Transforming sales win rate for UK Managed Service Provider

Coaching and training puts Central Technology on path to winning more sales opportunities and securing recurring revenues

Central Technology is a Chesterfield-based managed services provider, offering a range of in-house IT and Communications solutions to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses regionally and nationally. They also have their own data centre infrastructure, which enables them to provide clients with broadband, cloud, voice, data and telephony services.

Richard Thompson, founder and Sales Director of Central Technology says that they aim to be the key provider for IT solutions in the Midlands area. “We have been growing quite quickly over the last three years, gaining new clients, whilst keeping a high retention rate on our current clients. We see the business growing a lot within the cloud infrastructure area.”

Conquering the cloud

The fast growth of cloud services has also been one of their biggest business challenges says Richard Thompson, “Cloud is really starting to gain traction, mainly driven by the consumer market and people using cloud products every day.” Because of this, they’ve had to review their sales model and technical training.

Sales expertise required

Formerly an engineer, Richard Thompson has taken on the sales and account management role at Central Technology. However, because he had no formal sales training, they were keen to bring experts on board to help them look at their sales processes, how they manage the sales team, and the jobs they do.  They reviewed a number of providers before appointing Transmentum.

Spend time on the business

Richard says his expectations were quite low because they had similar support in the past, which had not really worked out. “It has been completely different from what I expected. It has been a massive change. I spend a lot more of my time on the business as opposed to in the business. How the sales environment runs now is completely different. It is a lot more organised and structured.”

“Straight off, from the first session: the expertise they (Transmentum) applied, their ideas, the processes, how we attach values to things, and the processes that should happen within the team. They really challenged how we do things. It has just been fantastic.”

People management

One of the biggest issues it has helped them to address is how they manage and motivate the sales team, how they educate the team about sales processes, and how they manage their time. “Ultimately, Transmentum helps our business to grow and achieve more sales. Without identifying the weak points in our sales process, we wouldn’t have won as many opportunities as we have over the last twelve months.”

Bespoke training and support

Besides regular telephone and email support, the Transmentum consultants set aside a day a month to meet with Richard to discuss a variety of agenda items and to provide the sales team with bespoke training, covering topics such as account management, qualifying opportunities.

Winning more sales

The return on investment is clear says Richard, “We get more opportunities, win more orders, and win more sales.” A case in point was an opportunity with South Yorkshire Police. Before, they would have gone along to the appointment and done their best to sell. With Transmentum on board they learnt how to qualify the opportunity beforehand. As a result, they had a lot more information when they attended the meeting. “We were more prepared to close deals and answer challenges. We won the work quite quickly afterwards.”

Transforming sales process

The coaching and sales training has transformed their sales ethos says Richard, “We’ve a stronger focus on recurring revenue sales. The whole team understands more about sales processes, how to manage opportunities, how to manage customers, and give customers exactly what they need at the right price.”

Gaining a new perspective

He says he didn’t expect the coaching and support that he received would bring about such a big change, “Having a team there that you can bounce ideas off, help you improve your perspective on your processes and thoughts, how you manage things. It’s always useful to get perspective from someone else who has been there and done that.”

Changing how things are done

The biggest change however was looking at how he does things and how he manages sales within the business. “To take the step of changing things and giving it a try: to step outside my comfort zone and just do it differently. It has helped how I manage teams. It is significantly better than it was previously.”

Making a difference

What made the difference he says are “… the simple things that you wouldn’t do because you don’t have the time or are too busy in the day to day routine, or too busy doing what you’ve always done. Transmentum are the right people to give you that perspective.”

“They are a company you can reflect your current processes on, you can be honest and upfront with, mention any problem you have within the business. Then they can help. They have probably seen a similar scenario before and will be able to help, advise, and improve it.”

Seeing obvious results

Ian Snow, Managing Director for Central Technology says he sees a major difference in the sales team and how Richard operates since Transmentum has come of board, “The difference from six months ago and the way the sales team works now, as a result. There is no comparison. It is the results at the end of the day. We are paying for a service, and I am seeing obvious results. I can see the difference between now and then. Everything is done in a very professional, structured and disciplined way.”

Bringing management focus

Though the business was growing well, they lacked management focus Alexa explained: “Transmentum brought us to a higher level of professionalism within the management team and has really strengthened our focus.” She added, “It’s made us sit round the table and put strategies together. It was something that was always put on the back burner because there were more pressing issues.”

Working with Adam Harris gave them the pinpoint focus they needed, “We take time out of the business to put the strategy together. It has helped us address all kinds of issues: strategy, growth, and introductions to the marketplace. Adam is very well known in the industry and has introduced us to a number of key people.” Today, Adam is a non-executive director of AAG Systems.

Meeting like-minded people

Alexa Greaves and Michelle Walker regularly attend the Transmentum peer group meetings. Alexa explained, “I am a member of quite a few peer groups. But, I get far more out of Transmentum because it is linked to our industry. It is very useful to meet like-minded people from a similar industry”

“The calibre of people at the peer group is exceptional and I have learnt a lot from attending. It is testament that Michelle, our finance director attends those meetings, as she is probably a lot more cynical about these things. She went to the first one and was very impressed with what she got out of it.”

Mentoring at every level

Transmentum also mentors individuals at every level of the business. “I see Adam Harris once a month. Steve Potts has mentored our sales director: Joey Hemingbrough, and Kevin is mentoring our second tier management group: Lisa, Damian and Matt. The feedback we’ve had from these three individuals about the mentor programme has been great.”

Working on the business

Working with Transmentum has forced the management team to work on the business. “It hasn’t taught us anything we didn’t know we needed to do, but it has actually made us do it. That is absolutely critical to any business. When you are in the thick of it – the daily curve balls you have to endure – it makes you take a step back. You set aside time, and you do it.”

Value in growth and opportunities

Alexa said AAG gets good value from working with Transmentum. “There’s an excellent return on our investment, specifically from the growth we’ve seen in the business, the opportunities, and how we deal with them.”

Increasing managed services revenues

“We’ve seen a real increase in our engineering support business and that was an area we really wanted to concentrate on,” she said. AAG Systems started off as a traditional IT Reseller, but now has ambitions to become a managed services provider (MSP). The company reports that the percentage of business from service and engineering has doubled in the 18 months since starting work with Transmentum.

Challenged to be a better team

Alexa likes working with Transmentum because they feel they’re constantly challenged, “Transmentum aren’t ‘yes-men’, “she said, “ They’re not there to make you feel better about yourself. They make you think. The sessions that we’ve had as a team with Transmentum have been really worthwhile.”

Confidence to grow the business

Working with Transmentum has also made Alexa more confident about running a tech company, as she explained, “It has shown me that I don’t need an IT background to make AAG grow and flourish. It’s given me the confidence to grow the business with their support.”

Structured board meetings

The biggest benefit has been the change in mind-set of the management team and the professionalism that has brought. “We were struggling to have any type of structure at our board meetings. They were easily postponed. Now we have them every last Friday of the month. We are away from the business. We set aside a whole day. And, we’ve been making real progress in developing the strategy.”

Exceptional asset for any business

Asked whether they’d recommend Transmentum to other IT Services companies, Alexa replied, “Absolutely! Transmentum, because it is so focused on IT, is an exceptional asset for any business. They are able to identify with the everyday problems that IT companies have.”

“They have a lot of market knowledge and they have a real depth and breadth of skill within their team. They’ve offered us an awful lot to take our business forward.” Alexa concluded that Managed services companies would benefit from working with Transmentum because they offer structure and a strategic approach to growing businesses.