• January 1, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

TUG Sellers Get a Helping Hand

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Now that the Star Wars movies are finished, it appears that R2D2 has found a new job in hospitals. Aethon makes TUG, an automated courier system for the delivery and tracking of hospital goods and supplies. Rather than sticking health professionals with repetitive tasks that don't focus on patient care, TUG allows them to do the valuable jobs they were hired for, improving job satisfaction and patient safety while requiring fewer resources. It sounds like a no-brainer for health facilities, but that doesn't always mean selling the product is easy. "It is a high ticket item where educating the customer, as well as establishing an ROI, are keys to closing deals," says Peter Seiff, vice president of sales. Success required a smart sales process to help tug customers along to closing. While the company was relatively small, this was comparatively easy to manage. Growth brought complexity. "We received expansion capital of several million dollars primarily to grow our customer base," Seiff says. "Our initial team of salespeople understood and implemented our selling process well, but we needed to make sure that as we tripled the size of the team, the new team members would continue to adopt the same selling process and ramp quickly to meet our new sales objectives." Aethon wanted to use an easy and scalable system to help share those steps with newer sales reps. The solution came from another recipient of growth capital. "I did look at the traditional CRM offerings on the market but all focused on data entry and reporting and not enough on helping easily define our own selling process," Seiff says. "We learned about Landslide when they received investment from InnovationWorks and their focus on selling process caught our attention." It was a smart match. "Aethon was one of our early customers and we were very excited for many reasons," says Saman Haqqi, vice president of marketing for Landslide Technologies. "First, here was a team that clearly understood the importance of process-based selling. We did not need to convince or educate them at all about the importance of a selling process for bringing predictability and consistency in their sales. Second, they had just received a significant investment and were looking to grow their sales force effectively. That meant our solution would be able to deliver results and make a difference immediately." Landslide implemented its Landslide Workstyle Management for Aethon, to good effect. "Aethon used the Landslide Workstyle Management software to easily define and implement their 16-step selling process, the Landslide io Channel for tracking prospects and exchanging documents with them and a dedicated VIP assistant for each member of their sales team who helped the salespeople maintain up to date information," Haqqi says. Seiff says Landslide was a perfect fit for TUG sales. Landslide's tools for managing the communication and interactions with customers include a secure site where all the proposals, testimonials, and white papers are loaded for prospects' use. "They can also directly contact any member of our selling team from this site. For us this is very useful because first, every time a buyer downloads a document, we get an alert so we know who is interested in what aspect of our deal and when they are ready to engage. Second, it allows us to identify all the members of the buying team--even those we may not be aware of from direct meetings. Finally, we completely bypass the issues related to email delivery, spam filters, and file size restrictions. "With Landslide [our salespeople] were able to easily follow the right steps and also use the best selling tools in each step--and they love the VIP service.There's absolutely no reason for anything less than 100 percent compliance." The Payoff
Landslide sales process automation enabled Aethon to:
  • maintain a 75 percent close rate even with new hires;
  • cut one-third from its sales cycle, even while expanding into 14 new territories; and
  • train new salespeople in three weeks, down from seven weeks.
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