Last week we went through how we can stop giving out free advice and making consultation a revenue generator. Let’s see that in practice. Our example today is Slack, the latest silicon valley unicorn (1B+ valuation). Slack, in most cases, is a free tool designed to enhance your internal communication. So how can we as IT service providers deliver value and earn revenue with this great tool.
Customer Segment Profile
First, we need to understand a problem most of our clients have. The sector of the industry we’re focusing on now is companies whose teams work together on processes, projects, and collaborating with both vendors and clients.
Jobs to be done:
Like so many other aspects of modern life, most of them need to deliver more value with fewer resources.
Typically they communicate over email, getting 100 or more emails a day, without a clue as to how to handle this volume. They cc each other excessively just to keep everyone in the loop, and use a host of applications like Project Management, CRM, plus service automation, and so on. Even these are mostly cloud based, with no integration, so every one of these systems needs to be checked separately if they want the whole picture.
They’ll also try out new apps on a weekly basis in their search for solutions, install a few, run the 30 day trial, all while not having the time to properly evaluate them - and like Sisyphus’ rock they keep finding themselves at the bottom of the hill again.
Gains they are looking for:
They want an overall improvement in their communication each other, vendors, and clients, so they can focus on their work instead of emails, and would love to get answers, reasonably quickly, from a system, application, or from each other regardless of location - in the car, office or at home.
But they’re already too busy...the last thing they need is the added task of creating this solution. What’s missing is someone to listen to their issues, understand them, figure a solution, and then not only implement it, but also train their people and support them in the learning curve so that they can get back to the business of their business.
We’ve observed that this is quite typical. even though we know the tools are out there...they just don’t get used or aren’t implemented and trained properly. That’s nothing new to us in IT: Owning tools is easy...finding the right one and using it properly is another matter.
Value Proposition Map
Discover how Slack with the proper consultation and implementation can help them achieve this communication improvement.
As a product Slack helps teams communicate within a single space. This can happen in private channels, one to one communication, public channels, you name it, and it can manage topics according to need. It also integrates with thousands of applications, and so ususally gets the sought after information from disparate sources without logging into those applications. In essence it creates a unified platform for company-wide communication and replaces internal emails almost completely.
The tool is the first step. Also required however is the creation of the business case, context, and the process to properly implement it, training users, creating basic policies and enrolling the entire team and the company overall. Of course we could leave them to do all this on their own, but our value proposition is to make this process successful from the get-go. This is actually more important than the tool itself.
Teams are now working in all kinds of venues and access the information from a myriad of devices, anytime, and anywhere. They always have to share files and documents with each other. Even with cloud based file sharing it’s a time wasting task - to copy / paste the links, then use another app to send. Another problem is after sharing, nobody’s aligned on where the file came from, and have to re-check the email to access it again. Slack eliminates this speed-bump entirely, leaving the file in context, and with its robust search engine, one can find it easily with any other system of communication.
Still, most users will have questions, and Slack doesn’t have real one-on-one support that incorporates an understanding of their business context...it’s rather more general help on features. Our support can fill this gap. We’ll often be able to offer our technical skills in integrating many other applications into Slack - a not so obvious task. We can be the ones to make those integrations work and enhance them over time.
Product & Services
The ultimate solution for the opportunities / problems of the client is a Slack Implementation Project.
- Needs assessment
- Project kickoff
- Project management
Because this implementation project is largely common among all who would have it, it can be templated easily, so from our perspective is streamlined. A Slack implementation project in this sense with initial consultation, implementation, technical set up, training and initial support can fall into a $2500 - $3500 range. It leads to an additional MRR for support and subsequent enhancement projects.
The best way to market this is with an eBook or a Grader. You can see an example of a Slack grader here. It asks the following questions from the client:
We can quickly score their answers and see whether Slack can be useful to them to show, try, and implement. It can lead us to a quick product tour and a kickoff meeting for the needs assessment.
The delivery part is a canned project with
- Project Plan
- Process descriptions, hints and tips
- Pricing and packaging document, contract, agreement
- Task lists for the milestones
- Tasks for the necessary deliverables
- Meeting memos, agendas to manage the project efficiently
- One-page checklists for the discovery meetings
- Presentation decks for education/training
- Basecamp.com live client facing workspace with everything necessary to facilitate smooth communication with the client
Slack is a great tool, and boosting the tool with our implementation services is a big hit. Clients will understand that we’re no longer just a general infrastructure service provider but a real business ‘wingman’ or ‘wingwoman’ for them with respect to the creative use and implementation of technology solutions. It ushers us into the trusted advisory role and helps us reframe our clients to see that IT is not just cost-savings, but a huge competitive advantage.