MAKING PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS from both the outside in and the inside out has been key to ACP Technologies’ success. These include measuring and knowing our numbers, getting both the right personnel and the right clients in place, and transforming to a customer experience (CX) company rather than a technology one.
ACP has leaned on three primary outside entities to help with business process improvement. The first was a business leadership program through the University at Buffalo School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) that I enrolled in about seven years after launching ACP in 1997. With my background working in corporate IT and then as a consultant, I thought I knew how to run a successful business. I didn’t.
While ACP was making money at the time, we didn’t know how to invest in people and other resources to grow. The UB leadership program helped us turn a shaky foundation into a solid one.
Enlisting the services of business coach Erick Simpson in 2014 is the second outside resource that helped us. Erick coached us to put metrics in place to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and to better use reporting information from our RMM, PSA, and accounting systems. Numbers don’t lie.
Finally, an ongoing outside resource has been my peer community, the Ingram Micro SMB Alliance. Most of us have the same challenges, and some of us are further ahead in tackling them than others. The ability to share ideas and help each other with issues and solutions has been invaluable.
Taking what we’ve learned from the outside, we’ve worked to improve our service, sales, and customer experience processes.
Two years ago, we hired Jeffery Wing to be our VP of operation to head up the service team, and shortly after that we implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) concepts. Jeff became our “integrator” and I was now free to be the “visionary.”
Jeff was charged with using our KPIs to make better decisions about workflow and to hold people accountable. With metrics, it’s very easy to see which employees will help you get to the next level, which ones never will, and which ones are in the wrong roles. So we repurposed some employees, let others go, and hired to fill the right seats.
We also use metrics to improve and document our service delivery process, which we are continually evolving.
On the sales side, we learned the value of tracking activities. For example, if you make 500 calls one month and your revenue is X, it’s easy to see why making 1,000 calls a month drives revenue up. So we put a well-documented sales process in place using ConnectWise Sell that shows tasks to do, activities created, next steps, and so on. We measure most of these metrics live with BrightGauge.