TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN BUSINESS transformation

Leading efforts to use new technology to meet strategic challenges and get ahead of competitors.

B2B SALES STRATEGY & ENABLEMENT

Making the buying process easier through tools, messaging and guidance that helps customers at every stage of the process.

B2B MARKETING STRATEGY & PLANNING

Delivering high-quality leads that close, using the very best thinking in strategy, digital, content, and technology.

Technology-Driven Transformation

Business Strategy

Artistic Finishes (AFI) desired to become the largest player in the pre-finished hardwood accessories sector within five to eight years. Key to this objective was the consideration and implementation of new business opportunities and emerging technology solutions.

Working with Efficient Guide, AFI determined the best way to determine a path forward was to conduct a Roundtable session in which leadership could be brought together with industry SMEs, share a common set of goals and informational inputs, and collaboratively explore solutions. 

Efficient Guide researched and developed a preparation brief on AFI's challenges and key industry facts and trends, managed the process of soliciting and bringing together parties with different perspectives on the hardwood flooring industry, e-commerce and technology to brainstorm strategies to grow AFI’s molding business through technological solutions. Efficient Guide developed the Roundtable format and agenda, and served as moderator for the 2-day strategy session. Efficient Guide captured and synthesized findings and delivered a concise, comprehensive report to AFI leadership. 

Were we successful? 
Read about AFI's subsequent business success here.

Chris was engaged to help with a high-level strategic initiative for which we needed someone with a wide breadth of knowledge related to e-commerce, as well as strong project management skills. Chris brought this and much more to the table. He helped scope out our strategic planning objectives, managed the meeting session and provided an astute summary of our findings to guide our e-business efforts going forward. His e-com perspective was a huge contribution and he was integral to making our long-range planning effort successful.

Chris was extremely professional yet very approachable, and he “got it” very quickly when learning the complex challenges that our company faces as we redefine our business strategy. I couldn’t recommend Chris more highly, as he brings significant value and is worth every penny!
— Trina Patrick, Artistic Finishes, Inc.

Technology-Driven Business Transformation

Marketing Technology Demand Management System (DMS)

Efficient Guide designed, built and implemented a marketing technology “Demand Management System” to help a Fortune 50 retailer's Technology Services division better serve the company's Property Development, Product Design and Development, and .com groups.

The system’s purpose was to provide an objective, transparent process by which up to $25 million in annual technology investments could be managed. Throughout this initiative, sound change management and leadership drove the successful adoption of the new system across a stakeholder population of thousands of employees.

Once the prototype was launched, as product owner, we listened to what stakeholders wanted, but also leveraged other forms of outreach to discover latent needs they hadn't expressed, going beyond the mechanics of chopping up user stories into a product backlog and developing against it.

Were we successful?
Less than 6 months after launch, the system was recognized company-wide as the best practice for technology demand management.

Chris was ahead of the curve in understanding of needs and delivering tools and process to support his team and business partners. He rapidly developed a strong Demand Management system that is still in use today.
— Matt Hughes, Innovation Leader, IT Strategy and Innovation, Emerging Technology (Office of CIO)

B2B Sales Strategy & Enablement

Efficient Guide was hired to take on a major challenge at an important business within a $2.3 billion global corporation. The customer loyalty division for the Americas' business had been suffering for several years. Accordingly, leaders sought positive changes to the business several times, taking the business from a fulfillment- and custom-coded proprietary platform model to a creative agency, a business consultancy, and finally, a SaaS-centric model - in the space of ~7 years.

While the latter general direction was set, everything beneath that general direction was yet to be done. The division's SaaS loyalty platform offering needed to be defined and its go-to-market strategy established. Meanwhile, the sales team had pursued 40+ new business opportunities in the past year - without recording a win.

Given the financial pangs the business was experiencing, time was of the essence in finding solutions. The consumer loyalty industry is dominated by a handful of well-known providers. As one of them, the company already appeared likely to be seeing major new business opportunities, so we determined the quickest way to turn things around was to focus on improving close rate through Sales Enablement initiatives.

  • We articulated a new process and documentation for how to process inbound leads to ensure fit based on commonly agreed upon standards.
     
  • We articulated a new approach to responding to formal pitches. To get better control over messaging and responses, improving both consistency and quality, a centralized team was built to handle responses rather than relying on the sales team alone. This dramatically improved success rates in getting through to final selection rounds
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  • We developed a simplified modular system for sales collateral based on a consultative selling model, and provided ample guidance and support on how the salespeople should use it. We also deployed a system wherein a well-trained central team member would work with salespeople to finalize pitches, ensuring good support, good visibility and good compliance with newly-established expectations and standards. Once teams saw how it led to new successes, everyone rapidly got on board with the new approach.
     
  • We developed prescriptive selling content to empower salespeople (and prospects) with the arguments and information needed to overcome known hurdles at every stage of the buying process. Where possible, this content was also used to attract prospects in the marketing.
     
  • At the same time, the company also adopted Salesforce. We articulated an approach for tracking and measuring prospects as they moved through the funnel - from Live to Active to MQL, SQL, SAL, and then into a sales-stage system (A2-A6). Our team designed sales reporting, and built a CRM database of 7500 highly targeted regional customer loyalty buyer/stakeholders using various marketing sources and techniques (Paid, Owned, Earned marketing) to attract, engage and capture target audiences. The database made segmentation by location, job category (Tech, Marketing, C-Level, Finance) and industry vertical possible, which in turn enabled the business to deploy tailored communications and content to each persona group. These communications were deployed initially through Pardot, and later through Hubspot, through our guidance.

Did it work? 

Yes. The regional sales and marketing team exceeded sales goals in 2014-16 (a first in 7+ years), and in 2016 drove a 250% YOY increase in technology platform sales, worth over $8 million LTV. Also, efforts are now underway to expand new best practices to EMEA and APAC regions.

In working together on the Executive Leadership team for the Americas, I noted Chris’ willingness and ability to bring new ideas and points of view to the team that helped frame issues and ultimately move our thinking forward. Operationally, Chris’ clear contributions to building our sales and marketing teams’ effectiveness and capabilities was critical to our new business success. As an executive colleague, Chris is a respectful but strong voice, and is a great asset to any leadership team looking for someone capable of contributing strategically while working tirelessly at multiple levels to drive results.
— Marshall Stanton, SVP Operations

B2B Marketing Strategy & Planning

Efficient Guide was hired to take on a major challenge at an important business within a $2.3 billion global corporation. The customer loyalty division for the Americas' business had been suffering for several years. Accordingly, leaders sought positive changes to the business several times, taking the business from a fulfillment- and custom-coded proprietary platform model to a creative agency, a business consultancy, and finally, a SaaS-centric model - in the space of ~7 years.

While the latter general direction was set, everything beneath that general direction was yet to be done. The marketing practice had a history of measuring itself against deliverables (produced outputs). Any gathered leads were unqualified and thrown "over the wall" to the sales team in the form of huge lists in spreadsheets - and predictably, the salespeople ignored them. 

To pivot the practice to effectiveness, we decided to measure marketing’s effectiveness in terms of qualified opportunities delivered.

First, we articulated a new process and documentation for how to qualify and process inbound leads, to ensure fit based on commonly agreed upon standards set between the sales and marketing teams.

Then we started to create a flow of new leads. Initially, not even the corporate website’s contact us form was “wired up” to any response system, so this was established immediately. From that simple change forward, we rapidly established systems and practices to power a reasonably robust lead-gen and lead nurturing capability. These initiatives leveraged the latest thinking in digital marketing. Fundamentally, the process included:

  • Targeting the right audience(s)
  • Identifying specific audience members using external data sources and feeding their structured data into the company's Salesforce database 
  • Developing messaging and robust media and content designed to resonate with all audiences, speaking directly to their needs and concerns
  • Giving them this valuable content in exchange for a commitment to ongoing communication and/or deeper engagement
  • Outbound – Distributing content to digital channels and destinations where buyers congregate
  • Inbound – Driving additional traffic with smart tactics (more on these below)
  • Destinations – Create landing pages to house content and manage lead gen by persona

Traffic was generated to destinations through paid search (including retargeting), SEO, programmatic media buying and selling, and paid/owned social media (Linkedin, etc.). 

Were we successful?
As a result of the above efforts and subsequent results, Marketing increasingly was seen as a “fixed” practice area by leaders by 2017, as the company had seen increased marketing-delivered opportunities - from 62 in 2015 to 97 in 2016, and up to 120+ in 2017. This was significant given the perception of relatively “fixed” nature of demand in the space and high degree of visibility the brand believed it already had with potential buyers.

Chris is a results-oriented individual who embodies the perfect balance of skills to be an effective marketing leader. Chris definitely knows how to drive results forward using effective marketing strategies. From content development to digital marketing campaigns, his experience shows through every day. His leadership style is balanced between big-picture strategy and also the day-to-day details that are sometimes equally important. I appreciated his mentoring and guiding, as well as encouraging new thoughts and ideas. That’s what makes Chris a good leader, in my opinion.
— Amy Stephan, Sales and Marketing Specialist