THE FOUR PILLARS OF TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS SUCCESS

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1 THE FOUR PILLARS OF TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS SUCCESS ORGANIZING YOUR BUSINESS OPTIMIZING YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE BUILDING YOUR PIPELINE UNDERSTANDING YOUR METRICS

2 OVERVIEW Building and maintaining a profitable business is a challenge, but if you sell, service and support technology solutions those challenges are compounded dramatically. The accelerating introduction of new hardware and software technologies including mobile applications, cloud and big data platforms are rapidly shifting customer expectations, service delivery and revenue models. Your business, and the demands of your clients, are simply too complex to manage for the long term without adopting practices that improve operational stability and predictability, and allowing you to focus on attracting, serving and retaining clients, and building your bottom line. Staying ahead of the curve, understanding the trends that matter, and making proactive decisions about your business requires strengthening four foundational pillars : Organizing your operations Optimizing your customers experience Building your pipeline Understanding your metrics It s easier than it sounds, but it does require taking a new look at your business, applying the right tools to streamline processes, and developing a culture of continuous improvement. All business executives must worry about change, but the CEOs of technology companies must be especially cognizant of the changes in their world. PWC Technology Institute; The New Digital Ecosystem Reality STREAMLINED OPERATIONS STRONGER MARKET POSITION IMPROVED SERVICE DELIVERY HIGHER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION STRONGER DECISION MAKING BETTER REPORTING AND VISIBILITY INCREASED CLIENT ENGAGEMENT pg. 2

3 ORGANIZING YOUR BUSINESS Technology solutions businesses operate 24/7 with dozens of mission-critical moving parts: sales and marketing, procurement, hardware and software implementation, service delivery and service level management, project management, warranty and repairs, field-service management, inventory control, billing and invoicing, and the list goes on. Without putting the right tools and processes in place your team will spend too much time managing exceptions, putting out fires and working around inefficiencies. Common pain points include: Difficulty scheduling and dispatching the right people to the right jobs at the right time Ineffective materials and inventory management throughout the fulfillment lifecycle Limited visibility and control of tickets, tasks and project stages Inefficiencies and delays in accurately billing and invoicing customers Inability to accurately predict new and recurring revenue streams Concentrate on your biggest pain point first and look at your existing processes. If you re losing too much billable time on your service desk, for example, examine your ticketing, time entry and closing processes. Charting them out can give you a good look at exactly what s happening at each stage, pinpoint the inefficiencies and highlight areas for quick improvement. One of the fastest ways to streamline and organize your operations is to implement one of the costeffective software solutions specifically designed for technology businesses. These tools integrate a broad range of business applications (CRM, service desk, project management, inventory/materials, invoicing, etc.) in a single platform. They can significantly increase operational effectiveness, efficiency and predictability by providing full business process automation and visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs), while eliminating reliance on stand-alone software and spreadsheets.* Simplify your process. Maximize your results. pg. 3

4 FOCUS ON Capturing billable and non-billable time accurately Implementing a single, unified calendar for service delivery and project management Streamlining approve-and-post processes to generate invoices more quickly Standardizing and automating repeatable workflows Eliminating redundant administrative tasks Improving internal communication and visibility Developing clear hand-off and escalation processes Tracking and managing employee utilization rates Increasing sales forecasting accuracy and predictability Implementing scalable project- and materials-management processes pg. 4

5 Regardless of the approach you choose, remember that your goal is to make it easier and more predictable to manage your overall business, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and increase ROI and profitability. Avoid the temptation to focus on just one or two pain points. Applying lessons learned in one area to other parts of your business and adopting a culture of continuous improvement is the only way to ensure your operations remain efficient, profitable and competitive for the long term. * Whether or not you adopt any of the best practices suggested here, if you are still relying on spreadsheets and file cabinets to manage your business, you must implement some type of technology business management or professional services automation (PSA) system as soon as possible regardless of which vendor you choose. Your business simply cannot compete, scale or survive in the long term without this. Reduce Cost Improve Efficiencies Increase ROI and Profitability pg. 5

6 OPTIMIZING YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company s profitability by 75% Bain and Company Nothing is more important to the long-term success of your business than your ability to retain your customers over time. This is especially true as hardware becomes increasingly commoditized, sourcing alternatives are easier to find, and competition for service delivery is growing. Most companies spend tremendous amounts of time, energy and resources in an effort to attract new clients, but fail to take the steps necessary to ensure they hold on to the customers they have, despite the fact that existing clients: Are less expensive and easier to find Close more quickly and at lower cost Are less sensitive to pricing Are better candidates for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities Make it easier to attract and retain new clients Contrary to popular belief, poor service, not price, is the primary reason for customer churn. Common reasons include: Having to contact the company multiple times for the same reason Having a company deliver something different than what they promised up front Having to wait for a response after requesting customer service Running into business policies that get in the way of their goals Not being able to understand the information provided by the company Source: Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey 2013 pg. 6

7 Whether you are managing complex installation projects, delivering managed cloud services or handling break-fix and warranty work, the key to optimizing your customers experience, satisfaction and retention rests in your ability to understand, manage and address your clients service delivery needs and to communicate effectively at every stage of the process. Every interaction is an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty by providing high-quality, personalized service. Success requires the ability to respond faster to service issues by delivering the right answers to customers in real time. Your ability to easily access all your accounts, contacts and historical customer notes is essential to providing customer service levels that ensure your clients are satisfied and willing to recommend your services in the future. 80% of your company s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. Gartner Group pg. 7

8 FOCUS ON Capturing every customer inquiry, regardless of how they come in the door Automating ticket creation, assignment and closing workflows Ensuring you meet the terms of your service level agreements (SLAs) every time Defining escalation processes that notify you when exceptions are likely to occur Tracking and maximizing first-call resolution rates Capturing and logging all customer interactions in a single place Communicating consistently with customers, especially during and after service delivery Optimizing dispatch and scheduling processes to ensure efficient coverage pg. 8

9 In short, optimizing your customers experience rests on your ability to deliver on your promises; to focus on the results your clients need and expect, to resolve any issues that arise quickly and transparently, and to communicate with your clients at every stage. Word-of-mouth, including that shared via social media, continues to be the most important and impactful source of company information across industries and is used by 71 percent of surveyed customers. Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Study pg. 9

10 BUILDING YOUR PIPELINE Building your pipeline is as much about developing internal efficiencies and reliability as it is about communicating them externally. The first two pillars focused on creating a strong value proposition in every aspect of your business, now it s time to leverage your brand and reputation and generate a consistent, predictable revenue stream. What is your brand? Your brand is your promise. It is less about what you do than how you do it. It carries with it all of the value you bring to your customers, your reputation for quality, the integrity of your relationships and your position relative to the competition. Your company name and logo may help identify you, but without that strong brand they mean nothing. Applying the same level of organization and optimization to your sales and marketing efforts will help you build a more reliable, predictable pipeline by ensuring that you have the right reps promoting the right products and services to the right clients at the right time. If you don t have a good customer relationship management (CRM) solution in place, invest in one. Unless you are the sole owner-sales manager-sales rep and have fewer than 10 clients, a CRM is absolutely critical. Without it, there is simply no effective way to adopt repeatable processes, manage your sales team effectively, and understand the factors affecting your growth. pg. 10

11 In addition to providing a single place to capture contact data and account history, be sure the CRM you select includes; A mobile application for your field sales team Real-time reporting and dashboards to monitor performance and analyze trends Inbound lead processing for collecting, qualifying and passing leads to Sales Opportunity management and funnel development to support outbound sales efforts A marketing communications engine to support campaigns, ad-hoc and post-sale inquiries As mentioned, most full business process automation solutions for tech businesses will include robust CRM, opportunity management and marketing automation functions, or you can select from an array of 3rd-party packages. If you opt to work with a stand-alone solution be sure it integrates easily with your existing systems or you will only get a fraction of the value from it. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. Forrester Research pg. 11

12 FOCUS ON Providing sales management with end-to-end visibility Automating your sales force (scheduling, workflow, stage management, /response systems) Tracking sales performance in real time Developing efficient opportunity management workflows Automating lead management hand-offs from Marketing to Sales Targeting outbound marketing campaigns by customer segment Honing your campaigns to boost the number of qualified leads entering the system Measuring marketing campaign effectiveness Extending your reach into your existing customer base Building client referral programs pg. 4

13 In his book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, author Chet Holmes said, People respect what you inspect. Your sales and marketing efforts generate scores of data points every sales cycle that you can and should be using to create an aggressive but realistic and predictable sales funnel. Understanding how many customers are at each stage of your funnel, how long it takes them to progress from stage to stage, and the value of the opportunities associated with them, will dramatically increase your ability to accurately predict future revenue and build your pipeline more quickly. Firms that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer. Finally, in an age of immediate gratification, online marketing, social media and , speed is a competitive advantage. Nothing is more frustrating than calling on a hot lead only to discover they ve just purchased a competing solution. Harvard Business Review; The Short Life of Online Sales Leads Identifying and engaging new prospects quickly often within minutes is the only sure-fire way to capture opportunities when they present themselves, especially if your leads come in electronically. Automating the creation and assignment of opportunities in your CRM is critical if you want to get yourself in front of new customers where and when they are thinking about a problem you can solve. pg. 13

14 UNDERSTANDING YOUR METRICS In today s information-driven economy, most companies are awash in customer data overload. Success requires the ability to transform that data into clear, actionable items that you can measure. Whether you call it business intelligence, analytics, metrics, key performance indicators or insight, you must be able to capture, understand and react quickly to trends and changes in your business, industry, markets and customer base. The first step is knowing what to measure. Technology solutions providers should focus on four broad areas: Analytics pays back $10.66 for every dollar spent. Nucleus Research 1. Service delivery and employee utilization 2. Customer satisfaction and retention 3. Sales and revenue forecasting 4. Profitability by market segment, product or service line Integrated business automation and management platforms capture all your critical data in a single system and typically include a variety of reporting, analysis and visualization tools. Stand-alone 3rd party dashboard applications are also available, but be prepared to spend additional time on data migration, integration and ongoing maintenance. Dashboards help you to quickly visualize issues and opportunities, but only get you so far - you need to be able to act on that data. Be sure the dashboard tool you select gives you access to the metrics that matter to you and the ability to filter the data easily. Even more important than filters is the ability to drill down into specifics; you need to be able to click through to the source data to understand and make course corrections. pg. 14

15 FOCUS ON Optimizing employee utilization rates Tracking billable versus non-billable time Understanding service delivery metrics, including response and resolution times Measuring performance against SLA commitments Tracking support issues by type and priority Improving customer communication cycles Improving sales opportunity management and forecasting Maximizing warranty and license renewal revenue Increasing marketing efficiencies Understanding revenue and profitability by market segment, product and service line pg. 4

16 Data-driven companies are three times more likely to rate themselves ahead of their peers in financial performance. Economist Intelligence Unit Finally, democratize your data, don t hoard it. Providing access to relevant dashboards and reports for appropriate managers and line employees throughout your organization will help you identify new opportunities more quickly and increase accountability throughout your business. The added visibility will not only help you gain control of day-to-day operations and make better tactical and strategic decisions, it will improve your overall efficiency, lower your risk, increase profitability and provide new insights into customer behavior and market demands. pg. 16

17 SUMMARY When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time. Creighton William Abrams, Jr. General; United States Army The good news is, you have already established your business, staffed up, developed a client base and are in a position to grow. The better news is, by developing the four pillars of tech business success you can improve your control, reduce costs, increase revenue flow and profitability, and have more confidence about the decisions you make. Don t become daunted trying to do everything at once even incremental improvements and efficiencies will produce meaningful results quickly. Instead, focus on the area of your business that you know needs the most attention first, then tackle the next one. The key is developing and instituting a culture of continuous improvement based on creating efficiencies, eliminating work that doesn t add value to you or your clients, and having visibility into the factors that drive your business. ABOUT TIGERPAW SOFTWARE Founded in 1984, Tigerpaw Software is a leader in developing integrated business process automation, field-service management and professional services tools for the IT, Telephony, Security, Pro A/V and Retail POS industries. More than 35,000 technology solution providers around the world rely on Tigerpaw Software to make better business decisions, optimize business processes, streamline service delivery, and increase their revenue and profitability. For more information about Tigerpaw Software please visit call or Tigerpaw Software, Inc. and the Tigerpaw logo are registered trademarks of Tigerpaw Software, Inc. Tigerpaw Software, Inc Thurston Circle Bellevue, NE pg. 17

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