Case Study No. 213014

Advisor: David P. Weaver
The Project: Turnaround and improve profits

THE OBJECTIVE:

Assess sales & marketing team for effectiveness

THE CHALLENGE:

The company was in a death trap with little operating capital for the market they served.  They bought microscopes from vendors, bought computers from vendors, bought workshop benches for assembling all this to make a confocal microscope tabletop unit to sell.  Their value-added was the 3D software developed to provide images that would be useful to the researchers.

So, in essence, they had to layout a lot of capital to build a system using the components, validate it, make demonstrations and then sell it to customers. Most of the sales were against budgets and in some cases took more than 6 months for payment.  Their equipment sold in the range of $250K to $750K.

THE WORK:

I met with the domestic and international sales teams to learn about their needs, issues, and successes. We agreed domestically to not drop pricing from field decisions – only from the corporate office.  I was made interim VP Sales & Marketing for the engagement.  The domestic team was to focus more on short term budget decisions that could bring sales faster and better margins.

It was decided to drop the use of direct hires in Europe was too expensive for the return and we converted them to a commission program. I met with them in Europe and made sales calls with them to keep their spirits up and close on open and pending sales. We also found a new product opportunity with a more competitive edge and a better margin in the market and worked on this for launch worldwide.  This was achieved and did bring new sales and profit margins.

THE RESULT:

The company was able to improve margins and sales during the engagement; however, the cash flow was still an issue for the CEO and private shareholders. When I left the CEO was still trying to improve the cash position with the banks and new investors.  Ultimately, the company was sold to another company that was able to consolidate the business with theirs and manage the cash flow issue.