I love webinars; truly, I do. While I know most of my leadership colleagues will view webinars as just something that marketing asks us to do, I view it as my opportunity to learn and educate. Last week, I had the pleasure of conducting a live webinar to explore the paradigm shift that we see occurring in embedded software organizations and that is to change the tactically focused professional services groups into a powerful and strategic force-multiplier for the company.
A lot of CEOs today are nervous in investing in the Professional Services organization...
As my colleagues in Professional Services organizations realize, software and technology companies today typically focus on the areas of core competency (sales, marketing and development); unfortunately, that leaves Professional Services out in the cold a little bit. What I’ve found over the years, however, is that PS orgs should be and can be absolutely core to the success of the software company. My philosophy in advising dozens of software companies is that when you have happy customers, they buy more software, renew time and time again, and you can do this profitably for the software organization and have a fun time doing it.
What I find fascinating is that the Professional Services organization seems to be the new adventure for so many software companies. A lot of CEOs today are nervous in investing in the Professional Services organization because they are worried about taking away from their software revenue. But I am here to tell every software CEO that you can and should. Professional Services organizations tend to touch the customer much more than any other group in the organization – up to 20-40 times more. The Professional Services team understands the customer more because they live and breathe that customer’s challenges and opportunities during the implementation cycle and well beyond. It is an extremely powerful relationship and something that the CEO can take advantage of and leverage for greater and sustainable revenue.
Because of this, I developed the Professional Services Capabilities Wheel which I go into more detail during the webinar. In essence, the Professional Services capabilities wheel provides an all-in view of the different components that you need to drive this kind of power out of your professional services organization - from strategy to sales to service. Having all of these pieces in place that are aligned to the goals of the organization and puts your organization on the path to success. This ensures that the Professional Services organization is not an outlier but is integral to the strategy of the company; moving the company forward and helping it to grow. And it works; at one of my companies in the Bay Area, the professional services team was formerly an outlier. We were doing 20 implementations per quarter but needed to be doing 60 implementations per quarter to grow and gain traction. Using the Professional Services Capabilities Wheel, we turned the PS org from an afterthought to the core in the strategy, drove higher renewal rates which is money in the bank and did it profitably.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend the live webinar, I invite you to link to the replay here and let me know what you think.