“Well done is better than well said.”
– Ben Franklin
Every assignment, every interaction, every engagement presents us with opportunities to build capability, develop lasting relationships and wow our clients.
To take advantage of those opportunities, we need to recognize those interactions as moments of truth, to be leveraged, managed and banked.
In this story, we’ll discover one leader’s approach to building her company and serving her clients’ needs. Through strategically planned and executed services, she was able to leverage and build her organization’s capability while maximizing the value delivered. The business delivered that value through a project mindset. And therein lies lessons for all project and change managers, in 7 Actions to Wow the Client.
Ekaterina Sytcheva is the owner of Prospect Solutions, a Vancouver based marketing and lead generation organization serving the small and medium sized business community. The company’s strategy is to serve as their clients’ marketing solution, encompassing every facet from web sites, to social media presence, diverse lead generation schemes and all facets of customer relationship management.
One of the company’s clients is Vancouver’s Finest Coffee Service (VFCS), owned by local entrepreneur Kurtis Telford. The company was founded in 2011 to provide local businesses with a selection of quality coffees and equipment with convenient, hassle-free service. Since then, the company has expanded its offerings to include filtered water coolers and other beverage services.
Kurtis first contacted Prospect Solutions for help on the lead generation front. He was mainly interested in telemarketing solutions to grow their customer base. Learning about Prospect Solutions’ holistic perspective on modern marketing, Kurtis was intrigued. He decided instead to go with the integrated marketing solutions including redevelopment of VFCS’s web site, social media strategy, LinkedIn prospecting and lead generation, email marketing, blog development and customer relationship management capability.
Working with Kurtis, Ekaterina and her staff developed a program to increase VFCS market share and put them in a unique competitive position. The program would include development and operation of the firm’s web site, targeted lead generation initiatives, support for a VFCS blog and delivery and operation of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that would support all of VFCS’s dealings with their clients.
Prospect Solutions worked with Kurtis to establish the scope and priority of the components parts. The priorities established included an initial focus on lead generation, followed by redevelopment of the web site, social media, search engine optimization and CRM implementation.
In accordance with the established priorities, Prospect Solutions developed a LinkedIn lead generation program to increase Kurtis’s personal connections, develop a targeted data base of prospects and generate high quality leads.
As soon as funds could be diverted from the LinkedIn effort, Prospect Solutions proceeded to redevelop the VFCS web site with the active involvement of the owner. After the launch of the web site, an aggressive SEO initiative addressed blogging, social media and public relations aspects.
As the other elements of the program started to bear fruit, Kurtis realized the value CRM could bring to VFCS. He authorized the CRM initiative. Prospect Solutions worked with VFCS staff to implement and adapt Vtiger, an open source CRM solution that provided ample functionality at an affordable price to manage customer interactions. Modules included marketing, sales and service (inventory, ordering, invoicing).
Finally, Prospect Solutions identified potential subject matter for the company’s blog and worked with Kurtis to deliver the posts on the company’s web site.
Work is ongoing on a number of projects including SEO, blogging, Social Media, public relations and further CRM customization and user training. It is a most fruitful partnership.
With Kurtis’s active involvement and support, the web site was up and running in three months. Access to the redeveloped site grew steadily. Two months after launch, visits increase tenfold. By the fourth month, the volume had doubled again. VFCS’s Google position for “Office Coffee Service” grew 50 points in those four months.
The LinkedIn prospecting project took 60 hours of Prospect Solutions staff time and resulted in 3340 new connections and 31 leads.
The Vtiger CRM implementation took only 10 hours of Prospect Solutions staff time to go live. It is being used by the VFCS internal telemarketers to book appointments and will be used by delivery drivers to manage customer inventory and supply. It also will provide core management information to help run the business.
However, the most important testament to the value provided by Prospect Solutions is this testimonial from the client, Kurtis Telford:
“Ekaterina and her crew at Prospect Solutions are great to work with. I like the fact that they are on top of things and since I have been working with them, things have been happening. I can count on them to get the job done. Thanks for all the good work!”
How a Great Leader Succeeded
Ekaterina is successful in her market and able to retain and grow her client base because of seven fundamental practices she and her team apply every day, with each client, on every project.
- Stay true to your strategy – Prospect Solutions believes exceptional results can only be achieved through a comprehensive marketing program that addresses a client’s overall relationship with its customers. Success isn’t delivered by one or two lead generation campaigns. It’s realized by providing a better way to manage the customer relationships and interactions that drive success. Prospect Solutions does that.
- Focus on client needs – Prospect Solutions’ approach demands active and ongoing involvement from their clients’ senior executives and staff. That was evident in the VFCS engagement. It ensured that the solutions delivered were Kurtis Telford’s solutions and VFCS solutions.
- Think big, do small – Having that overall strategy and a well-articulated vision for each client means Prospect Solutions can deliver a piece at a time, reducing risk and incrementally delivering value.
- Rapid delivery – You’ll notice that the timeframes for the projects Prospect Solutions delivered for VFCS were in terms of hours, weeks or a few months, not years. The approach provides quick feedback cycles and enables directional changes if results warrant.
- Measure – The way to demonstrate the value you are delivering to your client is by actually measuring the results achieved. That’s one of the reasons benefit realization management is getting much greater attention these days. When the results don’t yield the expected return, having the numbers allows appropriate rethinking with your client and a suitable change in direction.
- Stay Current – The technology world is in a constant state of flux. New solutions appear rapidly. Previously viable options can disappear overnight. Prospect Solutions maintains market awareness and currency to ensure they can offer the best options for their clients’ needs. Because of that awareness, they were able to identify and offer Vtiger as a suitable, cost-effective CRM solution for VFCS.
- Leverage the virtual resource pool – Prospect Solutions has four to eight permanent staff to support their core operations. To respond to clients’ project needs, they maintain and leverage an extensive network of marketing and technical expertise. That provides great flexibility to respond cost-effectively to the varying demands of the marketplace while ensuring timely access to top notch talent. That’s a Win Win!
Aren’t these same practices vital for a successful project management career? You bet! So, be a Great Leader. Put these points on your checklist of things to consider so you too can build your capability, develop lasting relationships and wow your clients. Also remember, use Project Pre-Check’s three building blocks covering the key stakeholder group (including the key stakeholder roles), the decision management process and Decision Framework best practices right up front so you don’t overlook these key success factors.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has willingly shared their experiences for presentation in this blog. Everyone benefits. First time contributors get a copy of one of my books. Readers get insights they can apply to their own unique circumstances. So, if you have a project experience, good, bad and everything in between, send me the details and we’ll chat. I’ll write it up and, when you’re happy with the results, we’ll post it so others can learn from your insights. Thanks
Drew Davison is the owner and principal consultant at Davison Consulting and a former system development executive. He is the developer of Project Pre-Check, an innovative framework for launching projects and guiding successful project delivery, the author of Project Pre-Check – The Stakeholder Practice for Successful Business and Technology Change and Project Pre-Check FastPath – The Project Manager’s Guide to Stakeholder Management. He works with organizations that are undergoing major business and technology change to implement the empowered stakeholder groups critical to project success. Drew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.