Answering the most common question asked of Professional Services Managers

Answering the most common question asked of Professional Services Managers

Professional Services Managers handle assigning consultants to projects. As a result, one of the most familiar internal emails and questions we receive from sales teams is, "when's the next time a consultant is available?" It is possible to see this request multiple times a week at the start of a quarter, and multiple times an hour towards the end of the quarter. Regardless of the structure of your Professional Services Organization, answering the same question for different people repeatedly throughout the day is entirely avoidable.

The solution is to publish the availability of Professional Services resources on an internal website, like SharePoint. The Professional Services Manager can then quickly respond with a template email:

"Thanks for asking about our personnel availability. Our current resource availability is at {your URL here}, and we update that weekly at a minimum. I'd suggest that you bookmark that web page for future reference. Please let me know if you have any other questions."

I have a keyboard macro for my customized version of that response. This is invaluable at the end of a quarter where eight sales reps will ask the same question in the same hour.

For this solution to work, the web page needs to be regularly updated. It is tempting to develop a graphically-rich, interactive web page that shows an enormous amount of detail about resource availability by the senior consultant and by the hour. This is also a bad idea. Sales teams and senior partners are just looking for a quick answer, like 'June 8th, 2015'. 


Next personnel availability in North America: June 8th, 2015
Next partner availability in North America: May 11th, 2015

Next personnel availability in EMEA: May 25th, 2015
Next partner availability in EMEA: May 18th, 2015

(Excerpt from availability web page)

Every Friday, I spent five minutes updating the availability web page. Similarly, whenever we book a new engagement, I update the web page if the next available date has changed. This small investment of time saves countless emails and phone calls at the end of each quarter.

Prospective clients frequently ask the same question, although it usually sounds like, "why can't we have someone here tomorrow?" It is important for the web page to require authorization to limit availability to your firm's personnel.  That way, your sales teams can provide a more nuanced version of the answer to prospects. As the schedule is readily available, the sales teams will not need to call you throughout the day to ask, "when's the next time a consultant's available?"

What if your mentor forgot to mention a few important details about management?

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Social Marketing for Professional Services on YouTube

Social Marketing for Professional Services on YouTube