SmartVan’s Field Service Roadshow kicked off Tuesday in London as top field service pros discussed the trends and issues affecting managers, executives and technicians alike. A common theme throughout the day? Smart ways that organizations drive revenue through service. The speakers and audience covered a lot of ground, from new revenue opportunities to new business models that put service front and center. Here’s a look:

How Servitization Builds Trust

During the past few years, many field service organizations have moved from a product manufacturing business model to a combination of manufacturing and product-centric services. Howard Lightfoot, a Roadshow speaker and author of “Made to Serve” explained that this “servitization” of the manufacturing industry enables companies to develop stronger customer relationships than was possible with a pure manufacturing model. Take Alstom, a transportation manufacturer that produces trains for the U.K. rail network, among other worldwide contracts.  The company charges its customers based on an “availability” model, meaning customers only pay when the trains are up and running. If a train goes down, so does Alstom’s revenue. This creates a relationship based on trust with the customer and holds Alstom’s field service organization accountable for downtime.”You’ve got to keep on top of your game and ensure your service delivery system is slick and up to the task,” said Lightfoot.

The Promise of Selling Through Service

Field service technicians are an untapped resource when it comes to sales, as Dave Hart, ServiceMax’s vice president of global customer transformation, explained. Every technician interaction is a sales opportunity, yet 45 percent of companies don’t use their technicians to share sales leads. Not convinced the missed opportunity is that big? According to Hart, if each of the approximately 5.5 million technicians in the U.S. were to generate $1of revenue per day, it would create $1.2 billion in new field service revenue every year in the U.S. alone.  Field service techs just have advantages that salespeople lack. Technicians are trusted customer advisors, and companies need to adopt a culture that empowers technicians to create revenue. “You need to invest in your trusted advisors as revenue generators,” Hart said.  Revenue generation is central to Tyco Fire Protection’s European service business, which installs large-scale fire protection systems. Brian Whittle, service delivery director for Tyco’s EMEA division, said the company aims to increase its revenue from service for a simple reason: Installation revenue is a one-time deal, but service revenue is recurring. To increase recurring service revenue, Tyco moved its processes from paper and ERP to cloud and mobile technologies, including iPads.

Roadshow Coming to the U.S.

The SmartVan Field Service Roadshow comes stateside in March, with stops in Boston (March 19), Houston (March 27) and Orange County, Calif. (May 8). For more information, or to register, just click here.