Brian Hudkins founded Gramophone in 1976, initially as a small stereo store. With a passion for music and the stereo business, Hudkins evolved his vision into two nationally recognized showrooms. Today, Gramophone — under the leadership of Andrew Davis — has grown to nearly 100 employees and four locations, including the Kitchen Design Center of Maryland.
A privately held, family-owned company, Gramophone serves clients throughout Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia with high-end home theaters, media rooms, custom whole-house AV, smart home automation and control systems, and networking systems. With a showroom, primary warehouse and design center in Timonium, Maryland, and three additional locations in Columbia, Gaithersburg and Hunt Valley, Maryland, Gramophone has adopted and standardized Jetbuilt’s cloud-based proposal software to create customized, detailed proposals from any location.
“We knew we needed a software platform to streamline our proposals,” said Andrew Davis, chief executive officer for Gramophone. “With 20 salespeople, it’s difficult to create a uniform proposal without utilizing software. As much as we tried to make the proposals uniform, we would end up with a different cover, payment terms or exclusions and, nine times out of 10, we weren’t obtaining signatures on our proposals. We wanted to raise the level of professionalism. So, we started looking around for a solution, and we found Jetbuilt at CEDIA. The simplicity of Jetbuilt really caught my attention.”
For Gramophone, Jetbuilt has removed the need for spreadsheets. “Before Jetbuilt, we were using Excel spreadsheets for proposals,” said Davis. “We’ve been using Jetbuilt for three years now. Since we’ve implemented Jetbuilt into our proposal system, our employees can create a professional, detailed proposal in a quarter of the time. Jetbuilt has streamlined our proposals because a salesperson or project designer can quickly review their pipeline of other projects and quotes to determine if a new project feels the same, and copy and edit the proposal without creating a proposal from scratch.”
Jetbuilt’s product database allows integrators, like Gramophone, to pull products with their corresponding specifications, images and product descriptions without manually inputting the information. “My favorite feature of Jetbuilt is their product database,” said Davis. “If we don’t have the product or SKU in our system, Jetbuilt’s search functionality pulls information from their comprehensive database of AV products. It doesn’t expose the pricing or other intimate information, but it allows us to pull images, descriptions and specifications quickly. It’s helpful with the way technology is rapidly changing, because we don’t have to enter information individually every time a new product is released.”
Gramophone, like many other companies, has been forced to pivot amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of professionals telecommuting has skyrocketed within the last quarter as employers have requested their employees to work from home. Fortunately, Gramophone has positioned its sales team to operate remotely. “Being cloud-based, Jetbuilt has allowed our employees to work from anywhere,” noted Davis. “Previously, our designers would build a system on our computers in the office. When they needed to obtain the system design, they had to come into the office. Especially today, amid COVID-19, we’re busier than ever, and our people must have secure access to their proposals remotely.”
Jetbuilt has allowed Gramophone to become more accountable. Jetbuilt’s in-depth proposal software provides intuitive information. “Previously, our employees would drive around with signed contracts in their car. They were never where they needed them. Today, everything is completed online,” Davis said. “And, from a management standpoint, I no longer have to worry about our employees taking deposits without having a formal, signed contract in our system. We can access the contracts at any time, and if there’s ever a situation where a customer reaches out to us about the agreed-upon project, we can quickly access their project and ensure we’re providing them with the highest level of customer service.”
Jetbuilt has streamlined proposal generation for a growing number of residential integrators, explained Paul Dexter, founder of Jetbuilt. “While many of our Jetbuilt customers are commercial integrators, houses of worship, theme parks and higher education facilities, we are working with a growing number of residential integrators. Jetbuilt is designed to replace outdated spreadsheets and cumbersome software by creating a single, easy-to-use AV project platform for any integrator.”
Jetbuilt allows users to collaborate with their team during the entire lifespan of a project. Jetbuilt connects with vendors to provide direct and distributor dealer pricing, custom products and more. More than just a proposal builder, Jetbuilt Funnel provides early-stage pipeline tracking to manage potential leads. Once an opportunity is turned into an installation, Jetbuilt’s project management solution provides in-depth project profiles and asset tracking for long-term support.