Influencing in Engineering and Maintenance Services — Winning Practices for Team-Selling as a Process
Two important trends are currently affecting industry worldwide:
- Industrial players are increasingly focusing on engineering and maintenance services as a lever for them remain competitive.
- Because of the commoditisation of their products and solutions, equipment manufacturers supporting industrial customers are under pressure to (a) develop their engineering and maintenance services business with advanced and comprehensive service offerings, and (b) improve the size and effectiveness of their sales teams.
These trends are resulting in a strong need for skilled, and well-trained service salespeople able to sell complex service offerings as a team, systematically, and based on value.
Note: The industrial service market is estimated at $3 trillion worldwide. A wide array of engineering and maintenance services are needed today by industrial customers, ranging from spare parts and consumables, all the way to complex services such as the outsourcing of the customer complete maintenance operations.
This article proposes a process-based approach to influencing and selling for service people (managers, sales, and technical) confronted with the challenge of influencing the development of in-house maintenance operations or selling engineering and maintenance services to third parties.
The approach is based on value and supports selling as a team, considers in detail customer selection,
customer meeting management, and
pursuit management, and provides a comprehensive checklist of all the sales activities to be carried out, their preferred sequence, and the tools needed.
The selection of potential customers involves developing a good understanding of the customer installed base, customer business potential, relationship, and service culture. Simply put, one wants to select those who both need and want your help.
Service pursuit preparation means:
- Analysing and understanding the customer’s requirements regarding production processes and installed equipment.
- Analysing and understanding the customer’s organisation.
- Understanding and presenting the service portfolio.
- Developing a strong value proposition and qualifying, quantifying and differentiating it.
- Developing a comprehensive pursuit strategy and action plan.
Customer meeting management means meeting with the customer and generating positive outcomes:
- Preparing and positioning the visit.
- Exploring the opportunity and demonstrating the value proposition.
- Managing the negotiation process, deal design, and negotiation alternatives.
- Implementing proven face-to-face negotiation tactics while avoiding negotiation mistakes.
Service pursuit management includes sales pipeline management and service-sales campaign management. Proper pursuit management is critical, especially when several pursuits are running in parallel.
Over 400 service sales people of a leading OEM adopted this process-based approach in South Asia resulting in the development of a new healthy pipeline and their success rate increasing by an additional 10 to 15%.
Even though this article is largely based on experience acquired in an industrial setting, the approach presented can be used in other settings, requiring only minor modifications to the corresponding service sales-process, tools and methods.