Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Ken Sinclair and Kevin McCaughey
Kevin McCaughey, Founder & President, Your Growth Engine, LLC
Kevin McCaughey is a
Chicago-based controls industry veteran with over 28 years’ experience
in the HVAC controls and physical security industry. He has held
leadership roles in sales, marketing, business development, and BAS
services with manufacturers and systems integrators. Kevin recently
started Your Growth Engine, LLC with the belief that marketing can be
just that; a growth engine for Systems Integrators. As the son of a
small business owner, Kevin is energized helping clients meet their
growth targets, and helping most anyone find answers to business
challenges and opportunities.
Why Marketing Makes Sense for BAS Systems Integrators
and changes in the building automation market challenge
system integrators to find ways to attract new clients, win business,
and compete for talent. Marketing should be part of a system
integrator’s plan to meet these challenges head-on and compete in
today’s exciting BAS market.
Sinclair: What can marketing achieve for SI’s that’s different?
McCaughey: Change. There is a lot of it happening in the market for intelligent building solutions. As a systems integrator, your business is impacted by change. Marketing is a proactive growth lever for System Integrators. The exposure a Systems Integrator realizes from marketing will fuel 6 growth drivers.
You mentioned change. What about the BAS industry has changed that
Systems Integrators would benefit from marketing investments?
the BAS industry, new entrants are delivering services traditionally
the domain of BAS Systems Integrators. IT players recognize opportunity
to deliver BAS solutions, especially as the BAS trends toward all IP.
Complex concepts like “Building IoT” and “improving the occupant
experience” create opportunity as much as uncertainty among building
owners about how to capture those opportunities. Finally, the battle
for talent puts pressure on SI businesses.
Are there changes on the client side that marketing could help with?
Complex B2B buying processes present significant change that can
restrict growth. An information rich world has caused the sales process
to be replaced by the buying process. This itself is old news, but
information has overwhelmed building owners as much as it has empowered
them. Initial decisions are being made before your sales team has a
chance to engage with clients, and even then, portions of the decision
process happen in parallel, outside the view of your sales team. Adding
to this increasingly complex picture is the fast-emerging role of the
IT department in the BAS decision-making process.
Yes, lots of change for sure. So how can marketing help SI owners
manage the industry-related changes?
McCaughey: First, as a proactive measure against new competition coming into the market, good B2B marketing should educate people with relevant, valuable content that is easy to digest. Help your clients and prospects sort through the clutter by sharing your knowledge and expertise through blogs, white papers, webinars, public speaking opportunities, and more. Reinforce your relationship with existing clients as a trusted advisor. Get in front of new prospects as a thought leader with the expertise to help them meet their facility objectives.
Second, Full-IP and Occupant Experience go hand-in-hand. With adoption of full-IP BAS solutions on the rise, this is a great time to help end users and consulting engineers understand what an improved occupant experience really means and how that can be achieved. Illustrate the potential value for an organization in terms of productivity and process improvements.
Finally, attracting talent is an
essential “always-on” effort for any small business. While evaluating
your company, the best talent will assess your company in many ways,
including your online presence. Marketing can ensure you appear to key
future employees as an organization where they can work with the latest
technology, accelerate their careers, and deliver value.
And what about changes on the client side? How can marketing help there?
McCaughey: B2B decision makers conduct a large portion of their evaluation for solutions online before engaging with sales. Marketing plays a critical role in this part of the buying process, without which, an SI may not even be in the running. SI’s can stand out in this part of the process, positioning themselves as having the technology, expertise and reputation to deliver exceptional results for facility owners and managers.
All of this gives your sales team more resources to help them navigate the client buying process. In this capacity, marketing makes your sales team more efficient and more effective.
The same information that is useful to
end user clients is equally helpful to consulting engineers. Business
and technical content helps a consulting engineer establish the value
of solutions during the design phase. When that content carries your
brand, your business naturally gains an edge in the decision-making
What should an SI owner look for in selecting a marketing partner?
McCaughey: For starters, select a team that understands the BAS industry. The process of creating a marketing campaign can bog down when an SI has to run their marketing partner through BAS 101.
Secondly, you want a partner who will work with you to develop a strong message platform that accounts for your strengths and weaknesses, the needs of your target audience, the competition, and most important, the distinct value that makes your company unique. This is the platform that helps your business break out of the me-too mode and into a market position where your business stands out. The development of the message platform should include a healthy 360 interview process with your clients, partners, and employees. So, make sure you pick a partner who will represent you well.
Your marketing partner should translate
the messaging platform into a mix of marketing media and tactics that
will deliver greater visibility for your business, top of the funnel
leads that convert into qualified sales opportunities, and increased
efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team.
Doesn’t most of the marketing in our industry happen at manufacturer
that is true, but it has been changing, especially with the emergence
of Master System Integrators. Their unique value is broader than any
one manufacturer will communicate through marketing programs.
Additionally, a good System Integrator will service a building for
years to come. Their ability to serve as a trusted advisor is something
only they can effectively communicate to the market. While reputation
and word-of-mouth play a big role here, the complex buying process
demands that System Integrators invest in marketing to ensure their
message get across.
OK, let’s wrap up with one last question. Is there a broader
contribution that marketing can make to the BAS industry by working
McCaughey: Yes. Our industry has long promised insight, productivity and efficiency from smart, integrated buildings. With the emergence of full IP BAS and Building IoT, our industry is on the advent of delivering results that land on the bottom line of building owners from gains in employee productivity, organizational processes, and asset valuations.
System Integrators are in the best
position to turn the dream into reality, but only if they are able to
articulate both the vision, and a practical, credible means of
realizing the vision. That’s where marketing can help the BAS industry,
telling the story of what’s possible amidst the high-trust relationship
between System Integrators and their clients.
Ken, thanks for the chance to chat about
this topic. It’s fulfilling to be a small part of this big conversation
about the value our industry can deliver to building owners, facility
manager, and occupants.
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