Adtech Systems’ Sudbury, Mass., headquarters is about eight miles from Commercial Integrator’s office. So impressions of Adtech executives were very fresh on managing editor Arlen Schweiger’s mind when he returned after doing interviews for our April 2012 profile of the integration firm.
CEO David Gormley, he said, is a master of multitasking. He was able to appear fully engaged in the interview while frequently, yet politely, taking quick breaks to attend to minute operational details. Schweiger, who has interviewed his fair share of integration firm executives, was surprised at how engaged Gormley is and how he seemed to be able to go beyond the “big picture” and focus on the little things.
That characteristic probably comes in handy when marketing a company. Marketing, in itself, is often about the big picture, but proposals are very much about making clients realize that the minutia won’t be neglected.
Adtech is known as an integration firm that caters to higher-education clients, but that label oversimplifies the $37 million integrator. It’s also focused on K-12, healthcare, corporate and hospitality markets, even doing 10 percent of its business in the residential market under its Home Entertainment Expo brand.
When pursing leads and creating proposals, sales individuals at Adtech have an advantage over some of their competitors, because they tend to specialize in their respective vertical markets. They learn how to talk the talk and anticipate the curveballs that may have caused clients to swing and miss on previous projects. Gormley says Adtech’s goal is to be the most prepared integrator it can be and that must start with a sales force that’s entrenched in the market.
“Success comes from having the right people internally here to make sure jobs are prepared properly, and then having good, quality PMs [project managers] in the field to keep it all together,” Gormley says. “It starts with sales. They have to hone themselves [with the technology], because when they become known as the specialist in their market place, it helps close business.”
The sales manager has weekly meetings with all of the sales reps to discuss potential projects for bidding. The sales rep then works with the engineer on the proposal, including the products and pricing, and Gormley reviews the package before it’s submitted.
Part of the key to Adtech’s success is staying on top of current events. The team follows certain websites to find out what construction projects are impending or under way, and stays in the loop with schools, architects, engineering firms and others to keep pace with what’s out there. Gormley recalls one time about a half-dozen years ago when he says it wasn’t as easy to learn when projects were in the pipeline, and he got a call from an electrical contractor asking if Adtech had a price on an upcoming high school project.
“I was like, ‘What project?’ There was no mechanism for us to know when these things were there,” Gormley says. “Today, we know long beforehand what’s coming and what’s going to be in a project … so we’re more prepared and have quotes ready.”
Adtech ramped up its roster of inside sales reps to assist the busy outside sales reps with more administrative tasks. “It seems the more techs I hire, the more business is there to push them into,” Gormley says, but the last thing he wants to happen is for customer calls to go unreturned. Meanwhile, Gormley, the de facto sales manager for Adtech over the last 20 years, made the decision to hire for a newly created position, VP of sales and marketing.