In my last post, I talked about a paradigm shift. And make no mistake, there are paradigm shifts occuring around us all. But let's get to brass tacks as Ms. Lili Von Shtupp said in the iconic film, "Blazing Saddles." Some software enterprises are simply not ready to make the paradigm shift. As I've said before, changing a paradigm is not a small feat and definitely not for the faint of heart. It requires guts and determination and strength of vision. Change is hard but change is absolutely necessary in the new normal. If the company is stagnant or the growth rate is below your expectations, the hard question must be asked… why?
Members of the PS organization spend six times more with the customer than sales does.
All changes require some sort of trigger that the enterprise is ready and willing to take that first step. Here are some cues that enterprise can look toward to begin the process of change.<
- Flat to minimal growth. Businesses are always looking to grow but there are some times when the growth just isn’t there. The reasons for flat to minimal growth are vast, but if Mr. Spock is to be remembered, if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Simply put, enterprise must look at EVERY organization within the enterprise – and we’re talking Professional Services here. Find out what is happening in your professional services department. Go out, or have a proxy go with the team on a few implementations or sit in on meetings.
- Flat to declining customer satisfaction rates. While there are times that customers are not satisfied because they believe the product does not fit their needs, chances are better than most that the level of dissatisfaction stems from a less than ideal implementation or the perception that the implementation team is not functioning in the best interests of the customer. As such, it is a tremendous opportunity for the Professional Services organization to rise to the occasion and become true trusted advisors. Happy customers buy more, they are loyal and they will be your ambassadors – additional marketing and PR assets for your organization.
- Flat to declining recurring revenue. Initial revenue and sales are fantastic and necessary for continued growth. But it is recurring revenue that will sustain a company through a dreary or downward trending economy. More important, satisfied customers are six times more likely to continue doing business with you, even when competitors try to woo them away with a lower price.
- Flat to declining employee satisfaction rates. This trigger is almost more critical than the other three because a happy employee is a productive employee. A productive employee will do what it takes, within reason, to make the other three triggers happen.
So what are we talking about here… completely changing the way you do business? Well, in essence, yes. It’s not enough these days to “just market and sell” software. Enterprises must make the customer wildly successful and drive success through a vibrant ecosystem of customers and partners. This, in turn, becomes a catalyst for substantial license growth and, believe it or not, makes your company the place to work.
All of these foundational activities lead to providing a better range of services from the professional services organization to customers. Items such as custom development, focused implementation services, health checks / consulting, remote administration services and partner services are now possible because of a right-sized and properly managed professional services division. This leads to better client satisfaction and more software usage which fuels growth. All because of a simple paradigm shift.
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