Accesspoint

What if you had a great software program but didn’t know very much about your target audience? This was the very issue facing the developers of a real-time web-based transaction engine. Functionally, the software performed excellently. But sales were extremely disappointing due to a lack of knowledge of the industry it supported as well as a lack of insight on how to penetrate a market dominated by two larger players. We worked with Accesspoint in developing a reseller program that allowed companies already in the market, and with industry contacts, to be their sales force for them. Pricing models were adjusted to reflect the marketplace and to allow resellers enough incentive to include Accesspoint in their mix. We then created a classroom and field training program for the resellers along with a “train the trainer program” so that they could in turn train their own salespeople as the reseller channel grew.

Bank of America

When your branches are responsible to generate non-core business in multiple areas (mortgage, merchant services, brokerage services, etc.) without actually having the ability to directly sell those services to the customer, the results can be less than satisfactory. We worked with branch personnel on identifying and prospecting for potential new merchant services business within their existing customer base. We strategized with branch managers on generating more business for the branch without taxing the already busy schedules of in-house personnel. One-on-one training sessions were performed with assistant managers, personal bankers and tellers that included tying in performance and bonus plans with merchant services prospecting activities. Personnel were given timely updates via Salesforce.com as well as given communication cascading down through the branch managers regarding all sales calls, regardless of the final result. Additionally, sales presentations were made in-branch, in front of personal bankers whenever and wherever feasible. The result was that branch personnel felt they were a valued part of a process, and the number of branches gaining new merchant services clientele quarterly climbed as did the total number of quarterly merchant services clients acquired.

Den-Mat/Lumineers

When you are working with an entrepreneur who has already successfully sold one company to a national CPG firm, you have to be quick on your feet.  Den-Mat was interested in retaining us to help their business, but wasn’t quite sure what to have us do.  Lacking a bit of direction from the client, we simply rolled up our sleeves and dug in.  We delved into every aspect of the brand and made quite a few recommendations. We completed two key projects for them with the objective of driving new business.  The first analyzed potential patients and how to best segment them and get them connected with the best offices.  We mapped the interaction process and recommended how to best manage the in-office experience to move more prospects into actual patients.  The second was to understand how to best encourage GP’s to begin using Lumineers and/or increase their usage of Lumineers.   They had never conducted true research to understand doctor attitudes and usage before.  So, we conducted one hour long 1-on-1 interviews with dozens of doctors from throughout the country to understand their mindsets, concerns, and opportunities.  We then made specific recommendations on how to lower barriers and increase attendance at their seminars and adoption of the brand.

Elamex

Sometimes the best answer for your client is not necessarily the one they hope to hear.  Elamex, an El Paso-based maquiladora who had been an Invisalign manufacturing partner, approached us about using their low-cost labor to penetrate the dental laboratory market.  They hypothesized that they could create a national lab that would be able to provide a low cost solution using their already dentally savvy workforce.  We undertook a thorough analysis of the existing market and regional labs.  We then conducted primary research to understand the attitudes, needs, and desires of their potential dental customers.  In the end, our analysis showed that while an opportunity existed for a low-cost, national competitor to enter the market, Elamex’s Mexican operations would have a significant quality perception bias to overcome.  Additionally, many doctors simply liked dealing with the local lab that they had used for years (and sometimes even generations).  As a result, our recommendation was that they not pursue this.

GM Financial

When you’ve been a third-party financing company for two decades, your world changes radically when you are purchased by the largest automotive company in the world and asked to be their new captive finance arm. Prior to the purchase by GM, AmeriCredit served as a subprime finance option for auto dealers. Sales reps focused primarily on conveying transactional information based on underwriting processes and credit scores.  We worked in the transition as GM Financial doubled their sales force in a period of 12 months so that they could have dedicated reps for GM dealerships, as well as separate dedicated reps for non-GM franchised dealerships. The sales call process was rewritten to be consultative rather than transactional. Focus was placed on understanding the dealer’s world and working with them to increase sales volume and bottom-line revenue. The result was an increase in reps achieving goal in the first 90 days and an overall increase in performing dealerships, as well as an increase in dollars financed per performing dealership.

KAO

Kaopectate

Our work on Kaopectate focused in two areas.  The first was on the Regulatory front.  The FDA was working on the final monograph for anti-diarrheals and we needed to make sure that we had a formula that would allow this trusted consumer brand to continue to deliver the benefits consumers sought without the harsh rebounding that occurred with other brands.  We worked closely with P&U Regulatory and R&D to ensure that happened and that sales and EBITDA targets would be hit.  The second was to refresh the brand’s advertising.  Working closely with our ad agency, we conducted research to ensure that our positioning and messaging was still relevant and on-target.  We saw the project through media planning and buying, and creative development to final production.

Maybelline1

Maybelline

Maybe she’s born with it . . . or more likely, the Marketing team has helped uncover the spark! that resonates with women.   We worked on the team that helped bring the first anti-aging related line to market.  The Revitalizing line helped Maybelline extend the brand and establish itself as relevant in the over 30 market.  Breakthrough products included the first alpha-hydroxy makeup to help prevent the signs of aging.  And, to ensure that we understood what our products did, we even tried them out – only in cosmetics do you refer to your business by body parts — Lips, Face, Eyes and more.

Oral-B

When you are the brand that dentists choose most often, you become concerned when consumers start using the latest “sonic” technology and dentists have begun selling it for an extra revenue source.   Given our experience with technology and the dental community, Oral-B approached us to help them get the word out.  We worked with their Chief Medical Officer and clinical teams to develop a program that would help GP’s understand the Cochrane Collaboration and their groundbreaking meta-analysis that showed the Oral-B technology soundly outperforming “sonic.”   Given the importance of peer-to-peer influence in the community, we knew that recruiting and training a cadre of the right GP’s would be key.  We developed the presentations, speaker’s notes and more that would form the backbone of the Oral-B Speaker’s Bureau.  Our team then approached current thought leaders, Oral-B ‘friends’ and other potential key influencers about joining this group.  We planned and arranged the entire multi-day seminar from travel and accommodations to audio-visual, gifts and handouts that brought this group together for the first time and started them down the path of spreading the word.  We helped track and arrange speaking assignments until handing off the Bureau to an internal team.

Prell

What do you do when you are asked to help promote the oldest shampoo brand in P&G’s portfolio?  You analyze what works, what doesn’t, and what your consumers want.  When the answer is guys who just want clean hair primarily use your brand, there isn’t a lot to do on the product side.  When the answer is that promotions aren’t that effective, there isn’t a lot to do on the retail side.  So what did we do?  We drove as much costs out of the business as possible (standardized the bottle with others in the portfolio) and eliminated promotions.  Result?  P&G’s first EDLC brand in the hair care business stopped the slide.

Van’s Natural

When companies are ready to make the switch from Excel-based promotion management tracking to a full-fledged system, they often look for help to run the implementation.  With a strong backing in CPG retail and experience implementing the MEI TPM solution, Van’s turned to us to help them with this process.  Working closely with Sales and Finance, Spark! led the implementation team that developed the timelines, defined the parameters and hierarchies, built, loaded, and tested the system.  From on-site visits to weekly calls, we made sure that MEI worked with the way Van’s wanted to do business.  And, when it was validated, we trained the Sales and Management teams on how to enter, maintain and track promotional spending.  We even handled ‘IT’-type support until the company was ready to take it over.

Verizon

The most profitable arm of Verizon, as measured by net profit margin, was the publishing and advertising arm of Verizon. While their yellow pages product was firmly entrenched, their local search product SuperPages.com was just beginning to be a meaningful contributor to revenues. But what do you do with a sales force that is not necessarily savvy about Internet advertising? And what about their local, small and medium-sized business customer base that was even less savvy? We developed a training program for the sales reps that went beyond the typical subject matter expert (SME) approach, instead targeting what the reps already understood and were experienced at selling. Tools were given to them to explain to their customers how Internet search advertising worked without getting bogged down in technical jargon and specifications. When search engine marketing was added for Google, Bing and Yahoo, similar training programs were implemented, focusing on the message of driving new, local business through the doors rather than a technical message focused on bidding algorithms.

VetImaging1

VetImaging

We came to VetImaging following the transition that came upon the buyout of one of the founding partners.  With our extensive background in business planning and executive management, we were able to help the company manage this transition and free up the remaining partner to focus on Clinical Education and New Product Development.  We were extensively involved in forecasting, business planning and modeling, Sales team management, coaching, and performance metrics.  On the Marketing side, we were also involved in honing messaging and sales tools, PR, developing promotional vehicles to meet specific sales objectives, and in the rebranding of the company logo to best reflect a modern, approachable brand.   At the end of the assignment, we were asked to join the newly forming Board of Directors.

YoCrunch

When companies are ready to make the switch from Excel-based promotion management tracking to a full-fledged system, they often look for help to run the implementation.  With a strong backing in CPG retail and experience implementing the MEI TPM solution, YoCrunch turned to us to help them with this process.  Working closely with Sales and Finance, Spark! led the implementation team that developed the timelines, defined the parameters and hierarchies, built, loaded, and tested the system.  From on-site visits to weekly calls, we made sure that MEI worked with the way YoCrunch wanted to do business.  And, when it was validated, we trained the Sales and Management teams on how to enter, maintain and track promotional spending.  We even handled ‘IT’-type support until the company was ready to take it over.