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An adage in business is that “nothing happens until you sell something.” Nothing to install, nothing to service, nothing to renew. Great hardware and equipment manufacturers have been built on great engineers creating great products for great salespeople to sell, and the best of the best repeated this cycle as often as they could. Discussions between customer and supplier revolved around the initial sale, and “services” were comprised of customization and installation and/or support and maintenance contracts. Then, the engineers developed a product refresh and the cycle started all over again. However, as we’ve previously discussed in B4B, the conversations are changing.

The New Spectrum of Customer and Supplier Discussions

In the new consumption-based world, customer/supplier discussions around the initial sale are only the beginning of a much longer conversation. To make matters worse, customers are showing more hesitance in purchasing the asset up front. Many are instead opting to lease the asset or have a trial period before they commit to purchase. Some customers may also lack the skills necessary to manage and implement the increasingly complex technology and need hands-on help to fully adopt all of the product’s features. Lastly, customers are focusing on their core competencies and are asking suppliers to guarantee the return promised in the sales brochure. These changing discussions are summarized below.

customer and supplier discussions  

(Click image to enlarge.)

While it’s still true that nothing happens until a sale is made, today’s reality is that much more has to happen after that initial sale. Where can an organization find skilled, trusted advisors that can drive adoption and expansion of accounts in this new model? Look to your field service engineers.

4 Reasons Why Field Service Engineers Are Well-Suited for the Role of Trusted Advisor

“Trusted advisor” is the coveted status sought by every salesperson on the planet. With customers seeking assistance to fully adopt product features and to reap the promised return on investment, field service engineers are uniquely positioned to provide this service as part of their daily duties. They check all the boxes to be a trusted advisor:

  1. Relationship: During their 40-50 on-site visits a month, they have built the strong relationships with customers that result from getting the equipment up and running again.
  2. Context: The field service engineer sees good and bad implementations during break/fix incidents and can extend appropriate, in-context offers related to products and services.
  3. Personalization: Multiple visits to a customer location enable targeted offers based on intimate knowledge of the customer’s environment. Most sales executives would love to get on the factory floor or behind the security door to see current operations and competitive product placements.
  4. Immediacy: Instant gratification that comes from showing a customer how to better use their product. This immediacy also cements the field service engineer’s status in the eyes of the customer.

Learn More About the Role of Field Services in Landing, Retaining, and Growing Customers at TSW

The theme for our upcoming Technology Services World conference in San Diego, May 7-9, is “Blending Service and Sales Motions.” The keynote speakers and breakout sessions will enable you to see how technology companies are leveraging the expertise of both their Sales and Service teams to land, retain, and grow customers. Specifically, there are a number of sessions that will discuss field service best practices for driving adoption and upselling to premium maintenance and support tiers, including:

  • Leveraging field service engineers to cross-sell and upsell as a natural part of their job
  • Establishing field service Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew (LAER) practices to ensure that accounts grow after the initial sale
  • Developing expand offers that are presented by field service engineers during the normal course of business to help customers improve their operational performance
  • Incentive practices, both cash incentive and non-monetary recognition, for field service engineers to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities

Become part of the solution and join the conversation by joining us at TSW! There’s still time to register if you haven’t already, and I hope to see you there. In the meantime, be sure to check out other blog posts in our “Blending Service and Sales Motions” series written by other members of the TSIA Research team on how this theme relates to their respective areas of research.

Read more posts in the "Blending Service and Sales Motions" blog series:

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Vele Galovski

About Author Vele Galovski

Vele Galovski is vice president of support and field services research for TSIA. Using his nearly 30 years of industry experience, he has consistently helped companies both large and small drive double-digit top-line growth with a proven retain, gain, and grow strategy. Vele has also written a book, The Perpetual Innovation Machine, which describes a holistic approach to management based on ambitious goal setting, data driven analysis, skillful prioritization, inspiring leadership, and the lost art of employee engagement.

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