Presented by Certinia

If anything is certain right now it’s that our economic climate is…uncertain. That’s why services businesses all over the world — that is, any organization whose main asset is the people who provide revenue-generating services, rather than products — are building plans to achieve cost-effective growth. They’re making the pivot to profitability, and seeking to achieve the certainty that comes with it.

This pivot is being driven by a recognition that the days of cheap capital and mega-growth are over. As the cost of capital increases, services businesses are looking for ways to grow in a more cost-effective manner. They’re shifting away from their previous emphasis on growth above all and renewing their focus on profit.

But what exactly does it mean to pivot to profitability? It’s more than a simple cost-cutting exercise. It’s really about finding innovative ways to leverage your most valuable resource: your people. It’s about optimizing the retention and deployment of your workforce to grow where you can. By tapping into the full potential of your team, you can unlock new opportunities for growth and create a sustainable path to profitability in these uncertain times.

Here are three best practices for optimizing the deployment of your people to increase profits and deliver greater business certainty.

1. Create a great place to work

A positive work environment may seem at first no more than a generalized goal for any company, but creating a collaborative work environment can have direct impact on profitability. Taking care of your people is paramount. When employees are encouraged to put their hands up for projects that interest them and seek out opportunities to learn new skills, you can better match your employees’ skills and interests with the needs of your business — which leads to improved employee satisfaction and retention, as well as cost savings.

Another important element of any collaborative environment is an absence of micromanagement. Instead, provide a structure that gives your people the freedom and authority to do their job. By supporting the growth and development of your people, you also help to create a virtuous cycle of continuous learning and improvement within your organization.

Ask yourself: How many dedicated mentoring sessions have we done in the last quarter? How many training sessions have our team members completed this month, and what are each of their goals for continued learning? By prioritizing the growth and development of your people, you can create an environment where they feel supported and empowered to go above and beyond in contributing to the success of the business — especially in uncertain times when those contributions are most needed.

2. Emphasize customer outcomes

Happy customers mean bigger profits. Not only does delivering value to your customers keep them coming back for more, but it also generates positive buzz that can attract new business. By driving a high customer satisfaction score (CSAT), you’ll not only increase revenue through repeat purchases but also save on costs associated with losing customers and negative feedback.

Employees who are outcome-focused understand the importance of delivering value to customers. They understand that customer satisfaction is not just about completing a project or providing a service but about creating a positive experience for the customer throughout the entire engagement. By focusing on outcomes, employees can also identify areas where they can add more value, anticipate potential issues and proactively address customer concerns, which ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction.

One of the best ways to ensure that your employees are outcome-focused is to enable them to work from a single technology platform — one that encompasses every customer touchpoint, from sales, to delivery, to customer success management, to financial management and future planning. With a single platform, employees can stay agile and responsive, ultimately driving higher customer satisfaction and loyalty — in good times and bad.

3. Optimize your work environment

Have you ever felt annoyed and exhausted after having to toggle between apps to complete a basic task, or a task necessary to complete your job? You’re not alone. “App fatigue” is a growing concern for many service organizations. Equipping teams with the right tools to reduce the need to constantly switch between apps means your team will not only save time, but also make better decisions with real-time data.

Overly-customized Professional Services Automation tools represent another clear threat to a business’s bottom line. In the past, businesses were sold the idea that customization of software solutions was an essential differentiator for their workers. Yet customizations limit the ability to quickly take advantage of new functionality delivered in upgrades. It’s in the best interest of almost any company to remove customizations and simplify their operations. Ultimately, this makes it easier for employees to focus on delivering customer value.

Finally, your organization should embrace a mindset of continuous transformation. This is critical to achieving long-term profitability. It means being open to change, embracing new technologies and processes and constantly seeking ways to improve operations and deliver more value to customers. By maintaining a focus on continuous improvement, you can adapt to changing market conditions and achieve sustained profitability over time.

Final takeaway

The key to success in any services business is the ability to adapt. When the economy is thriving, that’s the time to focus on growth. When the economy is uncertain, as it is now, that’s the time to make the pivot to profitability. To do it, you must be agile and open to new ideas and strategies. You must invest in your people and constantly monitor market conditions and adjust your approach as needed. With that mindset and the right Professional Services Automation tools to support it, you can boost profits, bring greater certainty to your business and power through uncertain times.

Shane Ward is Vice President of Global Professional Services at Certinia.

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