The first step to create a strategy that engages your field service team in enthusiastic, proactive business development starts with knowing where you currently stand. This article, and this accompanying assessment tool that we use with our clients, will help you get your bearings.
The tool includes a short questionnaire that measures your current ability to encourage field service technicians to proactively promote your company’s products and services. The purpose is not to evaluate your current position, but rather to clarify your starting point so you can plot the shortest route to success. There are no right or wrong answers.
To get started, print out the following questionnaire. Then find a quiet corner and carefully assess your current position against the twenty questions. Ask the rest of your field service management team to do the same, compare your results, and find a consensus on each question.
Once you have completed the questionnaire, you can summarize your current position and highlight where you are strong and where there may be opportunities for improvement. The rest of this article is designed to help you do this. Your summary will be handy to refer to later when you begin the process of identifying the actions you will take to implement your vision of the future. It might be helpful to create a chart like the one below for each of the headings that follow.
SEE ALSO: Biz Dev From the Field: Your Techs Are Biz Dev ChampsBusiness Promotion as a Service: To get enthusiastic buy-in from the field service team, they must recognize that making recommendations to help a customer achieve their business (or personal) goals are a valuable service. It is a service as important as their ability to repair and maintain equipment. How do you currently describe and define the role of business development. How does your team perceive business promotion?
Opportunity Capture: A quick, simple, consistent approach to identification and reporting will ensure that the field team consistently captures opportunities from the field and reduces the risk of opportunities being lost between the technician and the office. How do your technicians currently record opportunities for follow-up? How well do they follow this process? What do you have in place to ensure that opportunities are quickly and consistently acted upon?
Field Service Interactions with Customers: How our technicians interact with our customers will define the service experience and set the stage for opportunities to engage in conversations about recommendations that will help the customer. To ensure a consistent experience over time and between various technicians, we can define how we would like our technicians to interact. Do your technicians have a consistent approach when they arrive or leave a customer’s facility? Do they ask specific questions about the customer’s current situation or need for additional services? Do they have the interpersonal skills necessary to build trust quickly and communicate their competence? Do they have the skills to successfully work through emotional situations?
Tools and Processes to Support the Technicians’ Efforts: Our success will largely depend upon our ability to assist our field service team in identifying, promoting, and quoting recommendations that will help the customer. Failing to respond in a timely manner, not keeping the technician informed of progress, and dropping the ball on follow-ups on quoted opportunities are just three examples of how we can sabotage our own efforts.
Understanding the Company’s Products and Services: Field service teams often have a limited understanding of their company’s overall capabilities. As a result, opportunities are frequently overlooked, which opens the way for competitors to fill the void. How well do your technicians know your firm’s offerings? What steps do you take to keep them informed of new competencies and remind them of existing ones? Can your technicians speak intelligently about everything that you do as an organization?
Collaboration of Sales and Service: The degree to which our salespeople and service technicians collaborate as a team, to recommend and follow-up on opportunities, will significantly impact the success of our initiative. How well do your sales and service teams speak of one another? How well do your service and sales teams communicate? Do your sales teams participate in service meetings? Do your salespeople engage your service team during the quoting process?
In my next post, I will discuss a simple process that, now that you understand your current position, will help you create the foundation of a successful proactive business development strategy.
To learn more, read Jim Baston’s book, Beyond Great Service, The Technician’s Role in Proactive Business Growth, and the companion workbook, Beyond Great Service Planning Guide.