Are You Selling Or Telling?
When a customer invites you in to demo your solution, what does that meeting look like? Are you up there showing the customer all the features and options available and telling them how your solution can solve their problem? If so, you might just be talking your way out of a sale. Workforce management solutions provider Legiant takes a more consultative approach to the sales process. One such example is the company's recent installation at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC).
The YVFWC is a 501c(3) nonprofit community health center that provides medical, dental, surgical, behavioral health, and other social services to several communities in Washington and Oregon. Some of these communities include Yakima, Walla Walla, and Spokane in Washington, and Portland and Salem, Oregon. YVFWC has more than 1,700 employees serving more than 100,000 patients each year.
YVFWC began looking for a new system to manage its employees' time and attendance in the first quarter of 2006. After reviewing the budgetary figures, the project's funding was postponed until 2008. The clinic had been using a WinSTAR system that reached its end of life and was no longer supported. "After issuing the initial RFP, the clinic narrowed the field down to three of us [vendors] for vetting," explains Walter Ross, CEO of Legiant.
The sales process from initial RFP to signing the final agreement took over a year. The RFP was issued in January 2008, and the vetting process involved multiple product demos on specific topics. "When you are selling into this type of organization, you are selling to five different positions: IT, human resources, payroll, finance, and operations," delineates Ross. "Each department has its own requirements and concerns."
Win Sales By Getting The End User Involved
According to Ross, the reason Legiant won the contract versus the other vendors was their selling strategy. "Other vendors were coming in and putting on a show instead of engaging the customer," says Ross. By doing this, the other vendors talked about features and benefits that the clinic didn't need or want and talked their way out of a sale.
Legiant worked with each individual department to identify and validate its specific needs. By listening to what the clinic wanted, the team identified not just the need to track time, but also to automate tardiness monitoring, electronic leave request and approval, and staffing and scheduling tracking. Other concerns the clinic had were how to account for complex scheduling, shift premiums, and other rules across 25 different locations. The contract was awarded to Legiant in November 2008, and the final agreement was signed in February 2009.
The project kickoff was Feb. 26, 2009, and the system was delivered on April 14, 2009, with the first location going live on June 15, 2009. The final solution included licenses for the Legiant Timecard System for 1,500 employees and 180 supervisors. Legiant Timecard is a Web-based system with all the employee self-service functionality the clinic wanted.
The system, which integrates with Active Directory for user authentication, incorporates 23 Accu-Time Optimus clocks. "We chose to run this system on the Optimus clocks, because the employee self-service functionality was so important to the client," states Ross. "The Accu-Time Optimus clock looks like an ATM and is just as easy to use." The greatest challenge during the installation was the typical complexity of configuring a healthcare solution. In healthcare, there is an unlimited array of complex scheduling, compensation, and attendance rules. To overcome this, the Legiant and YVFWC team invested a lot of effort in defining all the time and attendance requirements early in the project.
As a result of the project, the YVFWC not only has a modern system to track employee time, but employees can now see, review, and approve their timecards; submit electronic leave requests; and track their schedules. The system also integrates with the clinic's UltiPro payroll and HR management system. The YVFWC also has the infrastructure in place to eventually enable its employees to conduct benefits open enrollment, 401(k) changes, and other transactions through the workforce management system.
Despite the economy, Legiant's growth enabled it to open six new offices in October 2009. "The key takeaway for us is to work with our clients collaboratively to ensure their success," concludes Ross. With a customer retention rate of 98%, Ross knows his company's approach is working.