Radical Approach to System Development
It’s safe to say that most integration firms don’t employ an “embrace strategist.” At Sensory, however, it’s a critical position that dramatically improves engagement with customers, improves their return on investment and creates differentiation for the firm.
Stephanie Stilson has a Ph.D in developmental psychology with an emphasis on cognition. Prior to joining Sensory she spent most of her career in academia.
Now, Paquin says, she “makes sure the solutions we provide are usable.” Stilson does that not only by listening really well to what the clients say they want but understanding what their real objectives and needs are.
She works with sales and system design teams, in essence, representing the customers and insuring that Sensory delivers exactly the solutions needed. So while the approach might seem radical, the objective is consistent with most integration firm’s goals. That’s the thing about Sensory. It’s not unlike most mid-sized integration firms when it comes to its goals and objectives.
The difference is that its management team doesn’t sit back; it creates its own paths to success.
Inside the Growth Strategy
It all comes back to Sensory Technologies acquiring AV Solutions in spring 2016. The move, more than an addition that allows it to serve a strategic region, reflects the principals’ confidence in how they’ve set up their business.
“We feel like we have a great recipe of diverse offerings and services,” Paquin says. “We do AV integration like a lot of others in the industry, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job, starting eight years ago, of incorporating services we can wrap around integration that allows us to provide better solutions, allows us to build a stronger relationship within the organization by going deep and wide, by working with different business units within our clients, such as marketing, corporate communications, IT and facilities, of course, but operations and sales and some of these things that we feel like we can help our clients with differentiation and give them an advantage within their business.”
Okay, so what does that have to do with Sensory’s growth strategy?
For one thing, Sensory invested in and developed these processes so it can grow with them. That lends itself to expansion. Its managed services strategies are fully baked. It has an established 24/7 help desk that it calls a client solutions center.
“We feel like we’ve got a really strong recipe of pulling in these services and wrapping it around an AV integration as well as within our business units,” Paquin says.
Assuming that these processes are expandable, the question came down to where to expand. “Two years ago we decided that, because we’ve got this recipe down we’re positioned really well to grow,” he says.
The principals focused on figuring out where Sensory is strong, recognizing corporate, higher education and health care markets.
“We asked ourselves, where are we now and what’s been successful from a market standpoint? We feel like smaller cities, where there’s disparate competition, because we feel like we have solutions that are a big differentiator. We looked at areas that fit that mold, that fit an Indianapolis-type of market. Then we looked at those smaller markets that had good-sized enterprise corporate clients.”
In targeting upstate New York-based AV Solutions, Sensory saw that it had strong relationships with corporate clients, Andy Sellers says. “The other thing we saw was a company that could benefit from some of the systems and the processes and the sophisticated selling strategies that we had put into place.”