July’s annual SSI Best of the Best Issue includes 2014 Installer of the Year (Large Company) Runner-Up Tech Systems. A leading reason Tech Systems was recognized for excellence was due to its service philosophy called FOCUS (For Our Clients’ Ultimate Satisfaction). Here, CEO Darryl Keeler lends more insight into how the company offers clients guaranteed response times and guaranteed functionality of their systems. Be sure to check out my other Tech Systems blog in which Keeler addresses the firm ensures it has the “right people on the bus.”
What business practices and strategies does your company deploy its success?
Darryl Keeler: We operate with the FOCUS program as our only strategy. If it’s best for the client – that is what we do. By ensuring we have the appropriate resources available to address our clients’ needs we are able to provide valuable solutions to our clients where they need us, when they need us. We essentially become an extension of their security, and in many cases, IT force. We make sure our team is properly trained on the technology, experienced in the vertical market and equipped with the right tools to handle the systems they are tasked with managing.
How are those business plans executed and adjusted? What are your growth targets and strategies?
Keeler: Our ISO-9001 Certification requires regular audits of ongoing performance metrics. We are audited by a third party and review our progress regularly. We also listen to our clients. Because a large percentage of our revenue is generated through FOCUS service support agreements our success is contingent on our ability to deliver results to our clients. If we don’t deliver, then our business is impacted negatively. We can only grow if we continue to bring value to our existing clients.
The typical model of generating revenue from installation and equipment sales is not in the best interest of the client. In many cases, we’ve seen consultants and other integrators recommend “rip and replacement” of existing enterprise systems that have been improperly programmed or integrated. Systems remediation is something we are very good at and our service can not only save end users a significant amount of money but also allows us to establish long-term, win/win relationships. Profiting on a service call because something is broken incentivizes integrators to leave systems at less-than-optimal functionality. Our business model is based on 100% functionality. If a system requires maintenance it costs us money. We are incentivized to design and deploy systems properly, and provide preventative and predictive maintenance that minimizes the probability and impact of a system or component failure. We do generate revenue from installation and equipment sales; however, this is usually done as a means to provide FOCUS to clients for a period of several years.
What sales and marketing techniques are used to support those business plans?
Keeler: We provide a tremendous amount of presales support to our prospective clients. We invest in the relationship early on. By conducting thorough risk assessments, calculating total cost of ownership and potential for return on investment, the security directors we work with are better able to get the funding they need and maximize their efficiency. We also offer a variety of training programs to our clients to keep them informed of industry trends and product development. This opens up opportunities for system upgrades and enhancements that may not have been considered otherwise. And by participating in industry events we network with many potential clients. While we feel we can provide FOCUS to anyone who desires this premium level of support, it is not something that we can sell to anyone and everyone. By having meaningful conversations with prospects we are able to determine together how FOCUS could benefit them and what steps to take. These relationships take time to develop and so we do not rely on a quick turnaround for revenue. Time and effort upfront is another form of investment we make in the presales process.
How are these sales and marketing initiatives measured, reviewed and revamped?
Keeler: We simply ask our clients what they think of the areas we are focusing on and how we can improve. Because we don’t jump from project to project, we don’t have to replace clients when today’s project is complete. Our communications initiatives are primarily designed as a value-add to preexisting relationships.