Professional Services is a function that typically provides knowledge-based specialized services focused on specific outcomes.
In SaaS models, Professional Services now has a closer connection to Customer Success as projects and implementations are no longer one-time upfront efforts; they often need customized integrations and implementations for user enablement.
In SaaS, PS and CS are typically separate teams with different skill sets that work together to unlock maximum value for customers. How this happens depends largely on the offering and the use case. For instance, if the product is complex, or deeply embedded in the customer’s day-to-day activities, or when integrations are to be carried out, Professional Services would need to step in and take over onboarding, implementation, and ensure user enablement. But in cases where products are plug-and-play or less complex, CS teams might be able to handle customers independently.
No. While there may be an overlap in some of their responsibilities and tasks, they demand different skill sets. Customer Success is more focused on nurturing the relationship with the customer and growing the account. Professional Services focuses on more specialized services that can help customers adopt the product easily based on their goals and pain points.
Customer Success needs Professional Services to deliver high-quality services and consulting to their customers. This in turn can improve customer satisfaction and customer ROI, and reduce Time To Value. On the other hand, CS is best placed to provide Professional Services feedback from multiple customers thanks to their close and mostly long-term interactions with them.
In most SaaS companies, since CS and PS are closely aligned, it makes sense to organize the functions in a way that they report to the same leadership.
For customers that have complex existing systems, introducing Professional Services during the sales process can boost customer confidence by showing your ability to deliver the solutions and support the institutional change necessary to solve their problem.
See also: The Launch Station - Packaging your services and creating the right offering for your customers