Justin Kruse, Power Platform Practice Lead at Leaf, identified an opportunity to address two key challenges with Leaf’s internal sales and operations processes. Both challenges directly affect customer satisfaction, and the solution would create a positive impact for Leaf. Since these obstacles were not easily overcome using the traditional project management tools, Justin thought a more right-sized approach was to build a custom solution using Power Apps.
According to Justin, “There were two key pain points that led us to create our own customized project management solution. The first was the time it took to create consistent, written agreements for our projects. We lacked consistency in building customer agreements. It took our staff hours to find, create, build, and generate an external facing agreement. This prompted us to standardize the process, get it down to a repeatable approach, and reduce the time it was taking.”
“The second pain point centered around our internal process once our sales team marked an opportunity as ‘won’ in our CRM system. We found that even though we were using a comprehensive set of tools like web-based project management, cloud-based document management, and our own internal application, the effort to create a sequence of events to occur once a project got the green light was extremely time consuming and cumbersome. I’m afraid to admit we had projects that were being started that were not foundationally set up with the systems that needed to be in place to succeed. There were inefficiencies and roadblocks to getting projects up and going.”
“These two pain points created a ceiling that prevented us from scaling our business. Staying with this process would have been untenable. It would have been so time-consuming that we could only complete one agreement per week.”
As these problems were being identified, the situation called for a process improvement exercise – a roadmap for the improved state.
Leaf ultimately decided to use Power Apps because of its ability to make connections and automations between existing technologies. Leaf named their internal tool LIRA, which focuses on two major areas of the business, Sales Enablement and Project Management.
On the Sales Enablement side, LIRA includes:
- Opportunity pursuit tracking, scoping, and details
- Service and Subscription scoping
- Project Cost Forecasting
- Projecting staff utilization
- Finalizing quotes
- Creating standard agreements
- Automating contract creation
- Digital agreement execution
And on the Project Management side:
- General Project Tracking
- Aggregating work logs with billing available for management and customer view
- Risk and issue management
- Automated Status Report Generation including client visibility (via ClickUp).
Beyond these two major areas of focus, LIRA includes Account Management features to help position Leaf for future customer engagements such as:
- Automated generation and sending of contracts
- Account subscription management
- Automated account survey generation and tracking
It no longer takes hours to create a customer agreement. Justin shared, “It’s literally gone from hours to 10-15 minutes. We can get an agreement pushed out in a consistent, uniform, repeatable manner. That is a huge time savings. Now, it’s possible to generate multiple agreements per day.”
Here’s how it works: The salesperson creates and populates the original sales opportunity. This information is then reviewed by a technical architect to scope and create pricing automatically. Then, a non-disclosure agreement and a master services agreement is generated. Project agreements and subscription agreements are also generated. This results in a seamless sales-to-operations handoff and transition.
“If this process were not in place, a natural cap would inhibit our ability to onboard new projects. The idea of onboarding and starting a project went from one per week to one per day with this automation. And, because of this repeatable process, there are no holes for things to fall through.”
Justin notes, “We’ve built the automation in LIRA so when the agreement is routed and the final signature is acquired via Adobe Sign, a process is triggered that sets up the project within our web-based project management tool. The automation also creates a document management structure within our own internal environment. That process would have taken hours to run manually, and today it takes literally no time. Because we’ve scoped things properly on the opportunity side, that allows for zero human touch to get the systems in place to support and drive the operations aspect of the project.”
“In any business there exists challenges for both sales and operations. What we’ve done has empowered both parties to execute in unison by eliminating that artificial cap on productivity and growth potential. We’ve created an infinite runway for sales to create, pursue, and ultimately close – and we know our systems can accommodate their velocity. We are now able to run at a speed that our practice dictates. This is a model that is infinitely scalable to meet and accommodate our needs in our current state as well as expand appropriately because it’s so well designed for that growth.”
LIRA certainly saves time internally, but the project was driven by the desire to provide a world-class experience for our customers – an experience that many have never seen in a software development project.
Justin adds, “Upon our first contact, we are communicating and presenting a treatment that oftentimes they’ve never seen as part of a sales process. From the agreement stage – how that’s presented via digital execution and signature – then on the operations side, this delight carries over via the automated status reports, to the monthly project satisfaction surveys – all intended to involve the customer in a positive way. We keep a high level of awareness among our key constituents on the project; all these elements allow us to be intentional in delivering Customer Delight. We want our customers to express that they’ve never experienced this type of relationship before with a similar engagement.”
LIRA is an internal application built on Microsoft’s Power Platform that has been customized for our business process. LIRA is used to track key aspects and engagements of business: lead management, opportunity management, project management, and account management. These modules are all built using components of the Power Platform and seamlessly interact to provide organization wide visibility into all aspects of the business.
How can we help you identify areas for business improvement? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Leaf Software Solutions
Leaf Software Solutions has been delivering mission critical business solutions for over 34 years. Our consultative approach results in custom-tailored solutions that create value for your business. Learn more at http://www.leafsoftwaresolutions.com.