Making a packaged set of services offered is not only profitable, it doubles as a way to improve marketing.
The intangibility and inefficiency of providing services confined within the billable hour model has challenged professional service firms for decades.
But within the challenge is a profound solution—develop packaged service offerings of the firm’s proprietary services. When done thoughtfully, packaged services improve a firm’s marketing, aligns cost, price and value, and maximizes profitability.
Improve Marketing of Services
Building packaged services begins by addressing a specific challenge or set of related challenges that are experienced within the market. Mining the account management and business development teams will uncover a trove of useful insight on common challenges and frustrations prospects and clients are facing.
Using this insight, develop the narrative and define the set of services, brand it, and pilot with a strategic account that is open to innovative ideas. After two or three successful executions, begin promoting to the broader market leveraging the pilots for referrals, testimonials and case studies.
Bonus: This is a great opportunity to leverage paid social ads as a lead generation tool. Create a landing page for the package on the company website and test out Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter ads targeting the potential buyer.
Aligning Cost, Price and Value
Ensuring that the service package follows a prescriptive approach and can be accomplished within a finite timeframe will allow for a fixed price with a built-in margin. The scope of work must be specific and create the necessary boundaries to keep the project contained.
Because the outcome and deliverables are defined, clear and proven, prospects and clients will be better equipped to determine the value of the delivery and able to move deliberately through their decision making.
Based on the urgency and significance of their challenge, some organizations will only be willing to pay the lowest price a firm is able to deliver while others will find the offering far more valuable and be willing to pay a premium.
Good business developers understand how to generate revenue; exceptional ones know how to create revenue that generates the most profit.
Streamlining the go-to market phase allows a firm to reallocate resources building the necessary internal capability to reduce overhead associated with ramp up time, project planning and account management during execution.
Marketing Materials—Crafting clear, concise marketing materials that define the specific deliverables and outcomes will foster clarity, quicker buy-in and will shorten sales cycles. Add a signature line and position as a proposal for even quicker turnaround.
Templates—Developing templates upfront reduces the time needed on each execution. Agendas, strategy documents and reports should already be formatted and familiar. Time is spent on delivering the service—nothing else.
Staffing—Ensuring the same team or lead works on these projects will create even more efficiency. As increased expertise and competency reduces time to delivery, profit margin is maximized.
In the end, the entire process goes like this:Identify or develop a set of services that can be delivered, that are in relatively high-demand, and that target a common challenge. Define a standard, repeatable process for delivering the services. Identify specific prospects and business development targets. Market the service offering. Deliver, learn and improve.
Don't be afraid to play with the pricing model – either to become more profitable or to make packages more accessible to a broader market.
Tyler Durbin is Director of Business Strategy for Geben Communication. He takes a lead role in building relationships, facilitating conversations and connecting dots between people and opportunities that give back to the communities Geben serves, while also growing the business.