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Not right now, but maybe later

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An opportunity 

A precision machine shop and manufacturer of CNC lathes, cutoff machines, and automated loading and unloading systems had a goal of generating more leads and increasing sales. They asked us to potentially do a marketing and lead generation program for them. After our initial discovery call, we felt there was more digging to do and that more information was needed to make the best recommendations.

Next steps

Instead, we conducted a sales and marketing assessment. As part of that, we met with the company’s senior leadership. Then we met individually with the five members of the sales team to analyze their skill sets and sales process and gain insight into the organization and marketplace. Finally, we held seven voice-of-customer interviews to capture feedback from the market on unmet needs and expectations. 

The outcome

The company received a comprehensive, detailed 100-page sales and marketing assessment, inclusive of interview transcripts, that looked at their tech stack, people, processes, product, and a SWOT analysis. It included nine overarching recommendations in five areas of the business where the greatest opportunities existed with specific considerations for each business unit.

We found that most of these goals were outside the scope of sales and marketing and pertained to strategic planning, succession planning and onboarding, company culture, operations productivity, communication, and training on which to build a solid sales and marketing plan.

As a result, we reconnected them with an HR resources, training, and consulting service to help with culture, recruitment, and retention. They also are receiving ongoing strategic planning support and leadership-team coaching from someone other than me. There was no compensation or referral fee earned for these introductions. 

Lessons learned

In all honesty, this client’s salespeople were dissatisfied and so were its customers. There was a lack of communication internally and externally with customers who were being promised 3- to 4-month lead times but not receiving their $1-million machine for 18 months, further delaying their productivity and costing them more money. My client was one of two companies on the planet, the other overseas, who make this particular large machine. That’s why customers came to them, but some were not coming back.

My approach

So, in good faith, I couldn’t take their money to generate more leads that convert to sales that convert to more orders they can’t fill that convert to more unhappy customers. If these problems were not fixed, we could see the company might not be in business in a few years. Any other B2B manufacturing marketer on the planet would have taken their tens of thousands of dollars and not cared a hoot about the client’s future. Not me. I will be the first one to tell you if it isn’t a fit, not the right time, or not the right thing to do. I want your success. Your success is my success. It helps me sleep at night by doing good in the world and creates a trusting relationship that is sustainable. If I do the right thing and put my customers first, the money will come in earned business, repeat business, and referrals. 

With that said, they are working on these areas of improvement. We still are in touch. When the time for digital marketing and lead generation is right, I hope to help them into the next phase of their promising future.