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Speaking with: Liam Hulme of Global Windows

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Global Windows switched from its previous CRM to Business Pilot in March this year. We report on how it’s changing the way that it does business.

“The best thing about Business Pilot? If you want my honest answer”, says Liam Hulme, Joint Managing Director, Global Windows, “is that we’re now doing less! We’re not doubling up on paperwork, doing everything three or four times.

“If a glass order delivery date changes we aren’t changing it in the glass book and then forgetting to update the installation schedule and then coming back four weeks later and not being able to remember which reference is the right one. Business Pilot takes care of all that.”

Global Windows was set up in 1995 by Liam’s father Russell as a fabrication and installation business. Stopping fabrication in March 2020, its decision to review its business process infrastructure, coincided with new focus on its retail operation.

“Stopping fabrication was about putting the focus into our retail operation. We’d been using another industry CRM since 2011 and it had become far too complex and cumbersome. The supplier had kept on developing it but they were just putting layer on top of layer of complexity into it.

“Say if you wanted to look up a postcode, you’d have to go into contracts and then click and click again. Everything you did you had to take three steps back to go seven steps forward. With Business Pilot you type in postcode and that’s it.”

Business Pilot, which was launched in 2019, is the result of a collaboration between two installation companies – Cherwell Windows and Thames Valley Windows – and a two-year development programme with their digital partners.

Designed as a cloud-based system, Business Pilot can provide installers with precise data on everything from leads and conversions, to job scheduling, installation and servicing costs and even financial reporting.

“As soon as I heard about it I was determined to bring Business Pilot into our business”, continues Liam. “I’d looked online at the installation companies that had been part of its development, Cherwell and Thames Valley Windows, and from their online presence you could see that they were decent retail businesses.

“The biggest barrier was people. My dad didn’t want to change, a lot of the staff didn’t want to change. I said to them, I may be the boss’ son, but you need to back me on this. We couldn’t go on duplicating work and not being able to access information effectively.

“I accepted that there might be some short-term pain, for long term gain, and as it was, it’s been far easier than we thought it would be.”

Starting the onboarding process in February 2021, Global adopted a phased approach, switching to Business Pilot to manage its sales and lead generation systems from March and surveys and its installation programmes from mid-June and then service calls.

“We’ll be using Business Pilot 100% from next month”, Liam states, “We want to prove its capability in different parts of the business before rolling it out to the next. What we’ve seen is that some of those members of the team who were most resistant to it now love it because it does a stack of the work for them and makes their life so much easier.

“It will create templates like the order acknowledgment template so they don’t have to write stuff out, it will prompt them to do things so nothing’s forgotten, to set tasks as part of the process pipeline and pass it on to someone else, so now people’s desks aren’t covered in post-it notes, which used to get thrown away when the cleaners came in.”

Liam continues: “It will keep track of deliveries and orders. We recently placed an order for a composite with a flag window but weren’t sure if we’d order a flag window or standard window and Business Pilot meant we picked it up and checked 8-weeks out on the job.

“As it happens we’d got it right but if we hadn’t we’d have known 8-weeks in advance rather than one week and had to deal with the stress that goes with that.”

Business Pilot has recently launched a major upgrade of its management information dashboard. This provides real-time data from each area of business operation, presented in an easy-to-understand format.

This includes a Status Dashboard that allows installers to see the value of leads in the pipeline, the number of jobs that are currently quoted for, plus the value of quotes that are followed up or are waiting for a demo. That’s in addition to the value of jobs with completed surveys, ones that have been confirmed for installation but also those that have been put on hold or have been cancelled.

The Sales Dashboard highlights unassigned leads and can also identify the leads that have been allocated to specific individuals in the sales team, which allows managers to track their performance and hit rate.

“One of the problems we had with the old system is that we were being bombarded with all these charts and information but it was really hard to digest and very inaccessible. There was information but it didn’t give you an understanding of what was happening in your business.

“With Business Pilot I can see where a job is or who a lead has been assigned to instantly. If someone phones up and asks when they’re survey is booked, I can see that too. You get full visibility of your sales and operational pipeline.”

Business Pilot also features a Leads and Products Dashboard that provides an overview of best-selling products and where leads were sourced, and a People and Area Sales Dashboard that delivers a broader summary of lead allocation to salespeople.

This is accompanied by a Marketing Dashboard that can reveal precisely how much it has cost to obtain each lead, but the cost efficiency of any marketing campaign at any given point, as well as an Ops Dashboard. This draws in financial performance details such as the company balance sheet, outstanding orders, invoices fitted value, costs and gross profit, that is updated instantly whenever a bill is paid, or sale is made.

“We’re rolling out the platform to the installers and they’re going to love it because it gives them all the detail on the job before they get to site. The same for the service team. They get the detail too, it’s not simply a sheet of paper that then gets wet when they’re out. They can access everything about the job, the survey, the photos, form their phone at or before they get to site”, explains Liam.

“I think there will always be companies that want to operate on a small scale and not really care about how they get from ‘A’ to ‘B’. If you want to make that a positive experience for the end user, to grow and to build your reputation, then you need to have control of your process and visibility of how your business is performing.

“Business Pilot makes that very easy.”

Try Business Pilot for Free

As part of our free trial, we will send a whole series of how to videos to help you get to grips with the Business Pilot Installation company CRM system. Because the system is much more than a regular CRM, we are even on hand to talk you through how other installation companies are using Business Pilot as a business improvement system. If you would prefer to book a call with an existing user before the trial, call us on 0333 050 7506 or use the live chat facility.

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