Where the Money Lives Series, Part 2: Winning Tips For Getting Phase 1 Professional Services Right The First Time
Document Management systems don’t yet offer the ‘one-click install’ feature like apps in an App Store do – unfortunately! Wouldn’t it be great if you simply needed to enter your company name, click “install” and out pops an enterprise Document Management system?!? Maybe someday, but not today.
Implementing a Document Management solution requires an exchange of information between the client and delivery company to ensure that the client’s information, processes, security models and indeed, brand are represented. While there are different approaches with respect to how this interaction can be conducted, most are a negative experience for both parties. One of the fastest ways for you to lose money and for your client to be driven away is to have a difficult Phase 1 implementation of the software. Specifically, this means charging too much, taking too long and not delivering what the client expected. Believe me, it happens more than you’d think!
Not all Phase 1 professional services are created equally. Time and material billing sounds like it’s fool proof in terms of profit generation, however when implementing Document Management solutions, this can be extremely tricky. Few and far between are the companies who will just endlessly pay for your people to pound away at the keyboard developing the system. And while your strategy may be to ‘go in with a low price and change order them up’, unless you have an extremely savvy ‘Change Order Master’ to creep the project scope, you’ll find you burn out your client’s wallet before the first phase is even deployed. And if you manage to get Phase 1 delivered, you’ll find your client’s budget and patience have expired. Many Document Management system implementations have stunted long term client relationships because they’ve failed in their Phase 1 delivery. Too much time, scope and cost…an unpleasant and unsustainable situation for the client.
A better way is to offer small phases at packaged prices. Small phases so you can have a clearly defined scope, and you can start and finish the project within 2-6 weeks. Packaged prices so your client knows what the price will be, and you know what revenue you’ll generate for the deliverable. The price of your service package needs to achieve two goals – first, your client must view the deliverable as ‘worth it’ for the price. Second, the packaged set of services must be profitable for you. This means knowing your product and services extremely well. Setting up ‘starter packages’ and other defined scopes of work for a fixed price is a way to ensure alignment with your clients as well as have your team create repeatable patterns for delivering. Quality of the deliverable is enhanced because your processes, materials and resource roles are templated and you can continuously improve upon your service packages (to enhance profit and increase client value). It’s also much easier for your sales team to sell service packages, rather than scope custom time and materials jobs.
If you’re not selling packaged implementation services for the base solution set up, you’re competing against companies who are. Your message is going to be one of uncertainty, while your competitor is presenting a picture that is clear on the scope, timeline, client resource requirements and price.
When Phase 1 setup services are packaged properly, you’ll find profit in each implementation, as well as a client who is willing to keep going. And that’s where the money lives.
Now it’s your turn to share with us! Do you have any good tips for a Phase 1 implementation of a Document Management solution? Any customer success stories that you’d like to share? Your experience and voice matter, so please leave your comments below!
Did you miss Part 1 in this blog series? You can access "Why You Need to Think About Saas" by clicking HERE.