Marketing & sales accomplishments — three-year engagement:
- Increased revenue 320%.
- Defined market, including competitive positioning, and identified two new markets. Modeled ideal customer in each.
- Discovered that the most important buying reason wasn’t about the product at all. It was about the benefits conferred when a disaster struck. Found academic articles to support the severity of the perceived problem. Boosted sales significantly by posting a detailed objective article on the site that exposed the very real risks.
- Created reseller channel program that included dealers, distributors, international dealers and affiliates. Signed 260 resellers during the engagement. Created all training materials. Worked with key resellers to minimize channel conflict with the client's direct sales.
- Specified and supervised to completion a custom affiliate software application. For the first time, the performance of ads on other sites could be tracked from lead to revenue.
- Raised the client to near the top of Google returns for targeted search phrases.
- Implemented a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from scratch. Moved quickly to ongoing email marketing campaigns that were adjusted using metrics and direct customer contact.
- When the client decided to exhibit at the industry’s national trade show, assembled everything necessary to make it happen in just 5 weeks. Included a photo session for the art for the booth, the booth design and construction, sales collateral, all logistics required to exhibit at a major out-of-town venue, and management at the exhibition.
- Created and sent most of the quotations during the engagement. This required learning complex configuration rules, because each quotation was customized. The circumstances of each customer, and the nature of the product, mandated a different configuration. Dramatically improved the quality of quotations, improving the percentage of quotes that converted to sales.
Web marketing accomplishments:
- Increased unique website visits/month threefold in 18 months, eightfold in 30 months, using solely organic search optimization and non-Web methods (i.e., no paid ads).
- Increased conversions sixfold over 18 months. Conversions were defined as the percentage of site visitors who submitted a request-for-quote form.
Doing Whatever it Takes — Beyond the Job Description
One factor that complicates any multi-year engagement is the wide range of problems that block progress that are well outside any definition of “marketing and sales”. I am quite willing to perform tasks outside the contractual job description minimized outlays.
Quick implementation was a major reason for the excellent return in this multi-year engagement. And, this was possible largely because I performed work that was clearly outside the bounds of the contract, rather than waiting for management to fund it.
Examples of non-marketing tasks performed in the prior engagement follow.
- Rewrote and redesigned all of the installation manuals, including managing a photo session required to produce the required photos. That photo session also included the creation of four high-quality installation videos.
- Fixed the firm’s biggest reseller channel problem, low-overhead resellers undercutting others who added value by educating customers. Established that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitted the firm to enforce a no-discounting-below-list policy, something normally prohibited by antitrust law. (First verified the safety of doing so with a friend, the former chief legal counsel at a $2 billion company.)
- Wrote a BPMN 2.0-compliant specification for a CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) system to automate the quoting process that required a custom quote for each prospect. BPMN 2.0 is a system flow modeling language that displays planned system flows graphically.
- Determined that quotations sent to prospects, that had been requested by website visitors, were not reaching their destination. No email message ever reported an error. Diagnosed the cause as lack of SPF (Sender Policy Framework) compliance at the ISP, and implemented the fix.
- When the company failed the PCI certification test (for credit card transaction security), determined the source of the problem in the client’s HQ network, and the solution.
- Cleaned out inconsistencies in the manufacturing components database (BOMs, or bills of material), a prerequisite to changing how components were bundled, and pricing the new bundles.
- Traveled to the firm’s HQ to manually enter all hard copy customer information into the electronic accounting system. Sales took off immediately after completion, because we were able to use that information to market to the installed base via email for the first time.
- Created four legal agreements, one for each type of reseller. No reseller legal agreements existed prior to the engagements.
- Returned control of the firm’s Internet domain to the firm. It had been incorrectly registered as the property of the firm’s ISP (Internet Service Provider).
- Convinced the owner that, contrary to the advice from his accountant, the company’s Quickbooks Manufacturing and Distribution system, running on a very old release, could be safely upgraded, and that the benefits would be far greater than the costs. The upgrade enabled us to run large customer reports that would not run on the older software.
- Moved the firm’s domain to a more reliable ISP. Played the role of system administrator for the company’s email and Web site, including managing the transition.