The Guide to Moving the Business from Capabilities to Outcomes: Service Chains


Service ChainsSM (a tool set created by McMann & Ransford) were created to carry much of the effort to sell and deliver outcome-based offers to clients.  Service ChainsSM  place, in one integrated toolkit, all items necessary to:

Let’s expand on a few of these ideas to assist in understanding the power of the Service ChainSM tool set.

  • Selling the Way Buyers Buy – buyers progress through a three-step decision-making process:
    • Whether to Act – the first thing the buyer considers is whether to take action. This includes understanding the opportunity, likelihood of success, and the investment required. The Service ChainSM provides an Entry Project, a short-term and lower-budget introductory engagement, to evaluate that topic. Therefore, it allows the buyer and selling organization to move forward with little risk to answer whether to take action or further investigate the topic. Today too often, selling organizations fall into one of two situations:
  1. The buyer has already determined whether to act and how to act, and they are looking for a vendor to perform. This is a competition (maybe RPF) with focus on the wrong things like price.
  2. The selling organization is earlier in the buying process. The whether-to-act process is a long journey (resulting in a long sales cycles) with the selling organization investing significant time and effort with little reward for the investment.

The Entry Project moves the ball forward in a selling organization-controlled environment, gets the buyer writing checks, and provides valuable input to reduce the risk of the large deal for both buyer and seller.

  • How to Act – The next key decision for the buyer is how does their company goes about solving this issue or taking advantage of this opportunity. Again, the Service ChainSM takes this thought process into account.  The next project in the chain is the Proof Project.  This project requires greater investment (still much smaller than the large deal) and proves that the Idea will work in the buyer’s environment.  This project could be a pilot of the Idea, or a detailed plan etc.  The Proof Project again provides a structured way to move forward and additional information crucial to being successful in the large implementation project.
  • Work Above the Safety LineSM – One important goal for most firms today is to become more important and intimate with their key customers and segments. This requires addressing issues and opportunities that executives care about.  This combined with the fact that most sales efforts (and related talent) are geared to technical buyers and procurement makes dealing with executives a significant change in the selling motion. The Service ChainSM frees the organization to go directly to the executive because it is geared to how they think.  Working Above the Safety LineSM is both an offensive and defensive strategy.  It allows protection from competitors because the selling organization now has higher value and greater intimacy.  And, offensively, it provides a road to pull through the products and services that are more commoditized.  Finally, the Service ChainSM provides a mechanism for many existing sales resources to work with executives without having to replace the sales force.

We did not the take the time here to explain all the advantages of leveraging Service Chains,SM but I hope these examples help to demonstrate the power of the tool set.


Written by: Dean McMann

More from this Author

About the Author: Dean McMann is a Founding Partner at McMann & Ransford with 35+ years of experience in consulting and professional services.  He is a sought-after expert and speaker on topics of: B2B differentiation, professional services best practices, and overcoming commoditization.  In addition to his extensive experience in the Professional Services space, Dean also serves on the board of various non-profit organizations.

Leave a Reply