During the past summer, I had the awesome experience of being part of the coaching staff for a Little League All-Star softball team for 8- to 10-year-old girls. We advanced to the state’s Final Four series by winning districts and sectionals. It was amazing to watch these young ladies, their parents, my fellow coaches, and the community come together to rally around the team’s success in an adverse environment of crazy weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.
This experience got me thinking about the challenges and adversity professional services firms face, and the things that help them work better together as a team. Although some accounting and consulting firms are thriving — both in the current environment of digital transformation and with their existing CRM software for professional services — other firms seem to be moving client-experience data further away from the professionals who need it. The teams we talk to all want stronger collaboration and access to the right data, making it easy for their members to work together.
Some common concerns we hear from firms include:
- Most CRM software isn’t built for a complex, matrixed professional services environment
- CRM providers don’t understand how firms like ours collaborate and work together
- Our deals may be in the pipeline for more than 18 months, as opposed to 30 days with an off-the-shelf CRM
- We collaborate on multiregional accounts that have many buyers, products, and decision-makers, and we often need to work with people across multiple time zones and regulatory environments
- There is no CRM account owner
- The relationship tomorrow is more important than the sale today
- The CRM lacks marketing data
Most CRM platforms fail in accounting and consulting firms because they’re linear and not designed for the many accountants, advisors, and consultants who use them. Like softball — which brings together teams, coaches, and the community — CRM software for professional services should support the needs of all of its various users. Instead, much like singles tennis, traditional CRM software usually revolves around only the firm’s star players, and addresses only their needs.
Many firms find success by establishing the right team formula, but they also have to significantly overcompensate for their CRM software’s weaknesses by hiring resources to redevelop and customize the software to make it work for their teams. Firms have shared the following challenges:
- We’ve had to hire a team to maintain business intelligence (BI) dashboards with additional software
- Our teams’ emails, documents, and chat conversations never connect with our opportunities without a lot of manual effort
- We spend a lot of time cleaning data
- We developed a great application in Salesforce, but my developer left — Now what?
- We hold regular Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls just to review what’s missing in our accounting CRM software
Stop playing singles tennis with your CRM software and start playing team softball. Instead of wasting time and money trying to make your generic CRM suitable for your teams, invest in CRM software for professional services that understands all your needs.
OnePlace Marketing & Business Development is purpose-built for teams at accounting and consulting firms. The solution helps professionals work together, all in one place, and make real impact for clients. Our software lets you develop campaigns, grow client relationships, and — most importantly — enhance collaboration and teamwork within your firm. CRM is, after all, a team sport, especially in accounting and consulting firms.
Finally, here are some team tips based on what I learned from a great group of 10-year-olds:
- Put in the work with the right attitude
- Show up on time (or, even better, early)
- Keep your spirits high, no matter the situation
- Don’t worry about being a superstar — just do your job to the best of your ability
- Remember: Your teammates have your back
These tips will hopefully serve as a good reminder that, with the right team and approach, anything is possible. Even if your firm is struggling with its CRM software for professional services, it’s not too late to make a change and lead your team to victory.
Schedule a demo to learn how OnePlace Marketing & Business Development can immediately deliver impact for your teams.
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