Some companies in business for a long time prescribe to the adage, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” But in the digital age, most everyone agrees that to continue growth, companies must have a strong digital presence. Bob Tripathi spoke with Mike Petsas, SVP of Sales and Marketing for Implementation Engineers, a performance excellence company, about how old methods were no longer working and why their leadership team turned to digital marketing for answers.
Challenges of a Changing Market
At Implementation Engineers, the tipping point occurred when leadership realized the old way of conducting business posed certain challenges. First of all, leaders wanted a way to generate leads without relying on the traditional sales model of salespeople who dial, make cold calls, get a meeting, go sell.
Customer relationships relied too heavily on cold calls and face-to-face sales. “Use to be, whenever a salesperson retired or left to go to a different company, they took all of their sales with them and we lost that book of business,” Petsas explained.
In addition, the company wanted to provide value to customers between sales calls. “When we sit down with a customer, they have a great experience, learn about what we do and get real insights from us, but the problem is, it’s only for an hour every six months,” he said. They needed a consistent way to keep in front of the customer.
Finally, in a changing market, people no longer responded well to cold calls. The company knew they had to move from a traditional way of acquiring customers to a new way of building the business. The question was how to match the two sales models without taking one out completely and achieve a balance between both for the best results.
The company decided to transition to digital marketing for two primary reasons:
- To have a front-end engine to provide leads and nurture the customer along the way
- To achieve growth
The Digital Marketing Solution
Mike was tasked with coming up with a solution for adding a digital strategy. He researched trends in the industry and evaluated the options based on risk, cost and speed. His first decision was deciding whether they should work with outside experts or start building an in-house marketing team. After considering the inordinate amount of time it takes for hiring, training, managing and retaining five to six people internally, he concluded onboarding a marketing staff involved too many inherent risks.
Managing a group of freelancers who specialized in various skills in the digital space would take time to hire and train as well. After weighing the cost, he felt an external Digital Marketing company provided a better return on investment and could grow the program at a faster pace.
The challenge was finding a ready-made staff of experts who would fit into their organizational culture. Mike said he went through the process of looking at five or six different agencies. “I weighed, are they really going to be there for me and help me day in and day out? Or are they going to give me their model and say, ‘this is what we’re doing, we don’t care what you think’–I found this seemed to be the agency model.”
He reached out to Bob Tripathi & Team to investigate if his boutique Digital Marketing company could assimilate to their team and understand what they do. Bob had worked in the enterprise realm with Discover and Sears where he ran digital marketing programs and had owned and operated Instant E-Training, an online Digital Marketing training center. He was well versed in the technology Implementation Engineers wanted to transform their sales model.
Teaming up for Results
When Mike flew to San Francisco for an initial meeting, Bob suggested they do a discovery meeting. He’d present his thoughts on how to grow the business (with or without his help) to the leadership team. This presented a low-risk, low-cost option that appealed to Mike, so he gave Bob the go ahead.
Bob enlisted his team, comprised of a developer, SEO, content writer and designer, and looked at the company’s goals and objectives. and reversed engineered the process to determine what Implementation Engineers needed to generate leads for their sales team. Bob’s strategy for building a digital marketing infrastructure entailed branding with marketing personas, building a new website and creating content for organic search to generate leads. The goal was to align sales and marketing to nurture and capture leads.
After presenting the strategy, DigitalSparxMarketing was invited to act as an extended marketing arm to partner with the company. To create a company-wide buy-in, Mike put together a cross-functional team of leaders to be a part of the team. “Bob suggested starting slow to get a few wins under our belt to show we can put a plan together, get it done and show results,” said Mike. “Quick wins and making people across departments feel a part of the decision making was key in making the program a success.”
Since 2018, the two have enjoyed a win-win relationship. Within a few months, Implementation.com established a web presence with a free resources section that includes case studies, white papers, webinars, ebooks and blog. The content helps to raise awareness of the brand’s capabilities and effectively generates leads for the sales team. The previous sales model is supplemented by a digital marketing strategy that will continue to grow and support the efforts of this 50-year-old company for many years to come!