If you are engaging your field service team in business development efforts, you will be aware of the importance of having a robust and failsafe opportunity management process. Poor processes drop opportunities, fail to keep everyone informed and generally defeat your efforts to get everyone enthusiastically involved.
In this blog, I thought it would be helpful to consider the Six Key Components of a Robust and Failsafe Opportunity Management Process for your team.
1. Clearly identify what you want your technicians to do
The process starts with having a clear understanding of what you want your technicians to do if they do find an opportunity to help. For example, do you want them to:
- Simply pass the opportunity over to sales (or other) for follow-up?
- Review their ideas with the customer and get their permission for a salesperson (or other) to call?
- Review their ideas with the customer, provide pricing, and seek the customer’s agreement to proceed?
2. Provide clear expectations on how you want technician to be involved in the solution
Options can include:
- None – they leave it up to the sales team
- Some – they provide input then back out of the process
- Most – they work closely with the sales team (or others) to determine the final solution
- All – they determine the final solution, price it, and present it to the customer
3. Build in flexibility to accommodate different situations
Be clear on how you want the technician (and sales team) to act as circumstances change. Do your expectations of your field service team change depending upon the nature of the opportunity? For example, will their actions change depending upon the:
- Size of the opportunity?
- Products and/or service contemplated?
- Nature of the customer?
4. Define how progress on each opportunity will be communicated
Typically opportunities take time to address. Customer visits are required, a solution must be developed and priced, customers need time to evaluate the solution, etc. To keep the field service team engaged and enthusiastic, it is critical to keep them informed of the progress that is being made.
This also allows the technician to respond professionally in the event the customer asks a question about progress on the solution. Having a technician respond with a flippant “I don’t know. Those guys in the office never tell us anything”, is not helpful and certainly not professional.
5. Make it clear on who will follow up and how the follow up will take place
It is logical to place responsibility for follow up on the sales team or the person who presented the customer with the final proposal. But, if the opportunity was quoted through sales or through another department, can the technicians play a role here?
Would it make sense to provide them with a list of outstanding proposals for each customer that they visit so that they can ask if the customer has come to some decision and perhaps provide supporting information?
I recognize that each company and each opportunity is different so this approach may not work in all cases. However, letting a proposal to replace an old piece of equipment before it fails fall through the cracks does not help the customer if the equipment fails because they forgot about the issue.
6. Actively work to keep things on track
No system is truly failsafe for every circumstance. Despite your best efforts, things will go wrong. When they do, we can show leadership by addressing the underlying issues and getting things back on track quickly.
We can also address those that don’t follow the process and ensure that they understand the importance of doing so. Failure to address problems quickly and consistently will tell everyone that the process really isn’t all that important after all.
Our technicians provide a valuable service when they take proactive actions to make recommendations that help our customers to be better off. We can help them and help our business by ensuring that the processes we have in place work consistently and correctly.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. You can connect with me via telephone or email or leave a comment right here on the site. And as always, please feel free to leave a link back to your own blog if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site. If you are reading this blog post via email, you will need to locate this post on my website by clicking here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find the comment section.
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
– W. Edwards Deming