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Inside Sensory Technologies’ Secrets to Mid-Market Success

Sensory Technologies’ unique growth strategy is made possible by its industry-atypical command of managed services, KPIs and top-down management.

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Inside Sensory Technologies’ Secrets to Mid-Market Success

From left: Principal Anne Sellers, principal Derek Paquin, director of marketing and client experience Marc Santoro, embrace strategist Stephanie Stilson and principal Andrew Sellers.

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That’s the other thing. When KPIs are done right employees live them every day. “We have physical monitors all over the office with our dashboards,” Andy says. “So people are looking at them every day. They’re seeing what’s red, what’s green, where we’re at with our goals.”

It goes without saying that KPIs play a big role in ensuring the integration of AV Solutions went well, and give Sensory confidence that it can monitor future acquisitions.

Managing Managed Services

One reason for the integration of AV Solutions’ quick success, as Andy alluded to, is that the upstate New York-based sales team benefitted from having new solutions to sell.

Many of those new solutions are managed services — something that Sensory Technologies not only does extremely well but brands exceptionally well.

Sensory’s cloud-based digital signage platform, for instance, is Focused Digital Signage. Its video collaboration solution is One Video Collaboration. Sensory even has a branded solution around providing customers with analytics on their system utilization, performance and benefits. Under AValytics, “we document every piece of equipment manufacturer, model number, serial number, where that piece of equipment is, how it performs [etc.] on a monthly basis,” Paquin explains.

“We’re able to provide information to the client any way they want. Our CRM [customer relationship management] system takes the data. We can output it by room, by owner, by builder, by building, by campus, by geographic area. The intention is to make much better business decisions down the road, because they have the data.”

Anne Sellers of Sensory Technologies

Anne Sellers

One reason Sensory has been successful with managed services while so many other firms have struggled is probably, as Andy noted, that it was so early to embrace service-related sales. For Sensory, it’s not about transitioning to managed services; it’s more about fine-tuning its processes and its offerings — hence, the unique branding.

Sensory might have even been too early to embrace managed services. Anne recalls back in 2010 realizing that video conferencing bridging services were going to be big, that not every company would have their own device and that the Internet pipeline would get fatter.

“We spent a six-figure number to hire a really good sales-person to sell video conference bridging services,” she says. “After a year I think he had sold maybe barely his salary.”

Most integration firms would trade their managed services related growing pains with Sensory’s because at least Sensory was ready when they became easier to sell.

“I think early on a challenge was creating a sales team that could sell services, but now it’s easy for them because they’re used to it,” Andy says. “Now it’s not a big deal to bring another service to them. They understand the selling methodology and how they would position it with their client. I think that’s what the industry struggles with a little bit is ramping their sales team up to learn how to truly sell it.”

One reason Sensory salespeople probably embrace managed services is recurring revenue means recurring income for them. They earn residual commission based on recurring payments.

Paquin isn’t sure how many other firms structure their managed services sales compensation that way, but “it’s logical for us,” he says. “We want the contracts to renew. We do monthly subscription. We pay when we get paid and so the salesperson has a vested interest in the customer being happy, that they’re getting the great service that is providing the solution they intended to provide — and that when we’re six months out of a contract, that this thing’s getting renewed.”

Now for Something Completely Different

All integration firms will echo that emphasis on making sure the customer gets the solution they hoped to get, but one way Sensory Technologies walks the walk is through its use of an embrace strategist.

Stilson may have a Ph.D in developmental psychology, but she’ll be the first to say that she’s not a particularly techy person. That probably helps.

She points out that what Sensory offers from a customer perspective is less about technology and more about changing behaviors “as we move away from using email to communicate internally to possibly using digital signage to communicate internally in an organization.”

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