As a business that creates highly customized, one-of-a-kind models, exhibits and prototypes, Universal Services Associates experienced peaks and valleys in work volume that created a continual challenge. According to USA President Mike Myers, “We wanted to generate a steadier stream of work that would fill the valleys more consistently.” At the same time, Myers was looking for opportunities that would be a good fit for USA’s capabilities, workforce size and workspace availability. USA, like many small-mid size enterprises did not have a consistent process or dedicated resources for generating leads to grow sales.
Myers had been working with DVIRC on operational issues, and made the decision to take advantage of DVIRC’s expertise in market development. DVIRC’s Lead Generation service was specifically developed to provide several key benefits. First, DVIRC met with USA’s management team and collaboratively assessed the organization’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. Based on the information gathered, DVIRC’s Marketing group produced a Positioning Report defining the company’s current state market position. The Positioning Report included a unique value proposition and a marketing message designed to help USA differentiate itself from its rivals. Management saw this as the foundation for its first foray into a structured marketing plan. The research component identified the model making market as offering the best potential to achieve sustainable streams of diversified revenue.
Working closely with USA, DVIRC’s market researchers identified approximately 200 qualified prospect companies to target for a surgical Lead Generation effort. Over a period of three months, decision makers at the target companies were identified, and a series of emails and letters were sent followed by a personal phone call to contact and qualify potential new customers to secure qualified sales leads, as well as valuable information related to the market and the opportunity it represents.
Active Leads Developed. Of the companies targeted, seven active leads were generated.
New Business Generated. An active lead was generated from Alenia North America, a division of Alenia Aeronautica, an Italian aircraft manufacturer. The lead was successfully converted into new business within weeks. An innovative and technologically advanced global aircraft manufacturer, Alenia contracted with USA for modifications to an aircraft model being utilized for tradeshow marketing in North America. That work generated a 248% return on USA’s initial Lead Generation investment. Additional work is currently in the pipeline for USA as they continue to support Alenia’s marketing efforts.
New Prospects Identified. Another 60 companies requested a follow up within one month. However, follow up with these potential customers has been a challenge as USA experienced an unexpected imbalance in workload and staffing. “We were happy with the initial results of the project,” noted Myers. “I know we’re going in the right direction, but we need to improve our follow up to create a more consistent response.” As a result, DVIRC has been retained to help keep the business development efforts on track and moving forward, providing the resources necessary to generate sales for top line growth.
Market Positioning Defined. In addition to identifying potential customers, the Lead Generation effort helped USA better understand how the company was currently perceived and how those perceptions needed to be changed. “We’re a small company, and don’t mind being seen that way,” says Myers. “But, we want customers to understand our full capabilities — that we operate like the big guys, and price accordingly.”
The feedback received during the Lead Generation effort showed Myers that USA’s website and other marketing materials needed to do a better job of communicating these facts. The company is currently working on upgrading its marketing communications vehicles.