Guest Contributions

Selling Services: Align Your Marketing, Sales, and Professional Services Approach

selling servicesPicture this: You work at a technology company experiencing tremendous growth. You run a services department. Sales are up, your team has lots to deliver, and marketing generates thousands of leads per month. The only catch? Clients are coming to you with projects you can’t deliver on — and the expectation you will.

"Services teams have 2 goals: Implement & leave clients happy. Happy clients buy more tech."

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It’s up to services to set expectations

Let’s step back and remember the primary goals of professional services organizations. They offer their companies three results: They successfully implement technology. They leave clients happy. Happy clients renew and buy more technology.

It follows that client satisfaction lies largely in the hands of the services team. However, to get there, services teams have to work closely with marketing and sales, to make sure your approach lines up from initial contact through services delivery.

Nail your approach to market services correctly

Marketing teams supply your funnel with clients. Their expertise lies in creating collateral suites, from press releases and blog posts to tweets and whitepapers. The best companies foster an environment of clear communication between their services and marketing teams. Services teams serve themselves by making time to clearly define their services offerings. They supply their marketing team with:

  1. What packages they offer.
  2. How packages are priced.
  3. Who delivers on the packages and over what duration.  
  4. What results can be expected.

This lets the marketing department apply their domain of expertise: building campaigns around the services experiences your team offers.

Selling services you can deliver

Once marketing generates leads for your sales teams, it becomes important for your representatives to continue the same dialogue. Remember: Sales teams have one goal, to sell. Companies with ad hoc approaches to aligning their customer journey will notice sales representatives closing deals with promises of services your team can’t really deliver. This puts your team at risk for not leaving your client happy, with all the associated repercussions.

There is a simpler way.

The best companies don’t separate sales and services. They involve services in the sales cycle, and reap multiple benefits. First, services must clearly define their offerings, in the same way product management will be expected to define their products. Then, with services on the sales calls, representatives are able to clearly define offerings, thus reducing the number and duration of calls, for a shorter sales cycle. Second, clients know exactly what to expect from services. With definite expectations, client satisfaction rises. This takes the guesswork out of sales and speeds the cycle from lead to delivery.

What to take away

Set the foundation for consistent approaches from marketing through services delivery. This will save you time, money, and relationships as your company grows. Here are the key takeaways for getting started:

  • Clearly define what services you offer.
  • Supply marketing with 1) your definitions and 2) your differentiated client experience.
  • Give the sales team a clear offering to sell.
  • Weave services representatives into the sales cycle.
  • Deliver what you promise.

Do you have a tip for taking another approach? Leave a comment in the box below to start a dialogue with me.

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