Research Brief. Using the Model. Category One: Strategy

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1 The Sirius Directions in Services Model The Sirius Directions in Services Model groups sales, marketing and product service providers and agencies into five categories: strategy, reputation, demand, sales and operations The model highlights the service providers and agencies that support strategic corporate initiatives for sales, marketing and product management As the market changes, the model will accommodate new and emerging service providers and consolidate those that become obsolete As modern life has become more connected and fast-paced, entrepreneurs have emerged to provide services that assist individuals with virtually anything, including making home repairs, mowing lawns, walking dogs, shopping for groceries and even paying bills. There are even service providers to help people select other service providers. Marketing, sales and product organizations responsibilities also have grown exponentially, often without an increase in headcount. These organizations can benefit by using service providers or agencies that act as strategic partners providing needed capabilities and skills. In this brief, we present the Sirius Directions in Services Model, its five broad service categories, and the individual types of services in each category that are available to marketing, sales and product organizations. Using the Model The Sirius Directions in Services Model categorizes providers to help marketing, sales and product leaders understand what functions and capabilities can be outsourced. The model segments b-to-b service providers into five broad categories strategy, reputation, demand, sales and operations and 32 specific types of b-to-b services. Subsequent research will offer comparative analyses of the providers in each of these areas. Note that some service providers (e.g. digital interactive marketing agencies) offer a breadth of services that include customer experience, creative, Web design and demand creation. This model takes a separate look at each of these capabilities. B-to-b organizations must carefully consider which capabilities, functions and processes they wish to maintain in-house vs. using a service provider. In some cases, services may be highly commoditized and performed more cost-effectively through a service provider. In other cases, service providers may provide unique capabilities that offer a strategic advantage. Additionally, capabilities that a business is struggling to maintain or has yet to develop and needs quickly can be candidates for outsourcing. Category One: Strategy The development and execution of strategic direction are the most critical responsibility of marketing, sales and product organizations; finding the right service provider to help create vision and bring it to life can provide SiriusDecisions. All Rights Protected and Reserved. 1

2 significant competitive advantage. Services in this category include: Strategy development. Service providers that give sales, marketing and/or product advice, research, data and guidance around key operations and execution areas. Additionally, they may design and deliver strategic plans, organizational designs and process workflows. Customer experience. Service providers that focus on the customer lifecycle, specializing in customer experience mapping, customer relationships and customer loyalty. These providers create post-sale customer lifecycle maps, develop customer success plans, and track and measure customer loyalty. Persona development. Service providers that research target buyers and develop persona profiles for organizations based on their findings. This includes defining the buyer audience, ranking audience segments based on quantitative factors and then adjusting for qualitative factors to maximize the chances of success. Messaging. Service providers that are employed to help craft a company s messaging. Messaging can be aimed at some or all of the following echelons: industry, organization, buying center, buyer persona or user persona. Channel program management. Service providers that help companies manage channel programs through partner profiling, recruiting, deal registration, partner portal development and support, contract management and channel auditing. Category Two: Reputation Directing the right messages to the proper audiences is essential for an organization s reputation. From customer experience to public relations and advertising, service SiriusDecisions. All Rights Protected and Reserved. 2

3 providers in this category help organizations manage all activities linked to their reputations. Brief descriptions of services in the reputation category include: Influencer relations. Service providers that help organizations manage public and/or analyst relations and align analyst and public relations with social operations and product/solution subject matter experts. These service providers identify influencers and define their interests, preferences, requirements and spheres of influence. Brand. Service providers that specialize in the launch or rebranding of a product or service. Additionally, these providers help develop and measure the corporate brand strategy for effectively communicating with external audiences. Social media. Service providers that provide strategic support and implementation of social media through social content, tool deployment, platform/application development, media integration and community management. Creative. Service providers that specialize in developing creative assets aligned to a company s brand and/or specific audience segments. Creative output includes Web, print, video, social, mobile, radio and television. Copywriters/freelance writers. Service providers that either directly employ or provide access to copywriters or freelance writers with the purpose of creating, revising or editing content. Category Three: Demand Demand creation teams responsibilities have burgeoned along with the variety of tools, techniques and data that help drive demand, identify buyers and deliver appropriate content. As a result, the process of managing and coordinating demand creation activities across multiple geographies, target segments and personas has become increasingly complex. Brief descriptions of service providers in the demand category include: Media planning/buying. Service providers that develop media plans and execute the purchase of online and offline media on behalf of the client. Teleservices. Service providers that deliver teleprospecting and/or telemarketing services to organizations. These services can augment existing functions or supplant them entirely. Demand creation. Service providers that create and execute demand creation programs leveraging the clients systems (e.g. marketing automation platform). This type of service encompasses a broad suite of services that combine the attributes of digital/creative agencies and technology systems integrators, and can support organizations with either direct or indirect sales models. Lead generation. Service providers that rely on their own networks and resources to generate and convert leads. This type of service includes content syndication, promotion and events, and can support organizations with either direct or indirect sales models. Web design. Service providers that develop corporate Web sites and help optimize sites for enhanced buyer interaction. These providers also can act as integrators for third-party tools used to enhance the buyer experience, conduct A/B testing and dynamically deliver content. Search. Service providers that specialize in organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click keyword and social media advertising, as well as content syndication. Live events. Service providers that handle the management of live events. This can include attendee registration, messaging, venue and accommodations booking, entertainment, food and drink as well as live and post-event attendee surveys. Digital events. Service providers that manage digital events (e.g. webcasts). This can include attendee registration, messaging, agenda and content planning, and attendee polling. Translation/localization. Service providers that provide content translation and localization services. Human or machine translation and localization may be employed to serve these needs. Category Four: Sales Sales teams are the lifeblood of most organizations, converting prospects into buyers and generating company revenue. As a result, there is a constant need to assess and improve sales processes, messaging and personnel. Service providers can dramatically impact the effectiveness SiriusDecisions. All Rights Protected and Reserved. 3

4 of direct and channel sales. Brief descriptions of service providers in the sales category include: Channel sales/marketing support. Service providers that provide a full range of services including list acquisition, telesales, appointment setting, customer qualification and execution of marketing programs. Program incentive management. Service providers that manage partner incentives to determine eligibility and distribution, and drive understanding around which programs deliver the greatest return. Certification/compliance. Service providers that deliver online training programs that build product/service skills and help suppliers track certification levels, which are often used to divide partners into classes (e.g. platinum, gold, silver). Sales training and coaching. Service providers that address the developmental needs of a field force, including skills and methodologies. Service providers seek to shorten sales cycles, increase deal sizes and improve win rates by observing reps and managers directly in the field. Focus areas include territory planning, account planning, opportunity management, core selling skills, messaging/presentation skills, deal strategy and negotiation training. Sales talent assessment. Service providers that help organizations reach consensus on which sales competencies (e.g. skills, knowledge and behaviors) should be assessed during the hiring process. The way in which these competencies are measured informs the creation of a detailed competency model and job description, and sets the direction for establishing a sales enablement plan for existing reps. Sales enablement. Service providers that specialize in sales enablement strategy development. These agencies define requirements, create messaging, provide assets (e.g. playbooks) and tools, and deliver mechanisms to sales teams that match the various stages of the sales journey. Category Five: Operations When organizations make decisions about products, customers or competitors without access to the highest-quality data and analysis, the consequences can be devastating. Operations groups have a duty to ensure the organization receives the most accurate information possible. Brief descriptions of service providers in the operations category include: Channel measurement and reporting. Service providers that focus on channel analytics, point-of-sale reporting and channel revenue tracking, providing suppliers with reporting and greater visibility into channel sales and inventory data. SiriusDecisions. All Rights Protected and Reserved. 4

5 Analytics. Service providers that combine expertise in analytics and analysis software in order to provide custom analyses for clients. Capabilities include segmentation analysis, offer optimization for cross-sell and upsell, marketing mix optimization, lifetime value analysis and churn prediction. Win/loss analysis. Service providers that offer win/loss interviewing and analysis services for organizations seeking insights on products, markets, sales performance and competitors. Product development. Service providers that help organizations develop strategies and execution plans for new or enhanced offerings. Additionally, they may collect customer feedback, feature/enhancement requests, and evaluate and prioritize items for development. Pricing. Service providers that help organizations determine and optimize the prices of their products, services and solutions. Contact data. Service providers that provide contact data and services to help marketing organizations grow, enhance, clean, append and analyze prospect and customer data. Market research. Service providers that gather targeted market research and competitive intelligence for organizations (e.g. information on buyers, customers, brand, products, geography, industry, competition) with the intent of penetrating new markets, as well as creating personas and concept testing to iterate and validate new product ideas. The Sirius Decision Organizations should evaluate their core processes, capabilities, skills and resources and use these as inputs to decide when (or if) they should engage a service provider. In some cases, building skills, processes and capabilities in-house provides a competitive advantage. In other cases, the use of service providers can increase process efficiencies, reduce costs, augment existing capabilities or provide capabilities and capacity that the organization doesn t have. There is no right or wrong answer organizations must find a balance between the use of service providers and in-house resources to maximize business results and execute marketing, sales and product plans. This content is copyrighted by SiriusDecisions Inc. and cannot be reproduced or shared without prior expressed written permission from SiriusDecisions, Inc. SiriusDecisions is the leading global B2B research and advisory firm. We deliver the actionable intelligence, transformative frameworks and expert guidance that equip executives to modernize and elevate sales, marketing and product performance. SiriusDecisions is based in Wilton, CT with offices in London, Montreal, San Francisco and Waltham, MA. 187 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT fax siriusdecisions.com

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