For anyone responsible for technology operations in a company, you know how important it is to find the right technology integrator for your next big project . After all, it is on you to establish the IT systems to support the implementation of strategies set by upper management.
Choose the wrong integrator partner, and you’re accountable for the aftermath--the delays, the change orders, the budget disaster. Choose the right one, and it will be smooth sailing for everyone. Especially you.
These are four questions every IT Director or technology decision maker should consider when choosing a technology integrator.
1. Is the company providing a good solution?
The best technology integrators provide solutions that are:
- Meet your budget
- Are true to your vision while meeting your needs.
Every client has specific goals and needs for their technology project. There are certain sets of variables that make each project unique, even if the technology being installed is the same. The best technology integrator will be able to develop the solution to meet the client’s goals while taking into account specific challenges and variables of the space.
When meeting with clients, Fearing’s will first sit and listen to their needs and their goals. The engineering team has put together “site survey” forms for each service area: audiovisual, security, structured cabling and residential. These survey forms were created based on internal conversations that each team had in an effort to figure out what it is they need in order to create a good, detailed proposal that will meet the needs of their clients. Between listening and asking questions from these surveys, including what the client’s budget is, the engineering team at Fearing’s uses their talents to provide a great solution that the customer is looking for.
New construction projects are where listening to clients to realize the vision of the customer is particularly important because the technology integrator has the chance to develop solutions in tandem with the builder, creating the most potential for seamless integration and painless installs.
Chris Matson, VP of Sales at Fearing’s says, “Vogel Bros. Building Co. is a prime example where we met with a customer several times over the course of a month or two, with multiple members of each team. We sat and we listened, we put together a solution, we presented that to them. There were changes. After that meeting, more changes and more changes. A lot of our challenge on new construction is that there is a timing perspective. There is a lot of ‘before the walls go up’ work that a company like us needs to accommodate. After many edits and changes, shared input and reasoning, and the pressure to get the project done, Fearing’s delivered a solution that made the client very happy.”
2. Can the company show proven success in a similar space or with a similar customer?
A technology integrator may say that can meet your need, but have they actually done similar work before? Can they show you they can meet your need?
Whenever Fearing’s has an opportunity to show a potential client an example of work done for an existing client, or even the new technology in Fearing’s newly renovated office, it increases the closing ratio exponentially.
“We’ve done such a great job on many of the installations that we have done that our existing clients are happy to show off our work to other customers -- they are very proud of it,” says Matson.
According to Matson, many of the customer contacts that Fearing’s works with are not necessarily the decision-makers but they are held accountable for how a specific room turns out and if the technology installation was successful. So in the end, these clients are very proud of the result and are typically very willing to let potential clients visit their location. In many cases, this experience has been a huge factor in a potential client’s decision-making process and in the end, seeing a similar, fantastic result has given them the confidence to choose Fearing’s as their integrator!
Fearing’s staff show potential customers a video wall at the headquarters of a happy client.
3. Are you experiencing solid communication with the company?
Experience matters. A technology integrator with clearly defined channels of communication and internal processes is able to provide a streamlined customer experience of consultation, design, build and support. The last thing you want as a client is to feel confused or out of the loop.
Fearing’s Audio Video Security uses the “Fearing’s flowchart” which is designed with the sales team as the main point of contact. Then the various “experts” in specific departments will serve as support where needed. Matson explains that this is an efficient way for potential and existing clients to have an excellent experience because it builds a greater relationship with that client when they have been communicating with the same individual throughout the entire process. Instead of working with one staff member on one specific area, and another staff member on something else, having one main point of contact makes it easier on the client.
A great example of this dynamic is Fearing’s relationship with Marcus Theatres, which has been a partner of Fearing’s for over 5 years. Fearing’s has worked on over 50 theaters throughout the Midwest. Matson says, “Still to this day, I am their main point of contact. I’m not the one who has to put a proposal together, or makes sure that the installation team is there when they need to be but I am their go-to contact with questions or new projects.”
One of the many Take Five Lounges Fearing’s outfitted with A/V technology for Marcus Theatres.
4. Do you feel a good personal connection with the technology integrator rep and team?
Business is personal and relationships matter. When you embark on a high-stakes, costly project, your technology integrator will be there every step of the way. Your rapport and personal connection with your integrator rep is crucial to success.
Fearing’s is dedicated to establishing a great working relationship with its clients. For Matson, he develops his sales team to think not just about what the immediate need is but how the personal relationship is being developed.
“To us, that means telling stories about ourselves and connecting ourselves on a personal level way beyond just what we’re there to do,” says Matson.
Nowadays, many companies communicate via emails and phone calls because of the efficiency and ease. But, Fearing’s is committed to going above and beyond. “We like that added personal touch,” says Matson. “Personally going out and spending time with the client -- taking them out to lunch, doing things after work. I think that’s where the key to success is.”
Once a partnership is initiated, the Fearing’s sales rep will bring the project management team and do a formal introduction. So, instead of just selling it and forgetting it, the Fearing’s sales team is there to do a formal introduction and handoff, from which project managers do an excellent job getting to know the customer. Once the build is completed, the process continues where the client is introduced to the service director and his team. There is attention to the detail of relationship every step of the way. And it counts.
Fearing’s recently remodeled their corporate headquarters and hosted an Open House to give customers and partners the opportunity to see and hear about the work that Fearing’s does, experience new technology while also being able to personally connect with the staff. Close to 200 people attended, all in all, over a 4-hour span. “I was running from customer to customer. There was not one point where there was someone that I knew that wasn’t here,” said Matson.
Fearing’s staff welcoming clients, partners and vendors at the Open House in October 2018.
So, if you are in charge of a high-stakes technology project, take the time to be crystal clear and fully convinced that the technology integrator you are considering partnering with is a “yes” to these four questions. If you can say “yes” to them all, you’re setting yourself up for success.
To talk to Fearing’s about your upcoming project, please call us today at 1-800-252-2253.