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/

 

Is It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

Is It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

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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.

Moving beyond support-only to modernized service portfolios

Traditionally, Support and maintenance programs have been the foundation of many post-sales service portfolios. However, Support offers alone are not adequate to reduce churn and grow customer relationship value. The addition of Success-focused services broadens your offerings to help customers use and apply your products more effectively. Modernized service portfolios — with combined Support and Success-focused entitlements — is the future.

Adding Success entitlements

Establishing a clear focus and intent for post-sales services will help you define the type of service portfolio you need, and also suggest the entitlements to include in your modernized service portfolio. If you are creating or modernizing your service portfolio to offer more than reactive problem resolution assistance, consider adding Success-focused assistance such as:

  • Account management
  • Expert Coaching
  • Onboarding
  • Planning
  • Health Checks and Assessments
  • Skills Development

Support vs. Success — understand the difference as you modernize your service portfolio.

Success entitlements differ from Support entitlements because they extend services that help customers derive maximum value from your products (as opposed to reactive customer issue resolution):

Support

Success

  • Support services focus primarily on issue resolution.
  • Support services help customers implement, configure, and administer products more effectively.
  • Support tools monitor issues and provide recommendations to mitigate problems.
  • Support provides access to updates, upgrades and/or parts.
  • Time to respond and resolve issues, product performance and availability, and customer satisfaction are key indicators of Support effectiveness.
  • Success entitlements help customers achieve business outcomes by helping them adopt and use products effectively.
  • Success provides onboarding assistance to help customers get started with new products.
  • Success consultation and guidance helps customers plan and apply products.
  • Success entitlements help customers use the full functionality of a product.
  • Adoption, success, retention, and growth of recurring revenue are key indicators of Success program effectiveness.

 

Conclusion and Recommendations

Note that Success programs may include support services, but Support programs typically do not include success-focused services. When you modernize and sharply define your service portfolios, you can offer customers a hybrid approach that provides them with both high-value Support and Success capabilities. As a result you can significantly increase your ability to:

  • help customers use and apply products
  • reduce churn
  • expand revenue growth.

Your aim should be to leverage market-leading service principles to define and modernize service portfolios that your Sales team can sell and customers will value. World-class, post-sales service portfolios should offer:

  • services that respond to product issues and offer expert guidance—helping customers adopt and use products effectively.
  • access to skills, resources, and expertise from across all service departments including Support, Professional Services, Education, and Customer Success.
  • flexible program structure and purchase options, enabling customers to easily access the right services at the right time as their needs evolve.

Modernizing your Service portfolio—take the next steps.

Is it time to update your service portfolio or add Customer Success programs extensions and add-ons? Give us a call. We can help you define, price, and launch successful new service offers.
ServiceXRG provides portfolio design and pricing services based on extensive best practices research, competitive analysis, and proven methods to develop programs that your customers want and Sales can sell.

Let’s talk about how to build great service programs.

Contact ServiceXRG by chat (click the blue button at bottom right) or e-mail now, or click on my calendar to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs.

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

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Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

High customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores as the desired outcome of Support and Customer Success interactions, while positive, is not enough because it does not connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.

Why NPS is Not Enough for Support and Success

Support and Success must be focused on the attainment of tangible business objectives. For the customer, this implies that Support or Success interactions must help the customer apply a product successfully. For the business, providing these services must contribute to retaining relationships with hopes of expanding their value. This is why organizations must look beyond NPS (Net Promoter Score) when measuring the impact of Support and Success on lifetime customer value.

Attainment of high Net Promoter Scores, while positive, is not enough to indicate that “promoters” will correlate to the positive outcomes the business expects. The measure of Support and Success must be tangible and focused on “end game” results such as:

  • Can the customer use the product?
  • Can customers achieve tangible business outcomes by using the product?
  • Did support or success services help the customer attain their goals?
  • How will the customers’ ability to achieve their desired outcomes influence their ongoing relationship?

Beyond NPS: The Right Metrics for Support and Success

What is the primary reason for offering Support and Success services?  In most cases these organizations are aligned to help customers adopt and apply products successfully. The rationale is if customer can use and apply products successfully, you will increase the likelihood that you can retain and expand these relationships.  A single, simple measure such as NPS cannot provide sufficient insight to indicate that Support and Success efforts are resulting in tangible business benefit.

Consider the following eight metrics for determining the impact of your post sales services.

Metric

Description

1. Onboard

The percent on that new customers have received formal onboarding guidance.

2. Adoption

The rate that customers have met adoption milestones.

3. Success

The percent of customer that have reached established performance goals or milestones on defined journey map.

4. Availability

The rate that customers business operations have not be interrupted due to downtime or outages.

5. Engagement Quality

The percent of all customer engagements that result in positive outcomes.

6. Retention

The percent of active customers that have committed to renew an existing relationship.

7. Health

The relative health of a customer relationship based on the composite rates of adoption, success, retention, and recurring revenue rates.

8. Net Recurring Revenue

The net growth or contraction of the total recurring revenue relationship value. See How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

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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 necessary insights to identify the root causes of churn, attrition, and contraction.

Net Recurring Revenue Defined

Net Recurring Revenue measures the additions and losses to recurring revenue over a specified period. Net Recurring Revenue Rate indicates if the overall value of customer relationships is expanding or contracting. Knowing how to measure Net Recurring Revenue, you can obtain a clear indication of the performance and impact of service offers, products, programs, and customer-focused policies and practices.

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

To calculate the Net Recurring Revenue Rate, you need to know how much recurring revenue is added and lost within a period.  While you can calculate Net Recurring Revenue Rate by knowing the aggregate recurring revenue you add and lose within a period, it is ideal to have as much granularity as possible.

Recurring Revenue Measurement Period

Net Recurring Revenue is a time-based measurement.  Choose a period such as a month, quarter, or year.  The shorter the period the more likely you are to see variations from period to period due to time-based market factors and customer behaviors.  Measurement over longer periods will provide a more accurate reflection of the actual trajectory of recurring revenue performance.

Existing Recurring Revenue

Start with your Existing Recurring Revenue (Existing RR) at the start of a period.  This includes any sources of revenue that are renewable at the end of a term including product and service subscriptions.  This does not include one-time purchases and license fees.

Recurring Revenue Lost

Subtract Recurring Revenue Lost (RR Lost) during that period.  This includes subscriptions that are canceled or non-renewed (lost) and subscriptions that are reduced in total value (contraction).

Recurring Revenue Added

Add Recurring Revenue Added (RR Added).   This will include any new sources of recurring (additions) or expansion of the value of existing recurring revenue relationships.

See the formula below.

The Meaning of Net Recurring Revenue

Measuring Net Recurring Revenue provides a clear indication about the extent to which recurring revenue is growing or declining.  The more important insights from this metric come by examining the reasons for growth or contraction of Recurring Revenue.  Consider the following when examining Net Recurring Revenue:

  • What is the trend in Net Recurring Revenue – growth or contraction?
  • What is the rate of rate of change in growth / contraction?
  • What are the primary reasons for loss of recurring revenue – loss of customers or contraction or exiting of relationships?
  • What are the primary factors that contribute to revenue gains – new relationships or expansion of existing relationships?

The type and magnitude of changes to Net Recurring Revenue Rate can provide important insights into the reasons for changes to the value of customer relationships.  Use these insights to develop strategies to stem customer churn and reduction of contract value. Build upon practices and circumstances that lead to new customer engagement and growth of existing relationships.

Net Recurring Revenue

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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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Making it easy for customers to get help depends upon the channels available to access support resources and request assistance. Many companies offer assistance by phone but there is a clear shift towards electronic channels.

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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.

Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

The future success of Customer Support relies on the ability of Support to scale to meet growing demand and fulfill an expanded, success-focused mission. Learn about five proven initiatives for scaling Support delivery capabilities.

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

The Journey from Support to Customer Success

The Journey from Support to Customer Success

The Journey from Support to Customer Success

Every step towards a Customer Success-oriented approach is positive, but if we truly want to pursue Customer Success, we need to understand what it is and why it is different from traditional Customer Support models.

Start Your Journey

The term Customer Success seems to permeate the industry with nearly every company engaged in some type of success initiative.  The focus and awareness of Customer Success is timely and refreshing.  This does not imply that technology companies have not been focused on making customers successful in the past, but this emphasis on Customer Success creates a new level of awareness and commitment to truly impacting customers’ ability to derive benefits from technology.  Customer Success has profound implications for the ways that companies engage, serve, and retain customers.

As we rush to embrace Customer Success it is imperative that we have a shared understanding about what Customer Success is and is not.  All too often we find examples of Customer Success initiatives that involve little more than changing the name of the Support department or adding a few new roles to focus on success-related activities.  Every step towards a Customer Success-oriented approach is positive, but if we truly want to pursue Customer Success, we need to understand what it is and why it is different from traditional Customer Support models.

Look to ServiceXRG to guide you on your Success Journey.  Use the milestones below to get started.

Milestone 1: READINESS ASSESSMENT

The first step in the transformation to Customer Success is to understand what it is and why it may be right for your business.  While we all want our customers to be successful, the implementation of a Customer Success capability can be costly and disruptive.  Before you commit to a customer success strategy it is essential to determine if this is the right approach and the right time.

Milestone 2: DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS STRATEGY

Customer Success does not just happen – you need a plan.  The foundation for an effective Customer Success initiative is a clearly defined strategy.  The Success strategy must: Define what you expect to accomplish; Justify why it makes good business sense; Articulate the resources and changes required to execute; and explain how Success performance will be measured.  Define your strategy, develop the plan, and gain champions and sponsors.

Milestone 3: INVEST IN SUCCESS

To execute your Customer Success strategy and achieve your target objectives you must implement the necessary capabilities. Customer Success demands that you have well defined practices, appropriate staffing levels and roles, and enabling tools.

Milestone 4: OPERATE AND IMPROVE

Defining a Customer Success strategy and installing staff, tools and processes is just the beginning.  The needs and expectations of customers will continue change and Success strategies and offerings must evolve.  Focus on maximizing Customer Success performance by monitoring KPIs.  Look for opportunities to continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Customer Success initiatives. Create a success-focused culture and differentiate your brand by selling results.

More Customer Success Resources

ServiceXRG offers a wealth of expertise and research to help you develop and execute an effective Customer Success strategy.

Take the Customer Success Health Assessment

Get immediate insights about the state or your Customer Success capabilities.  Start Now

Additional Customer Success Articles

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Contact ServiceXRG

Get in touch, we can help.  Contact us.

Featured: Journey from Support to Customer Success

The journey from Technical Support to Customer Success requires more than a name change or the addition of a team of Customer Success Managers. To fully embrace Customer Success, Support must rethink its role and adopt new ways to engage, retain and grow customer relationships. This Playbook provides a guided journey across four key milestones to help you define essential Customer Success capabilities.

This report is FREE.  Login or register to get your complimentary 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.

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Is It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

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