When your company has constantly reached record revenues up to the tune of $50 million, what do you do next to increase your corporate income? This is the question that recently faced StreamServe, which was incorporated in 1997. It’s technology offering had got the company this far, but now it needed to discover where the new market opportunities lie, and this has led its new team headed by Chris Stone, formerly CEO of Novell, to map out the company’s markets in order to find the potential for further expansion that it required.
Market analysts defined StreamServe’s activities as ‘document output management’, but the vice-president of global marketing for the firm, John Rueter, says this is misleading because it only provides a very narrow view of what the company actually does. It offers a more customer-centric solution called Enterprise Document Presentment: a means of converting internal information systems into dynamic, interactive and customised communication channels, facilitating the creation and presentment of documents in any format through any channel.
Therefore, the firm needed to define where it stood in the market and where it wanted to be, and how it could create value through its targeted vertical markets including: retail, utilities, manufacturing and distribution and financial services.
How were these verticals selected? Customers' results formed the basic of the selection process. For example, a leading global banking firm has used StreamServe technology to increase customer satisfaction, strengthen their brand image and to create more revenue opportunities. “Account statements are now used as marketing vehicles, and because they are more concise and more self-explanatory, customers can make much better sense of the information”, Rueter explains.
Streamserve’s commercial challenges
In order to take the company to the next level, these were identified as key areas to address:
- Alignment of Sales and Marketing strategies;
- Strengthen StreamServe’s visibility and awareness across the globe;
- And the introduction of solutions that mapped to customer needs.
The problem: no alignment
The StreamServe’s team asked itself: “How do we present ourselves to our customers?” From this came the need to demonstrate the firm’s position and effectively communicate its value proposition.
A decision was therefore made that the company has to move from being more tactical to being more strategic in its approach. This has led to much self-analysis, which includes an assessment of the impact of cultural change within the organisation. This means that it has had to better understand its existing and potentially new markets in order to accelerate the drive towards increased revenue, and the team looked at how the company should talk to its audience, the customers, with the aim of understanding where the ‘pain’ lies.
Part of this involved aligning the firm’s sales and marketing activities. The personnel of each professional discipline traditionally don’t talk to each other enough. So to get them to do so and to create greater alignment, StreamServe asked ICDL to assist him with the target market and organisational mapping.
Andrew Dugdale, Chairman of ICDL, not only got sales and marketing people to talk with each other through a series of training sessions, based upon the use of real case studies, but he has also helped salespeople to understand how to emotionally connect with customers. Rueter provides a poignant example, which demonstrates why alignment and customer-understanding is so vital. He says:
“A typical Chief Information Officer (CIO) receives at least 20-25 telephone sales calls per day, for which he has little or no time. So the salesperson has no more than one minute to pitch to the customer and form a connection in order to increase the chances of making a sale.
“The salesperson therefore needs to present to the customer a compelling reason to buy, and show him or her some understanding: e.g. what are the customer’s pains, problems and how can they be solved? This process should also help to develop advocacy. Andrew Dugdale’s approach fulfils all of this, and so we believe in it.”
The key: staff development
Rueter’s describes the benefits of the sales training as not only critical to the alignment process, but also as:
- More accessible and formal;
- More logical and intuitive in terms of process;
- Helpful – it provides StreamServe “with an audit of the time spent by each salesperson on a particular sale or sales, which leads to a better understanding of the prospects, the sales cycle and it improves decision-making.”
The training required sales and marketing people to mix with each other in their allocated study groups. This meant that the sales team could learn more about what marketing is really about, which Rueter considers “an enormous benefit to salespeople. This approach facilitates greater communication between the two disciplines, which is very educational and interactive while instilling some give and take between them.”
ICDL is said to have the willingness to listen to the company’s issues. This is essential because StreamServe needed a flexible, customisable approach and particularly because not one company is the same. Other firms may have similar issues and share some of them, but the pains and the cures can quite often be different, and especially if your aim is to be different to gain a competitive advantage.
The training, it is reported, has helped StreamServe to create a better emotional connection with its customers. The creation of both internal and external value is expected in terms of a much improved potential for increased revenue, and as a result of the workshops. However, to obtain a more realistic picture of what the results will be, Rueter recommends that there should be a six month review to analyse the impact of the new processes, the mapping itself, and the training of sales and marketing staff. The question for then will be: “How will the communication have changed?”
ICDL also worked with StreamServe to integrate Saleforce.com, which allowed it to:
- Create and integrate its structure;
- Develop quantitative metrics;
- Incorporate the learning process, which then becomes part of life;
- And create sales and marketing tools that are aligned and appropriate.
Mapping creates value
“By understanding your customers’ pains and how to cure them, you have a better chance of understanding how your salesforce can connect with customers, and how you can also better communicate your value propositions with your target audience to stimulate some form of emotional motivation to buy or be loyal to your offerings”, says Dugdale.
He adds: “Mapping also clarifies where you are and what you need to do to achieve your strategic objectives, and through this process and the training it should not only be possible to better align sales and marketing disciplines, but it should also be possible to create more value throughout the organisation, which will benefit all of your stakeholders; particularly your shareholders and customers.” The proof though will be in the results that StreamServe are set to achieve.
About John Rueter and StreamServe
John Rueter is Vice President of Global Marketing for StreamServe. Rueter has over twenty years of experience in increasingly responsible positions in marketing, sales and general management in the B2B information services industry. Rueter has built multiple marketing and sales organisations from scratch. Rueter holds an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from Boston University.
Incorporated in 1997, StreamServe Inc. is the market leader in the business communication market. With 315 employees and more than 4,200 enterprise customers in 130 countries, StreamServe is the trusted choice for document-driven enterprises that require a proven output, distribution, and presentment software solution. For more information, please go to:
About ICDL and Andrew Dugdale
ICDL, founded in 2000, provides Business Acceleration. The function of Business Acceleration is to provide your business with the practical tools and know-how that enable you to create value for your customers. We put in place visible deliverables that instil the principles of Business Acceleration deep within the organisation, so that the underlying concepts become practical reality in every area, from the boardroom to the sales front line.