Lessons Learned from the FM Trenches

Moving into the new year, it is important to reflect on what we did well and where we can improve.  I’m one of the sales managers here at ServiceChannel, and I took the holidays to take stock in what was, generally speaking, a terrific 2017.  My team and I were fortunate to be able to grow, and help a lot of customers and prospects along the way.  This is just a short summary of where we did just that, and where I suspect we can do better in the coming year.

We partnered with almost 200 new customers in 2017, ranging from smaller organizations (those managing around 10-20 locations) to large enterprises (upwards of 1,000+ locations). The breadth of industries that we worked with expanded – from the more traditional restaurant and retail sectors, to banking, grocery stores, convenience stores/gas stations, hospitality, healthcare, education and even clients who manage unmanned revenue-generating assets (think cell phone towers and automated kiosks).

The overall trends that we witnessed was that clients, from CEOs and COOs to VPs of Construction and Facilities Managers, all:

  • Demanded a better way to get visibility and control of their facilities expenses,
  • Were spending too much money for day-to-day work (PMs and “fix it” maintenance)
  • Required a solution to better manage new location expansion
  • Had very little control of the accountability of their contractors and perhaps most importantly
  • Needed a better way to mitigate the risk of having contractors come on site (insurance, background checks, etc).

Facilities outsourcing vs InsourcingWhile it was very fulfilling to help many companies modernize their approach and to begin to get the visibility and control they desired, there were other instances where we probably could have done more.  

Facilities Outsourcing vs. Insourcing

One client situation we can focus on in 2018 is when a prospect is considering “outsourcing” vs. managing their own facilities program.  ServiceChannel is a facilities management technology company, and distinctly not an outsourcer – even though we have solutions that can help bridge the gap and can help companies that are tied to outsourcing but want more accountability and transparency.

I think we need to do a better job of explaining the outsourcing vs. insourcing tradeoff in 2018, and to offer to help customers gain more transparency and control even when they choose to outsource certain things.  

Another aspect of education where we need to improve is to help prospects and clients to identify and quantify the ROI they can get from a modern solution. We’ve had several not move forward because they couldn’t quantify the ROI to their superiors internally, or prospects who chose a “less expensive” solution and came back disappointed that they had not met their cost and quality goals over time, or had been surprised at the lack of certain features during implementation.

We have to do a much better job to give folks the tools they need to be successful – the good news is that we have a lot of long-standing customers who have a ton of empirical data to help us in this endeavor.  

I personally have made the conscious decision to work for the company that provides the best value. Both as a buyer and sales leader, I have seen the difference in quality and results between the “rock bottom” solution and a quality solution. If I have the budget to do it right, I go for the product that will grow with me. This goes for anything in my life – Auto, Furniture, Appliance, Bed, etc.

Personal example 🙂 – When I got married, my wife and I were looking at the same bed in a queen and king. We bought a queen size bed because it was less money than the king. We should have spent the additional money on a king size bed because soon thereafter, kids were hogging up what little room we had left in the queen. I found out that the only thing worse than spending more money for the king sized bed initially was having to buy a king after buying the queen.

While we had a great 2017, our team can do a better job at education for the overall industry, and presenting the general and specific (quantified) benefits of a modern-day technology-assisted approach.  It’s high on our New Year’s Resolutions list!

I wish you a prosperous 2018. I also encourage you to reflect on what you did well, as well as what you didn’t do well in 2017 to make 2018 that much better.

Darryl Miedico is Senior Director of Global Sales at ServiceChannel.