NSCA knows all too well some of the actions integrators take that may have unforeseen consequences. The reason we’re so familiar with them is that we’ve either made these mistakes ourselves or routinely hear about them from NSCA members.
Remember, as your trusted advisor, NSCA can help. We deal with this stuff every day so that you don’t have to! If you have questions or are contemplating any of these actions, call us first! We’ll help walk you through what steps you should take …
- Changing your existing sales compensation plan. This is the cause of much angst for many. NSCA has a model sales compensation plan we’ve fashioned from the top 10 systems integration firms, whittling them down to the best six. One of these plans is perfect for your business, and we can find the best one to transition to for your company.
- Splitting up a sales territory. After years of doing this wrong, I’ve learned some best practices for growing sales without creating hate and discontent amongst the existing sales team. When you take, you have to also give in order to retain the best people.
- Giving up on adequate margins for product sales. Frustrating for sure, but we can’t operate on breakeven product sales. The concern begins with basic business principles and knowing the true cost of doing business. We can share a formula that tells you what your labor rates need to be for every point you give up in product margin.
- Before you buy your next demo unit. Learn to say no, unless a guaranteed buyback program is in place. Then bring it on. Demo units and a showroom are great ways to generate new business – if it’s done in partnership with key suppliers.
- Before you order for inventory, or decide to reduce inventory. I can share several tips with you, along with lessons learned from the many mistakes our members have learned over the years. Don’t sell returned inventory or obsolete inventory for pennies on the dollar without calling ahead. Likewise, that latest piece of test equipment that the techs absolutely have to have … call us before you buy that, too.
- Before tangling with a GC or EC over a disputed extra billing. This is often a waste of time. If you send a proposal that outlines what’s included and what is extra billing, then stick to that. If they send a PO and it doesn’t include all of your terms and conditions, refuse it. Manage your contracts or it will kill your business. Don’t budge if you did things right.
- Paying overtime when utilization is below benchmarks. Just say no … or use a logical authorization method. Overtime does make sense in many situations, but when it becomes expected and isn’t a business decision, it can be a profit killer. We have metrics and benchmarks for billable to available hours before paying any OT without management approval.
- Before you lose money (again) dealing with your best customer. It’s interesting how many times we do repeat business with our biggest and best customer, only to find out they’re the ones killing our profits. It’s amazing to me how many of our members simply don’t know (or don’t want to know) what they actually make or lose on projects for their best customer. That “best customer” just might be your worst.
- Before submitting a price on that huge project. Without question, all of our members have found themselves in this situation. We are tempted to bid a project that we know will stretch our resources. Especially if you are unsure of the timeframe, the fixed and variable costs, the scope, the other contractors, or the client … please call us first. Always think about risk vs. reward.
- Before you give something away. I hear lots of stories about an integration firm having to do this or that for free in order to get a job or make a customer happy. My friends, we de-value ourselves by under-pricing our services and knowledge. We can’t afford to give things away that should be for sale. Service, design, phone/online support, training, etc. are all included here. -Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director