The coronavirus has caused a shift in the construction industry landscape that creates new opportunities for payroll sales representatives.
Larger construction companies are acquiring smaller businesses, and many leads now have over 300 employees. These organizations are doing more work and they have more money to spend right now.
- The FAST Act was just extended another year, providing funding for highway and infrastructure construction projects.
- Many states moved up some of their highway construction projects when the coronavirus hit, because there was less traffic on the road — creating more business for larger construction companies.
- Some companies have taken on additional work for hospitals to set up COVID sites. As they take on more Certified jobs, they need best-of-breed solutions for Certified Payroll reporting and prevailing wage logic.
Executives at these large construction companies are seeking new ways to automate processes. COVID-19 has forced CFOs to spend more time focusing on business strategy than on transactional processes. The push is on to reduce inefficiencies and increase profit margins. They’re focused on big picture questions, such as:
- Where is our company going next?
- What does the job cost report say?
- Should we bid at a lower margin?
- Where do we make our next investment?
- What types of jobs will be most profitable?
As the coronavirus has forced this shift in focus, executives are turning to automation and data insights to make the pivot possible. Large construction clients have the money to invest in technology, and they want to automate as much as possible, so they can work on strategy and not the minutiae of generating correct paychecks and payroll reports.
These businesses are no stranger to investing in technologies that help them do their jobs more efficiently. So when it comes to the backend time capture and how it relates to HR and compliance, it’s a natural extension to start thinking about outsourced payroll solutions. The major challenge is finding a system that doesn’t require duplicate, manual entries in their ERP system.
The time is ripe for payroll agents to approach executives at large construction companies. IDI has been deep in the construction industry for decades, and we understand what it takes to gain credibility, earn trust, and build value with construction companies. Here are five keys every sales rep needs to win a large construction contract.
1) Know Industry Trends and Concerns
Your prospects will be suspicious of outsiders who don’t know the industry. To earn a place at the table, you’ll need to understand the latest issues and concerns that C-level executives are dealing with. Construction Dive is an industry website that is packed with invaluable articles that have helpful, easy-to-understand updates on construction trends and issues. Check out the website before you get on a call and see what kinds of trends are top of mind right now.
For example, if you’re aware of new legislation impacting the road construction/heavy highway companies, your call will immediately have more weight when you’re able to bring that up and talk about it knowledgeably. Have that kind of information at the ready, and ask how it’s impacting their business. Their response will give you a clear sense of where to take the conversation next.
2) Ask About Their Tech Stack
Ask exploratory questions about your prospect’s tech stack to get a sense of their needs and their readiness for your payroll solution. It’s important to do this right from the start, because it will help you identify immediate opportunities and focus on companies that are ready to roll.
- Have they already invested in a time capture technology or field equipment tracking technology? Do they have an ERP system? Certain types of ERP systems can integrate better with a payroll system for job costing. One of the major objections is that outsourcing payroll means duplicate entry. If they have an ERP system that has the ability to integrate, you can answer that objection by bringing in IDI’s Contractor Central.
- What time system are they using, and how long have they been on that system? Is it capturing accurate data? If the company rolled it out recently, they’ll still be working on training and adapting to the time technology. Your payroll solution won’t be able to provide accurate data and accurate pay if they don’t have good time capture data.
- Has the company considered outsourcing payroll before? Why haven’t they yet outsourced payroll? Or, when they tried to outsource payroll, what happened?
- How do they bring the data from their time system back over to their payroll system? Is there any manual entry required? How do they get that data back to their job costing system?
- How are they ensuring the pay accuracy for Union employees and Davis Bacon/Certified Payroll jobs? How many hours per week are dedicated to this?
- If they have a payroll solution, how do they get the gross-to-net information to reconcile in payroll and job costing?
If your prospect hasn’t figured out the time system yet, it's going to be a slower process. Getting good time data is key to accurate employee pay, Certified Reports, and G/L and job costing data.
3) Understand C-level Knowledge Gaps
Larger construction companies sometimes have C-level executives that don't have backgrounds in construction. A new CFO might be hesitant to adapt new solutions because they want to get a few more months under their belt before making significant changes to payroll.
Encourage those executives to open up conversations internally. Ask them if they’d like to invite their payroll manager to your presentation, so that someone who’s involved in the day-to-day payroll functions can weigh in on how automation can make their lives easier.
This allows the customer to connect the dots between the high level efficiency and the day-to-day administrative functions — involving the practitioners with the strategic efforts of making improvements.
You might also recommend including the HR manager in the evaluation of your HCM solution. While the company may be focused on outsourcing payroll, your HCM system may have some tremendous HR capabilities that the customer could benefit from. Simply including the HR manager in the conversation could be very fruitful — even if the HR element would be Phase 2.
4) Disarm the Objections
Be prepared to address some misconceptions that have been floating around the construction industry for years. Because these companies often lag behind technologically, they may not be aware of the recent advances in payroll solutions.
Perhaps the most common misconception is that it isn’t possible to outsource payroll, because their union and prevailing wage, benefit and fringe rate calculations are too complex. With the extension of IDI’s Contractor Central, your construction clients can automate those calculations without duplicate manual entries back to their ERP/job costing systems.
5) Take Your Pitch to the Next Level
When you make your presentation, take full advantage of IDI’s Resource Center. Our library of industry-specific resources are designed to help you close more deals.
With construction companies, rather than simply claiming that they can finally outsource payroll, you can establish trust and confidence by pulling up videos and graphics on the spot that explain how IDI can collaborate with your company to meet their needs. Detailed solution overviews and success stories will speak more powerfully than just saying you can meet their needs.
IDI’s Resource Center has a wealth of information to help you stand out from the competition and establish your legitimacy in the construction industry.