SPG has collaborated with numerous businesses, including managed services providers, value-added resellers (VARs), IT companies, physical security firms, and copier and print enterprises, many of which have been using ConnectWise for 3, 5, or even 10 years. It is always surprising to discover that despite investing in ConnectWise primarily for its efficiency-enhancing capabilities, these businesses feel they have not yet fully experienced its true potential in streamlining their operations for maximum efficiency.
Several factors may contribute to this situation. Perhaps the IT business has experienced rapid growth since its original implementation, and the established processes were not designed to scale effectively. Alternatively, the system might not have been fully implemented from the outset, as the IT business assumed that ConnectWise would provide efficiency "out of the box," which is not the case.
Achieving maximum efficiency requires a significant investment in optimizing key areas of the system. In this post, we will delve into the specifics of how to accomplish this optimization.
Centralized data and workflows
One of the key benefits of ConnectWise Manage PSA is its ability to centralize all data and workflows, eliminating the need to manage multiple, disconnected systems. However, we find that most of our clients come to us with this exact issue.
These disconnected systems might include separate tools for customer relationship management (CRM), project management, ticketing, billing, and reporting. For example, you might be using Salesforce for CRM, Trello for project management, QuoteWerks for Quoting, QuickBooks for billing, and manual spreadsheets for reporting. The lack of integration between these platforms can lead to inefficiencies, duplicated efforts, and an increased risk of errors, as teams have to manually input and update data across multiple systems. Not to mention...hours of manual labor that you will have to pay for, year over year.
Let's dig into some of the third party tools we often come across in our conversations and consultations with IT/MSP businesses:
- CRM: Tools like Salesforce or Salesforce are popular CRM systems in the IT/MSP space, and are often used specifically by ConnectWise users to manage prospective customer interactions and track leads.
- Project Management: Platforms like Trello, Wrike, or the more popular "Top Left" help organize tasks and deadlines, but only benefit your IT company if integrated with not only your PSA - but also your CRM or Accounting system.
- Quoting: CPQ solutions like ConnectWise Sell integrate seamlessly with ConnectWise Manage and accounting systems, like QuickBooks - but many IT businesses feel that ConnectWise Sell is quite cumbersome and difficult to use "out of the box". Third party quoting tools, like QuoteWerks, can still generate professional proposals, but will need to be integrated and synced (preferably 2 way sync) with other tools for seamless data flow.
- Billing: Applications like QuickBooks manage invoicing and payments must be integrated with ConnectWise Manage. Sierra Pacific Group highly recommends invoicing only out of ConnectWise Manage rather than QuickBooks, to avoid inaccurate reporting and save time on manual data entry tasks. Incorporating a syncing tool like Wise-Sync or Mobius can be extremely helpful here.
- Reporting: We have seen our fair share of manual spreadsheets for reporting, and are often used by sales and finance departments for tracking key performance indicators, leading to inefficiencies and errors due to manual data entry and syncing. Aside from the reports built into ConnectWise Manage, we highly recommend Cognition360 which leverages PowerBI for more granular reporting.
By implementing and optimizing ConnectWise Manage PSA correctly, IT businesses can consolidate these processes into a single and unified platform, streamlining operations and improving overall efficiency.
Sales Process Automation
By leveraging ConnectWise Manage PSA's automation capabilities, you can streamline your sales process, reducing manual work and increasing the efficiency and accuracy of your sales team. This involves a comprehensive approach that focuses on various aspects of the sales process.
Quote and proposal automation is one area of focus, where ConnectWise Manage PSA (when integrated with ConnectWise Sell) can expedite the creation, management, and tracking of quotes and proposals. Sales pipeline management is another crucial component, enabling better forecasting and resource allocation. Additionally, ConnectWise Manage PSA can provide valuable insights into sales performance, which can inform decision-making and guide future strategies.
Some examples of sales automation that can increase revenue for your IT business include:
- CRM Integration: Integrating your CRM system with ConnectWise Manage PSA allows you to synchronize contacts, opportunities, and lead information, ensuring that your sales team has access to accurate and up-to-date information at all times. This seamless data flow reduces the likelihood of errors and duplicate entries.
- Quote and Proposal Automation: ConnectWise Manage PSA can automate the creation and management of quotes and proposals, but only when integrated with ConnectWise Sell. It can significantly reduce the time and effort required for these tasks. By using customizable templates and pulling data directly from the integrated CRM and CPQ tool, your sales team can generate professional and consistent quotes and proposals more quickly and accurately.
- Sales Pipeline Management: Automation capabilities within ConnectWise Manage PSA can help your sales team track and manage leads, opportunities, and deals more efficiently. Automated reminders, notifications, and task assignments can ensure that your team stays on top of their responsibilities and follows up on leads at the right time, increasing the chances of closing deals.
- Sales Activity Tracking: ConnectWise Manage PSA can automatically log sales activities such as calls, emails, and meetings, giving your sales team more time to focus on building relationships and closing deals. This automation also provides valuable insights into the performance of your sales team, enabling better decision-making and resource allocation.
- Sales Forecasting: By leveraging the automation capabilities of ConnectWise Manage PSA, your team can generate data-driven sales forecasts based on historical trends and real-time pipeline data. This information can help you make informed decisions about resource allocation and identify areas where additional support or training may be needed.
By implementing automated lead nurturing, activity tracking, and customizable sales workflows, IT businesses will experience higher conversion rates, shorter sales cycles, and ultimately, increased revenue.
Service Delivery Optimization
Optimizing service delivery is crucial for MSPs to meet customer expectations and maintain a competitive edge. Automating workflows and gaining real-time visibility into various aspects of your operations using ConnectWise Manage PSA is key to achieving this.
To fully leverage these real-time visibility features, you'll need to set up ticketing and issue tracking systems, project management tools, and resource management capabilities within ConnectWise Manage PSA. By doing so, you can ensure that your MSP delivers top-notch services to your clients and maintains a competitive edge in the industry.
Some examples of how real-time visibility can increase customer retention:
- Project Status: ConnectWise Manage PSA allows you to track the progress of ongoing projects, providing up-to-date information on task completion, milestones, and deadlines. This visibility helps your team stay on track and enables managers to proactively address potential issues before they escalate.
- Resource Utilization: Gaining real-time insight into your team's workload and capacity helps you make informed decisions about resource allocation. ConnectWise Manage PSA can display data on billable hours, employee availability, and workloads, enabling you to optimize staffing levels and ensure that projects are completed efficiently.
- Customer Satisfaction: ConnectWise Manage PSA can integrate with customer satisfaction tools, providing real-time feedback on your team's performance. By monitoring customer satisfaction scores and comments, you can quickly identify areas for improvement and take corrective action to enhance the client experience.
- Ticketing and Issue Tracking: Real-time visibility into ticket statuses, response times, and resolution rates allows you to monitor and optimize your support processes. ConnectWise Manage PSA's ticketing system can help you identify trends, prioritize issues, and ensure that your team is meeting service level agreements (SLAs).
- Financial Metrics: ConnectWise Manage PSA can provide real-time visibility into your financial performance, including revenue, expenses, and profitability. This information enables you to make data-driven decisions about pricing, resource allocation, and overall business strategy.
Improved SLA management, a centralized knowledge base, and automated notifications will lead to faster service response times, higher customer satisfaction, and increased customer retention.
Financial Management Automation
Streamlining financial processes is essential for MSPs to maintain healthy cash flow and make data-driven decisions. By properly optimizing ConnectWise Manage PSA, you can enhance various aspects of your financial processes.
By optimizing ConnectWise Manage PSA to streamline financial processes like automated invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, accounting integration, and payment processing, your IT business can experience real-time visibility into your financial performance, reduce manual data entry, and make more informed decisions about your operations and growth.
Some examples of how streamlining financial processes can improve overall performance include:
Automated Invoicing: ConnectWise Manage PSA can automatically generate invoices based on completed work, billable hours, or project milestones. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors and ensures timely billing.
Expense Tracking: ConnectWise Manage PSA allows for the tracking and categorization of expenses, making it easier to monitor costs and identify areas for cost reduction. By automating expense tracking, you can improve budget management and allocate resources more effectively.
Financial Reporting: With ConnectWise Manage PSA, you can generate real-time financial reports that provide insights into key performance indicators such as revenue, profitability, and cash flow. This enables you to make informed decisions about your business strategy and monitor the financial health of your MSP.
Accounting Integration: ConnectWise Manage PSA can be integrated with popular accounting platforms like QuickBooks, Xero, or Sage, allowing for seamless data synchronization between systems. This reduces manual data entry, minimizes errors, and provides a unified view of your financial performance.
Payment Processing: ConnectWise Manage PSA can also facilitate payment processing, supporting various payment methods and currencies. This simplifies the payment process for your clients and accelerates cash flow for your MSP.
Automated revenue recognition, tax management integration, and customizable financial reports will help IT businesses make more informed financial decisions and improve their overall financial performance.
Building a scalable infrastructure
ConnectWise Manage PSA is a highly customizable and scalable platform that can be tailored to your MSP's specific needs. However, to achieve true efficiency, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of how to align ConnectWise Manage PSA with your unique business processes and workflows. As your business grows, relying on an expert resource can be beneficial in continuously optimizing your systems to maintain high operational efficiency.
Investing in a customizable and scalable ConnectWise Manage PSA platform,and aligning it with your unique business processes can lead to significant improvements in operational efficiency. As your MSP grows, partnering with an expert resource can help ensure that your systems remain optimized and capable of supporting your evolving needs.
The benefits of a customizable and scalable ConnectWise Manage PSA platform for MSPs include the ability to:
Adapt to changing business needs: As your MSP evolves, you can adjust the ConnectWise Manage PSA platform to accommodate new services, offerings, or processes, ensuring that your operations remain efficient and streamlined.
Integrate with other tools and platforms: ConnectWise Manage PSA can be seamlessly integrated with various tools and platforms, such as CRM, accounting, and project management systems, enhancing data flow and reducing manual work.
Automate and optimize workflows: With its customizable nature, ConnectWise Manage PSA can help you automate and optimize workflows across departments, from sales to service and finance, leading to improved efficiency and accuracy.
Scale with your business: As your MSP grows, ConnectWise Manage PSA can accommodate additional users, projects, and clients without sacrificing performance, ensuring that your systems remain reliable and responsive.
Support continuous improvement: With expert resources and ongoing optimization, you can leverage the full potential of ConnectWise Manage PSA to drive improvements in your MSP's performance, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
Investing in Optimization - Internal or Outsourced Expertise?
How can your IT business unlock the full potential of ConnectWise and achieve these benefits?
One approach is to invest in training and upskilling an individual or a team internally to become "ConnectWise System Experts." However, to maximize their effectiveness, it's essential to include this individual or group in executive meetings where overall business goals are discussed.
This approach ensures that the system expert(s) can contribute meaningfully, as they will have a deep understanding of the organization's objectives and can execute tasks with the broader context in mind. A systems expert alone, without knowledge of the potential consequences of their actions, may not be as effective. For many busy IT businesses, this simply isn't an option. The sheer volume of hours needed to train, mentor, and educate these team members on your goals, and more importantly how to reach them by configuration ConnectWise Systems, may take years.
Alternatively, outsourcing to a consulting firm might be a more cost-effective solution. A reputable and experienced consulting firm can help set up your ConnectWise Manage PSA to facilitate seamless collaboration between departments and streamline communication, providing a single source of truth for all customer, project, and financial data.
When selecting a consulting firm, it's crucial to choose one that can handle the more complex aspects of system configuration (the heavy lifting "grunt work"), as this is typically the most time-consuming element for IT businesses. By outsourcing this process, you can achieve efficiency more quickly—perhaps in 12 months instead of 3-5 years—As long as your organization has a visionary leader who can describe the desired goals of the business to the outsourced team.
Considering working with an outsourced consulting group, like Sierra Pacific Group? Check out this blog on How You Can Leverage A Consulting Firm To Get Maximum Return on Investment from Your ConnectWise Systems.