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3 Tactics to Overcome Slow Sales and a Depleting Project Backlog

Actionable strategies integrators can implement tomorrow to make up for shrinking backlogs and bookings. 

For years, integrators have enjoyed strong project backlogs. In fact, some companies had so much work in the pipeline that they stopped their marketing efforts altogether. Why? Because they didn’t want to bring in new business. (But that’s a topic for another blog!)  


Good (and easy) things don’t last forever, however, and today’s data paints a different picture. 


Recent research from three trusted industry sources—AVIXA, NSCA, and Commercial Integrator—indicates that integrators are now burning through those backlogs, and their bookings are down as well.  


In a recent Revenueify webinar, we polled integrators to ask them how their own bookings looked. They echoed the same sentiments reflected in current research: 70% of the integrator attendees noted that their bookings are flat or down from last year. 


While there definitely are companies experiencing growth, overall, it’s safe to say that revenue for commercial AV work looks challenged this year. 


What’s Causing the Project-Backlog Slowdown? 

There are many factors impacting bookings, backlogs, and pipelines for integrators: political uncertainty, inflation, and high interest rates, to name just a few. 


It’s also important to remember that much of this backlog everyone enjoyed was likely built up by customers who were scrambling to purchase solutions in bulk in order to support remote work—as well as to get their hands on whatever technology they could in the midst of material shortages and supply chain disruptions. Now, we’re returning to a normalized (pre-pandemic) level. 


There are other considerations at work, too—and those have to do with consumer behavior. Customers aren’t acting as quickly as they once were. This is because: 


  • They’re waiting and hoping for interest rates to come down and/or inflation to subside.  

  • They’re waiting for discounts or price changes, as Dr. Chris Kuehl, NSCA’s chief economist, mentioned in a recent NSCA webinar. The past few years have preconditioned customers to believe that, as the year progresses, integrators will take more drastic steps—such as discounts—to bring in revenue. (While we haven’t seen the price wars start yet, they may become an issue in the future if integrators discount projects as an incentive to move customers forward.)  

  • Their workers aren’t coming back to the office. When they do, they require smaller and different types of spaces than they did before. 


Sales team gathered around project backlog data

Image: Jason Goodman (via Unsplash)

Tactics to Improve Sales Now 

How do you overcome these obstacles—especially when they’re beyond your control? In our recent webinar, we outlined some actionable strategies you can implement tomorrow to make up for a shrinking backlog and slow bookings.  


1. Establish an Ideal Customer Profile 

Build—and stick to—an ideal customer profile. While it’s tempting to consider a “good” customer to be anyone who picks up the phone or accepts a meeting invite, narrowing in on who you’re best suited to support will give you a better handle on where and how to target your efforts. You can create a focused account list, and you can become an expert—a trusted advisor of sorts—in that field.  


Is your ideal customer a food and beverage manufacturing company? A small rural healthcare institution? An organization that’s trying to connect its onsite and remote workers? It’s up to you to decide for sure (but we can help if you need some guidance).  


Research the strong verticals in your market. There are plenty of resources and tools available locally to help you do this, whether it’s through associations, chambers of commerce, newspapers or business magazines, or other organizations and publications. 


When you take this step, the results pay off. Typically, salespeople who do this are up to 50% more effective than those who focus on all accounts within an assigned territory. 


2. Don’t Focus on Products—Focus on Outcomes 

Create conversations focused on business objectives. This is called outcome-based selling, meaning you discuss desired business outcomes instead of focusing on products. It’s all about the “why” behind the product or solution you sell. 


The questions you ask are no longer about what types of projectors customers want, or how many rooms they plan to upgrade. Instead, your questions dig deeper: 


  • Why do you want to upgrade these rooms? Why now? 

  • Why aren’t these rooms working today?  

  • What do you want these rooms to do in the future—and why?  

  • How will these room upgrades help your business? 


Continue to ask questions until you can determine an ROI or outcome for making the upgrade. Then, let the customer know: For every day they wait, they’re not achieving that critical business objective. 


3. Meet Customers Where They Are with ‘Deals’ 

Give customers what they want: Find ways to give them “good deals” without actually discounting your work.  


AV as a service can be a good strategy here. It’s more cost-effective than selling a traditional AV project, and it doesn’t cut into customers’ capital budgets, so they can maximize cash flow while still getting the technology they need. 


Work with your AV as a service provider (the leasing company you partner with) to build out a quick quoting tool you can use on some of your “stuck” opportunities. Show your salespeople how to use the tool so they can demonstrate to customers, in real-time, the costs and savings involved with AV as a service vs. a traditional AV project. 


Where to Go to Learn More About Boosting Your Backlog 

Our webinar may be over, but you can watch it on demand any time! Visit the link below, complete the short form, and you’re on your way to viewing AV Bookings are Down … Now What? and hearing all the valuable insights we shared! 


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