Hamilton: Understanding the Prospect

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The systems his firm markets may be great. But that's not what sets Genesis Resource Management Systems apart, says Gregory L. Hamilton. The HR and payroll business requires "a cast-iron stomach and basic skills like selling," says Hamilton, owner of the Claremont, Calif.-based company that specializes in reselling software and hardware to serve those markets.

But Hamilton believes that what really sets his company apart is its trying to understand a prospect's business before Genesis pulls out its wares.

"Unlike other people who say, 'Here is the product. It's great. You ought to buy it,'" we try to drill down into the company and find out what are their aches and pains," he says.

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Maybe the products that Genesis handles won't suit the prospect's needs. But that's progress, because the pre-sales efforts is about understanding the target's business processes and pointing out something that may streamline or enhance the way the company does business.

Of course, there are the technology tools.

"I want to bring to companies a suite of software to enhance their ability to administer employee data," says Hamilton. "What we bring gives a company every tool an HR department requires to track, pay, and provide flexible analysis to make strategic labor decisions"

Hamilton, who considers himself a numbers guy, decided in 1996 to get into the systems side of payroll and human resource management to shift away from the daily grind of producing weekly payrolls. He spent six years as a payroll manager before founding Genesis almost a decade ago.

A graduate of Los Angeles Mission College with a Bachelor's degree in liberal arts, he left Security Pacific in 1993 to become the accounting and payroll manager for a long-term health care facility, and then worked with a surgical instruments manufacturer in 1994.

Genesis sells Sage Software's Abra HRMS system, and Unitime's time-and-attendance products, along with WorkWise, which handles alerts. Those are the tools with which it enters the battle, primarily against ADP and Paychex.

Genesis pitches its ability to provide its services at a price far below that of the national service bureaus. Hamilton says it could cost a long-term health care facility with 1,000 employees and 10 employee identification numbers $9,000 a month to outsource its payroll, compared with a total of $100,000 for the software, implementation, and training on Abra.

"It's more than dollars and cents. The return on investment is between 12 and 18 months," says Hamilton. "And we're providing more than payroll processing." Genesis also offers its clients HR administration and employee self-service, and administers employee training programs.

Target companies range from those with 150 employees to those with 5,000. Although the larger companies look for additional features, such as employee self-service, "They all have to track the same information," Hamilton says.

Two-thirds of Genesis' revenues are derived from sales of software and hardware, and the remaining third from consulting. The company's revenues before 2000 were under $50,000 annually. Now at $500,000 a year, they are expected to rise to $1 million by 2008.

Genesis serves Southern California, Arizona, and Las Vegas, and Hamilton plans to intensify the California effort through the purchase of another HR reselling and consulting firm.

Most leads come via referrals. Five Star Parking is an example. The $125,000 project for the Los Angeles, Calif.-based company that operates parking-lot facilities at four of the nation's busiest airports, Los Angeles, La Guardia, Kennedy, and Newark, was referred to Genesis by an Abra reseller because Genesis could handle the time-and-attendance component.

Despite the competition from ADP and Paychex, in one way, the biggest competition is from Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet. If not a competitor, then over-reliance on Excel is at least a pervasive problem among prospects.

"People use spreadsheets to track information, even if they have a payroll and HR system. They are still doing a lot of manual checking," Hamilton says. "That's the stuff we want to eliminate."

GENESIS RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

HQ: Claremont, Calif.

Offices: 1

Employees: 2

Annual revenue: $500,000

Software products: Sage Abra, Unitime, WorkWise

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