My advice would be to look at your long-term objectives rather than short-term wins.
Bob Laurenzo is CEO/CRO of Decusoft, a leading developer of specialized enterprise software solutions, where he heads up the firm’s sales, marketing and business development efforts. Prior to joining Decusoft in 2015, Laurenzo spent 16 years with Computer Design and Integration LLC (CDI LLC), one of the largest IT solutions providers in the Metropolitan NY area. There he developed and managed executive sales, business development and strategic manufacturer partner relationships. Personally responsible for 55% of the firm’s first $1B of revenue, Laurenzo played an instrumental role in the company’s rapid growth trajectory.
Laurenzo’s early career included a number of sales management roles in the financial and pharmaceutical sectors. He is a board member of the Northern NJ chapter of the American Cancer Society and a member of both the NJ Compensation Association and Vistage International. Bob resides in Park Ridge, NJ with his wife, Lee Ann, their three children.
Where did the idea for Decusoft come from?
My brother Rick started Decusoft 15 years ago as an application development organization. The name Decusoft came from our function as developers of custom software. In 2005, we acquired Cadre HR and its product CompTracker, a software solution for compensation management. We upgraded and made significant enhancements to the product and renamed it Compose. Today we are in version 9 of Compose, which is designed to manage executive variable pay as a secure, web based SaaS offering. We offer a high degree of flexibility and pride ourselves on our VIP support.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I always start the day with an early morning workout. Since my primary business goals revolve around strategy and revenue generation, I spend the majority of my day prospecting and following up on sales related activities. I am a big believer in the practice of face-to-face interaction versus emails and phone calls. As such, you can also find me meeting with customers over lunch or dinner several days a week.
How do you bring ideas to life?
All of us at Decusoft are committed to listening to our customers. We seek feedback from our customers after every compensation cycle to see what we can do better to make their jobs easier. In addition, we have set up customer advisory groups to ensure that our users are getting measurable value out of our Compose software as it continues to evolve in areas like forecasting, analytics, modeling, etc. But our efforts to innovate don’t stop there. We also study the marketplace and competitive landscape using information and data from leading industry analysts like Ventana Research.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Compensation is becoming more strategic than ever as a critical function for today’s organizations. Compensation managers are beginning to use data to review analytics, whereas in the past, they’d access their compensation information only occasionally. What was once a once-or twice-a-year activity is now something that can be easily managed year round. The data found within Compose is being used to recommend course corrections if need be. Ongoing data assessment is becoming a more business critical function than ever before, as it allows companies to remain competitive in their marketplace.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a habit-driven person by nature and am persistent in making sure I prioritize each and every day to ensure I focus on things tied to revenue generation. I try to use the prime hours of my day to accomplish this and do my best to avoid distractions that are not tied to growing the business.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
This question brings me back to the days when I was selling insurance and investment products and had little or no contacts or prospects. Though I may not have enjoyed that time in my career, I did learn how to be creative and persistent while trying to build a book of business from scratch – skills like that I still use to this day.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have redirected our current business model to be product-focused versus offering solutions such as professional services that require an alternative business model and focus.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As I build long-term relationships and really get to know my customers, I first understand their needs and pain points before attempting to sell them anything. My advice would be to look at your long-term objectives rather than short-term wins. In order to establish a long term relationship, it’s important to know your customer including taking time to learn about them outside of work like their family, hobbies, etc. This practice enables me to truly build lasting long-term relationships.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We’ve learned the value of building a sales channel by leveraging partners and asking our customers for referrals. We get a great deal of our new business this way.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Not divesting our services division sooner, which delayed further development and refinement of our software products.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Companies spend a ton of time and money during the hiring process and making wrong/poor decisions has significant impact. I would suggest developing a software-based tool that leverages analytics to assist companies better identify talent, especially as the Gig economy grows and there are more contractors versus full time staff. This tool could incorporate predictive analytics matching candidate backgrounds against open job requisitions.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a sheet cake and brought it to the Cancer Society Hope Lodge for an event we hosted. The Hope Lodge is a place where cancer patients and their caregivers stay free of charge while they receive treatment. The patients had a treat for dessert that evening after dinner that they don’t usually get during this most difficult time.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Expensify, a web-based app that helps me manage my business expenses, and Park Whiz, a web-based app that helps me find discounted parking spots and online pre-payments that I can pre-book to expedite entering and leaving parking garages.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The One Thing” by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. This book reinforces the idea of focusing on one thing at a time both in your professional and personal life —tackling fewer tasks that drive a greater effect rather than multi-tasking.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Jim Riviello of LeadershipXUniversity as a career coach, Phyllis Calvano as a member of my Vistage, CEO co-chair, Anita O’Malley of Leadarati as a digital marketing expert and my Mom & Dad – who taught me the value of a strong work ethic and the importance of family.
Bob Laurenzo on LinkedIn:
Bob Laurenzo on Twitter: @blaurenzo
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.