During an April trip to Houston, Texas, to cover Impact Networking’s all-company meeting, I couldn’t help but think of cowboy singer Lyle Lovett’s fun ditty, “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas).” The chorus goes a little like this (and you can click on the link to hear the whole song.):
That’s right, you’re not from Texas!
That’s right, you’re not from Texas.
That’s right, you’re not from Texas,
But Texas wants you anyway.
Frank Cucco kicks off the meeting. (All photos by Sam Siegel, lead photographer, Impact Networking.)
Impact Networking CEO Frank Cucco got the memo, entitled something like “Southern Casual.” Well, it probably was a SMS text message reminding Impact Networking’s visionary leader to leave his necktie and blazer in his northern Illinois walk-in closet. When packing for the latest trip to Houston, urged HR director Mary Zellers, trade in those formal clothes for blue jeans and a Stetson hat!
An attentive audience of Impact Networking employees.
So, there the chief executive was in mid-April, up on the 713 Music Hall stage, wearing cowboy boots – and keeping everybody on their toes. Cucco told the 525 employees in attendance (more than half of the firm’s total workforce) how ’22 revenue at Impact Texas alone hit $30 million in “the Lone Star State.” Only two years earlier, the company expanded southward by partnering with industry veterans — and local Texans — Scott Copeland, president, and Casey Vaughan, COO.
Managed Services and Growth Projections
The managed services provider offers managed information technology (IT), cybersecurity, digital transformation, marketing, and print services across the United States. Nationwide, Impact Networking now supports more than 15,000 businesses from 24 locations. In addition to growing its overall business by $43 million in 2022, throughout the course of the past year the firm reported that it has:
- Promoted more employees than ever before;
- Achieved >25% year-over-year growth; and
- Reached the milestone of managed services’ revenue eclipsing 50% of total results.
Financially targeting 3% net income this year, the company’s new annual revenue goal is $219 million, reported CFO Jeff Miller. “We continue to invest in infrastructure,” he told colleagues, adding that the managed IT and cybersecurity side of the business accounted for $102 million, while managed print services totaled $88 million last year. Senior management’s five-year vision is to more than double revenue to $500 million by 2028.
Longtime imaging industry leader Tony Pater, the former president of Kyocera Mita America (now retired), has little doubt that such lofty goals will be met. “Continuity is crucial to dealers — if you can even call Impact Networking that,” he told the audience during his presentation. “Frank and Dan [Meyer] always have had a vision. Complacency is what ‘kills’ many experienced people,” Pater warned, adding that his business relationships with Cucco date back more than two decades.
Impact Networking’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) strategy continues to fuel its growth. “Our MRR from leases is $240.6 million,” Miller noted, “which translates to approximately $7 million per month.” President Dan Meyer referred to the ever-evolving business as “a 23-year-old startup.”
Keynote speaker Greg Bell.
Awareness is the first step to change, echoed motivational speaker/leadership coach Greg Bell, who delivered the keynote address. The author of Water the Bamboo: Unleashing Your Potential, Bell added four other key steps to organizational change:
- Commitment – are we ‘all in?’ he asked.
- Pain/discomfort is part of the process.
- Empowerment – “celebrate it!” Bell exclaimed.
- Harmony – “being in tune with the new way.”
Embracing Technology and New Skills
Marsha Muenster chats up AI and ChatGPT.
Implementing artificial intelligence (AI) technology may be one way to gain efficiencies and conserve dollars moving forward, said Marsha Muenster, COO of Impact Northeast Wisconsin. According to Muenster, “ChapGPT saves time!” The chatbot, developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022, interacts in a conversational way. The technology is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response. ChatGPT has been fine-tuned using supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.
Impact Networking’s Learning & Development Manager Kendra Bitner.
Another takeaway came from a panel of the Impact Leadership Institute, which is based at Impact Networking’s headquarters in Lake Forest, IL. Citing a LinkedIn survey, Learning & Development Manager Kendra Bitner pointed out that the skills needed to do a given job have changed by 25% in the past eight years. To that end, Bitner and her team are rolling out new sales training in July, supported by the SalesLoft engagement platform. Learning Design Manager Drew Norris added that identifying performance gaps is essential to building toward a skills-centric marketplace.
From its website (a new version is coming soon), investments in paid search are paying dividends for Impact Networking, which recently converted 74 sales-qualified leads (SQLs) during a 60-day period. One new client that found them on the Internet is a large Chicago-based law firm.
Frank Cuccco and the Impact Networking leadership team pose with the Houston Astros 2022 World Series trophy.
Back in Texas, Impact Networking is the official managed IT service provider of the Houston Astros baseball team. (The World Series trophy was displayed for employees to see and take selfies with.) For an even bigger boot print there, the firm is expanding in May 2023 to the state capital of Austin, some 160 miles to the west, where it is leasing a sales, service, and technology showroom. “Austin is in a more central location,” said Cucco, which gives southern U.S. clients easier access to experts in managed IT, cybersecurity, and marketing.
Impact Managed Marketing
Managed marketing is a concept in which Cucco has strongly believed for more than 15 years. Presiding over his firm’s Impact Managed Marketing (IMM) division today is Aaron Dyck, former senior marketing VP at Clover Imaging Services Group. (See our related video from April 2023.) One customer signed on recently for a monthly retainer of $38,500, marking the largest marketing contract in Impact Networking’s history. Another company changed the scope of its marketing efforts to the tune of $28,000 per month (up from MRR of $6,500).
Impact Networking’s marketing maven Aaron Dyck.
As Dyck explained, citing customers in higher-education and transportation sectors as examples: “Our managed marketing services are industry agnostic.” What these clients have in common, he said, no matter what their vertical market is, “is that they’re all focused on business outcomes and strategy.” Cucco predicted that managed marketing could be a $100-million business for Impact Networking by 2027.
The Impact Networking 2023 All Company Meeting was sponsored by DLL Group (De Lage Landen), GreatAmerica Financial Services, First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Katun Corp., Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., and Kyocera Document Solutions America.