With the “Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon” sign just a speck in the rearview mirror, it seems like a good time to wrap up some of the most valuable insights from the Technology Services World conference hosted in Las Vegas this past week.
TSW isn’t just a learning and networking conference for the “Technology-as-a-Service” sector of the economy. It’s also proven to be something of a bellwether for the industry as a whole. The ideas discussed at the event have in previous years defined strategies for some of the largest, most successful companies.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the key takeaways from this year’s TSW with a look ahead to the future.
The concept of “LAER” (Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew) has been a mainstay of highly functional teams—especially in the Sales, Marketing, and Account Management roles. It augmented the old “Land and Expand” mentality to include the crucial adoption and renewal phase so crucial to growth in the new economy. However, it has a pretty fundamental flaw: it’s entirely vendor-centric. As power continues to shift from vendor to buyer, having a growth model centered around the customer and their outcomes is much more effective in helping you deliver the results that drive growth. At TSW, LAER is out as a lifecycle model and PIMO is in.
PIMO stands for “Plan, Implement, Monitor, Optimize.” As you can see, it’s entirely structured around the customer’s point of view. It’s important to note that these stages map to the customer journey, and correlate strongly to growth outcomes for both the vendor and client. In the XaaS model, your success is intrinsically linked to your customer’s. Click here to read more about the impetus for this evolution as well as how to implement it from J.B. Wood.
Define Client Outcomes Upfront
The customer journey begins well before the contract is signed. At TSW, there was a huge focus on the need to understand and level-set desired outcomes during the sales cycle—and have a strategy to achieve them. If you don’t have a detailed Success Plan with milestones and KPIs in place ahead of onboarding, you’re already behind. There was some definite synergy between this mentality and how Gainsight has been thinking about specifically Professional Services. Our new offering for Services Success gives PS a 360-degree view of each Project and delivers trackable Success Plans for every customer.
GE’s presentation on Tuesday was one of the most highly attended sessions of the event. Established companies like GE are doubling down on Customer Success as they transform around Digital Services. GE’s customer base is a massive competitive advantage and a crucial defense against disruption. If that base achieves success, GE will thrive in the new economy. If they don’t, GE knows it will be crowded out of an increasingly competitive marketplace. Customer Success is the key.
Supplier Led Sales Tactics
The theme of getting outside of your own entrenched perspective and looking at your company through the customer’s eyes continued. We know that buyers have more power than ever as the perpetual model continues to erode. But from a buyer perspective, they don’t necessarily feel empowered. Solutions are increasingly complex, there are often many stakeholders, and available options can be so plentiful the buying process becomes paralyzing. There’s a need and an opportunity for vendors to take the lead in the sales cycle through supplier-led tactics.
Here’s a seven-step process outlined at TSW:
- Success Science—mine insights from current contracts
- Create a catalog of common services
- Understand buyer personas—pain points, metrics, stakeholders
- Help your prospects by creating prescriptive outcomes
- Build a flexible deal review process
- Increase the agility of your offer development
- Sales compensation on target margin
Insightful TSIA Statistical Data
Maybe the biggest value of TSW is access to TSIA’s world-class research. Here are a few incredible stats we learned at the event:
- 27% of companies surveyed know how their users are compensated.
- 49% know who their most profitable customers are.
- 38% of companies leverage their product to inform service recommendations
- 50% say that fewer than one-fifth of bookings are outcome-driven vs. RFP driven.
- Only 29% say more than two-fifths of bookings are outcome-driven.
Gainsight for Services Success
Maybe the biggest takeaway from TSW (from our perspective, at least) is the unveiling of our new product offering for Professional Services, Gainsight for Services Success. We talked to lots of leaders in the services industry who view this as a potentially huge driver of value through efficiency and data insights. We actually have several customers already leveraging the tool to create growth. If you’re interested in learning how Gainsight for Services Success can drive that value for you, please reach out for a demo.