Valmet roll services has a high number of different products and services in its portfolio and until recently most customer quotations have been tailored case by case – laborious approach that on the long term does not support the development of high value adding services and results in profit losses. In order to serve customers better it has been obvious that Valmet should move up in the value ladder by transforming its offering from single products and services more towards technical solutions and ultimately towards customers business support.
Moreover, sales that are driven by selling total solutions rather than one-off maintenance services, need to consider the interaction from new viewpoints, one being customer type. Customer types vary between management, production and maintenance and result as different needs.
Modularity of the offering and the creation of new visual tools to communicate the new approach internally and externally were seen as major success factors in creation of customized productized service solutions. As a result modular service offering supporting the creation of customized solutions matching customers’ business goals efficiently was created. Also the visual sales tools that could be used to communicate things like service concept, supplier’s responsibilities, and even estimated business value for customer was created.
Valmet is not an exception. Selling and managing intangible services is not an easy job to do for a product-centric industrial company. Marketing and selling a tangible product - something that can be seen, touched or experiences in some way - is typically quite straight forward. It is possible to show the product, and demonstrate its value and benefits. But how to sell intangible service? Usually it is hard to define the value of intangible service for customers as intangible service can’t be demonstrated. Unlike a machine, for example, a customer cannot sit inside a service, test it, experience or be dazzled by its advanced technical properties.
There is a need to adapt services to customer specific requirements efficiently and tools that support the sale of complex service solutions.
The benefits of visualizations are numerous: they open pathways to different professional’s thinking, guide the sales team around right topics of discussion with the customer, help to consider alternative approaches in demand and support a dialogue in sales negotiations. The visualisations of different customer types and the possibility to prepare a targeted argument and negotiation order helps to focus on the most relevant topics. The visualisations also help supplier to organise negotiation strategy and reframe it during the negotiations if it turns out that the direction needs to be changed. During the negotiation the visuals help in agreeing with certain steps about the deal with the customer. These ease the complexity of the negotiation and help to focus deeper into the task in progress, remembering what was discussed and also to communicate to others.
“It is obvious that the clearly visualized materials help our sales managers in the customer interface where they can now more easily present the Valmet’s solution. The visualizations also help in internal communications thus improving the co-operation between different functions and units in roll services”, Senior Manager, Services Concept Development Juha Ojala summarises the benefits of the program.
Mikko Karioja, Valmet; Mikko Illi, Aalto University; Juha Ojala, Valmet
Valmet, Aalto, VTT