Selling Services Blog

Cisco Wins 2014 Data+ Award for Custom Platform by MaintenanceNet

Dataplus John Richard award sm Cisco Wins 2014 Data+ Award for Custom Platform by MaintenanceNet
The 2014 Computerworld Data+ conference takes place September 7-9 in Phoenix, Arizona and is widely regarded as the world’s most authoritative event on the topic of Big Data and strategies for leveraging data management and analytics to drive business success.

The team here at MaintenanceNet is proud to congratulate our good friends at Cisco who have been announced as 2014 Data+ award winners for the category of Custom Platform. Cisco was one of 20 honorees singled out for a Data+ award, which identifies organizations that achieve exceptional business results with Big Data. Cisco partnered with MaintenanceNet to provide their distributors and resellers with a more efficient way to manage their services business, identify expiring contracts and more easily sell renewals using data-driven automation.

MaintenanceNet’s AutoQuote solution uses data intelligence to automatically send service renewal quotes to partners and direct to end customers via email 90 days in advance of service expirations. All quotes are branded with channel partners’ logos and delivered monthly, incorporating up-to-the-minute pricing and reseller-specific discount models as well as a “buy now” button that offers easy one-click ordering. The result has been a dramatic increase in renewal rates and thousands of hours in sales and administrative time saved.

Read the full press release

Posted in Automation, Big Data, Channel Enablement, Channel Program, Channel Sales, Data Management, Data Quality, Sales Automation, Selling, Service Contract Management, Service Revenue, Service Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment |

How to Maximize Sales Force Adoption of Your Renewal Management Dashboard

A renewal management dashboard can produce significant results in renewal sales efficiency and recurring revenue growth for your organization…but only if your sales force uses it effectively.
renewal dashboard featured image How to Maximize Sales Force Adoption of Your Renewal Management Dashboard
As illustrated in our recent white paper, building a successful recurring revenue practice requires a solid foundation of clean customer data, actionable business intelligence, a laser focus on the product lifecycle and customer satisfaction, and technology to enable your workforce and automate the sales process. Get all these gears working in harmony and you’ve built yourself a high performance recurring revenue engine – new, predictable revenue streams galore!

Keep in mind though, that while the data and technology are core mechanisms of your renewal management dashboard, you should not overlook the importance of the human component – your sales team. You may work for one of many organizations that see the value in strengthening recurring revenue streams and are investing in sales enablement tools focused exclusively on maximizing contract renewal revenue. Now that you’ve bought or built a renewal dashboard with all the bells and whistles, you will only maximize ROI if your sales team actually uses it, uses it often, and uses it correctly.

Here are 5 tips to maximize sales force adoption of your renewal management dashboard:

1) Make Your Renewal Management Dashboard Easily Accessible
In order to efficiently touch 100% of your renewal opportunities, you need to get your dashboard in front of the entire renewal sales team. Don’t keep your renewal dashboard locked away where only managers can see it. Renewal sales reps need quick and easy access to customer product usage information and expiration dates to ensure that renewal opportunities are not falling through the cracks. As a sales manager it’s your responsibility to provide your team with this valuable information and enable them to close more deals. It’s best practice to host one version of your real-time renewal dashboard in the cloud so that everyone can work with the most up-to-date data available.

2) Train Your Sales Force to Use the Dashboard Properly
One huge mistake companies make all too often is investing heavily in a new sales enablement tool but not investing in properly training their sales force on where to find the tool and how to interpret and leverage the information it is providing them. Sending a blanket email to the company with a link to the tool and a list of FAQs will most likely fall on deaf ears, and your new tool will have a poor adoption rate and fail to achieve ROI as a result. Since renewals account for a valuable chunk of your company’s revenues, and your new dashboard will optimize this important revenue stream, make sure that your team trainings and sales playbook give a thorough overview of the renewal sales process and renewal dashboard features and functionality.

3) Display Your Data in a Way that can be Quickly and Easily Understood
With increasingly complex business reporting and sales analytics, it’s important that your renewal dashboard data be visualized in a way that everyone can easily comprehend. While everyone nowadays understands the importance of using customer data and product usage trends to make decisions and improve business outcomes, we can’t expect everyone to be a data scientist. BI systems and custom-built databases specialize in compiling and sorting vast amounts of data but not all do a good job of transforming complex data sets into a simple visual interpretation that any sales person can understand. Making the data easily digestible in the form of charts and graphs will benefit your entire sales force and allow everyone to take these intelligent insights and convert them into renewal revenue. When your sales force finds clear, actionable data in the dashboard, the value will be easy to see and encourage regular use.

4) Eliminate Disparate Reports for End-Users
Most companies have all kinds of important customer and product data stored across a variety of databases. To close a renewal deal it’s not uncommon for a salesperson to need to pull information from across multiple sources including a CRM system, product catalog and transactional database. It can be impossible to get a global view of renewal opportunities when shuffling through reports from disparate databases. This is probably your team’s #1 annoyance with the renewal sales process. If you can provide them with a renewal management dashboard that aggregates reports from across multiple databases, you can be confident that end-user adoption will be nearly 100%. Give your team a holistic view of their renewals opportunity pipeline in a single location and they will see the undeniable value in time saved.

5) Make Your Renewal Dashboard Responsive
We’re finding ourselves spending more and more time on our personal mobile phones and tablet devices. The mobile device culture has already inserted itself into the business environment with a variety of sales productivity apps now available. As IT departments become more open to outfitting their employees with smart phones and mobile devices you’ll need to make sure that your most important sales dashboards are “responsive” or capable of displaying well on any device screen size. When you provide your renewal dashboard in a responsive format, your sales team is more likely to use the tool and include it in their renewal sales process.

As with any new tool, adoption and use rates will rise if you continue to engage with your user base and offer insight into your renewal dashboard’s features, functions and benefits. The above five tips will get your initiative off to a running start, and more importantly, help you capitalize on up to 100 percent of the recurring revenue stream available to your organization.


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Posted in Big Data, Business Culture, Channel Enablement, Data Management, Data Quality, Sales Automation, Selling, Service Contract Management, Service Revenue, Service Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment |

6 Service Sales Rookie Mistakes

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.
iStock 000000706593Small 200x300 6 Service Sales 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.

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Posted in Automation, Big Data, Channel Enablement, Channel Sales, Data Quality, Sales Automation, Selling, Service Revenue, Service Sales | Tagged , , | Leave a comment |

How Tech Data Mastered Service Revenue Management

How did Tech Data, one of the world’s largest distributors of IT products and services, drive triple-digit growth in service renewal sales last year? It started by taking a closer look at its data, says Dana Farfante Reina, the company’s Cisco Services Marketing Manager. Massive sales gains were only the beginning for Dana and her team as they put a powerful new initiative in place to help Tech Data’s reseller partners grow service revenue and profits while building stronger relationships with their customers.

recorded webinar download email cta How Tech Data Mastered Service Revenue Management

Download the full conversation from our recent webinar; How to Build a Best-in-Class Recurring Service Revenue Practice

Earlier this week, Dana took time out of her busy schedule to describe the secret to the distribution giant’s service revenue management success in a webinar titled “How to Build a Best-in-Class Recurring Service Revenue Practice.” (If you missed the live event, don’t worry; a complimentary recording is available here.) And if you want the CliffsNotes edition, we’ve pulled together the highlights below in an easy-to-read question and answer format:

Q1. What did you mean when you said your sales success started with data?
DFR: To alleviate the data issues that we faced across our North American service renewal program, we worked closely with MaintenanceNet to evaluate and cleanse relevant data from a variety of existing sources, such as our ERP system, CRM platform, and our quoting and ordering system. A focus on quality data ensured that the service renewal quotes we produced under our new initiative were not only accurate, but also effectively shared with the right channel partners at the right time in the product or service lifecycle to maximize business results.

Q2. The sheer volume of low-dollar service quotes that resellers have to contend with in the IT channel presents sales obstacles for many organizations. How did you overcome that challenge?
DFR: MaintenanceNet’s AutoQuoteTM solution sets the stage for us to scale at an incredible rate because we’re able to automate quote creation and send out branded, automated emails with built-in quotes that allow purchase to be made in an instant with just a few simple clicks. A “buy now” button prompts the partner to purchase a renewal without picking up the phone. Using automation, we transformed tedious, manual processes and we were able to generate thousands of service quotes each month for our partners in record time.

Q3. How are you able to capture the low-dollar service renewal sale with AutoQuote?
DFR: We honestly did not have a “process” around opportunities under $25K in value until MaintenanceNet began to provide AutoQuotes. Prior to that, we would just email quotes out to customers, but the SMARTattach Opportunity Portal now allows us to offer service quotes to customers proactively and in a much more “actionable” format. Resellers can also access their information via our website: they can view an inventory of contracts, review AutoQuotes, email their end users and manage their service renewal pipeline — all on the portal. With added efficiency and automation, this process should only get easier.

Q4. What are some of the other ways that you were able to achieve the results you did?
DFR: The SMARTattach Opportunity portal, which is a service revenue management platform, gives our resellers visibility into their service contract purchases and aligns relevant data with the products and customers that they support. In addition, the Opportunity portal enables our partners to use customer-specific pricing and branding – and send service quotes directly to their customers, and it also provides self-help tools and allows resellers to create quotes on demand.

Q5. How do you measure and monitor sales progress?
DFR: With the Opportunity portal, we can monitor our ongoing AutoQuote campaign performance and gain insight into other service sales opportunities that our reseller partners can go after.

Q6. What are the most important benefits to your resellers, other than the revenue gains?
DFR: Our partners have also benefited from on-time service quoting and renewals, reduced quote creation time, and the elimination of sales administration tasks and manual quote processes – which has improved the overall operational efficiencies across our partner sales organizations. We can now enable our resellers to deliver quotes quickly, while building and preserving customer relationships. With the SMARTattach Portal – resellers can also gain insight into new service sales opportunities by identifying products sold without services, and then take immediate action by generating a quote.

Q7. What kind of time savings have you achieved by switching from a manually-driven program to one powered by extreme automation?
DFR: With over 7,000 quotes delivered per month, we’re estimating that Tech Data has saved itself over 500 hours through automation and has saved its partners over 1,500 hours. That’s a huge time savings.

Many thanks to Dana for sharing her time and expertise in the webinar. Want to hear more of her best-practice ideas? View the webinar recording now.

Posted in Automation, Campaign Management, Channel Enablement, Channel Sales, Sales Automation, Selling, Service Contract Management, Service Revenue, Service Sales | Leave a comment |