Whether you’re new to service sales or not, poor planning and lack of insight might be slowing down your sales processes and keeping your organization from reaching its full revenue potential. If you want to hit your sales numbers – this month, this quarter or this year — avoid these six rookie mistakes.
1. Only Going After The Big Fish
It’s tempting to go after high-dollar service contracts, neglecting lower-value contracts because they’re too time consuming and tedious to track and manage. But veteran sales leaders know that these smaller contracts add up in value. They might be massive in volume, but low-dollar contracts can also lead to massive revenue gains when you take the right approach. Automating the sales process associated with renewing these contracts is your first order of business and there are solutions out there that will not only eliminate all the time and headaches involved, but also generate results nearly overnight.
2. Getting Stuck on Spreadsheets
All too often rookies get stuck in the spreadsheet maze of yesterday, which means they are bound to waste valuable time and miss important opportunities. Spreadsheets can only go so far in covering the scope of actionable items in service sales, and the data they contain is typically stagnant. New service sales technology allows for dynamic dashboards, integration across multiple data sources, sleek mobile apps, extreme automation and increased functionality that drives sales growth and profits for your organization, not to mention time savings. Case in point, read our recent post about Tech Data: with over 7,000 low-dollar service quotes delivered per month, the distribution giant saved itself more than 500 hours of sales time through automation, and has saved its partners over 1,500 hours. That’s huge!
3. Poor Data Practices
Poor data quality leads to revenue leakage, inefficiency and loss of sales force productivity. Clean, actionable data is imperative for creating valuable business intelligence that will enable your sales team to identify and win recurring service revenue opportunities that might typically fall through the cracks. Building your core of actionable data requires a focused data quality management plan and buy-in from different groups within your organization. And remember, it’s not uncommon for a company’s product, customer and attached services data to be contained across five or more separate databases – all of which have limited or zero ability to communicate with each other. Yet, when aggregated, this data can provide you with a 360-view into the service renewal opportunities that exist across your installed base.
4. Waiting Too Long
Timing is everything in sales, especially when it comes to service renewals. Here’s where the benefits of quality data, automated email campaigns and streamlined processes all come together. The key is to reach out to the right person with the right offer — at the right time. You’ll want to send a new service quote out to your customer 30-60 days in advance of a contract’s expiration. If you’re too early or too late, you risk losing the sale. With today’s new breed of automated systems, you’ll be sure to time it right, and that’s one big reason why service renewals are having a greater impact on the bottom line for manufacturers than ever before.
5. No Sales Pipeline
One of the first and most important rules to remember with service sales is that they’re not just a one-time sale. They’re an annuity, and they go hand in hand with opportunities to expand your relationship with your customers across the full product and service lifecycle. Your installed base data can reveal a goldmine of sales opportunities — from service and subscription renewals, to unattached assets, accessory and consumable sales, product refresh opportunities and rebate and incentive programs. What that means is an instant sales pipeline for you, and a never-ending stream of revenue for your company. If you look at your service sales practice as a product and service lifecycle business, you’ll never be lacking a sales pipeline again.
6. Lack of Coordination with Channel Partners
Don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting your channel partners. They are an important extension of your sales team, so collaborate with them on the front end by bringing their customer data into the mix as you get your business intelligence in order. And by all means, give them ongoing access to the sales pipeline you build so that they can work smarter and faster to achieve their sales quotas. It takes a team to be successful in services, and your partners may very well be the most important part of that team.
If you or your organization are making any of these rookie mistakes, it’s time to get your service revenue practice back on track. Familiarize yourself with the Four Basic Pillars of recurring service revenue to stay comfortably ahead of the game. Download our complimentary white paper now.