Taking the pulse of our customer base is an annual tradition for the Unified Communications & IT group at GreatAmerica. Via the local research firm Vernon Research, we gauge performance on customer service, program development, transaction processing and other metrics. These metrics provide guidance on where to focus improvement efforts.
While it is good to see how we are performing, to me the most fascinating data we collect are our customer’s challenges and opportunities. For this we ask participants to choose their top three challenges and top three opportunities.
It comes as no surprise to me that the top three opportunities are related to recurring revenue.
Hosted and Cloud emerged as the top opportunity among those surveyed, followed closely by Managed IT Services and the As-A-Service Model. All three are directly tied to a recurring revenue and ongoing service, which Wall Street continues to value higher than total sales.
The top challenges don’t fit together as snugly as the opportunities, but it is clear there are common struggles among those surveyed. Hiring, leads, margin and cash flow came to the top of the challenges.
More than half of those surveyed indicated they were struggling with attracting and hiring good employees. One comment provided was, “Most come through M&A. Hiring organically has been a challenge, especially in sales.”
Leads are a common challenge for any business, and it was obvious that securing new business is a struggle for our customers and prospects. This comment sums up the challenge: “Finding and getting in the door to market solutions to companies is harder than ever.”
30% of those surveyed say their margins are being compressed. This is attributed in part to manufacturers competing directly with resellers as well as internet sales.
Cash flow is also a struggle for 27% of those surveyed, and rapid growth could be playing a part in that.
“We are growing so quickly and it is hard to keep up with the cash demands due to customer payment schedules.”
Even with all of these challenges in front of our customers, I have to remind myself it could be much worse. For example, two people responded to the survey that they saw no opportunities.
We feel fortunate to work with companies who not only identify their opportunities and challenges, but are proactively addressing them. They are seizing the opportunities to build more recurring revenue into their businesses and they are working with GreatAmerica because our ability to help with margin compression or cash flow.
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- managed services
- monthly payment
- recurring revenue