There are a number of benefits of leveraging PSA for Salesforce, but deciding which is best for your enterprise can be difficult.

This is primarily because Salesforce includes some professional services automation (PSA) functionality in its customer relationship management (CRM) modules, such as sales, customer service, and marketing.

However, for many professional services organizations, these capabilities simply aren’t enough to effectively streamline their quote-to-cash process.

Planview’s Professional Services Automation Solution Demo: Drive profitability and streamline quote-to-cash

Watch the solution demo • Planview’s Professional Services Automation Solution Demo

Map PSA Capabilities to Business Challenges

Ten of the top business challenges reported by professional services organizations, mapped to specific PSA capabilities.

Läs vitbok • Map PSA Capabilities to Business Challenges
Get a holistic view of your projects with PSA for Salesforce
Get a holistic view of your projects with PSA for Salesforce

Do You Really Need PSA for Salesforce?

You may be wondering whether using PSA for Salesforce is even necessary. After all, Salesforce offers a free program management module with basic capabilities to help professional services organizations manage their work more efficiently.

With that said, Salesforce’s native capabilities are limited and don’t address all the challenges professional services businesses typically encounter. Some vendors offer PSA tools specifically for Salesforce, but these typically don’t include robust capabilities that help with planning, forecasting, and managing resources effectively.

These tools may suffice for smaller services organizations, but make no mistake: Salesforce wasn’t designed for professional services automation. Therefore, it isn’t a replacement for a comprehensive PSA solution.

If a professional services organization wanted to increase revenue and create visibility into the entire quote-to-cash cycle, a native PSA for Salesforce tool wouldn’t provide the holistic visibility they need to succeed.

They would need a comprehensive PSA solution that’s designed specifically to meet the demands of a professional services organization.

Read on to see whether your enterprise needs a PSA solution that connects to Salesforce. You’ll learn how to modernize and streamline service delivery and unlock new opportunities that set your organization up for success.

If you decide to implement PSA for Salesforce within your organization, we’ll show you what to look for when choosing the best technology for your enterprise.

But first, let’s look at some of the biggest advantages of integrating Salesforce into your PSA Solution.

View capacity and allocate resources with PSA for Salesforce
View capacity and allocate resources with PSA for Salesforce

Benefits of Integrating a PSA Solution with Salesforce

A PSA Salesforce integration provides a centralized place for managing all aspects of professional services delivery. Companies gain visibility into every stage of the customer engagement lifecycle. From opportunities and proposals to project execution and invoicing, PS organizations can enhance service delivery by:

Optimizing team utilization, resource allocation, and project visibility

Access to sales data enables professional services organizations to be more proactive. They can plan earlier in the delivery lifecycle to ensure the team can deliver on upcoming projects.

Salesforce Professional Services Automation gives users access to accurate, real-time data. This visibility facilitates analyzing incoming demand against current work and resources. From this, the professional services team can determine capacity needs and more accurately forecast the entire resource pool.

Services groups can maximize utilization as well. With real-time views into projects and resources, professional services teams can quickly identify under- and over-utilized resources and balance workload across customer projects.

Breaking down silos between sales, delivery, and finance through seamless data integration

A PSA for Salesforce integration is a great start in closing the gaps between sales and professional services delivery. Operating from a single data set, professional services teams can collaborate with sales on new, value-based customer offers.

Handoffs between sales and services are quicker and smoother. Professional services teams are prepared for projects instead of being blindsided. Sales teams can pave the way with customer quotes that accurately reflect what services can do.

An effective PSA solution can also integrate with systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources, and work management platforms. These connections enable the services organization to fully utilize professional services automation capabilities across opportunities, projects, resources, and financials.

Ideally, all customer touchpoints are included. The solution can serve as the single source of record for all customer engagements. Everyone operates from the same quality, up-to-date information that facilitates better alignment and collaboration.

For example, the professional services automation software can collect data from the work management systems teams already use. Project managers gain an overview of enterprise-wide capacity and project status. This enables the PS group to support the different ways teams work, such as Agile, hybrid, and traditional.

Leveraging real-time insights and reporting to improve project profitability and resource allocation

A PSA software solution provides professional services organizations with actionable data and analytics to save costs, improve revenue, and increase profitability.

SPI’s 2024 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark revealed that the highest-performing organizations using PSA realize:

  • 31% higher annual revenue per billable consultant
  • 20% lower revenue leakage
  • 23% higher executive real-time visibility
  • 28% higher accurate forecasting
Combining a PSA solution with Salesforce offers many benefits, including informed, smart decision-making across the organization.

For example, you can use PSA software to run different scenarios using sales data from Salesforce. That way, you can visualize how various scenario changes may impact current projects, budgets, and people.

Creating customized reports and dashboards lets stakeholders see the data and analytics that apply to their jobs. CEOs may want to see profit margins, financial spending, and how the PS portfolio is doing overall. This forms the basis for making informed decisions and understanding how the company is tracking progress towards its strategic goals.

What’s more, using a PSA solution helps professional services teams improve project planning as resource and revenue forecasting becomes more accurate. Resource allocation can be optimized to meet project deadlines, customer requirements, and financial targets. With people working on the right projects for their skill sets and experience, billable utilization increases and morale is higher.

In addition, greater visibility into projects and resources helps staff see impending issues earlier. Whether constrained resources or a potential bottleneck, services professionals can make quick course corrections and keep projects on track. This minimizes revenue leakage and project overruns.

PSA software also decreases operational costs by enabling organizations to create standardized, automated, and repeatable processes. Scaled across the quote-to-cash lifecycle, this creates more efficiency and faster operations.

Using PSA for Salesforce drives that efficiency further by aggregating important information into a single platform, making it faster and easier to get actionable insights.

Creating Better Outcomes with Salesforce PSA

Professional Services Automation Salesforce capabilities can deliver many positive outcomes, including:

Improving the overall customer experience: By standardizing processes and operating more efficiently, professional services organizations create consistency for customers. From the initial quote to invoicing, customers feel they are dealing with one company rather than a bunch of departments that are not in sync.

Communication with customers is clear and consistent as well. Project leaders keep customers updated on project progress without surprises such as delays, change orders, or cost overruns.

Expectations are met or exceeded when customers receive exactly what they asked for, on time, on budget, and with high quality.

Professional services as a strategic advisor: No longer isolated from the rest of the organization, professional services leaders now have a strategic say in the business direction. PSA for Salesforce boosts confidence in the data and highlights the value PSA brings to customers and the organization. Professional services teams can collaborate better with other functions, with greater visibility into the big picture.

Get a bird's-eye view into your portfolio by integrating PSA for Salesforce
Get a bird’s-eye view into your portfolio by integrating PSA for Salesforce

Clear and insightful visibility into opportunities and customer engagements: Everyone from the CEO to individual contributors have access to accurate, up-to-date information. Decision-making is objective and faster. Employees trust in the data and understand why certain decisions are made.

Full visibility into customer project health and status ensures good project management, resulting in faster, more profitable service delivery. Also, professional services can now maximize opportunities instead of doing reactive planning. Increased efficiencies and better resource and project management enable the sales team to sell more services.

Alignment on priorities: Professional services, customer success, and other business partners are aligned on priorities to retain customers. Aligned organizational charters on adoption and retention protect existing revenue and market share. These groups can collaborate and deliver integrated professional services and customer success models, improving customer satisfaction.

Choosing and Implementing the Right PSA Solutions

This article has covered what a Salesforce Professional Automation Services solution is capable of, but how can professional service delivery teams select one? In a nutshell, enterprise-class PSA solutions should enable professional service organizations to:

  • Provide end-to-end holistic visibility into opportunities, customer engagements, projects and resources, and financials across all systems, teams, and tools
  • Handle customer delivery issues proactively and collaboratively with updates regularly visible in one system
  • Ensure all customer-facing roles and executives are aligned on customer success with real-time visibility for anyone to view customer engagement health, financials, and status
  • Empower teams to work in multiple methodologies, such as traditional project management, Agile work management, collaborative work management, and hybrid work management, with progress visible in the PSA system
  • Adhere to financial processes with accurate financial data sent to the system of record quicker
  • Obtain visibility into resource skills and career ambitions and consider these during planning so that work is aligned with employees’ strengths and career growth paths
  • Develop the agility needed to rapidly adapt, communicate, and implement revised resource and delivery plans to support customer success
  • Implement governance and compliance best practices and policies for accurate, timely, and compliant reporting, while providing flexibility to support new service delivery methods and business models

Here are a few specific features to look for in a PSA Salesforce solution:

Two-way integration in a PSA for Salesforce solution is essential to improving analytics and reporting accuracy. Otherwise, the organization cannot fully understand customer engagements and important details will be missed.

In fact, easy integrations with all customer and service delivery systems will help obtain a full picture of the customer lifecycle and help make good decisions.

Also, look for visibility in all aspects of project management, including potential engagements. The solution should provide consistent status updates for the account team throughout the quote-to-cash ecosystem. Professional services teams should be able to create a common services delivery model from opportunity through delivery to billing.

Connectivity with invoice management tools is also important. Being able to communicate data from your PSA solution to ERP software enables you to have accurate billing data, as well as reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and minimize the time it takes to generate invoices.

Automating workflows for billing and reporting increases efficiency, gives more accurate billing, and can lead to greater profitability for your enterprise.

Automated, smart time tracking and approvals are key to high billable utilization. The PSA solution should monitor the actual effort reported and determine how this effort has contributed to project progress with actual hours and costs.

Integrating Your PSA Solutions with Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) Software

Building a quote in the professional services business can be complex and time-consuming. The challenge may require a more specialized tool that creates quotes for services opportunities.

Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) software accelerates the quoting process for sales teams selling professional services. Automated elements such as pricing sheets and templates enable salespeople to save time and improve accuracy.

CPQ for professional services can resolve key issues such as inconsistent pricing, revenue leaks from incorrect quotes and billing, customer churn, and lost sales opportunities. The sales-to-delivery process goes more smoothly, leading to satisfied customers and repeat engagements.

Salesforce has its own CPQ system, but you may find that a standalone CPQ for professional services is better suited to fit your needs. In such cases, you can integrate Salesforce and your CPQ software into a PSA solution and draw accurate and up-to-date information from multiple services.

Sales teams can acquire real-time data such as resource capacity, budgets, and timelines to inform their quotes.

Streamline Your Workflow

A PSA for Salesforce integration brings efficiencies and capabilities that enable companies to sell more services, retain customers, and increase profitability.

Companies operate as a streamlined machine when employees have visibility into all customer lifecycle stages.

As a result, professional services organizations are better equipped to make the best use of resources and ensure that projects achieve financial goals.

The right professional services automation solution empowers teams to deliver work confidently, faster, and more efficiently. Access our PSA on-demand demo to see how you can use Planview to improve your quote-to-cash process and consistently meet customer demands without reinventing your technology ecosystem.