the effort required to record a new lead into the CRM system - typing here, checking a box there etc. With “Hey Deltek,” you can enter the information and start developing a lead in seconds.

Using “Hey Deltek,” manual input is effectively eliminated. Simply type or say, “Create new lead Jane Doe.” As a result, “Hey Deltek” can save employees hours a week allowing them to focus on more important matters.

We All Need Reminders

My memory is sharp, but I still need reminders. I frequently use them to ensure that I follow-up with clients and get other tasks completed. Unfortunately, creating these reminders in Vision or Outlook takes a lot of time around 2 minutes each. With “Hey Deltek,” creating a reminder takes about 15 seconds. So, using “Hey Deltek” to create reminders will again save you a lot of effort that can be put forth on other things.

Even Works with Projects

Beyond business development, “Hey Deltek” works for project managers as well. A/E project managers often handle multiple projects having to stay on top of which stage projects are in and record time against them. “Hey Deltek” allows project managers to quickly access projects. Just simply type or say what project you want to open. This convenient feature of Vantagepoint adds more functionality and better searching techniques for users.

Moving Forward with Deltek Vantagepoint

If you’re hesitant to make the upgrade to Vantagepoint, know that Deltek has made a concerted effort to ensure that the transition is smooth and seamless. “Hey Deltek” is just one amazing feature included in Vantagepoint. Even more, the “Hey Deltek” capabilities continue to grow as will Vantagepoint. If you need more information about Vantagepoint, reach out to a member of the Full Sail Partners team and make sure to watch our webinar series about preparing for Vantagepoint.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Topics: Building Business, New Features, Deltek Vision, Deltek Vantagepoint, Network

What’s Happening at Deltek Insight 2019?

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Aug 28, 2019 @ 03:29 PM

Deltek Insight 2019 Orange-1

Deltek Insight 2019 is just around the corner, and it is time to start making plans! This year the conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from November 18th through the 21st at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. If you have been thinking about attending this year, but are just not sure, let’s take a look at some of the amazing reasons why you should attend.

Expand Your Understanding

Deltek offers so many products that can be beneficial to your business. At Insight, you can customize the events you attend to cater to your specific firm needs. Figuring out which sessions are best related to your firm needs allows you to get the most out of Insight and gain the knowledge required to take your business to the next level using Deltek products.

In addition, our experts from Full Sail Partners will be on-site leading sessions that will get you on the right track with some of the trickier Deltek products. If you are having trouble with configuration planning, Michael Kessler, PMP will be speaking on implementing projects and resource planning. If you want to learn more about implementing the Asset Management Module, join Kelly Duguette as she shows you how to enhance module usability. You can check out everything Full Sail Partners is doing at Insight 2019 here.

Finally, if you need a little more help with a certain area, you can meet with a Deltek expert who can assist you with whatever problem needs attention. You can set up a 1 on 1 meeting with an expert which will last around 45 minutes. These meetings are first come first serve and the slots fill up fast. Getting one on one expert advice provides new insight on your products and is another great reason to attend Deltek Insight. For more information about these sessions click here.

Mingle to Grow Your Network

With Insight being one of the largest conferences for Deltek users, the opportunity arises to connect and mingle with others in your field of work. You will have the chance to speak with people from around the world that you normally would not be able to meet. There will be plenty of time for learning and growth and collaborating with these people in your industry might help solve a problem you have mutually experienced. The Celebrate Insight event which takes place on Wednesday the 20th also offers tons of food and socializing with the rest of the Insight attendees. You will surely leave Deltek Insight with new solutions and awesome connections

Have an Experience Packed with Fun

Deltek Insight will kick off Monday, November 18th with a pre-conference workshop from Deltek University that will boost your knowledge. After that, there will be a general session where attendees will learn the schedule of what’s happening throughout the four days of Insight. In the evening, there will be a welcome reception where you can visit the sponsors’ booths to gather more information. Make sure to stop by the Full Sail Partners’ booth and see what we have been up to this year!

As mentioned before, the annual Deltek customer appreciation event, Celebrate Insight, is always the highlight of the conference. It will once again be a great event featuring dinner and drinks, concerts and games. With the party venue located in Florida, this year is something you are not going to want to miss.

Register Now for Deltek Insight 2019

With so much to look forward to this year at Deltek Insight, you’ll surely want to sign up! From the opportunities to network, to learning from experts, to having fun in Florida, it is worth attending this year! Register now, and we can’t wait see you there!

  Deltek Insight 2019

Topics: Building Business, Deltek Insight

What’s New with the Blackbox Connector

Posted by Peter Nuffer on Wed, Jul 10, 2019 @ 12:07 PM

Blackbox Connector For several years, Full Sail Partners has offered a variety of Blackbox Connectors to integrate Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint with many different 3rd party software packages. There are solutions for marketing/business development, finance, project management and leadership. Depending upon their specific needs, our Blackbox Connectors have been able to help firms save much time and money. Now with advancements in our technology, we can provide even more benefit to our clients. Let’s check out what has happened with the Blackbox Connector to make it even better.

In the Beginning

The first version of the Blackbox Connector necessitated facilitating structured point to point connectors with rigid workflows for operations that could not be modified if requirements fell outside of the predefined workflow steps. Changes were difficult and required developers to rewrite code on an instance by instance basis making customizations expensive for clients. Although the benefits of the Blackbox Connectors were worth the effort to clients, extending functionality or changing the manner in which data was transferred and specific actions in any given step was not as simple as we would have liked.

New Advancements in the Blackbox Connector

Version two (V2) has been crafted as a working tool set to allow developers to work with customers and their user story to rapidly build customer connections and workflows that meet the specifications of the individual organization’s requirements. Let’s say for example, connecting Deltek Vision and Concur, a client wishes to have additional steps taken to populate other list objects, or that in a Constant Contact campaign, a client would like to include additional customized data points held in custom grids or fields to facilitate the population routines of information in Constant Contact from Deltek Vision or in Deltek Vision from Constant Contact. The updated platform accommodates for customized mapping, transformation and translation so that data can flow between systems seamlessly and natively in near real-time.

Continued Benefit from Using a Blackbox Connector

V2 of the Blackbox Connector opens the doorway to enterprise class customizations to existing connectors as well as the development of new connectors. We can now quickly respond to changes to Deltek, for example, the upgraded Vision product, Vantagepoint, with painless transitions and minimized service interruption. Furthermore, as new versions of products become available, V2 will easily enable us to provide clients with whatever capabilities they desire keeping them running efficiently and successfully.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Building Business, Technology Solutions

Improve Your Email Marketing Response Rates

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

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

Use a Good Sender Name

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

Have a Strong Subject Line

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

Use Catchy Graphics

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

Format and Layout

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

Test Different Days and Times

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

Segment Your Email List

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

Start Improving Your Email Success Rates

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

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Topics: Building Business, Marketing