Are Your Services a Product or a Feature?

Professional services for SaaS companies can be difficult to figure out how to market and sell. How much services does the customer need? Will more services drive the customer through implementation and adoption faster? Do the services come with the subscription price of the SaaS solution or are there additional fees?

One way to think about how to go to market with your services is to ask yourself if they are a feature of the technology product or if they are a product in their own right that complements the technology.

All technology product companies have a product, by definition. And something is required to make that technology product work inside the customer organization. For some products, the customer can do everything needed to implement the new product. In that case, no professional services are needed at all. Think Gmail here. I just helped a friend with a small company setup Gmail to host their company’s email. No services were purchased to make it happen.

For other products, there is a minimal amount of services required to get the customer up and running. Think of purchasing a new cell phone. You usually do this in the store, and get someone to help you for 30-60 minutes, activating your account, transferring contacts, etc… In this case, you could think of the services as a feature of the product. It’s very standardized and comes with the subscription purchase.

Other products require a medium to significant amount of services to implement. One of the more classic use cases for a large amount of services is an enterprise-wide deployment of SAP software. In cases like this, the services are a product onto themselves. They have a separate line item on the quote. There are usually different service products the customer can purchase. Sometimes the service product may be selected based on the customer use case to fullfil, or maybe based on the technology product purchased.

If you are providing services for your product implementation, are they a feature or a product?