February 2019

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Kevin McMaugheyEMAIL INTERVIEWKen 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

Opportunities 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.

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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.

  1. Position your business with your target audience as a thought leader
  2. Expose your business in parts of the buyer process outside the view of your sales team
  3. Establish you and your business as the go-to team for technical leadership
  4. Attract talent to your business
  5. Defend your market share against others entering the market
  6. Trigger conversations for your sales team with current clients and prospects

Sinclair:  You mentioned change. What about the BAS industry has changed that Systems Integrators would benefit from marketing investments?

McCaughey:  In 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.

Sinclair:  Are there changes on the client side that marketing could help with?

McCaughey:  Absolutely. 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.

Sinclair:  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.

Sinclair:  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 process.

Sinclair:  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.

Sinclair:  Doesn’t most of the marketing in our industry happen at manufacturer level?

McCaughey: Traditionally 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.

Sinclair:  OK, let’s wrap up with one last question. Is there a broader contribution that marketing can make to the BAS industry by working with SI’s?

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.


Haystack Connect 2019
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