GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

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GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. 

While products form the basis of a customer-vendor relationship, services are the foundation from which post-sales customer relationships are built and sustained.  Services are a natural extension to core product features and offer access to the expertise, skills, and resources that drive customer value.

By Steve Schneider – Co-Founder, WorkRails

Why selling services can be difficult

Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult?

The ability of Sales to sell services is often complicated by inadequate systems and manual processes that reduce the speed and accuracy of service discovery, configuration, and quoting. Inhibitors to service sales are often systemic and arise from programs that are disproportionately focused on selling strictly new products.

Services revenue is more important than ever, and companies must make concerted efforts to help their Sales teams sell services more efficiently.

10 ways to help Sales teams sell services

  1. Make Sales aware of available services.

Sales teams may not be familiar with the extent of services available to customers or recent modifications and enhancements to the catalog of available services. Actively promote the availability and value of services to Sales.

Develop a comprehensive catalog of service programs with up-to-date program descriptions and critical details. Make the service program catalog available digitally in a single, easy-to-find location like a CRM.  Keep Sales up-to-date about enhancements to the service catalog.

  1. Make it easy for Sales to align customer needs with available programs.

The existence of a service catalog does not mean that Sales will know how to align customer needs to available services. Help Sales recognize service opportunities and provide the tools to match needs to available services.

Provide Sales with digital customer journeys, use case examples, and service configuration guidance (configurators). Consider creating predefined service-outcome-based journeys that package multiple service programs to deliver specific customer outcomes, but also support custom SOWs.

  1. Justify service value.

Every service program and service bundle will have an associated price, even if it is discounted. Customers will want to understand the benefits of service offers for the price paid. Be prepared to help Sales justify service value. Establish guidance to suggest the tangible benefits customers can expect, including faster time to benefit; lower costs to implement and maintain; and the attainment of business performance objectives.

Provide Sales with cases studies and quantification tools to help justify the cost of services.

  1. Simplify service configuration.

Some service programs will provide standard deliverables and resources, other services must be customized to meet specific customer needs. Make it possible for Sales to customize and configure services to meet the specific scale and scope of customer needs. Integrate configuration tools with the ability to create customized service quotes.

Provide Sales with access to easy-to-use sales enablement and on-line configuration tools to capture required information needed to customize service quotes.

  1. Streamline proposal creation.

Creating a service proposal should not be complicated. To simplify service proposal creation, use configured services information to automatically build proposals with up-to-date program descriptions, terms, and conditions. Provide the means to pull information from existing systems and integrate customer-specific configuration inputs to create customized service proposals.

Provide Sales with the proposal-generating tools necessary to generate customer-ready documentation quickly and easily.

  1. Digitize pricing, discounting, and Sales policies.

Pricing should not be a mystery and Sales should not have to hunt for quotes. Provide a digital experience for Sales and Service team members to dynamically create quotes based on customer needs. Add pricing and sales policies to your services catalog and keep all data up to date and relevant in one central repository. Assure that pricing and sales policies are clearly delineated by regions.

Provide Sales with a digital platform to generate quotes on demand based on customer requirements.

  1. Automate approval workflows.

Take the guesswork out of pricing and discounting by establishing clear sales policies and approval guidelines. Automated, end-to-end service sales workflows and approvals assure that proposals are aligned with current sales policies.

Provide Sales with clearly defined sales policies related to pricing discount and approvals. Provide digitally enabled processes for creating and routing new proposals to the appropriate internal resources for approval—deal desks or executives— with the ability to capture customer approvals digitally.

  1. Seamless system integration

Selling services should not require extraordinary efforts by Sales. Disparate systems that require time and effort to keep up to date can increase the time to close new service deals and lead to errors and inaccuracies.  implify the service sales process by integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM),  Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Professional Services Automation (PSA), and other back-end systems that enable service sales actions such as configuration, pricing, quoting, booking, and scheduling new services.

Remove the burden on Sales teams to update multiple disparate systems by providing seamless system integration across the end-to-end service sales process.

  1. Incent action.

Streamlining and simplifying the end-to-end service sales process will help Sales sell services, but it may not be enough. If you want Sales to take an interest and commit time and efforts to selling services recognize and incent action. Structure compensation, goals and KPIs to properly align products and services.

Incent Sales to sell the right services to the right customers and adhere to established service sales policies and guidelines.

  1. Measure and improve.

Monitor the effectiveness of service sales actions to identify which service programs are most often purchased and w messaging and sales resources are most useful for closing service deals. Evaluate the effectiveness of selling platforms and processes to further streamline the service sales process.

Continually monitor service sales performance and engage with Sales teams to assure that service offers are aligned with current customer needs; sales resources are effective; and that systems and processes are streamlined.

Help your Sales team sell services.

Services and the means to sell them are imperative. With the right resources Sales can quickly and accurately discover, understand, configure, price, and quote services. Effective service sales capabilities create opportunities for recurring revenue retention and growth. Help your Sales team sell services by providing the information, systems, and processes they need.

Service sales can be complex and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

 

About WorkRails

WorkRails has reinvented how software companies sell services to their customers.  With over $700 billion a year spent on technology services, we were shocked to see the most advanced companies relying on old documents, spreadsheets and predominantly manual processes to drive such an important part of their business.

Through automation, WorkRails makes selling services easy, fast and more accurate for our clients, saving them time and money.  Our SaaS solution powers an e-commerce experience for services employees, clients and partners that increases adoption and reduces errors.  Our clients include some of the top software companies in the world.

Learn More about WorkRails at https://www.workrails.com/

 

Essential Customer Success Activities

Essential Customer Success Activities

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Essential Customer Success Activities

Customer Success—and the recurring revenue it generates—results from a series of intentional, interrelated activities performed throughout the customer relationship lifecycle. As shown in this graphic, effective customer success activities comprise a continuum:

 

Essential Customer Success Activities

Effective Customer Success activities fall into 6 distinct categories.  All are essential, yet recent ServiceXRG research revealed that half of companies surveyed are doing only half the job:

Customer Success Activities Commonly Used

Source: ServiceXRG 2020

Customer Success Activities Defined

Onboarding Activities

Onboarding activities aim to remove barriers that may inhibit successful product use. Onboarding can encompass activities to welcome and introduce customers to the resources necessary to use new products, as well as verification that customers can access and use products.

Onboarding activities can include:

  • Initial welcome
  • Kick-off-meeting
  • Goals and objectives inventory

Success Planning Activities

Success planning helps customers realize the full potential of products. These activities can increase understanding customer business objectives, introducing customers to product capabilities, and aligning services to help yield tangible business results.

Success Planning activities can include:

  • Goal setting
  • Account planning
  • Journey mapping
  • Business reviews

Activities to Drive Adoption

Adoption activities occur throughout the product ownership lifecycle. They are designed to advance Customer Success by encouraging the full and successful use of product features and capabilities by all targeted users.

Adoption activities can include:

  • Coaching
  • Training
  • Best practices
  • Templates

Health Monitoring Activities

By monitoring the customer ownership experience, your team gains insights about the extent to which customers are using products successfully. Early-warning signs of low adoption or low success rates trigger corrective actions.

Health monitoring activities can include:

  • Usage tracking
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Intervention

Customer Retention Activities

Customer retention activities facilitate the contract-renewal actions that are necessary to assure sustained customer relationships and continuation of recurring revenues.

Customer retention activities can include:

  • Renewal notification
  • Budget planning
  • Follow-up
  • Win-loss analysis

Up-sell and Cross-Sell Activities

These expansion activities focus on the growth of customer relationship value by offering additional capabilities or capacity. This is where Customer Success activities pay off in additional, and ideally recurring, revenue.

 

Up-sell and cross-sell activities can include:

  • Account reviews
  • ROI analysis
  • Goal setting
  • Opportunity alignment

Make a plan to optimize Customer Success activities

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies optimize their Customer Success strategies, create action plans, and apply best practices.

Let’s make a plan to optimize your Customer Success Activities.

Contact ServiceXRG via the chat button at bottom right or e-mail now; or click on my calendar to set up an initial assessment of your Customer Success planning needs.

 

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Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult? This article introduces 10 ways to help Sales teams sell services.

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Treat Your Service Portfolio as a Product Line

Treat Your Service Portfolio as a Product Line

Treat Your Service Portfolio as a Product Line

Service and success programs are a significant source of revenue. To assure that they yield their maximum revenue potential they must keep pace with customer needs and expectations.

Formal Product Management of Service Portfolios

Treat service portfolios as valuable offerings by assigning dedicated program management resources to keep offerings up to date and relevant. Consider the following:

Develop service and success portfolios that span delivery silos (Support, Success, Education, Professional Services, etc.).

 

Assign a full-time dedicated product manager to lead program management activities for the service / success portfolios across service disciplines and related product families.

 

Establish goals and objectives for the service program manager based on performance and revenues directly associated with sale and renewal of service and success offerings.

 

Grow the team of portfolio product managers to keep pace with the size, complexity, and financial performance of the service portfolio.

 

To assure that your service and success portfolio remains relevant to customer needs review and update offerings on an ongoing basis.  Consider adding new offerings and enhancements as customer needs evolve.  Be certain to define and articulate the value of all offerings and reinforce service benefits to help sustain customer relationships.

Featured: Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

The eight fundamental Success Marketing and Portfolio Management practices are defined and described within this report.

Log-in to get your copy.

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GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult? This article introduces 10 ways to help Sales teams sell services.

read more

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Modern, well-defined post-sales service portfolios that combine elements of Customer Support and Customer Success can significantly increase your ability to help customers use and apply products; reduce churn; and expand revenue growth. This article will help you to determine the type of post sales service portfolio you need.

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Customer Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

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Stop Selling Support and Start Selling Success

Stop Selling Support and Start Selling Success

Stop Selling Support and Start Selling Success

It is no longer enough to attach a support program to a product sale. Effective Success Sales teams must be able to establish long term service relationships that last and grow well beyond the initial sale.

Success Sales Effectiveness

Success sales effectiveness is optimized when Sales teams are knowledgeable of service programs and can articulate a compelling value proposition for long term service benefits.  To maximize sales effectiveness, companies must establish formal success training programs.  Consider the following:

Establish a formal success sales curriculum to instruct sales representatives responsible for selling services (direct and through partners).

Instruct sales teams in the identification of success opportunities.

Provide opportunities for instructor led classroom and virtual training.

Supplement core training with periodic updates delivered through self-paced instructional videos and/or periodic live webinars.

Include coverage of core offerings, value proposition, use cases and overcoming objections.

Supplement sales training with supporting tools and reference materials.

Establish competency-based testing to verify sales representative knowledge. (internal sales staff and partners).

Assure that all service sales staff have been full trained, and their knowledge tested.  Monitor sales effectiveness by measuring initial service contract sales (attach), renewal rates and the rate that service revenue grows from expansion selling.

For additional insights into how to effectively market and sell services, consider the following featured report:

Featured: Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

The eight fundamental Success Marketing and Portfolio Management practices are defined and described within this report.

Log-in to get your copy.

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GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult? This article introduces 10 ways to help Sales teams sell services.

read more

Is It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

Modern, well-defined post-sales service portfolios that combine elements of Customer Support and Customer Success can significantly increase your ability to help customers use and apply products; reduce churn; and expand revenue growth. This article will help you to determine the type of post sales service portfolio you need.

read more

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Net Recurring Revenue is a comprehensive indicator that reveals the extent to which you are retaining, expanding and growing customer relationship value. Examining the specific underlying elements that contribute to the calculation of Net Recurring Revenue provides the necessary insights to identify the root causes of churn, attrition and contraction. In addition, examining the reasons for revenue growth presents opportunities to embrace and expand practices that encourage expansion of relationship value.

read more

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Technology service programs are evolving to offer new value and benefits such as use and adoption assistance and resources to help attain successful outcomes. As technology service programs change service marketing must evolve beyond selling the initial service engagement and focus on sustaining and growing relationship value.

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Treat Your Service Portfolio as a Product Line

Your Support Value Proposition is Out of Date

Your Support Value Proposition is Out of Date

Changes to product licensing – perpetual to subscription – will change the services and benefits customers need and expect from you. Make sure that your value proposition is up to date and relevant to the way you license products and deliver services.

From Product to Subscription-Centric Value

The benefits promised from post-sales services need to reflect the needs and expectations of customers.  Support and post-sales service benefits can be so much more than commitments to keep technology up to date or the speed that issues will be responded to.  Customers need and expect that your products will positively impact their business.

Consider how the elements of your service value proposition must change as you switch from product-centric perpetual licensing to subscription services.

Recommendations

 

  • Make sure that your value proposition is aligned with the way that you license products and deliver services.

  • Structure your value proposition to convey how your services will help customers use your products (onboarding and adoption) and apply them effectively (success services) to yield tangible business outcomes.

  • Evaluate your current service offers and consider what if any new services are required to meet customer needs and expectations.

  • Train and enable sales channels (direct and partners) to articulate your services value proposition.

  • Reinforce service value throughout the customer relationship – not just prior to renewal.

Featured: Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

The eight fundamental Success Marketing and Portfolio Management practices are defined and described within this report.

Log-in to get your copy.

Related Articles

GUEST POST: Sell Services Faster and More Accurately

Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult? This article introduces 10 ways to help Sales teams sell services.

read more

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Modern, well-defined post-sales service portfolios that combine elements of Customer Support and Customer Success can significantly increase your ability to help customers use and apply products; reduce churn; and expand revenue growth. This article will help you to determine the type of post sales service portfolio you need.

read more

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

Net Recurring Revenue is a comprehensive indicator that reveals the extent to which you are retaining, expanding and growing customer relationship value. Examining the specific underlying elements that contribute to the calculation of Net Recurring Revenue provides the necessary insights to identify the root causes of churn, attrition and contraction. In addition, examining the reasons for revenue growth presents opportunities to embrace and expand practices that encourage expansion of relationship value.

read more

Customer Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

Technology service programs are evolving to offer new value and benefits such as use and adoption assistance and resources to help attain successful outcomes. As technology service programs change service marketing must evolve beyond selling the initial service engagement and focus on sustaining and growing relationship value.

read more

Essential Customer Success Activities

Six Customer Success Activities You Need

Six Customer Success Activities You Need

Customer Success is a series of interrelated activities performed throughout the customer relationship lifecycle. The most effective customer success initiatives include activities from onboarding to expansion with an emphasis on assuring customers’ successful use of products. Typical customer success initiatives include multiple success-focused activities, yet nearly half of companies focus on just one or two.

Essential Customer Success Activities

Customer Success Activities Defined

Customer Success Activities Commonly Used

Source: Customer Success Practices and Metrics Study (December 2018)

Featured: Customer Success Practices and Metrics

Customer Success has become a widely used and universally accepted term to describe a variety of customer-focused activities. The term has many meanings: A department; a team; a role, a business strategy. Unfortunately, the broad use of the term has obscured the diverse and complex activities that underlie a potentially transformational initiative. This study examines the approach companies use to organize, deliver and measure their Customer Success initiatives.

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Company executives understand that selling services alongside core product offerings leads to greater alignment and customer value, while subsequently decreasing the likelihood of customer churn and loss of recurring revenue. Well-defined services and the means to sell them are imperative. so why is selling services so difficult? This article introduces 10 ways to help Sales teams sell services.

read more

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Our research has revealed that nearly a third (32%) of Support demand stems from questions related to either installation, configuration, or setup. This understanding gives companies an immense opportunity to reduce this demand—and we see two major keys to ongoing Support issue prevention.

read more

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Is It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

Modern, well-defined post-sales service portfolios that combine elements of Customer Support and Customer Success can significantly increase your ability to help customers use and apply products; reduce churn; and expand revenue growth. This article will help you to determine the type of post sales service portfolio you need.

read more

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

Net Recurring Revenue is a comprehensive indicator that reveals the extent to which you are retaining, expanding and growing customer relationship value. Examining the specific underlying elements that contribute to the calculation of Net Recurring Revenue provides the necessary insights to identify the root causes of churn, attrition and contraction. In addition, examining the reasons for revenue growth presents opportunities to embrace and expand practices that encourage expansion of relationship value.

read more

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