Professional Services and Sales: Delivering Customer Outcomes

Professional Services and Sales: Delivering Customer Outcomes

The themes for our Technology Services World events are more than mere organizing principles for our conferences. They are expressions of the most pressing challenges that technology companies are facing. More than just helping structure the conference content, they are a direct reflection of what is trending in TSIA research, our extensive community of over 35,000 technology and services leaders, and the industry as a whole.

In other words, the TSW conference themes both drive and are driven by the broader concepts, content areas, and service business challenges that animate us and our member organizations. This has always been the case, and the theme for our upcoming TSW San Diego 2018 conference, “Blending Service and Sales Motions,” is no exception.

Success in the New Era of Tech Depends on Breaking Down Silos and Focusing on Customer Objectives

In a transforming technology economy with well-documented disruptions to both supplier-consumer and financial models, the ability of tech suppliers to increase customer consumption and adoption and accelerate customers’ time to business value are squarely in the crosshairs. TSIA has observed that blending the expertise of both Services and Sales teams is an important and needed trend that plays a crucial role in responding to this disruption, even more so as industry transformation continues and spreads.

This is because a rigid separation of sales and service motions is a way to guarantee (even exacerbate) a disconnect between supplier and consumer objectives. This is something TSIA has been documenting for some time. The traditional CapEx tech sales model is a “make, sell, ship” concept that is, quite frankly, more or less completely focused on the need of the supplier to sell boxes, software, speeds and feeds, etc., and almost not concerned at all with the customers’ use of the solution or their business value in adopting it. The role of Services in that model is to implement what’s sold by Sales, offer some training on how to use it, and fix it when it breaks. But because the customer, in this model, pays up front for the solution, now owns it, and is more or less required to keep renewing the insurance policy (maintenance contract) on the solution, the supplier is whole whether the customer is getting value or not.

Traditional CapEx Models Aren’t Enough for the Customer Anymore

As it turns out, new consumption and financial models enabled by the Internet, IoT (Internet of Things), technology-as-a-service, etc., represent a powerful stick of dynamite for the traditional CapEx model. The underlying factors are well documented, and by observing these factors, our B4B and Technology-as-a-Service Playbook books have captured many ways of thinking about solutions to this supplier-consumer disconnect. The bottom line is this: Carrying forward many of the processes and practices that worked well in the old CapEx world simply won’t work in a world of lower switching costs, ARR, high customer expectations for fast time to business value, and the like.

This is where the blending of the service and sales motions becomes such an important focal point. The more a tech supplier’s solutions require faster time to demonstrable and sustained business value, the more integrated or blended the service and sales motions need to be. There’s no way around it. Consider the simple model that TSIA believes captures the highest leverage customer journey to organize for, or “PIMO”:

TSIA's PIMO framework: Plan, Implement, Monitor, Optimize.

While our LAER model focuses on the customer journey from a supplier perspective, PIMO outlines the same journey from the customer perspective. The premise is this: There is no way to prescribe—effectively and at scale—the best outcome vision for the customer, minimize complexity, optimize efficiency, and then proactively drive consumption, adoption, and business outcomes without at least a solid interlock between Services and Sales. And the requirement, frankly, is for an integrated approach to Sales and Service Delivery.

Blending Professional Services and Sales Motions

For my research area, professional services, the overarching theme of blending the service and sales motions will be landing at the TSW conference in San Diego in the form of 6 key sub themes:

  1. The art and science of selling professional services
  2. Successful outcome engineering frameworks and offers
  3. Making a high-impact selling engine out of your Professional Services Delivery team
  4. Creative compensation models to incentivize professional services sales
  5. Leveraging professional services in the subscription renewal motion
  6. Best practice demand generation for professional services

This isn’t the entire universe of topics fitting under the overall theme or involving the professional services capability specifically, but it’s a pretty comprehensive list. This goes rather far beyond the traditional—and very common—areas of tension between Sales and Professional Services teams. Let’s face it, there’s some tension baked into the cake. Sales has traditionally been adept at selling technology, but far less able to position the value of services, let alone effectively propose a full blown customer value journey.

The ultimate point is that Services and Sales are not and cannot be disjointed, disconnected motions anymore, if they ever could be. Services cannot be the organization that takes what Sales sells, only then to try and fashion it into something that attempts to meet specific customer outcomes and do so efficiently and effectively. That play doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did.

That’s why we’ve created a whole conference theme out of this topic. That’s why we’ve unpacked the theme into the 6 that we’re going to be delving into at the conference that go over what this means for professional services. That’s why we’ll continue to wrestle the topic to the ground through research, member conversations, and every other play we have to run.

So are your services and sales motions effectively blended to drive customer outcomes?

In the meantime, be sure to check out these other blog posts in the “Blending Service and Sales Motions” series that I and the rest of the TSIA Research team are publishing between now and the conference to share how this theme relates to our specific area of research.

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

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