In past posts, we’ve discussed how the connected process eliminates organizational gaps. By easing manual efforts, automating business processes, and reducing overall risk, sales team members feel better about their accomplishments, and customers receive better service. Today, we’ll get into a few examples shared by one of our clients, SAGE Integration.
At PSA TEC 2021 – our first live, in-person security industry conference since March of 2020, we hosted a terrific panel discussion entitled “7 Reasons the Connected Business Process Increases Growth and Profitability”. John Nemerofsky, Chief Operating Officer at SAGE Integration, offered attendees “sage” advice based on years of experience acquiring, developing, and running successful systems integrations companies. Here are a few key points he made during this very informative session.
The Top Challenges Facing Systems Integrators Today
John highlighted three top challenges that today’s integrators face if they don’t have a connected business process in place:
- No centralized information database and processes
- Lack of review or approvals before sales estimates go out
- Lack of performance visibility (key “KPIs”) throughout the company
He explained that the lack of a defined process, connected by technology tools such as sales management software and an ERP solution, ultimately stunts growth and profitability. They experience “leaky” risks that result in loss of resource efficiencies, time, and profit and an inability to grow. By contrast, when a company has centralized customer, product, and services data, combined with automated workflows, the leaks are plugged.
John provided an example of a multi-million dollar sale, for which a salesperson chose to bypass a required approval process and send out a quote that had not been reviewed. Since working with WeSuite, SAGE’s sales management software provider, approvals are now automated based on pre-configured rules for specific requirements. Furthermore, any proposal that is “sent” or printed without receipt of a required approval includes the word “Draft” clearly stamped on digital and printed documents. No skirting that approval process! In working together with WeSuite, SAGE Integration has created a connected process that protects the company from unnecessary risk, saves time for salespeople and engineers, and enables his team to ensure the accuracy of quotes and proposals. The process saves enormous time, effort, and profit downstream in delivery. (For more on why implementing WeSuite was one of John’s first priorities at SAGE Integration, click here.)
KPIs are a big deal!
SAGE Integration has established a series of key performance indicators that it monitors to ensure the organization stays on track. There are organizational KPIs, departmental KPIs, and individual KPIs, with each level building on the others. Many of the vital statistics the company looks at to measure the KPIs are accessible through their sales management and financial software. They also receive customer feedback based on various service numbers. When key numbers are “off,” the company knows where to focus its attention.
Identifying and utilizing KPIs is considered the “holy grail” of best business management practices. However, they are often difficult to establish and track due to a lack of centralized, real-time data and manual processes. John’s team has the data it needs because of SAGE’s connected business process. They have harvested real-time data produced throughout the sales process and combined it with downstream data from job management, purchasing, finance, delivery, and support to automate various reports. The reported metrics and KPIs indicate if they are on track, highlight where work may be needed, and illustrate the progress made during specific time frames. They validate how well SAGE delivers on its promises to customers and pinpoint areas of growth, improvement, and profitability.
SAGE’s connected sale process not only facilitates measurement of KPIs but puts in place methodologies that improve the performances being measured. For example, in the sales department, specific target profit margins are known, and labor hour rates are structured to include all related costs in each area and region. The parts database is centralized, ensuring the right parts and pricing are available for quoting, and chargeable items and services are defined for inclusion on estimates. All these processes ensure accuracy in estimated profit margin during the sales process while also feeding the delivery arm of the business.
In addition to parts and chargeable items, labor hours sold are tracked against actual used hours to validate job costing and better estimate future jobs. Labor usage and efficiency for all employees are tracked against costs monthly, quarterly, annually and the expected return on investment. Employees receive bonuses based on efficient use of time and jobs coming in at or better than estimated margins. The thinking throughout the organization is goal-oriented; setting and reviewing key metrics and indicators is routine. Adjusting course, as needed, is more manageable because problems are nipped in the bud, and the results of such efforts are fully trackable.
Identified Business Goals
When asked why it was so important to have sales and business management software at SAGE Integration, John talked about bringing together two geographically and operationally separate and successful companies to form one new organization challenged with aggressive growth and profitability goals. Initial revenue goals were identified, along with three-year and five-year growth and revenue goals.
The leadership team knew that establishing workflows and processes supported by software tools was essential to reaching goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. Getting the crew on board with company expectations and how each department and individual within the organization contributes to success is how the connected process delivers daily “ROI,” even as the organization grows and changes.
Thanks to SAGE Integration and its leadership for a great example of a successful connected sales-to-operations-to-customer process in action. Hats off to you and your success!