Taking a page from George Steinbrenner's book, Greg Boyd isn't shy about buying the right talent in order to better serve his clients-and, not incidentally, help grow his business.
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By hiring specialists, the Dallas-based Enterprise Resource Group has seen revenue increase from $2.5 million last year to $4 million this year. Boyd, the company president, says, "The best thing we ever did as a company was to start hiring the right people who had experience and were passionate about what they do. They are people that care about the customer."
Founded in 1988, ERG, a Best Software-only shop, has 23 employees. Among these are two product line managers, one each for MAS 90/200 and MAS 500. The former was a MAS 90/200 reseller who merged his business with ERG last year. The MAS 500 manager was formerly a manufacturing product specialist with Best, and prior to that he ran the services practice for a manufacturing ERP publisher. In addition, the company has two Microsoft Certified Professionals and one MCSE on the technical staff, a certified support specialist, and four certified trainers.
Boyd, who made the decision to carry only Best applications about five years ago, offers MAS 90/200/500, and SalesLogix. That Best-only position looks rewarding because Best recently announced pricing plans that enable resellers that carry multiple Best products to get higher margins on each line.
Boyd, a CPA and an MCP, also holds a Master of Science in Accounting and worked in the computer audit field with former Big Eight firm Ernst & Whinney.
In the past year, the company switched to a solution-selling approach that avoids pure product and price pitching. "We don't necessarily even discuss the product in the first meeting, but focus on listening to the prospect and determining if we can help them," says Boyd. "It is then up to us to help guide them through the buying process. We demo the product based upon showing clients how our technology solution can solve their pain, and we utilize a product specialist to do the demo."
And it has worked. ERG currently has 30 MAS 500 customers, and the average engagement tab of $200,000 is split evenly between software and services.
More recently, the company has emphasized sales of imaging systems that support accounting users and reduce paper to electronic files. A recent engagement produced $500,000 in project revenue, including the accounting software, a document workflow system from Altec, hardware, and professional services.
This healthcare client has more than 60 locations, which had previously over-nighted invoices to the corporate office for data entry. The newly-installed system produces savings by eliminating the filing and storage of paper, and will produce a return on investment in six to eight months. Besides that, image-based systems help satisfy security requirements stemming from the need to protect patient confidentiality, a priority in serving the healthcare field.
"It will also reduce paper-tracking and handling and storage costs, eliminate potential duplication issues, reduce transaction costs, and enable more productivity without adding head count," Boyd notes.
The system combines remote-site desktop image capture and routing software with images transmitted and accessed via a virtual private network. Each remote location has scanning equipment and VPN access to the corporate storage and filing system. The remote locations can capture and transfer from 50 to 300 pages of invoices each day.
The newest adventure for ERG is a strategic partnership with Dallas-based Ascendix Technology, a SalesLogix Platinum-level business partner.
ERG handles the back-office integration, while Ascendix concentrates on the front office. Furthermore, the two companies have also created a Web site, www.dfwseminar.com, to create a marketing identity. "Our biggest event has been the Business Bootcamp, geared to bring in business experts to help educate, encourage, and motivate businesses to new levels of performance," says Boyd.
The first Bootcamp had 135 attendees, lasted for six hours, included four keynote speakers, and cost $40. ERG's goal is to get 10 percent of the prospects as clients.
Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at email@example.com.