Field Service: Big Bad Lead Machine


Share on LinkedIn

Missing the link between service and sales? Photograph by Broma.

Do you want your service team to sell, cross-sell and up-sell existing customers? Many organizations say that yes, this is a primary CRM program objective. But this goal is notoriously difficult to achieve.

For starters, that’s because customer service professionals aren’t salespeople. Yes, service agents may have great rapport and interactions with customers. But taking that next step — “Mr. Jones, can I interest you in the complementary, whiz-bang new widget?” — simply doesn’t come naturally to most service personnel. Jokes about type A personalities aside, even most mothers would probably agree that great salespeople seem to hail from a different gene pool.

Lead, Or Follow

But recently, I met with a high-technology manufacturing company — let’s call it HTCo — that found a better way to mix service and sales, by having field service reps generate leads for the sales teams, rather than trying to sell new offerings themselves.

For background, at HTCo, the field service reps already service equipment at a customer’s site. They use SAP on the back end to track customer assets, and employ the SAP scheduling module to crunch through outstanding service requests, regular maintenance as well as emergencies, then dispatch the right mix of field service teams to the right customers, with each team typically visiting multiple sites on any given day.

Servicing Leads

Why use field sales to generate leads? Because they’re already inside the building. In fact, they know better than the customer what’s running onsite, what they need and maybe even what they’d like better. Furthermore, because HTCo provides “multi-vendor servicing,” it’s a natural next step for HTCo to support and fix all of the customer’s other products — including from the HTCo competition — as well as related equipment, including routers and switches.

Accordingly, when a field service rep is close to finishing a service job, before closing the customer case, he or she receives a prompt: Please inventory equipment that HTCo doesn’t maintain at the customer site.

Let the Leads Create Themselves

This inventory is gold. From it, HTCo can immediately generate sales leads tied to specific products that the customer already uses. In addition, sales can pitch the customer on replacing what’s onsite with far superior offerings manufactured by HTCo. Specifically, leads get generated in HTCo’s instance. At that point, all of the other-gene-pool sales types can go to work and close the sale.

In fact, in a six-month trial in the Netherlands, HTCo generated 3,000 leads using this approach, and it’s now rolling out the process across Europe.

Say Please

To help entice service teams to provide leads, the HTCo leadership provides feedback to the field service teams on the status of the leads that they generated. Field engineers also receive a reward for generating a lead — a gift certificate of a modest amount. But what really motivates them is recognition. Creating a feedback loop from the sales team — “Hey, that was a great lead, we just closed a deal, thank you” — does wonders for motivation.

Build a Big Bad Lead Machine

Everyone knows that generating leads is great. But if you want the sales team to use the leads, then you need a lead management process, including lead scoring, nurturing leads, and qualifying leads.

To help smooth out that process, going forward, HTCo plans to provide lead feedback to its field service engineers using’s new Facebook-like Chatter. In addition, HTCo is weighing tablet PCs — probably not iPads — for field service reps. Not only would tablets provide just-in-time videos and documents to help field service personnel accomplish their tasks more easily and quickly, but an integrated barcode reader would help them more easily inventory all equipment onsite.

For the organization’s field service professionals, this would make generating leads that much easier — since they’d no longer have to enter them manually — and arguably further increase the number and quality of leads they share. Especially because they’re not having to play salespeople. Rather, they’re just helping nudge sales in the right direction.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here