“Chief Outsiders is a unique growth solution, because they were able to come in while we were still forming our day-to-day operations and focus on developing a sales team and division, which we've never had in the past.” Harry Haywood, President/Founder, HBS Solutions
HBS Solutions, Inc. specializes in energy efficiency solutions. Seeking to grow the firm, Harry Haywood, President, didn't have time to do it all himself. Following a recommendation from Vistage, he engaged Chief Outsiders Fractional CSO, Aaron Gutowski. Jumpstarting sales from day one, Gutowski then set up the processes and people to operationalize a sales team. Using a battle tested Fractional CSO, HBS saved money and experienced minimal risk. Now with the company positioned for growth, Haywood is starting to make big things happen.
Energy Efficiency Solutions
HBS Solutions Inc. (HBS) provides energy-related engineering and building commissioning services to government and commercial facilities. The company seeks to achieve the highest level of building system performance and efficiency through innovation, education, and exceptional customer service.
With 20 years of hands-on experience, Harry Haywood, President and Founder of HBS Solutions, possesses the skills and dedication to bring a building to its full operational potential.
“We take pride in our work and the results speak for themselves,” confirmed Harry Haywood, President and Founder.
Lacked CEO Bandwidth and Sales Processes
For 15 years Haywood performed most of the sales duties himself. However, he just didn’t have the bandwidth to continue responding to RFPs and bids from contractors. He very much wanted to dedicate his bandwidth to client relationships.
In addition, HBS didn't have processes in place for sales or sales optimization. Tracking individual deals was done on spreadsheets. And their project management system, used to build processes for new clients, also served as an inadequate CRM.
Willing to Sell While Building Sales Department
Seeking help from a previous sales consultant, HBS spent $40,000 but didn’t realize any measurable benefit. Haywood began to doubt the value of bringing in outside help when his local Vistage Chair advised him to work with Chief Outsiders.
Soon, Chief Outsiders CSO, Aaron Gutowski, connected with HBS through his colleague in Vistage. Haywood then decided to switch to Chief Outsiders. “What clinched it for HBS was the fact that I was willing to sell while I was building out the sales department,” explained Gutowski.
At about the same time, Haywood interviewed Gary Stockton at Chief Outsiders about helping HBS on the marketing side. “Gary will be the guy to do that,” reported Gutowski. “But getting the sales operations sorted out became the first order of business.”
Building a Sales Department
In April 2023, Haywood engaged Gutowski to sell and create a sales department to free up much of his time. The goal was to build up the entire sales operation, including hiring the staff. Following a flexible schedule, Gutowski worked with HBS for about two days a week.
“I implemented HubSpot and immediately started pushing policy and score meetings,” reported Gutowski. “We operationalized sales, implementing the process of capturing field information in HubSpot.”
Seeing quick results from Gutowski’s efforts, Haywood decided to bring in their first full-time sales hire. “Then they scaled back Chief Outsiders’ services to just advisory oversight of the sales professional we hired,” explained Gutowski. “We also hired a sales administrator who reported to me. So, we created a sales operation, hired personnel, and trained them how to sell.”
Creating a Service Line of Business
After the initial engagement, Gutowski also helped HBS build out a new service line. “They can make additional ongoing revenue by doing a building tune-up to keep the client’s energy usage low and to comply with various local energy requirements,” related Gutowski. “And then, we held a Go to Market workshop to establish the building energy efficiency ongoing services.”
After a trial run, HBS needed to refine its approach to selling a low cost service. “We did some work around targeting existing customers with low cost building energy optimization,” reported Gutowski. “Assessing initial results, we spent additional time to refine the positioning and messaging to address the relevant customer Gains, Pains, and Jobs.”
Now HBS pitches documenting the energy efficiency and savings generated for compliance. “You must have an independent third party do the evaluation,” explained Gutowski. “The time and energy savings for the client is the factor where HSB makes a difference.”
Working with a Visionary Leader
According to Gutowski, Haywood is a decisive, visionary leader. “When I make a recommendation, he’ll say, okay, let's try it out and see how it goes,” he explained. “And if something's not working, he will regroup, adjust, and try again, with a process-driven approach.”
Haywood reports that he got what he needed from Gutowski. “Chief outsiders helped HBS Solutions develop a sales division, a way of tracking new clients, and a CRM system. And then they identified new hires to take over our sales division, which never truly existed before,” he summarized.
Immediate and Continued Results
“We saw excellent outcomes with a couple of deals in the first month. We successfully built a sales process that produced results,” explained Gutowski.
When Gutowski came in to jumpstart outbound sales and build the sales organization, HBS immediately started to see results. After six months, HBS has seen continued sales progress. “This month HBS sales expects to close about $70,000 in deals and behind that about $200,000 in the pipeline,” reported Gutowski. “And that compares not getting anything from outbound sales before.”
Reduced Dependency on Partners
HBS has also realized a reduced dependency on partners. Many HBS sales come from partner referrals, usually the folks that work directly for utilities and administrate their reimbursement programs.“HBS pays them a commission and wanted to reduce the cost," explained Gutowski. "So they've already started to move away from partners because we're producing results."
Reduced Cost and Risk Compared to Full-Time Hire
Hiring a full-time CSO involves significant risk in terms of time, salary, and opportunity cost. “What you get with Chief Outsiders is a battle tested CSO,” explained Gutowski. “We come in and operationalize a sales department on a fractional basis, so you're not paying for a full-time person.”
“You're getting many years of experience and know-how to jumpstart your company at a fractional price," continued Gutowski. "And if I need additional expertise, I can bring in another battle tested CSO or marketing expert from the Chief Outsiders team."
Positioned to Scale
Gutowski’s work in four areas has positioned HBS for growth. “We hire the people, put in a process that holds them accountable to specific sales related activities, and give them the tools they need to identify prospects and get the numbers they need,” explained Gutowski.
“Then, we measure the performance of the operation. And implementing those four ingredients—people, process, platform, and performance measurement—positions them for growth. When his new sales staff proves out, Haywood can add additional people. All the things are in place to scale up.”
Indeed, Haywood wants to expand into new markets and new geographies. “There’s the geographic target and the ongoing service target,” continued Gutowski. “And they want to get more utilities as they add incentives--that will be a growth driver.”
A Resource to Grow Sales
“Chief Outsiders brought in the talent to learn about the company, create a strategy, and then execute that strategy—that's our growth philosophy in a nutshell,” stated Gutowski. “And along the way, we rebuilt Harry's confidence in using outside consultants.”
“I'm very happy that we decided to work with Chief outsiders,” concluded Haywood. They were able to accomplish a lot within a short period of time that otherwise I would have never had time to complete or have the expertise to do correctly.”