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Revolutionizing HVAC Sales: Tools to Organize and Manage Distributor Pipelines

HVAC industry presents excellent business opportunities due to constantly increasing consumer demands and rapid technological advancements. The HVAC market is estimated to grow even faster than average in the upcoming decade according to prognoses of many industry analysts. However, manufacturers are finding themselves at a crossroads with a decision about what technological tools should be applied for market proliferation and business process automation.

Because HVAC consumers generally do not deal with manufacturers directly, HVAC product lines must be picked up by distributors in order to reach the consumer market. Therefore effective sales activities and the ability to manage the distributor network will determine an HVAC manufacturer’s degree of success.  

Most common problems:  

Sales representatives

-          Lack HVAC engineering expertise

-          Lack market statistics and analysis about products and clients

-          Spend a lot of time on routine procedures such as writing reports and proposals

-          Lack technical support, technical reference resources, and training facilities

-          Lack modern software tools

 

HVAC manufacturer

-          Operations highly susceptible to human errors

-          Unreliable market data

-          No automated solutions for effective management of distributor networks

-          Fragmented software tools and disconnected business processes

 

The majority of HVAC software products that exist on the market today address very specific tasks of HVAC selection.  To provide a reference point, popular multi-module management solutions available from SAP, Oracle, and others are considered comprehensive business processing tools that consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise wide system environment. However, because they are not orientated for the HVAC industry, the costs of adapting them to the specifics of HVAC render them unattainable by most companies.

At the heart of a purely HVAC-oriented system is the Selection Program - used by many HVAC manufacturers and distributors to automate the selection of HVAC products and solutions. Simply put, it is an electronic catalog of all available equipment and components used to build HVAC solutions.  This technology has become an indispensable tool for sales professionals; many of which prefer to cooperate with HVAC manufacturers that utilize this type of system.

From years of serving the HVAC industry and based on extensive client feedback, CyberVision, Inc. has identified the feature set a superior a HVAC system should have:


 


  1. Client-Server Architecture

Applications based on a client-server architecture offer a number of advantages such as data centralization, scalability, flexibility, and remote distribution of system updates. Based on these principals, the software can also distribute updated financial data and technical documentation such as prices, orders, and specifications as soon as they become available. This advanced functionality allows for tight integration with other software or collaborating systems, such as CRM and accounting, enabling manufacturer to closely manage their distributors.

  1. Selection Wizard

Choosing the right set of components is the core of HVAC sales activities and is generally a time consuming process. The Selection Program should contain an extensive set of rules, templates, and algorithms to guide the user through the selection process, while simultaneously preventing unnecessary or incorrect actions. Now salespeople can focus on product comparisons and selecting the optimal HVAC solution rather than the engineering part.

  1. Integrated Reporting & Document Management System

Time-consuming processes such as writing specifications, sales reports analysis and data management are major bottlenecks that can lead to scheduling delays and errors. An integrated report generation system can save a great deal of time and money by storing reports and documents in a central location. This system helps automate and simplify routine processes such as writing proposals significantly improving marketing activities and market proliferation.

  1. Statistical Analysis & Business Processes Support

Because many HVAC systems are not centralized and lack integration with collaborative systems they fall short in providing a global management solution.

Distributors often spend days gathering information necessary for a sale, unaware that a comparable solution may have already been completed by another sales person. Such enterprise wide collaboration is possible only via a centralized system that is integrated with analytical modules and solution templates, market statistics, and client history.

For completeness, a module to integrate with ERP, CRM and Accounting systems is also available – providing secure, real-time updates of financial information and tools for tracking distributor’s sales cycles.

  1. Intuitive User Interface

The user interface of an application will often make or break it. That said the complexities of HVAC equipment pose a number of challenges when creating a high-quality GUI. Based on extensive industry’s research, user feedback, and a thorough understanding of the HVAC selection process, CyberVision has created an intuitive, state-of-art user interface that simplifies and streamlines the HVAC selection process.

  1. Knowledge Base, Technical Training & Help Facilities

Navigating through the HVAC selection program requires considerable engineering knowledge and product training. To simplify this, the system should feature a knowledge base and interactive help to guide users through the analysis and specification processes. Moreover, special templates - examples of previously defined HVAC solutions - are implemented for training distributors – the manufacturer need only create and make these templates available through the system (experienced distributors also may do so).

  1. Centralized Distribution of Program Updates

A common challenge is performing program updates to add new functionality, products, and solutions, without allocating significant budgets and avoiding workflow interruptions. The system should include in its framework the ability to distribute updates from a central location via a graphical user interface.

  1. Web & Mobile Enablement

Web applications provide a convenient way to access system functions via a web browser, enabling sales people to use the system from anywhere. And because mobile applications have become extremely popular, mobility enablement can potentially be another factor in attracting new distributors.

A mobile version of the selection program allows sales people to configure HVAC solutions in the field, directly from a customer’s premises. Experienced clients can use the web-based application to access the online knowledge base or using templates conduct the selection process independently.

About CyberVision
"CyberVision, Inc." is a custom software development, IT consulting and Integration Company that has been a trusted provider of technology-driven custom business solutions for over a decade. Since 1992, CyberVision has been working with companies in telecommunications, HVAC, financial, and pharmaceutical industries, providing custom software solutions that support complex communication networks, manage business processes and databases.

For more information, please visit us at: http://www.cybervisiontech.com
 
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