This may seem like a strange question to many, but if you are a Large Account Reseller (LAR) or Value-Added Reseller then I’m sure if you don’t already have a services arm you will be wishing you had.
I’ve tried to compile some of the key areas I think are important to understanding:
What services can you offer?
What value to these provide?
What sets your people apart from the rest?
What accreditations do your people or organisation have?
What training will your people need?
How often will you need to have people re-certified?
What do you want to achieve? If this isn’t clear focus will be distracted and capability sprawl may occur.
A core set of principals designed to help and guide your services personnel.
Like with all things, if you can’t do it manually and it’s not documented then you are likely to run into problems.
Utilise industry standards, they are tried, tested and understood by many.
Don’t forget the value of communication; keep the people who will be working with the customer involved.
Take the process it and inject some software assisted technology into the equation. If you’re going to be able to organise a team out on the road, deal with customer enquiries and report on performance all without breaking into a sweat then you’re going to need a CRM or ERP, through in some DMS and your onto a winner. Weather you go off the shelf, open source or bespoke in house, this is an incredibly import decision which should not be taken lightly.
How do we get our services out there?
Ride on the back of hardware and licensing
Know your product, unlike a solid object with a limited feature set, knowledge will change and grow, can be adapted for many situations and often can seem like a dark art to those who don’t know.
Gain customer confidence and reach a “trusted advisor” position.
Don’t oversell. There’s nothing worse than sending someone into a situation that they are not equipped to deal with.
Train, train then train some more – Products change at an incredible rate. Keeping the sales team knowledgeable is a major challenge itself.
The list above is by no means exhaustive, I’ve tried to put down the elements that I think are most important to a successful services division.