Whether you’re an accountant, engineering firm, legal firm, or other professional service provider, your business has most likely changed quite a bit over the last 20 years.
With the growth of technology and cloud services, manual ways of doing business have given way to the electronic. Companies that have embraced this change have seen it boost their growth, while those that haven’t quite kept up may find themselves lagging behind their competition.
Overall, professional services firms in the U.S. generated almost $2 trillion in 2018, which represents an 11% increase over the prior year. One of the factors fueling that growth is the smart use of technology to save time, lower costs, and give customers a more personalized experience.
How can you position your services firm for success in the next decade and beyond? The answer is technology!
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Technology Trends Helping Fuel Growth for Services Firms
Just the simple use of a tool like QuickBooks online to allow clients to pay invoices by clicking a link rather than mailing a check can improve on-time payments and reduce the effort it takes to chase down past due invoices.
41% of small business owners in the U.S. say that invoice payment collection is their biggest cash flow challenge.
That’s just one example of how technology is helping firms in the professional services industry grow their business and get ahead.
Here are several of the benefits to be had by taking full advantage of technology at your services business.
Lower Operational Costs with a Virtual Office
One of the barriers to entry for many new services firms has been eliminated thanks to technology that can get your business up and running without needing a physical office and all those associated costs.
Use of VoIP can give your clients as professional a calling experience as if they called a big enterprise company, but for a fraction of the price.
Team collaboration platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams keeps people in different locations connected and they can communicate as easily as if they were in the next cubical. And video and audio chats are another IT advancement that makes it easy to run a professional services business from a completely virtual office.
Save Time by Automating Processes
Businesses can shave hours off an employee’s workday and be more responsive to their clients through use of back-end automation. This includes things like connecting your website form to your CRM program, so new leads are fed in automatically and an alert can be sent instantly to a salesperson.
Accounting, legal, and engineering firms bill clients for their time and ever hour of lost productivity due to inefficient IT can cost $150+ plus in revenue.
Automating marketing processes, such as setting up an automated drip campaign for prospects, can also have a significant impact on lead quality and conversions. 60% of businesses surveyed say that marketing automation has increased the quantity and quality of their leads.
Make Documents Easier to Find and Share
Just finding the right document to send to a client can be taking your office more time that you realize. Employees spend approximately 20-40% of their time searching manually for files.
Use of cloud storage tools that have keyword search capabilities can speed up your office considerably and reduce wasted time looking for a document, while also ensuring all your data is stored securely and accessible from anywhere.
Professional services firms benefit from the ability to easily and securely share documents and collaborate with subcontractors and clients online. Cloud storage tools allow them to do that while also keeping all their files organized.
Retain Talent and Improve Your Brand
If you’re seen as a firm that’s behind technologically, you’re not going to attract the top talent. On the other hand, services firms that are on the cutting-edge and using their digital tools dynamically can both attract and retail the best employees and also improve their brand image.
Reduce Advertising Costs with Digital Marketing Tools
Digital marketing tools like Google Ads and social media can help professional services firms increase their brand awareness and tap into new client bases.
A site like LinkedIn can connect a firm to new clients instantly, which is why it’s the #1 channel that B2B marketers use to reach new leads.
Over 50% of all social traffic sent to B2B websites is generated from LinkedIn.
Marketing on Google has much more cost flexibility than ads taken out in print publications and can reach more targeted customers, reducing the cost of acquisition for new leads.
Take Advantage of Cloud-based Collaboration Tools
Project planning can be the downfall of a services business if it’s not done properly. A key reason for project failure is miscommunication between team members.
Using technology for your project planning can improve your processes and help you keep everyone on the same page. Today’s cloud-based project management platforms have features such as:
- Online chat
- Drag & drop file sharing
- Task cards with automated reminders
- Mobile and desktop access
- Charts showing bottle necks and project progress
- Support for Agile, Kanban, and other popular project management methods
Collaboration that connects team members from anywhere helps the company as a whole deliver better value to clients.
Improve the Client Experience
Using technology to its fullest can help you improve your client experience, giving them yet another reason to stay a loyal customer.
For example, an architect using augmented reality (AR) technology can show a client a rendering of their design in 3D within the physical space it’s to be built in, so they can make adjustments before the first brick is put into place.
Using automated forms can also make filling out initial client intake forms less onerous for new customers while also feeding the information directly into your software, reducing the chance of errors and saving time.
People are increasingly expecting their vendors to give them an efficient digital experience and the companies that provide that will be the ones that continue to advance as technology evolves.
Harness Technology to Grow Your Business
The future of IT is cloud-based and Cloudavize can help you take full advantage of it to improve profitability, teamwork, productivity, and security.
Contact us today for a free consultation to explore your full technology potential.