IT Services Provider
An IT Service provider averaging $17 million in revenue over the last seven years, experienced some recent turnover in senior financial, operating and sales management ranks. As part of his senior executive talent recruiting process, the president wanted to undertake an overview of the status of his internal business results in comparison to the competition. Surprisingly, he discovered that he lacked the trend information necessary to conduct an informed review of his company’s performance over time. As a result, he was finding it difficult to attract high performing management talent to fill key roles.
Aquarius Partners LLC conducted a full evaluation of all legacy data collection systems still operating and reports that had been generated by them. It was discovered that the company had never instituted a consistent KPI (Key Performance Indicator) metric tracking and review process. General KPI’s and those applicable to the company’s business were established and an initial “snapshot” was developed. A benchmarking program was initiated and a baseline of critical business drivers with their respective desired performance levels was established, providing the most significant data points that each functional lead focuses on to evaluate the performance of their department. Once a KPI monitoring and a benchmarking program were set up we used the information to create a company-wide incentive program designed to keep every employee, regardless of their level, focused on the functional “drivers” applicable to their work.
With everyone in the company not only understanding the key drivers that lead to the success of their own function, but also how every function’s KPI’s are connected to create business-wide success, the company was “clicking on all cylinders” within four months – even with a newly hired management team. The company wide incentive program enabled a 22% record setting surge in sales. With every position in the enterprise having their compensation and bonus incentive tied directly to both the departmental performance as well as the success of the whole business, cross-functional collaboration became the norm. The result was a 12% higher margin recognized on a per project basis with a notable increase customer and employee satisfaction as well.
A 20-year niche furniture manufacturer with annual sales in the $4 - $5 million range had its target market drastically impacted by the COVID-19 virus triggered shutdown of large segments of the US economy. The owner is a certified and trained engineer and designer. Though the company has thousands of customers, it had no detailed updated CRM tracking. It has various spreadsheets containing historical sales data with OTS oriented financial reporting. The company needed a survival and turnaround strategy simultaneously.
Aquarius Partners LLC conducted a review of all available data over the last five to ten years including customer order activity. While order volume and content vary there are several accounts that stand out as consistently ordering significant amounts of product. In recent months, the company has had some notable success moving its unique products through certain online stores. Aquarius Partners LLC has provided several strategic components for the company to begin executing.
- Leverage the design and engineering skills of the founder to attack the newly critical, and developing market for furniture products that can be easily deployed in social distancing and/or privacy enhanced environments.
- Reach out to the company’s top 10 customers to intensify the relationship with them and work closely with their purchasing executives to analyze the market niches they may be able to make deeper headway into in the immediate term, while new products are being created.
- Urged owner to begin to evaluate implementation of a CRM tool to improve the effectiveness of his sales and marketing operation.
The company has begun to prioritize its online distribution customers who have been consistently ordering in larger quantities and at higher selling margins. The owner and his management team have reached out to their most active customers to brainstorm regarding current markets that their products may be sold into while they evaluate new furniture design and development opportunities.
Mid-size Sales and Service
The owner of an established $10 - $15 million sales and service business was challenged by his Director of Sales to explain why a notable number of recently sold customer accounts were complaining about the difficulty in getting the service they had signed up for in the time frame that was outlined during the sales process. The owner discovered that a high percentage of these new accounts were not remaining on billing for very long. In fact, new accounts made up the highest percentage of his total customer churn over the last nine months.
Aquarius Partners LLC reviewed the new account sales order fulfillment process through service on-boarding from the customer’s perspective. We reviewed the business procedures as described by management and employees of the business and also conducted a “secret customer” review to get the customer perspective. Substantial differences between the two were identified and it was determined that brand new customers were not treated any differently than the company’s legacy accounts.
Aquarius Implemented a new streamlined, but higher interface-oriented sales order process for new customers to educate and "walk" them from the sales process to service deployment, support, and billing procedures. We also introduced a survey of new customers experience to gain valuable information to help the company further fine tune their customer relationship building. We ensured that sales team members shared all new customer complaint feedback with support personnel on a timely basis. Finally, Aquarius reviewed the reasons for the initial delays in the “old” new order fulfillment process across all functions to make non-customer facing employees sensitive to customer impacting issues.
New customer churn reduced to being less than 5% of overall churn. New accounts became one of the most reliable and consistent sources of new leads for the sales force. The owner implemented our suggested customer satisfaction survey process for all accounts using feedback to refresh and enhance support and billing processes. The revised new customer sales order fulfillment process was not only more effective, it also was more efficient and caused much less functional friction between sales and support team members.
A medium sized professional services firm had experienced moderate growth over the last ten years. However, management minimally invested in internal systems to track the activities of their client accounts. Over the last year a quick review revealed that 15% of the firm’s clients had slowed their ordering of services and most had ended their association with the company. Client adds during this same time were not sufficient to replace the lost business. The impact was a 23% decline in overall revenue and a 12% reduction in the bottom line of the business.
Aquarius Partners LLC performed an intensive review of all internal systems and provided management with a detailed analysis of where the gaps were in their tracking of client activity. Among other things, the analysis revealed that several client complaints were never responded to or followed up on. Moreover, changes in client billing levels and service modifications were not being regularly evaluated. Aquarius also:
- Suggested an implementation of an appropriately configured CRM system.
- Contacted all accounts that had significantly decreased or left service over the most recent year.
- Implemented firm-wide client focused data sharing and bi-weekly cross-functional collaboration meetings to ensure that client issues would no longer fall through the cracks.
- Recommended a monthly thorough review of billing by account.
- Strongly suggested that management create a group of consistently highly active client representatives to advise them on improvements in service content and relationship building.
Successfully convinced 80% of the lost client accounts to give the firm another chance after communicating a description of changes implemented and planned as well as having their issues addressed. The entire management team is now focused on driving new client revenue and also sharply reducing churn. The company is also enhancing the tracking and analysis of same client service orders. The firm’s number of active accounts rose 10% above the level it was at before the shrinkage began. A client satisfaction survey administered 6 months after implementation of all changes revealed a 92% approval score.
Long Operating Dental Practice
A Dental practice has been operating as a partnership in a suburban location for over 15 years. The practice has three full time dental partners, two part time hygienists, and a full-time receptionist. Over the past 12 months the practice has experienced a gradual leveling of their overall billing. They also noticed that the number of accounts receiving multiple bills for a variety of dental maintenance and other procedures was steadily declining. They invested in some advertising in local newspapers, as well as some social media marketing which seemed to drive some “new” traffic to them. However, most new prospective patients were coming in for one-off cleanings or x-rays but not returning for follow-up visits or referring other family members.
Our initial “deep dive” into the breakdown of their billing revealed that there was a significant drop off in follow-up dental maintenance appointments and related necessary dental procedures. The decline in those treatment areas was being somewhat offset by initial visits by people taking advantage of advertised specials for initial “routine” exams and/or cleanings. The reality was that “first-time” patients were not being treated in any uniquely welcoming manner. Moreover, the practice was not surveying the initial experience of those patients or providing them with information on follow-up services.
First, we initiated contact with all patients who had undergone only a single visit for a dental exam but no additional appointments over the most recent nine months. 90% of the patients did not feel the practice was welcoming to them. We implemented both a patient account evaluation program and instituted a specially designed on-boarding process for every first timer. We also ensured that every new contact received a “welcome-kit” from the practice that included an incentive discount for follow-up dental work and for referring additional new patients.
Within six months following our initiated retention and new patient relationship enhancement programs, overall billing was up 25%. Simultaneously, both the reduction in the number of regularly billed accounts ceased and the number of patients undergoing ongoing treatments for dental maintenance and subsequent enhanced procedures rose by 20%. We also strongly encouraged the implementation of a routine patient satisfaction survey. The first survey revealed that 81% of all patients on bill were very satisfied with the dental practice; 86% would refer a family member and/or friend to the practice and 88% of new patients found their initial experience to be very positive and memorable.