How ECC Boosted Margins by More than 10% within Months: Case Study
ECC tasked Revenueify with three goals: increase margins, build the sales team a playbook, and teach sales how to sell managed services. Here’s how Revenueify delivered.
Meet Our Client: ECC
As the biggest integrator in the Midwest, and one of SCN’s Top 50 Systems Integrators, ECC (formerly Electronic Contracting Company) has a long-established history of connecting organizations to better experiences through technology.
ECC’s 130+ employees rally around the same goal: create solutions that make an impact. From arenas, stadiums, and schools to hospitals, banks, and jails, it empowers organizations around the Midwest to reach their goals.
Behind every decision made at ECC is the driving desire to make technology easy for its clients and bring technology into organizations effectively and efficiently.
Kyle Habben was named ECC president and CEO in 2019. While he took on this new role, he also ran regional operations and continued his duties as vice president of sales.
As Matt Thorne, ECC’s executive vice president, pointed out to Habben, the load was becoming too much to carry. But Habben didn’t want to put time, effort, and resources into hiring a new vice president of sales until the company was defederalized and transitioned to a state model to reduce communication and backlog issues.
Sales were considered healthy, growing between 10% and 12% each year. But, as Habben got deeper into the business, he uncovered low margins, issues with revenue recognition, and a small operations pipeline. To be profitable, ECC needed to process $2.5 million in work each month—but the operations team couldn’t support that number.
He knew he wasn’t giving sales the attention it needed, so he created a list of priorities and set out to tackle the first order of business: finding a way to incentivize sales to introduce new products to customers as they were added to the company’s solution portfolio.
Discovery: Finding the right sales fit
To begin this journey, Thorne reached out to NSCA, a not-for-profit association representing the commercial integration industry. “We use their resources all the time, and we figured they could help. Our goal was to find and talk to another integrator that was working on a plan like this and incentivizing their sales teams to sell new products.”
But, after hearing about what ECC wanted to accomplish, NSCA steered him in a different direction for sales training: working with Revenueify, an NSCA Member Advisory Councilmember that focuses on revenue operations consulting.
After Thorne reached out to Revenueify and received valuable feedback and advice on how to motivate and educate his sales team, the conversation quickly grew from there.
“When they explained their fractional CRO services, it all started to fall into place,” says Habben. “Working with them would allow me to unload my extra work for at least a year so I could focus on being the CEO. Five minutes in, I was like, ‘This is exactly what we need.’ ”
On top of providing sales and revenue support, Revenueify could also give ECC something it had needed for years: a sales playbook that outlines scalable, repeatable processes for salespeople to use as a resource.
Solution: sales enablement to grow the company
For ECC, working with Revenueify on sales enablement is part of a bigger strategy to grow the company.
“Our burden was broken. When we sold something at the desired margin, we found that we were bleeding GP dramatically between the sale and project completion even when we brought it in. We knew our overhead was fairly healthy, so the challenge was finding out where we were bleeding. We quickly discovered that we weren’t charging ourselves enough for our labor. We didn’t know our true costs,” says Habben.
In addition to providing fractional CRO services to ECC, Revenueify walked the company through its data-driven REVUP Assessment.
For Habben, this experience exposed what he calls “stick-our-head-in-the-sand spots,” bringing to light the company’s lack of sales forecasts and true sales pipelines, off-target focus on price, and CRM data inaccuracies.
“Even though I already knew most of what the REVUP Assessment uncovered, it was still important to reinforce those things,” says Habben. “It became a relief. didn’t have the time or bandwidth to fix those things, and the results from the assessment were all actionable. They were all realistic. We finally knew: These are the things we need to focus on.”
Based on the REVUP Assessment outcome, Habben tasked Revenueify with three goals:
1. Build a repeatable, scalable sales process and turn it into a playbook that explains the company’s go-to-market strategies, sales and margin expectations, and processes—getting as granular as outlining which site survey checklists to use.
2. Increase margin through outcome-based selling, negotiated work, and improving client stickiness.
3. Teach the sales team how to sell the company’s managed services programs. Although ECC had established three managed services offerings—Complete Design, Complete Care, and Complete Coverage—its sales team knew nothing about them, how they worked, or how to sell them.
Creating sales consistency among 16 sales team members with varied backgrounds and years of experience, different personalities, and distinctive sales styles was also key to making sure ECC communicated the same value to each of its clients.
Revenueify not only agreed to deliver on ECC’s expectations, but also provided the integrator with a complete report detailing what it could expect in terms of managed services sales, gross margin, and total revenue increases. ECC knew exactly what to expect for a return on investment before it moved forward with the recommendations.
“They provided the most detailed scope of work I’ve ever gotten from a vendor,” says Habben. “It had measurable numbers in it so we could compare their performance to others. After seeing it, we went live with it immediately. It was that impressive.”
Results: improved margins & managed services sales
The first thing Habben expected to see after partnering with Revenueify was an increase in margins—and he experienced those improvements right away.
“Now that my burden is set properly, our margins are real. We’re up almost 5% in sold GP since the engagement began. That’s the most important objective. For the year, we’re at 102% of gross profit quota and 97% quota for managed services,” he explains. “We jacked up those quotas, and we’re achieving them. We also sold six Complete Care packages to a giant healthcare organization. That never would have happened without Revenueify. We wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
Habben also quickly noticed sales’ reduced focus on bid work. Now, if a salesperson wants to bid on a project, they must make a compelling case first. As a result, the sales team is passing more projects on to the presales team to negotiate, design, and engineer, and the presales team is much busier negotiating work.
Although changing the mindsets of tenured, high-performing sales professionals can be intimidating, Habben credits Revenueify for building credibility with ECC’s sales team right away and holding them accountable.
“As a result, I’ve given them free reign,” he says. “The sales team reports directly to Revenueify. It has freed up so much time and removed so much stress for me. It’s been amazing, not only professionally but also personally. I’ll continue to expect Revenueify to perform at a high level and hold them accountable, and they will continue to hold my sales team accountable. The experts are sharp, they’re talented, and they bring the outside perspective we really needed. I couldn’t expect any better results.”
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