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Breaking out of a poor product to sales cycle can seem daunting for IT Service Providers who have not invested enough time into considering their current strategy for the adoption of digital innovation and the role it plays in creating a better aligned workforce. The Industry X.0 practice lead by Accenture joined with the World Economic Form identifies 2 key data points from a joint survey conducted with over 2,500 executives across the world in a broad set of industries.

‘80% of executives agree that digital will transform their industry in the next 5 years’, however, only ‘17% of executives interviewed said that they do not have a strategy to address this challenge’. Eric Schaeffer, Senior Managing Director at Accenture.

We understand that when poor product to sales issues are not explored, not understood and not fixed inside IT service providers, it often creates an unnecessary cycle of poor product to sales provision which impacts the quality of services delivered to customers.

Continue reading as we provide a list of common symptoms of having a disconnect between product management and sales and highlight some of the common effects it has on the product to cash sales cycle.

We aim to help you with planning your strategy to embrace digital innovation and begin quoting for your services with increased speed, confidence and accuracy for new and existing clients.

Common symptoms a Sales team experience:

· Unable to select products from a central, standardised and well-structured portfolio

· Unable to quickly and accurately manipulate pricing

· Unclear on how to sell product in line with the clients use case

· Lack of understanding in what product / service the customer is entitled to

· Poor time to quote and send proposals to clients with accurate cost and pricing

· Poor order processing leading to problematic invoicing

· Increased number of non-standard services are being created in the short term due to lack of formal standards

· Spending more time than needed in creating and finessing client quotes and proposals

· Poorly defined or lack of rate card pricing standards

· No guidance on what the rules are for rate carding products and services that are applied to them

Common causes of these symptoms:

· Not spending enough time to standardise the portfolio offerings

· A lack of investment into Configure Price Quote (CPQ) tools and services to increase the time to quote

· A lack of investment into packaging for sale in line with clients use case

· Lack of process, standards and guidelines

· Lack of structure and guidance to enable and govern non-standard products and services

· A lack of planning for upcoming rate card strategies

· A lack of communication and inter-team working between product and sales

Common impacts this has on the product to sales cycle:

· Sales team are increasingly becoming reactive to products asking for sales support

· A lack of clear sales launch with different perceptions of a products standard service offerings

· Product managers are providing technical, cost and price information ad-hoc

· Frustrated workforce from product managers through sales, account teams, architect, procurement, delivery and invoicing teams

· Losing out on important sales bids, clients sourcing elsewhere or internally as its easier

· Blocked from automation and scaling operations

3 Step Action Plan:

1. Agree with senior stakeholders that there is a common problem which is to be considered as a priority.

· Eliminate what is not working for you and seek to self-enable sales teams

· Analyse what is being sold with a view to identify and agree standards

· Structure your services into standard proposition areas and fixed or configurable bundles

· Provide a flexible yet controlled solution for selling of non standard items

2. Create a coalition for change and some form of project with senior business level sponsorship.

· We highly recommend that you look into Kotter’s change approach when attempting to disrupt the business with digital innovation.

3. Create a common vision with clear objectives accounting for end to end product through Configure Price Quote (CPQ) to Cash with a supporting business case for change.

· Engage with 3rd party experts for an independent review and advice to help you make better informed choices in your journey to embrace digital innovation.

· Select a CPQ provider with implementation expertise, carefully assess their capability, roadmap and knowledge of your industry

· Set your CPQ provider a challenge, provide them a scope and target then assess their ability to deliver

· Implement a CPQ system for quality sales packaging that enables and guides sales teams

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