It seems so obvious why wouldn’t you have done it already? Well, rolling out a services business on the back of your product business requires careful consideration. I’ve done it several times and I’m currently helping a client execute the strategy for 2014. Here are some pointers to consider. I hope they save you time:
15 Quick Tips
- Appoint a manager responsible for its success and recognize the personalities needed to satisfy customers face to face. Bedside manner matters!
- Define each service line as if it were a product. It makes selling and pricing so much easier.
- Build proposals that trap the specific program of work, the deliverables, the timetable and the cost. And build a library of great proposals.
- Cover off procedures for unhappy clients. They can’t return the product so what are you going to do?
- How will you reward the product sales team for selling professional services? If the opportunity is big enough, consider breaking it off to a separate business unit with a dedicated sales team.
- Consider marketing strategies that highlight your expertise in this area. Credibility and trust will drive sales. Focus on outcomes your services generate for clients. If possible link it to the customer’s usage of an existing product. Create a separate section of your web site including password protected client areas.
- Try to build an annuity element into the service. A follow up health check, audit, validation.
- Teach your consultants, who are doing the work, your established sales process. Given the right training they will spot new and exciting new opportunities when they are on site.
- Build incisive white papers that illustrate you understand the issues, that specific prospects in the marketplace are suffering.
- Design sales scripts that introduce your professional services capability as a natural part of the conversation.
- Don’t announce the new service without a client. Announce through signed up clients that you are responding to huge demand for your expertize by expanding this service.
- Establish metrics that measure the success of the team including, utilization rates, satisfaction surveys, new business winning and repeat business. If maintenance services form part of the offering then measure renewal rates and understand why clients fail to renew.
- Build strong sales pipelines using the same sales process as your products business.
- Set clear financial goals for the first year of launch.
- Set abort criteria for closing it down before your ego gets carried away.