Blog / How to build effective service sales capabilities

Last Updated:April 22nd, 2022

How to build effective service sales capabilities

Technology Service Sales – A Strategic Imperative

Selling services effectively along with core product offerings is a strategic imperative.  Services form the foundation from which post-sales customer relationships are built and sustained.  Services are a natural extension to core product features and offer customers access to the expertise, skills, and resources necessary to drive value.

By effectively selling services companies achieve greater alignment with customer needs, deliver tangible value, reduce the likelihood of customer churn, and helps to sustain and grow recurring revenue.  Services revenue is more important than ever, and companies must make concerted efforts to help their Sales teams sell services more efficiently.  

Make Service Sales Easier

Selling services is hard when you don’t have the right processes and technology, yet service sales does not have to be difficult.

The ability to sell services is often complicated by misaligned service offers, limited sales training, 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.

Essential Service Selling Capabilities

Selling services is easier when you have the right capabilities including well defined service offers, a skilled and motivated sales force, and systems and processes that streamline and reward service sales.  

Here are 5 ways to develop essential service sales capabilities:

  1. Develop a Catalog of Service Programs Customers Need and Want
  2. Deliver a Compelling Service Value Proposition
  3. Train and Enable Your Service Sales Team
  4. Incent Service Sales
  5. Streamline Service Selling Motions

Develop a Catalog of Service Programs Customers Need and Want

Develop a catalog of service programs to provide customers with access to the expertise and resources they need to be successful.

Service programs offer the foundation from which post-sales customer relationships are built. Service programs must provide a natural extension to core product features by offering access to the expertise, skills, and resources customers need to apply products successfully.

Effective service program development capabilities:

  • Identify customer needs and expectations for value added services.
  • Align access to expert resources and professional services to help customers design, implement, and apply solutions.
  • Promote training and skills development to bolster customers’ product proficiency.
  • Ongoing evaluation of the service catalog to determine what if any new services are required to meet evolving customer needs and expectations.

Deliver a Compelling Service Value Proposition

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. 

The benefits promised from services need to reflect the needs and expectations of customers.  Installation, training, support, and success service benefits offer so much more than commitments to install or configure a product, training a new customer, or keeping technology operational.  Customers need and expect that your products will positively impact their business.

Effective service value proposition delivery capabilities:

  • Convey how services help customers accelerate time to value (installation, configuration, customer SoWs); use your products (onboarding, adoption, training) and apply them effectively (support and success services) to yield tangible business outcomes.
  • Quantify the benefits that customers can expect from purchasing services. 
  • Be reinforced throughout the customer relationship – not just prior to renewal.

Train and Enable Your Service Sales Team

Provide training and enablement resources to help Sales recognize, configure, and close service opportunities.

The existence of a service catalog and compelling value proposition does not mean that Sales will know how to align customer needs to available services.  Provide formal sales training about available service offers with the reasons why customers will want them.  

Reinforce training with Sales enablement tools such as guided selling, digital customer journeys, use case examples, and service configuration guidance (configurators).  Offer real-time access to service experts that can help Sales configure compelling service quotes.

Effective Service Sales Training Capabilities:

  • Develop formal training curriculum to describe service offers and value proposition.
  • Monitor service sales proficiency through periodic review and testing.
  • Incent service skills development.
  • Reinforce Sales training with enablement tools and expert assistance.

Incent Service Sales

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

If you want Sales to take an interest and commit time and efforts to selling services at appropriate price levels, you need to recognize and incent action.  Structure compensation, goals, and KPIs to properly align and incent Sales to position and sell the value of both products and services.   

Effective Service Sales Incentive Capabilities:

  • Develop a service sales incentive program to encourage service sales channels to sell the right services.
  • Incent service sales proficiency and performance.
  • Extend service sales beyond the initial service engagement and promote and incent renewal and expansion of relationship.

Streamline Service Selling Motions

Creating a service proposal should not be complicated.  Provide Sales with the proposal generating tools necessary to generate customer-ready documentation quickly and easily. 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.  

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.

Effective Service Selling Motions:

  • Provide a digital experience for Sales and Service team members to dynamically create quotes based on customer needs.
  • Offer a guided selling experience.
  • Maintain up-to-date pricing, service sales policies, and service descriptions in the services catalog.
  • Pull available customer information from existing systems.
  • Integrate with downstream applications to automatically get end users the configured services information for project planning and execution

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.

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