Commercial Integrator Making Waves: Lessons Learned from NSCA's BLC 2023

From May 2023 Making Waves Article/Commercial Integrator: Lessons Learned from NSCA's BLC 2023

by Cory Schaeffer, Board Advisor for WAVIT

If you’ve never attending the NSCA Business Leadership Conference (BLC) consider adding this to your list of conferences to attend next year.  In my opinion, this conference does an incredible job of creating an environment for business leaders to focus on improving their businesses.  The talent NSCA brings in to run the sessions are unlike any other industry conference.   

At the opening night reception, Tom LaBlanc asked a panel of award-winning integrators questions about the changes they’ve made in their organizations which earned them the recognition of these awards.  A couple of things stuck with me from the comments of this panel: 1) Each spoke with openness and transparency and 2) a comment was made about reviewing forward looking metrics rather than past performance metrics.  

The willingness of these organizations to share openly the focus and changes they’ve implemented was refreshing.  The room was full of what some would view as their competitors, yet they were open and transparent with their business models and changes they made to improve. 

Reviewing forward looking metrics is an area that can help organizations become faster at responding to changes.   

As an example, forward looking metrics can improve sales and the sales process.  A few in this area to consider:

Sales Pipeline:

Average Project/Deal Size:   Analyzing how much revenue your typical projects bring will allow you to strategize how to:

  • Know which verticals are serving your business well and strategize ways to increase revenue on future projects.
  • Plan & allocate future resources needed.

Sales by sales rep

Looking at this number will provide insight into who your top performing reps are.  Once you know this, talk to the top performers to learn what if anything can be put into a sales training program to help everyone on your sales team.  Following a successful sales process ensures consistency for customers and sales reps.

Win Rate

  • # Of deals won vs # of quotes created

If the number of deals won is increasing or decreasing, it’s important to look into “why”.   If it’s increasing is it sustainable?  If it’s decreasing consider asking the sales team for their insight and input.  You may need to consider adding more training, better tools or you may need to improve your processes.   

Customer acquisition costs – CAC

  • Measure how much the costs in sales and marketing is required to gain a new customer. 

You want this number to be as low as possible.  If it’s too high it’s an opportunity to look at areas to reduce business expense and/or focus on verticals with the lowest CAC. 

Average Sales Cycle

  • Measure how many days it takes to close a project.

With this information, you can identify deals that are stagnating the pipeline.  You should know which deals have been in your pipeline longer than the length of your average sales cycle.  These deals will provide you with information to dig into what went wrong and how you can strategize on how to move the progress along faster.  Ideally, this should be an automated follow up process with ways to pull the information needed from these customers.   

Deals Lost

  • Take a sampling of deals lost and dig into the “why”.

Doing a postmortem on lost deals can help you correct and close more deals moving forward.  Every lost deal is a learning experience and taking a sampling to learn why will likely improve your future outcomes.

I’m retired, so I won’t be putting any of these tips into practice. But I’m more than happy to share them with you so you can improve your business and see those results!

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