Starting in January 2019, I sent out a monthly email newsletter to more than 25,000 folks. The newsletter was tiled for specific target audiences. One tile contained information for engineers, another for program managers/prospective buyers and a third for folks who knew the company. While it was part of a brand recognition, the intent was also to educate and showcase the company’s value proposition and what differentiated us from the competition. We sent the emails through Mailchimp and we could track clicks and opens. For example, if someone clicked on a tile multiple times, we could put that individual in a category for micro targeting, or in some cases, send his email and information to a sales manager to contact. The email blast turned into a lead generator for inside sales folks and outside reps as well as a data mining tool.
Before I arrived in 2005, orders were often taken over the phone by the inside sales team. A customer would call in a request, the salesperson would ask a series of questions based on the request and a quote was created. The quote would then go to document control in the product management department for review. If everything was good, the quote would then go to cost accounting for them to establish a price, back to doc control for a second review and then back to the salesperson. More than half of the time, the salesperson would configure a case that could not be created, so they would have to reach back out to the customer. A simple quote for a standard product would take up to two weeks. Outrageous. Working with the doc control team, we established an online internal part configurator that would eliminate the errors. Taking it a step further, I worked with the sales team and cost accounting to get pricing for each component. The price configurator was created. Now, instead of two weeks to get a quote on a standard product, the sales team can get a quote in minutes. If the customer signs off on the quote, it would be checked off by doc control and sent out the floor to be built. A process that once took weeks could now be done in days.
As a former journalist, one of the skills I bring is my ability to write. As part of the monthly email blast we sent out, occasionally we would send out a press release. All of them took research and gathering quotes from the major players involved.
Writing and creating sellsheets for tradeshows and to send out to prospective customers also required research. In some cases, I spent a lot of time chatting with engineers to understand material, data, and other information that would be pertinent to a customer.
in 2012, we committed ourselves to a new product line. We put in a bid for a deadline that was just 90 days away. When I was approached about video taping the process, I came up with another plan. Stop motion. I placed a camera (Nikon D300) on top of a platform and for three months, had the camera shoot every 30 seconds 24 hours a day. I had a laptop with an external harddrive setup as well. Every couple of days, I would swap out external hard drives and delete more than 10,000 photos. For nearly three months, the camera captured everything, including a 2 a.m. visit by the owner. We made the deadline and as the product was being placed on the back of a trailer, the Nikon D300 clicked its final click before dying. Remarkable timing, but also a video that is used for training and marketing purposes.