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7 Keys to Value for Professional Services Teams & Clients


When a professional services engagement clicks, everybody wins. The client gets the expertise to solve their toughest challenges and the Professional Services team delivers value within the scope of work. Both sides have a role to play in making sure this happens. Here are 7 proven ways to ensure mutual success.

1. Know Thy Customer

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Invest wisely in discovery. Get up to speed quickly as you learn the customer, their problems, technical environment and the extent of their pains. This will help translate the ROI value. Invest the time to be sure the PS team “gets you,” grasping your technical needs, pain points and their business impact. Help them help you by providing information for problem identification, not just problem resolution.
Tip: Schedule a workshop as part of the project kickoff and let the respective experts educate one another.

2. Identify Problems Efficiently

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Use the right tools to identify the right problem, the true cause of the client’s pain as well as the business impact. Without an accurate diagnosis, you can’t provide relief. Provide the right details on the pains you’re experiencing, to ensure the PS team works efficiently. The faster they find root causes and any related issues, the faster your problem vanishes and you start seeing returns.
Tip: Hold regular meetings to confirm the pain points haven’t changed. If they have, due to changing business conditions, adjust as needed.

3. Tackle the Right Problem with the Right Expertise

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Match talent to task. Who on your team has the most experience—and gets the best results—with the specific problems the client is trying to solve? Ask yourself: Are you comfortable with the experience, skills and technical knowledge of the PS team? If not, it’s a red flag. Don’t be afraid to ask for credentials or references relevant to your project.
Tip: Combine resources from both parties into one unified team. Ensure that everyone involved feels they’re a part of the team, no matter who they work for.

4. Use Proven Methodologies

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Clients looking for value put a premium on efficiency. While creativity is appreciated, it’s even more important to show the soundness of your methods, your structure and your thinking. By striking the right balance, you can demonstrate real value. Try to see professional services as a discipline, one with proven processes but also room for fresh thinking. Make sure you understand the PS team’s methodologies. Be ready to collaborate and think outside the box, but trust that if you’re hiring the experts and you’ve found an expert, the will understand how to bring value.
Tip: When kicking off the project, educate one another on methodologies (PS) and business processes (client).

5. Use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to Measure Success

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Explain to the client the importance of KPIs to your work. As the project unfolds, communicate progress as measured by agreed-upon measurements. Benchmarking goes a long way towards proving PS value. In as much detail as you can, communicate exactly what success will entail and how it relates to eliminating problems downstream. Help the PS team define their KPIs. This way, you’ll be on the same page when they measure results and value.
Tip: Agree on a common KPI dashboard, updated and published regularly for all stakeholders.

6. Deliver on ROI Goals

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Your expertise and methods should lead to faster resolutions, which in turn help deliver faster ROI. Be ready to show when and where the client’s investment will start to pay off. Whenever possible, help the client see the downstream benefits. Ask your PS team to show downstream ROI. When will your upfront investment start helping the bottom line? Make sure you can map progress in ROI terms: resolving issues costing your business $X per month.
Tip: Be patient. The ROI may take a little time materialize, as reduced headcount, lower risk or other benefits.

7. Do More with Less

For Professional Services: For Clients:
Solve a wider variety of problems than the client can handle in house. Deliver faster, cheaper, better—and make the client look good. Are you confident your pains will be effectively addressed? That you’ll be in a better place, without adding headcount? If you can answer yes, you’re definitely looking good.
Tip: Categorize needs as either “staff augmentation” or “domain expertise” to set the proper expectations on PS roles and capabilities.

By following these best practices, the Professional Services team and client will share the same idea of value. After all, it needs to be a win-win.

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