In the four years since the company adopted Pipedrive, McKeon Group has almost doubled the size of its team and almost tripled its revenue. This growth started after Sales & Marketing Director Paul McKenna led an initiative to focus more on high-value prospects, using Pipedrive to identify them. Now Pipedrive enables the 26 team members using the CRM to collaborate, keep track of opportunities and cross-sell services.
McKeon Group provides services across five sectors: construction, mechanical services, electrical services, maintenance and, through their sister company Hereworks, audiovisual and smart building integration. With their main client base in Ireland, but also projects in mainland Europe, McKeon Group has successfully developed from a small family company to an international one—without losing their ability to build strong relationships.
“Our USP is the completion of complex projects in live environments,” explains Sales & Marketing Director Paul McKenna. “With that end-to-end technical skillset of a construction division, mechanical services, electrical services, there’s a minor works team, and the technology division is a separate company now called Hereworks—automation, smart buildings, etc.”
McKeon Group adopted Pipedrive in 2016 as the company looked to expand its sales and marketing efforts.
Paul started at the company as an electrician in 2007, when McKeon Group was a construction main contractor. He helped the company to develop its electrical division, a process they then replicated with their mechanical division, at which point the company became known as McKeon Group, in 2011. In 2014, Paul decided to look for a new challenge in business development.
“The approach that the company considered at the time was to just allow me to migrate into it, but I felt I needed to cut my teeth elsewhere,” explains Paul.
Two years later, McKeon Group persuaded him to come back as the business development manager to spearhead their sales and marketing strategy.
“At that stage,” says Paul, “there was no formalized process in place for actualizing growth plans, success was measured in turnover, as opposed to sales, and there were notional ideas around client types (but a lot of that came down to personality) and around the measures we were taking to be successful—there was no data there.
“As a company, we didn’t have a clear insight into what we were good at and what we weren’t. Forecasting was a challenge.”
In reality, we had a lot of activity around keeping busy rather than driving a goal-orientated business strategy. This is a family business, moving into their third generation, and there’s a different impetus.”
When Paul was hired, there was some opposition to having a salesperson within the company because that was “just not in their culture”.
It was actually the first time the company had a salesperson,” Paul tells us. “It was a serious change. Construction in Ireland is built upon relationships: who you know. Pipedrive massively supports this relationship management and was a focal point of that change in the business.”
“Pipedrive was used to change the hearts and minds of people who’d been in the business for over 20 years.”
Using his business development expertise, Paul implemented the introduction of a CRM and many of the processes that helped the company reprioritize.
To find the right CRM, however, he needed to do his research.
“I had come from a Salesforce business that transitioned to being a Microsoft business,” says Paul. “They ditched Salesforce and switched to Microsoft Dynamics, and that probably left a bad taste in my mouth for both CRMs.”
“I had done a huge amount of research into it and gone on trial with SAP, Hubspot and Pipedrive, and there was quite a bit of functionality that I liked in each of them. But the fact that I could have multiple pipelines in Pipedrive which, in the price range I was looking at, none of the other CRMs were able to offer, clinched it.”
“And the customization, the ability to actually build Pipedrive in the mold that I wanted. That just made it a very, very attractive CRM.”
McKeon Group was on six Pipedrive seats in no time, with a number of the directors at the company encouraged to join by Paul’s pitch and the usefulness of Pipedrive.
Pipedrive is used across a number of different departments within the company. At the start, six people in the company were using Pipedrive; now 26 people use it, including:
“We’ve adapted Pipedrive as we’ve developed.”
“Estimators have several list views that give each of them their own division whiteboard, with regards to what they’re involved in, which means that for internal sales there’s a system in place that prevents duplication of an opportunity,” clarifies Paul. “So if construction has a tender that requires mechanical or electrical, they can tag the division, which automatically appears on that division’s tender list.”
“The bid/no-bid process is all built around Pipedrive. Each pipeline has a bid/no-bid details section, with all the necessary information in it, which allows for much quicker decision-making. Everything they need to see is available in there.”
Paul has also set up workflow automations, so that whenever a deal is marked “Won”, it automatically takes in the next steps, prompting the relevant people to get it into the ERP system and marked as completed in the project folder.
Pipedrive is integral to the management of the company’s largest current project—specifically the team within McKeon Group dedicated to it.
“The largest project that we’ve been awarded is a long-term product that is a low value, high volume refurbishment for a single client, but the value of the project’s about €25 million,” Paul tells us. “The project has its own team and its own pipeline, but they actually use Pipedrive for project management. Because of the volume of houses and the requirements of the client, the pipeline stages are actually where each individual house is in the refurbishment process and there are multiple customized fields, with regards to the alarm codes on the houses, the MPRN numbers, and those sorts of things.”
“Pipedrive is perfect, because it provides us with all the metrics for our KPIs and the clients KPIs.”
As well as the benefits mentioned above, Paul and the rest of the team at McKeon Group are using taking advantage of Pipedrive in the following ways:
Paul knew when he adopted Pipedrive that the data it was providing would prove invaluable.
“I waited until I had the first 12 months of Pipedrive data, which gave me an analysis of the company performance that just wasn’t being seen at the turnover stage,” expands Paul. “In those 12 months, we had 207 wins across the business. 174 of those were of a value of €50,000 or less. The overall turnover in that 12 months was €11 million. So we’d increased turnover from €7 million to €11 million, which was brilliant.”
”I had some concerns that we were committing a huge amount of time to the 174 low-value projects and that we were treating them the same as the other 33 projects. When I looked at the real numbers, the €11 million was broken down so that the 174 low-value projects contributed €1 million and the other 33 came to €10 million.”
In his presentation to the board, Paul showed that, in all likelihood, the company had missed more of the large value opportunities because they were constantly reacting to tendering the 174 low-value projects. Their overall success rate of 12% meant that they were tendering over a thousand low-value opportunities, while the high-value opportunities were being missed as they “didn’t have the headspace for it”.
“A separate team was hired to manage high volume, low-value projects,” adds Paul. “Now, high value and low-value projects have separate teams and processes, so both can focus on what they do best.
“That has given the company a greater focus to go after the things that we are good at, which is our USP: complex, difficult projects in live environments.”
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