Today we wanted to kick off our 5 part series on Service Sales Maturity. What is Service Sales Maturity you ask? For us it’s a measure of how efficiently an organization can generate and close professional service opportunities. We speak to lots of companies about PS and the range of sales maturity is vast. Some folks have invested heavily in getting their organizations humming, and others are just starting the journey. And after being asked many times about “Where do we rank maturity wise?”, we wanted to put together our thoughts around the question.
To be clear, we are focused on the processes and effort it takes to SELL services, i.e. generate an accurate Statement of Work and downstream reports. This includes initial client discovery, properly scoping the opportunity, configuring the right set of services for the products purchased, identifying the resources needed to fulfill the customer’s goals, building accurate and profitable pricing, producing documents and obtaining deal approval.
We have seen a lot of different approaches to the above process when meeting a new client. Some involve technology, some involve complex processes and all involve a big spreadsheet. However, after automating over 20,000 SOWs we have observed that some companies do it better than others. In this series we will share the levels of maturity we have observed and what it takes for businesses to streamline their process using technology and automation, which leads to a dramatic reduction in the sales cycle.
Setting The Stage
Before we get into the categories we track to measure sales maturity, it makes sense to describe WHAT maturity is. From our perspective, maturity is defined as how close you are to a fully automated process, measured by how much time it takes your team to get work done.
- Level I: Your process is ad hoc and feels unique each time you engage. You reuse document templates and collaborate as a team to support each part of your sales process. SOWs can take 1+ month to complete given the manual nature of your process.
- Level II: You are developing a more repeatable process. You have designed a spreadsheet that contains a good portion of your service offerings, prices, resources and milestones. You even have a few Quick Start or configurable services that can be sold efficiently. Given that there are now standards, you can complete the end-to-end process in 3-4 weeks.
- Level III: You have more fully defined offerings packages and they are available to view on your website. You have a Professional Service Automation (PSA) solution in place and it is connected to your CRM. You have started to develop Services Playbooks for your sellers and you may have a dedicated Services Portfolio Manager. Your team has an easier time scoping work and putting together documents. You can turn around SOWs in 1-2 weeks.
- Level IV: You now have a strong portfolio that contains dozens or even hundreds of offerings. You have added resource and margin calculators to your spreadsheets and you can forecast booked work. You have a broader team that includes Revenue Operations and perhaps a dedicated Service Sales team. Even better, you can turn around SOWs in 1 week.
- Level V: You have arrived at automation nirvana! Not only have you accomplished all of the above, but you have tied more systems and processes together including Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and Contract-Lifecycle-Management (CLM), Business Intelligence (BI) tools and perhaps a client-facing eCommerce experience where end users can purchase directly. AND… You can complete the entire sales process in days or less.
Part 1: Offering Type
Now that you have a sense of what we have seen regarding sales maturity, we want to kick off with our observations around Services offering types. The top companies identify patterns and repeatability in their business, and they standardize services to scale more quickly and reduce friction throughout the process. The table below highlights the main offering types we see across our customer base and includes:
- Productized: Training, Jumpstart, Launch Kit, Enablement Pack, Service Credits
- Configurable: Technical Account Manager, Implementation, Migrations, Upgrades, Staff Augmentation, Solution Design, Change Requests
- Custom: Consulting, Time & Materials, Projects
You can see above that as companies mature there is a transition from Custom to Productized & Configurable services. This leverages repeatability and allows for technology to take over and automate many of the manual steps along the way.
Next time we will discuss Integrations and how they can add efficiency to your Service Sales process. Please contact us at email@example.com of visit us at workrails.com to learn more about how SOW automation can transform your services business.