We Developed a Sales Tool for Big Ass Fans. Now, They’re Worth Over $1.1 Billion.

A case study on developing a quoting and visualization sales tool for the World’s Best Selling Industrial Fan company.

The Challenge

Big Ass Fans (BAF) sought a sales tool that would digitally scale their sales and engineering process without sacrificing any of their world-famous quality. Our product team began with a design sprint to identify key problems in their sales process, diving into the core needs and pain points of their internal sales team.

The required specifications to make a product recommendation was a major pain point. Once the sales team attained the specifications, there was no clear, visual, and scientifically accurate way to showcase Big Ass Fans products for a facility. As a result, mistakes were high for fan installations.

The challenge was to create a web application that would spec out customer facilities with full scientific accuracy, place fans, view airflow and analytic data, and generate quotes - all in one cloud-based application.

Challenge accepted.

Product Strategy & Design

In order to unlock the most value for Big Ass Fans, we needed to answer some key questions.

What's “good” in BAF’s world as it relates to the product or service?

There would be a large variety of tools for showcasing the expertise and quality of the Big Ass Fans brand of products. The sales team can use a variety of resources to work with a customer and sell the right products for their facility.

What is BAF’s main goal as it relates to the product?

To practically illustrate how the Big Ass Fans products will improve airflow in their specific facility, which leads to a reduction in heating, cooling, and productivity costs.

‍What mental hurdles might keep the BAF sales team from adopting the solution?

The time investment of learning a new tool as part of the sales process. But, this can be overcome by the ability to quickly spec out a customer’s facility, illustrate the benefits of Big Ass Fans products, and use automation to generate mistake-free quotes.

What's the business goal?

Increasing sales-team efficiency, reducing sales engineering costs, and decreasing mistakes while establishing a brand position of engineering excellence. At Differential, we strive to strategically partner with clients to return the most value for their business goals. Our discovery process allows us to develop a strong product and design strategy unique to the client.


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All Differential resources are striving to create the best product possible. They ask the hard questions when needed, they challenge assumptions when needed, they are actively thinking of new ways to make the app better. We (BAF), see this and that creates trust amongst both groups. That trust helps foster a work environment that provides the best opportunity for success.
Ben Schaefer, Digital Product Manager, Big Ass Fans

The Final Product

Meet SpecLab®. A sales tool for quoting and visualizing highly engineered solutions.

The solution is an integrated software that helps the sales team and customers visualize and quantify the benefits of a Big Ass Fans solution. The software provides value by:

  • Visualizing how BAF products interact with equipment, vehicles, walls, and any other obstructions in a client’s space.
  • Evaluating thermal comfort outcomes both with and without Big Ass Fans products using industry-backed calculation methods.
  • Testing multiple products and configurations before buying, ensuring the purchase is the best solution for the client the first time around.

The sales tool shortens the sales cycle, improving revenue and reducing cost, since less engineering time is required to support most sales. We set out to create an application that is an indispensable, core piece of their sales process, and the overall strategy at Big Ass Fans. We hoped it would be the best way to showcase the benefits and advantages of Big Ass Fans products - and do so efficiently. We’re proud to say we delivered on this vision.

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The Results

Since our partnership with Big Ass Fans in 2014, the Founder sold the company to a private equity firm for $500 million and was later purchased by Madison Industries for $1.1 billion. The BAF team recently shared that a big part of the value the private equity firm saw in their business was the digital product from our partnership.

We think that’s pretty cool. Big Ass Fans continues to focus on innovation in their products, teams, and business strategies with operations in more than 125 countries. Investing in your digital products isn’t just a smart decision, it’s a vital decision to aid growth in your organization.

Do you have an idea for your next digital product?

We’d love to connect about your project.