- INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
CEO Insight: 5 Commercial Services Trends to Watch
At Convex, one of our top priorities is to build strong partnerships with our customers to help them achieve business success in a rapidly changing industry. So we reach out to them frequently to make sure we’re always addressing their most critical issues. From this unique perspective, we’ve identified five trends you’ll want to watch, along with some valuable insight into smarter ways to grow your business.
#1: Boosting your base with smarter software
When business is stable, your sales teams may scale down on prospecting in favor of leveraging existing customers to make their quota. But the truth is, if you’re going to hit your revenue numbers — even when things are going well — you can’t lose focus on growing your customer base.
Going after net-new logos this year will help you keep pace with your competitors who are actively reaching new customers in your market. Your reps may grumble about having to make cold calls, but adding the right technology to your strategy toolkit can make it a lot less painful. Scalable sales intelligence and route optimization software that offers deeper, more valuable information and streamlines sales processes is a great way to get your team excited about prospecting more efficiently and winning new business faster.
#2: Lowering the cost of doing business from the inside out
You may be hearing that inside sales is the future of successful selling for a variety of reasons, including lower customer-acquisition costs. In fact, we’ve seen an uptick in teams using inside sales to get in front of and close deals more cost-effectively. But how do you balance the cost savings of increasing inside sales in the commercial services industry, where field sales has been a long-time mainstay? By investing in resources that support the hiring and onboarding of skilled, experienced talent for your inside team. These should include robust people management, compensation, and incentive structures.
You can offset this investment and gain efficiencies by deploying technology that will help your team more easily find and target prospects with the highest growth potential so that both your inside and field salespeople can be as effective as possible in managing the sales cycle.
#3: Using the best tech to attract the best talent
At one time, it made sense to bring your company’s field engineers and field techs onto your sales team because, after all, who knew more about your products?
But the market has changed. Many of these “product expert” salespeople are retiring out of the workforce, and up-and-coming sales professionals are choosing to pursue careers in sectors other than commercial services. This has forced employers to hire salespeople who may have excellent track records but lack deep sector knowledge and experience, even for complex sales.
The solution is to give these new reps the support they need to hit it out of the park with a two-pronged investment in improving both your culture and your tech stack.
Adopting culture initiatives that modernize the candidate experience and reduce new rep ramp-up time help them generate revenue for you — and commissions for themselves — a lot faster. You can also position your company as an employer of choice by offering meaningful training and mentorship and showing willingness to embrace change.
Augmenting your tech stack should include implementing tools tailored to your team’s needs that they’ll be excited to use to help build their book of business and win deals. These could be:
- A customer relationship management (CRM) system that provides easily accessed yet vital customer information
- Sales engagement software that pulls your entire tech stack into a single, easy-to-navigate system
- A sales intelligence solution that gives reps the insight they need to build a killer prospect pipeline in the most effective ways possible
A good example of tech stack augmentation comes from HVAC leader Comfort Systems USA. The tools and technology they’ve used to attract new sales candidates have streamlined their processes to help reps get to wins faster — reducing a six- to nine-month sales cycle to an impressive two to three months.
Of course, it’s not just about the technology you invest in and use, but how you enrich the data you already have and are accessing within some of these tools. It could be as simple as gaining insight into the equipment you sell to help inform your sales process. Which leads us to our next trend…
#4: Making the most of your existing data
Most organizations are sitting on troves of information — whether it’s field service notes, equipment details, or their warranty expiration dates — from which sales teams can gain valuable intelligence. For example, you can use data generated by your company’s equipment, such as age information or inspection history, to reach out to customers precisely when they’re most likely to buy.
Better still, leading sales organizations are investing in ways to centralize all this data into a single system, allowing them to gain access to timelier, more accurate information and reporting more quickly for making better business decisions.
Going a step further, we’ve seen some of our large enterprise customers investing heavily in digital solutions attached to equipment and/or classic service agreements. It’s easy to see why. Digital offers that provide customers with stronger operational insights about their equipment performance can move a vendor up the value chain. In addition to delivering more value to the customer, this can also increase your margin and strengthen competitive differentiation.
A great example of this is the Honeywell Forge Real Estate Operations solution, developed with SAP, that helps customers make sense of their data by providing them with greater visibility into how their buildings are performing. It bridges operational data on a wide range of devices and assets – including building systems such as HVAC and Fire – with business data for a holistic view that customers can use to make more informed decisions and drive greater efficiencies.
#5: Building healthy opportunities for healthier buildings
Healthy buildings have been seen as an emerging trend since 2015 research showed that improved indoor ventilation increases employee cognitive function. The age of COVID-19, however, has forced building owners to urgently reconsider their approaches to ensuring building health.
In the coming year, commercial services companies should invest in creating robust healthy-building offerings to help building owners and facility managers meet ongoing COVID challenges. Occupancy rates may continue to fluctuate, but new initiatives designed to lessen COVID transmission risk can help get more people back into those buildings safely — and improve your business.
Don’t already have a plan in place to do this? It’s not too late. Start now by developing offerings that will position you as a leader in meeting these new health standards. There are indicators that the healthy building trend could outlive the pandemic as part of broader programs that include product lines for occupant health and tenant engagement applications — meaning potentially longer-term ROI for you.
The bottom line?
It’s clear that investing in the right business technologies and tools and making the most of your existing data can be a solid path to success.
Charlie is the CEO and cofounder of Convex. He has over 10 years of experience in energy analytics, building data, and enterprise software development. Holding degrees from MIT and Harvard, he has been featured by Forbes, Marketplace, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Originally published on February 10, 2022 Updated on August 1, 2022