Service Packaging Guide for Professional Service Businesses

Written by: Gord Smith

Service packaging, also known as Productization is a very straightforward concept that can result in fascinating outcomes. But only if it goes through a tough planning and execution process. Streamlining is the key.

What is service packaging?

The term by several influencing bodies, has been overly complicated, it’s not rocket science. The reality is, Service Packaging is just amalgamating different services together to create a common solution/service that is a need of various clients. Service packages are successful if they are sellable to several clients and not one.

It may seem like another fancy business jargon floating in the rapidly evolving world of Business. And it will continue to be one if its simplicity and importance is not recognized by today’s service oriented businesses.

Who needs it?

Many people believe Service Packaging or Productization of offerings is only needed by small or upcoming businesses to make their offerings more appealing/visible to clients. Whereas, the truth is that, often larger firms have more complex and diverse set of offerings.

We have worked with clients with millions of dollars in revenue but they still face huge discomfort while explaining their offerings to potential clients. At times, what businesses think is their strategic price point and differentiates them from the market, seems a bit too “out of the box” to clients. Hence, in a situation like this, service packaging can help in justify your pricing and exclusive service offering. Designing a definite offering and delivery process helps minimizing risks. Especially, operational and reputational risks as when you turn existing activities, knowledge and procedures into procedures and processes, it makes the delivery repeatable and ensures higher quality standards.

Why do you need it?

If you believe your company’s various offerings can solve different parts of the prevailing business problems of your clients (existing and potential) you need to consolidate those services and make them one ‘Product’.

  • Well defined business portfolio; clients understand value
  • Reuse & consistency: Faster delivery, on time and within budget
  • Win Rate: Larger pipelines, enhanced retention & repurchase
  • Lower project delivery costs & risks, higher utilization, better margins
  • More extension and upgrade opportunities for add-on revenue

How to implement it?

Just like any product that companies would never dream of developing without an understanding of the market, same standard must be applied to services. There is a very thin line that separates market focus from client focus. While designing your service package, it is pivotal to have the former for it to serve tens of clients, if not more.

Package your offerings in a way that they create a sound value proposition. Keeping in mind the value it will deliver, buyer’s needs and competition.  It should appeal to multiple clients, else there’s no point creating if it constantly needs to be redesigned for every other client. Though routine optimization, revision and customization are essential.

Process:

Service packaging can be a big transformational change in any organization and its success relies heavily on dedicated and empowered staff. It is more successful when an organization uses a framework to choreograph roles and responsibilities and define clear outcomes by phase.  It is highly pivotal to do so within the organization as well on the client’s side. This approach leverages client knowledge from existing project plans.

Tools:

Depending upon the nature and complexity of the business, the list of tools required can highly vary. Some examples of the common ones required for most businesses can be the following:

  • Clear policies
  • Roles
  • Blueprints
  • Templates
  • Software
  • Sample Pitches, Proposals and Deliverables
  • Estimating templates & calculators
  • Agreements, contracts and other legal collateral

Pricing:

It can get a little tricky in this area. Most consulting firms charge an hourly rate for their services. Whereas, here you are charging for a result or perceived value that your service package promises to deliver. Hence, in some situations there can be a risk of bearing the cost of those extra hours.

Regardless of what pricing methodology you practice, always remember the rule of thumb. It should always be reflective of your company’s brand image, value proposition and the quality of work you provide to your clients.

The process of packaging your services can be difficult. But it is an essential requirement in the modern-day business world of competition, knowledgeable clients and other complexities. If done right, it has the potential to pay off the time and efforts invested, really well.