Smart Members Saying Smart Things

It feels great to finally have the book done. The folks who have read it so far have been really excited. I think if you have been in services for more than a few years, you probably have thought about many of the concepts in the book at least once. That is really how the book happened; I have heard so many smart members say so many smart things to me over the years that I really felt like someone should write this stuff down!

That is really what is on my mind now—not so much, “Will the services community respond to the book?” but “What about beyond the services community?” Hell, the services community wrote the book. But the key to this book is how it plays to the CEO, the CFO, the head of sales, etc. To properly execute the strategies in the book, we need a different business model. And this is something we are not going to be allowed to decide unilaterally. Value added service (VAS) is a board-level decision.

So my really big ask of all of you is to get this book into the hands of all your senior executives—both inside and outside services. And tell us here in this blog what their reactions are! Last night, I was at a cocktail party and was talking to two very senior execs at one of the industry’s biggest companies. They were saying that their CEO still believes that if your services business gets too big, it means you’re not a good product company. I’m there thinking, “That’s so old-school.” I know it is.

Tech products are complex. It’s a fact. If we knew how to make them simpler, we would do it. Another fact is that every product has a “consumption gap” problem. Some are big and some are small…but every product has one. So if you really want customers to get value, then you need your services organization to close that gap. If that means services are 10 percent of revenue, then okay. If it means that services are 60 percent of revenue, then okay, too!

You know that services sell products. I know that services sell products. And very soon, it will be common knowledge. So I hope that everyone does two things. The first I already mentioned: Get the book into the hands of all your non-services execs. The second is to really think hard about what the implications of the book are to your particular business. If you are lucky, your CEO might actually ask you that question. You won’t get a lot of swings at that pitch, so be ready! And don’t forget to tell me how the conversations are going!!! JB

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