There comes a time for any small business when the founders are no longer the ones pulling in new accounts. Suddenly, there’s a sales force to consider. That change can be a test for the company’s business model and sales process, and not every firm survives. Monk Development is one of the survivors.
Monk Development has been building custom Web content management systems and e-commerce sites since 2004. The company sells direct to several verticals and also white-labels its systems for other vendors to resell, and has used everything from Microsoft Excel to open-source CRM software to manage accounts. “When we started the company, there were just two of us. We had a hodgepodge of different systems—we tried several but got no real benefit from them,” says James Martin, a partner at Monk and the firm’s chief operating officer. “Once we had several remote salespeople, we had no way to automate or collaborate on activities, no way to track and rate leads, or pull historical data on clients.”
When Monk Development was first founded, its primary sales team was outsourced and regionally distributed. As the company grew, the sales team was brought in-house, in the sense of no longer being outsourced, but continued to remain geographically scattered throughout the country and focused on distinct industries. “We had a lot of stress because there was no real measurement of the pipeline,” Martin says.
That stress began to melt away once Martin found Landslide Technologies. “The salesperson walked us through Landslide’s capabilities, and was able to jump on with his own Landslide tools,” Martin says. “We experienced the sales process, as a customer, through him. I saw the ability to switch between pricing documents and provide relevant information quickly.”
Monk sealed the deal soon after the demo in April 2007, and was soon up and running with Landslide’s iO Channel and VIP Assistants offerings. The iO Channel is a secure, centralized portal for storing, managing, and exchanging documents, and can send salespeople an immediate alert when a prospect downloads a document.
The VIP Assistants service offloads data-entry jobs to Landslide personnel. Monk’s sales reps can simply call or email with requests to update contacts, accounts, opportunities, and tasks so they can spend more time selling. That advantage sped the sales team’s adoption of Landslide, without any special incentives.
“As companies adjust to the economic downturn, even a smaller company like Monk can have sophisticated tools to convert the pipeline prospects into customers,” says Saman Haqqi, vice president of marketing for Landslide Technologies. “They’re not depending only on the natural talent of the salesperson.”
The effect of Landslide on Monk’s sales team was immediate. “Time to ramp up [for new hires] was about six months, which is not out of the ordinary; you don’t want salespeople not selling, though, and now it’s half the time or less,” Martin says. “With warm-pipeline handoff, one new salesperson closed a sale after one week on the job.”
Martin recalls some initial difficulty integrating Landslide, but says it was only growing pains. “After the first year of experience we discovered we needed to add another step in our sales process,” he says. “Prior to Landslide, though, we didn’t really have a sales process. Now we do, and we follow it.”
Implementing Landslide Technologies enabled Monk Development to:
- double its revenue;
- expand the sales team while keeping it virtual; and
- reduce from six months to three months (or less) the time it took new hires to close a first deal.
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