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 necessary that drive customer value.
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. Companies that focus solely on product-centric sales practices and not services stand to lose significant opportunities to retain and expand customer relationship value.
The objective for sales, particularly in a subscription-based economy, is to establish an opportunity for sustained long-term customer relationships and not simply to sell a product.
This article presents 10 ways that you can help your 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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. Simplify 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.
9. 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 establish service sales policies and guidelines.
10. Measure and Improve
Monitor the effectiveness of service sales actions to identify which service programs are most often purchased and what 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. Book a demo to learn more.