Successful, Profitable System Integration Projects: It All Starts with a Good Site Survey
As any seasoned system integrator will tell you, an initial site survey is a critical step in the sales process. The first survey can make-or-break the proposal and implementation process. A poorly-performed survey can cost the team additional working hours (sending account managers or engineers back to the site to survey or ask questions) and can result in inaccurate bids that could either cost the business money or cost you the job. Moreover, it’s about creating professionalism and confidence in the minds of customer – one that you want to keep well into the future.
That’s why it’s critical to get the survey right, the first time.
Getting the site survey right requires a knowledgeable sales and account team with the right skills and tools. A growing account team may not always have decades of experience under their belt or deep industry experience, but that is precisely where core communication skills and the right toolset come into play. Here are a few of the essential elements for improving site surveys and how today’s technology tools can help fill the gaps
Communication Skills and Emotional Intelligence
It makes sense that your team members in the field should be able to communicate effectively with your clients, but it is surprising how many companies fail to emphasize or assess this skillset effectively when hiring. Knowledge of the technical specifications and all of the equipment is crucial, but if your salespeople don’t know how to gauge the customer’s needs and actively listen to them, you run the risk of getting inaccurate site surveys and sales.
The key here is listening to the client’s problems, understanding what they are asking for, and helping to guide them to the right solution. Ideally, your team will use a good sales assessment program to look for these skills set and provide systematic training and mentoring in the early days.
Technical and Industry Knowledge
When developing systems, one of your roles as a system integrator is to become a trusted technical advisor. More than ever as product margins are squeezed and competitors arise, it’s important to be seen as providing value. On the other hand, not all account managers need to be engineers.
Those out in the field should be abreast of technology and trained on how to gather information and ask the right questions so that the engineers and project managers can put together detailed proposals and plans. They’ll need to be able to evaluate the site and the client’s specific situation and recommend the right products necessary to achieve their goals or to engage engineering resources in this process. The surveyor should be able to outline the implementation process and discuss estimated timetables with the client on the spot. This knowledge will put the client at ease and give them confidence in your company’s abilities to deliver for them.
Technology Tools to Get the Job Done
Technology tools can’t replace communication or technical skills, but increasingly the right tools can be a key enabler and force-multiplier in the process. Integrators focused on growth and productivity are starting to utilize apps and mobile technologies that empower their salesforce to capture consistent, technical, context-specific information with prospects. Instead of relying on old-school methods of paper floor plans, pictures on a cell phone, a spreadsheet, and crude drawing tools; the ability to gather all of the customer’s requirement with a visual site survey is a game-changer.
There are three key things that leading system integrators find as they implement technology thoughtfully into the process:
1) Increasing the accuracy of site survey information to deliver more accurate proposals
2) Reducing the time to deliver proposals
3) Looking more professional and systematic in gathering customer requirements.
All of this leads to more professionalism and more successful and profitable bid proposals.
Quality Site Surveys, Accurate Bids Out
By ensuring that your salespeople have the right combination of communication skills and technical knowledge along with the right tools, you can guarantee a better site survey, every time. You’ll notice that your surveys come back organized and accurate, and they reflect what was discussed with the client out in the field. Your team at the office will no longer have to sift through disorganized information and piece together an order, and you can hopefully avoid any additional trips to the site that dramatically slow down the bid process.
As an organization, you’ll turn around bids quickly and impress the client with their accuracy. Compared to the competition, this level of organization and attention to detail is sure to impress and give them the confidence to select you over the competition. Take the time to get the survey information right, and you’ll be able to streamline the process for your entire organization.
System Surveyor is a digital map for IoT and was built by integrators for integrators. See a quick overview video.