One successful tactic is to hire some less experienced salespeople who will require training to sell your services portfolio. If you pick the right partners, the service portfolio will be less complicated to sell than your traditional products, so your rookies should have a shorter timeframe to performance.
The really successful companies don’t just tack an RMR option onto their existing offerings. They understand that selling services requires a different approach. To really drive RMR you must undergo a paradigm shift and focus your organization on this goal from the executive suite on down. Remember: The pot of gold is at the END of the rainbow, and it takes skill and perseverance to get there.
Pointers to Sell RMR Effectively
In moving your business from a transactional model to a recurring model, consider the following key success factors:
A realistic self-assessment — Look in the mirror, determine what your company is really about. What types of services do your customers want from you? What will it take to offer those services? What investments are required in infrastructure, organization, and financial assets? Do you have the right people to sell services and solutions vs. technology? Are you willing to make the initial investments? Are you willing to stick with the strategy?
A five-year RMR business plan — Once you have thoroughly evaluated your current situation, you are ready to create a business plan. Look at this program over a five-year horizon. In year one you will be making investments and climbing the learning curve for selling and delivering services. In years two and three you will be perfecting your training, market focus and service levels. In years four and five you are driving real revenue and preparing to evaluate what growth strategies to pursue in your next five-year horizon.
Strong partners — Once you know what services you want to sell and have a general plan for implementation, it’s time to look for partners. Like any vendor evaluation, look for those with successful track records. Also, look for companies that derive most of their revenue from RMR. Successfully driving RMR means building long-term relationships with your customers. You can’t base long-term customer relationships on short-term supplier relationships.
Discipline of focus — Wanting to be in the RMR business will not lead to overnight success. It takes continuous effort, focus and discipline. There will be times when transactional opportunities distract you. Keep your eye on the five-year plan. There is a reason RMR companies are valued at high multiples. Selling services and attaining ongoing respect from your customers is hard work.
Sales approach — If you fall back on FUD selling, then you either have the wrong service portfolio or you need better sales training. If your customer’s perceived value of your services does not exceed their cost, they won’t buy. Start by evaluating your own services as if you were the customer. Do they pass the value test? If not, you must reconfigure the services or the pricing until the value exceeds the cost. Once you have proven the value to yourself, you are ready to prove to your customer how the services provide value to them.
There are no shortcuts to building value-based relationships with your customers. Relying on FUD won’t work, or will only work for a short time. Join your industry colleagues who are focused on providing value-added services to their clients and soon you’ll be building a great service base.
John Szczygiel is Executive Vice President of Bethesda, Md.-based Brivo Systems, a provider of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications for security management. He can be contacted at email@example.com or (240) 479-2283.
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