Accelerence: Translating Experience to Fast, Successful Outcomes

Customer Case Studies

Technology industry veterans Mike and Will Shook invest more than four decades of combined executive experience in Accelerence clients. Mike began his career in sales and marketing management before an extended role as CEO; Will’s COO tenure was informed by years in a variety of executive sales and marketing positions. Mike and Will’s combined expertise enabled them to co-pilot a company from start-up to over $100 million in annual sales.

They were able to achieve that success by developing and following a winning business methodology that Accelerence now deploys to help young technology companies become enduring enterprises. That methodology is built on seven steps to profitable growth, a proven path to breaking through business constraints to achieve faster, more successful outcomes.

The following are seven examples of positive outcomes that the Accelerence founders and their methodology have made possible across multiple companies.

1. High-Impact Sales Improvements Lead to $27 Million Revenue Growth

Growth Constraint: The company needed to drive revenue growth and gain brand identity in a rapidly commoditizing market segment. However, sales were being conducted at the purchasing department, as opposed to being driven through the IT department, and access to the CIO was limited to a very select set of vendors. Competitive execution/differentiation was waning.

Actions Taken: Collaborated with district sales managers to implement solution selling, moving sales from purchasing to IT leadership. Selected a methodology, hired a trainer and mapped the sales process to the customer buying process. Developed high-impact improvements in customer engagement and closing techniques. Trained sales, pre-sales, marketing and key product management personnel. Developed sales tools to compliment the process and match the organization’s solutions. Built the solutions into the fabric of operations from deal reviews and weekly forecasts to quarterly territory review and ongoing training.

Resulting Growth: EBITDA grew in three years from $3 million to $7.8 million while revenue grew by $27 million.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Know Thy Competition, (2) Commit to Sales as a Differentiator

2. Team-Oriented Planning Approach Sustains 71% CAGR for Ten Years

Growth Constraint: A $424,000 company had great aspirations for growth as a CAD/CAM integrator. However, it had one office, few customers, lots of competitors, and was participating in the rapidly changing world of information technology. Additionally, the company was self-funded and had to make ends meet on cash flow.

Actions Taken: Developed a team-oriented approach to planning in which everyone’s ideas had merit. Complimented this with a highly methodical approach to daily execution. At its foundation were the critical metrics of customer face-time and customer satisfaction. Incorporated day-to-day learnings into the planning regimen, creating a self-reinforcing look that heightened focus on solutions offered and markets served, effectively transforming the business as the technology landscape changed.

Resulting Growth: The company grew on a CAGR of 71% for 10 years, leading to two consecutive Inc 500 awards, eight RTP Fast 50 awards and numerous additional recognitions.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Align Everything – Establish a Drumbeat, (2) Build Passion & Commitment in the Team

3. Deal Flow Formula Achieves 19.5% Cost Reduction

Growth Constraint: Following the dotcom bust, the company’s sales organization was simply too expensive to keep intact and the number of representatives performing to plan was unacceptably low. The high cost of sales was draining both cash flow and profit. Additionally, existing sale leadership was promulgating an IBM big-sales mentality that the company could not support.

Actions Taken: Assumed leadership of the sales group and reviewed performance problems. Ascertained multiple elements choking deal flow. Developed a “deal flow formula” designed to open opportunity spigot. Modified sales execution to include serious prioritization of deals in the pursuit of longer-term forecast horizons, higher-value solution areas, more precision-guided sales campaigns, and better customer value propositions.

Resulting Growth: Over the course of three years, yield per sales rep increased 79% while sales costs were reduced by 19.5%.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Commit to Sales & Marketing as a Differentiator (2) Align Everything – Establish a Drumbeat

4. Securing Executive Sponsorship Achieves Complex Product Rollout in Five Month

Growth Constraint: The company had been in the managed services sector for several years and was still looking for the breakout offering that would set it apart. An opportunity arose to partner with Symantec for joint product development. However, the company had very limited staff for the initiative, and likely candidates were not together in a single business unit or location.

Actions Taken: Gained sponsorship of Symantec’s VP of the East by proving the viability of a joint SaaS email-archiving product, based upon the industry-leading Enterprise Vault. Led the development process, including creating a complete service with robust functionality and strong service levels. Assembled specialists in every area of the business, providing expertise and operating as corporate leadership and project management. Negotiated contracts with Symantec, engaging and securing buy-in from senior management. Personally developed core messaging, detailed service definition, and educational material for the successful rollout.

Resulting Growth: rolled out a complex, sales-ready offering for three different channels in five months. This new offering became the #1 managed services offering of the company in 18 months, creating a strong source of new customers and large base of recurring subscription services.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Profit Engine Analysis (2) Know Thy Customer

5. Cross-Functional Team Delivers 34% Year-over-Year Increase in Margins

Growth Constraint: The company needed to transform by eliminating application businesses, which rendered old value propositions ineffective. For the solution offerings that remained, the company had no clear market vision. Additionally, the company had a number of sales representatives who made a great deal of income from selling the complex, high-PS application solutions being eliminated and were reluctant to change.

Actions Taken: Assembled a small cross-functional team comprising marketing, sales, and product management to craft a solution vision for moving forward. Developed infrastructure space by analyzing presentations given by CIOs to CIOs to determine what was deemed important. Melded the information with existing core competencies and generated a theme called “Advancing the Data Center” to create focus, a defensible market position, and a unified and meaningful solution framework. Enhanced solutions to this standard and built marketing messages, demand creation programs, and sales trainings to bring the program to life.

Resulting Growth: The company experienced a year-over-year margin increase of 34% while increasing EBITDA by $3.4 million in the first year.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Know Thy Customer, (2) Articulate a Meaningful, Defensible Value Proposition, (3) Build Passion & Commitment in the Team

6. Three-Pronged Improvement Plan Increases Revenue by 23% for Three Consecutive Years

Growth Constraint: The company had just lost its number one account due to a broad change in senior IT leadership at one of the world’s largest banks – and needed to rapidly compensate for a huge loss of revenue and profit. However, the company’s customer set was changing due to business and solution transformations, and a short-term focus had become deeply rooted throughout the company.

Actions Taken: Implemented a three-pronged improvement plan. Identified a more thorough and analytical approach to customer segmentation to better understand the highest yield potential accounts. Instituted customer growth metrics and developed detailed follow-up of actions and commitments. Implemented top-to-bottom enhancements in creating, forecasting, measuring, and winning big deals that encouraged a longer-term focus.

Resulting Growth: The company increased revenues by an average of 23% over three straight years.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Strong, Actionable Segments, (2) Know Thy Customer, (3) Commit to Sales as a Differentiator

7. Determining Growth and Business Needs Translates to 102% Growth in Monthly Recurring Revenue

Growth Constraint: The company had recently merged with a data center hosting company that, while profitable, was growing business at an unacceptably slow rate compared to the rest of its market. Sales force turnover was high and the sales model focused on reps developing new accounts. In depth customer intimacy was lacking.

Actions Taken: Promoted a trusted local team member with good foundation skills to the position of sales director. Surveyed sales reps regarding high- and low-value added activities, working with each rep to determine personal growth and business needs and to gain a sense of what was holding back growth. Analyzed discoveries to restructure coverage and compensation models and create a higher touch/higher value interaction with key customers.

Resulting Growth: The new monthly recurring revenues grew 102% over the first year.

Seven Steps Focus Areas: (1) Know Thy Customer, (2) Commit to Sales as a Differentiator

Login