Case Studies

Improving margins in a low margin industry

  • Construction industry
  • 50-150 employees
  • $6M per year in revenue
  • 6% net margins

  • Bought Salesforce.com, but everyone uses Excel
A midsized general contractor wanted to improve the profitability of their business. After spending a week inside the company, we helped identify several key areas to focus on.

Some of the lowest hanging fruit ended up being moving away from spreadsheets. Employees spent a lot of their time modifying, e-mailing, or searching for Excel spreadsheets that tracked various aspects of the company. Improving on this system was defined as a key goal.

Lead follow up and proposal generation was also handled inconsistently, so having a meeting of the minds between sales and marketing was also a key goal. We also suggested using content marketing as a way to nurture leads and help close sales and helped define how to do that.

What We Did
The key services utilized included:

1) software development for developing an application (including a customer portal) to replace their ad-hoc spreadsheet system.
2) sales and marketing automation training to show how to leverage the internet for intelligence more effectively.
3) on-site interviews to get a holistic view of the business.

There were several main outcomes:

First, the business became more operationally efficient. Many spreadsheets were consolidated into a database-backed application that became a source of "single truth". Leads were assigned faster, proposals went out faster, and follow up was standardized.

Second, this availability of information and automatic scheduling reduced friction and created an atmosphere of "I can now focus on getting work done".

Finally, key metrics across the board improved making the project a measurable success.
Net Result
(After 1 year, single quarter compared to previous year)

  • 78% more leads
  • 65% more sales
  • 54% increase in net profit
  • 86% less time in Excel

  • Customer Portal as sales/marketing/service tool

  • Service Agreements as new growth opportunity

How to stand out as an accounting firm

  • Corporate accounting
  • 10-50 employees
  • $3M per year in revenue
  • 15% net margins

  • High touch, competitive
    industry
A boutique accounting firm wanted to improve the profitability of their business. After spending a week inside the company, we helped identify several key areas to focus on.

The biggest time suck here turned out to be customer management. Finding documents, requesting information from and following up with clients, and sorting through massive e-mail threads was taking 10-20% of employee time, and most of this was unbillable.

A second problem was one of marketing. How should they market themselves to stand out from their competition? It had been several years since they updated their website and most of their leads came from word of mouth.

What We Did
The key services utilized included:

1) Software development to build a CRM system and customer portal to manage customers and their documents. The system could also do things like follow up on document requests automatically and reducing e-mail thread lengths.
2) The recruitment and hiring of a marketing/biz dev lead who would be in charge of writing content and proactively using social media to generate new leads.
3) on-site interviews to get a holistic view of the business.

There were several main outcomes:

Things ran more smoothly. Requesting information from clients became much more painless, and they liked it too because they don't like long e-mail threads either.

The amount of incoming business went up significantly. The website was redone and (good) content marketing was used to drive traffic to a mailing list which ended up being a source of leads over time.

Finally, key metrics across the board improved making the project a measurable success.
Net Result
(After 1 year, single quarter compared to previous year)

  • 530% more leads
  • 32% more sales
  • 73% increase in net profit

  • Formalized marketing process

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Keywords: software development, python, javascript, IT and product strategy, salesforce.com developers, technical recruiting, agile project management
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