Widgets Magazine

Bringing Home The Bacon

,AeuWhere have all the mid-sized AV jobs gone?,Aeu bemoaned Harry Meade (@AVGrump) in a recent AVNation blog.
Meade complained the majority of the jobs he,Aeos seen coming in the door recently have been either “reluctant” purchasers installing “bare bones” display systems they “shopped around on the internet” or huge “over the top, bell-and-whistle laden” projects with complex procurement processes, and very little in between.
Meade is right to be concerned about a dearth of mid-sized projects as they,Aeore the lifeblood of every profitable AV integration firm. Mid-sized jobs have far less technical, scheduling and financial risk than huge “over the top” projects. The sales, implementation and payment cycles are much shorter, and the systems far less complicated to install, program and turn on. -*To owners, that combination is money in the bank.
Even more compelling is the fact most mid-sized projects ,Aei unlike huddle, meeting and classroom ,Aeohang-and-bangs,Aeo – are beyond the technical capabilities of do-it-yourself IT departments, their go-to, single-digit-margin value-added resellers (VARs), or even the ultra-low overhead ,AeoTwo Bobs & A Truck,Aeo competitors. For integrators, that means mid-sized is profitable.
So how do AV integration companies increase the volume and frequency of mid-sized project wins?

  1. Adjust your sales behaviors: Stop waiting for opportunities to “come through-*the door.” Stop rewarding low value or low margin sales. Stop outbound sales reps from responding to non-targeted or non-advantaged RFPs. Stop responding to RFQs altogether and start actively focussing your salespeople,Aeos time and attention on the type of business you want.
  2. Adjust your sales targets: We get most of our mid-sized project work from existing clients and through referrals from centers of influence – designers, contractors, furniture vendors and others who know we take good care of customers no matter what the size or value of the project. Building consistent, mid-sized deal-flow isn,Aeot difficult but it is hard work requiring old-fashioned customer relationship management (CRM) driven business development activities such as account mining, warm and cold calling, lunch-and-learns, demonstrations and finding ways to become invaluable to influencers. Mid-sized, though, also requires a manager who values and rewards sales people who bunt, hit singles and steal bases not just the mega-deal home run heroes.
  1. Adjust your product offering: Mid-sized systems need to be easy: easy to buy, easy to use, easy to engineer, easy to install and easy to service. Standardized systems with ,Aeorack rate,Aeo pricing and easily understood upgrade options are ideal for many clients. Such systems carry the inherent credibility of -*being proven solutions used by many others, which increases confidence and trust. As standard offerings, they are easier for the customer to explain to other stakeholders in their organizations, helping shorten decision-making cycles. Being pre-designed, they eliminate the pre-sales engineering and estimating backlog plaguing many integrators,Aeo sales cycles.

Harry Meade, an engineer, suggested the solution to a shortage of mid-sized projects lay in better design and engineering. I disagree because most mid-sized projects should require very little of either. They can almost always be rote repetitions or anticipated variations of standardized, pre-engineered systems the AV integrator has implemented many times before.
Unfortunately, that also means mid-sized systems are of little interest to the type of engineer who leaps out of bed each morning convinced today is the day she or he will reinvent the wheel. Engineers are, in fact, far more likely to be part of the mid-sized ‘problem’ and the only solution is to task them with creating exactly the type of high-value, low-risk, cost-effective and easy-to-use systems mid-sized project clients most want to buy.
As a salesperson, I know it,Aeos my job ,Aei not the engineer,Aeos ,Aei to bring profitable projects of all sizes in the door of my firm.
 
Brock McGinnis, a long time sales manager, is passionate about great customer experiences and good business outcomes for his employer Westbury National, one of Canada,Aeos largest and most respected audiovisual systems integrators.

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