Configuring and pricing professional service proposals can be time consuming and complex when there are many services to choose from and complex customer configurations to support. Guided selling helps streamline the workflow of service configuration with a step-by-step process that helps your Sales team align customer needs with the right services quickly and accurately.
Guided Selling – A Sales Journey
Guided selling takes the guesswork out of aligning customer needs with available services. A step-by-step guided selling process leads your Sales team or Customer through each critical step necessary to configure, price and quote new service proposals. This is not typically a linear sequence of events but rather a dynamic series of discrete steps directed by customer inputs, policies, and best practices.
Benefits of Guided Service Selling:
- Provides intuitive step-by-step guidance to lead your Sales team or Customer through the end-to-end service sales process.
- Removes the guesswork about what questions to ask customers, what services to offer, and how to price and position the best services.
- Assures that pricing policies and selling guidelines are adhered to.
- Helps every Sales team member become a service sales expert.
- Accelerates the time to create quotes and minimizes errors.
Building A Guided Selling Capability
Guided selling is highly effective for professional services but requires an investment in configuring selling motions and a platform to support the end-to-end sales journey. Guided selling requires three core elements:
- Key Ingredients
- System and Process Integration
- Expert Guidance
Think of guided selling as a recipe for combining essential ingredients to create a fully baked service proposal. The ingredients required to enable a guided selling process are described below:
- Service Catalog – The Service Catalog contains all service offers and descriptions and is the source of services that may be included within a new proposal. Define and describe all the services Sales or the Customer can choose from when configuring new service quotes.
- Price Book and Policies – The Price Book is the source for all pricing and discounting policies for services within the Service Catalog. Price books should contain base prices, discounting policies, currency conversions, and other regional or customer-specific adjustments.
- Process and Data Flows – Process flows define the sequence of activities, the actions taken by individual roles, and the flow of data between systems. Map the steps required to fully configure, price, review, and approve a new service proposal. Define each task and activity and the required data to support each process step.
- Roles and Responsibilities – Many individuals may be involved in the end-to-end service sales process. Define the individual roles that may participate in the process flows and describe specific tasks and activities to be performed. Be certain to include individual roles responsible for quote configuration, review, and final approval.
- Customer Inputs – Service proposals require inputs to describe customer needs and the scope and scale of the required effort to fulfil these needs. This may be gathered from data already known about the customer and/or direct inputs from the customer. Develop structured methods and questionnaires to capture customer needs and to assess the scope and scale of each initiative.
System and Process Integration
The effectiveness of guided selling is significantly enhanced when supporting systems are integrated to enable the end-to-end sales process. Each infrastructure component should become part of a single integrated system of record for service sales transactions. Dataflows between integrated systems will help to assure data consistency and relevance and eliminate unnecessary manual effort. Systems to be integrated into the guided selling process include:
- Customer Database
- Price Book
- Contracts Database
- Approval Workflow and Signature Capture
- Billing and Accounting Systems
- Project Management and Time Tracking
- Professional Services Automation
- Product CPQ
Data, systems, and processes must be linked together to support the optimal Sales Journey for likely service selling scenarios. Guided selling will emulate the expertise required to know what steps to follow, what questions to ask, and what information to share with customers throughout the service sales process.
Customer Needs Assessment
- Provide guidance to help Sales or the Customer understand what data to collect or questions to ask to ascertain customer needs.
- Collect inputs about customer needs.
Alignment and Configuration of Available Offers
- Use customer inputs to suggest to Sales or the Customer which services are most appropriate given customer needs.
- Suggest additional data to collect or questions to ask if further refinement is required.
- Provide step-by-step guidance to help Sales configure appropriate service proposals.
- Provide guidance for applying appropriate pricing to service proposals based on established pricing and discounting guidelines.
Position Service Value
- Provide Sales with cues and resources to help articulate the value of proposed services.
- Suggest possible opportunities for up-sell or cross-sell of adjacent services.
Review and Approval
- Trigger review and approval procedures based on configured service proposals.
Accelerate Service Sales with Guided Selling
Guided selling takes the guesswork out of selling services. When you support the end-to-end service sales journey by providing expert guidance each step of the way, you reduce the likelihood that incomplete or inaccurate service proposals are created or that pricing is misaligned with established policies.
Building guided selling capabilities with integrated systems and processes makes every Sales representative a services expert, resulting in faster and more accurate Service Bookings.
Study after study show that professional services help enterprise SaaS companies increase subscription revenue, boost product adoption, and lower churn.
Yet, companies still view professional service (PS) departments as a cost center or a low-margin revenue generator, leading to a lack of strategic investment and focus on this function.
That is a big mistake. Download the white paper to learn more.