In the United States alone, the size of the “self-help” industry is almost $10 billion per year. People seek out guidance on how to lose weight, mend relationships, or kick a bad habit. But the point of nearly every “self-help” resource is that no one else is going make it happen for you—ultimately, you have to do it yourself.
As a Service leader with revenue or profit targets, you also have the ability to help yourself and be less reliant on your Sales and Marketing teams hit your numbers. You can utilize the Service and Customer Success interactions your teams are already having to discover, drive, and even close new service revenue with existing customers.
Sales Can Struggle to Understand and Communicate the Value of Services
In a recent poll, TSIA asked Service and Customer Success leaders this question: “What is the biggest problem your company has in finding and closing sales of your services offerings?” The results were fairly consistent with what Service leaders might expect:
As you can see, aside from struggling to articulate the value that your services can provide, salespeople are often unsure who should be doing the selling. Is it them? Is it an overlay rep? Is it the renewals rep or the Customer Success Manager?
In some cases, add-on service upsells might be too small for them to pay attention to, as the small amount of quota retirement isn’t worth the effort. In both the “other” bucket, and in many of the comments from the respondents, a consistent theme of “Sales says Services slows down their deals” could also be found.
Still, most Service leaders rely on their Sales teams almost exclusively not only to close new opportunities, but to find them as well. In the same poll, we asked: “Approximately what percentage of your leads for service offerings comes from each of the following?
Sales drives the majority of leads for Services. Marketing teams, who tend to drive a much higher percentage of product opportunities, often struggle to communicate and differentiate the value of services as well. So where’s the good news here? It comes back to our concept of self-help. Services teams can utilize their own teams, and the data they generate, to find, package, and close service offerings on their own, or at least take them deeper into the buying cycle before handing them off to Sales.
Touchpoint Calculus: Service and Customer Success teams are interacting with customers somewhere between 5 and 15 times as often as your Sales team ever could.
Valuable Interactions Are Already Happening Between Customers and Service Teams
At TSIA, we often talk about the concept of Touchpoint Calculus. Simply put, your Service and Customer Success teams are interacting with customers somewhere between 5 and 15 times as often as your Sales team ever could. These interactions are taken in the course of helping the customer to solve their problem by people who are experts in your service offerings. After all, they are the ones delivering the service. For these reasons, they’re the ones most likely to be able to find additional ways that your customers need help and know how you (and your products and services) can help them. Without turning on Services teams as a sales engine, it’s very, very hard to find new service opportunities with existing customers and increase revenue.
3 Ways to Find New Service Opportunities with Existing Customers
So how do you go about doing this? I’ll go into depth on this topic at the upcoming Technology & Services World conference taking place in San Diego May 6-8, speaking on the topic “Control your own Destiny: How to Hit your Service Growth and Profit Targets by Using the Resources You Already Have”. In the meantime, here are three ways Service and Customer Success teams can get involved in the sales process to find and drive new service opportunities with existing customers.
1. Start with Data
Even without changing anything they do, Service and Customer Success teams are generating incredible amounts of useful data. Unfortunately, it usually resides in a system that Sales doesn’t have access to, and they probably wouldn’t know what to do with the data if they did have access to it (As someone with over 20 years in technology sales, I say this with love of course). It’s up to you, the Service leader, to be their guide. Which common problems can you find and track? What are the signals that your customer is struggling? You don’t need a Ph.D. in data science to look at support logs and knowledge management systems to get some basic ideas.
Service and Customer Success teams can find upsell opportunities on about 5-10% of their cases or projects.
2. Build Systems to Help Your Service Teams Submit Leads When They Find Them
TSIA research shows that Service and Customer Success teams can find upsell opportunities on about 5-10% of their cases or projects. About half of those opportunities are for Service upsells. However, if your Service Delivery teams find a new opportunity but don’t know how to get it to the right person in Sales, then the opportunity never happened. Email won’t cut it. TSIA members who have a formal handoff procedure and program in place have as much as 10x the number of services-generated opportunities as those who don’t.
3. Don’t Wait for Sales, Close The Deal Yourself
According to TSIA’s recent Upsell & Cross-Sell study, companies that involve their Services and Customer Success teams in upsell/cross-sell opportunities grow their customers twice as fast as those who leave these basic upsells to their Sales counterparts. The trick is to make sure they’re working on the right things, and service upsells and add-ons are right in line with their charter of helping your customer succeed with your technology.
When done properly, involving Services and Customer Success teams in the sales process can lead to a substantial increase in service revenue, but making sure they have the right charter, compensation, and support are key. In the process, you’ll create better outcomes for your customers, as they’re getting the help they need from the right people at your company.