Success Story: Athena’s Holistic Front-End Sales Infrastructure Drives Leads to Contract Packaging and Manufacturing Company’s Website and Fills Sales Pipeline 

Client Profile

Crystal Packaging, located in Henderson, CO, is a blending, packaging, and private labeling contract manufacturer of specialty chemical and petroleum products.

Business Situation

Crystal Packaging wanted to diversify and grow its customer base. However, the company had a small sales team with limited capacity, leaving company CEO Scott Vincent with the options of hiring another salesperson or looking for an outsourced service. Scott was leaning away from hiring another salesperson for several reasons, including costs.

Despite that, he began researching headhunters as well as lead generation companies. During this time, Production Manager Taylor Vincent told him about Athena SWC, which he learned about from a trade association.

His short list of outsourced companies included Athena SWC and another in Denver. He liked that Athena offered a complete solution and had industry experience.

“Athena deals with companies in the corrugated box industry, the bottle industry, and the molding industry. Well, we are in that same pond; we use all those things,” said Scott.

After speaking with Athena’s team and learning more about Athena’s front-end sales infrastructure offer, Scott decided Athena was the best choice for his company.

Getting Started

Scott found the onboarding process to be comprehensive and beneficial as Athena asked questions and learned about Crystal Packaging. The process provided valuable insights for Scott into their sales cycle, highlighting that closing a sale could take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on various factors.

The first 45 days of a new program are used to prep for outbound calls and inbound marketing by setting up software and systems, working on the website’s backend, and creating content, target lists, and call scripts. Crystal’s Sales Director, Hank Jenkins, worked closely with the Athena Team to develop a target market profile, fine-tune the call script, and create rebuttals so the Athena sales coordinator and development representatives were prepared to make calls on behalf of Crystal.

Using a Holistic Approach

Athena’s integrated inbound and outbound program provides a best-practice holistic solution. The program comprises five pillars of activity: target market profiling, creating awareness and educating the market, securing opportunities and developing relationships, sales process management, and tools and technology.

Once the program starts running, these pillars have specific tasks executed at specific intervals, creating a cadence that ensures efficient and organized execution of the overall process.

Creating Market Awareness

In addition to calling prospects, targeted outreach was through email, opt-in e-newsletters, website search engine optimization (SEO), and LinkedIn posts. Prior to working with Athena, Crystal’s website was a single page and not optimized, so prospects were not finding them. Athena’s web team created a completely rebuilt, robust website.

“We needed the website to be better so we could show up in Google searches. This was a big deal,” Scott said. “It has improved so much since the beginning. I love getting the reports every month to see how we are climbing up the ladder regarding Google searches. It is very gratifying for us. We have someone coming for a plant tour tomorrow who came to us through the website chatbot.”

Creating blog posts and having a social media presence are critical aspects of a good SEO strategy. The Athena team writes two blogs around researched keywords per month and posts regularly scheduled LinkedIn posts in an effort to drive traffic to Crystal’s website.
As a result of the SEO efforts, organic traffic on Crystal’s site is up 79.7% year-over-year (YOY), impressions are up 131.6% YOY, URL clicks are up 61.6% YOY, the site’s top keywords have increased by 777% and top 10 by 408.6%. Additionally, LinkedIn followers have increased by 246%.

Regular Meetings Keeps Everyone on Track

Monthly meetings to touch in and more in-depth quarterly meetings are a central part of each program. The meetings allow both sides to look at where leads are in the sales pipeline, see which may need extra assistance moving to the next step, and learn if any course corrections are required.

“I like the monthly meetings that we have with Nathan [Athena Account Manager] because, just short of being a nag, he keeps everybody on point. He is good. He’ll say, ‘If you’re struggling with a lead who isn’t doing something, give it back to us and let us play around with it for a while, and if it comes back, we’ll talk about it.'”
This tenacity has helped to build up a robust active pipeline.

Active Pipeline

Crystal has closed $277,000. Although other outstanding opportunities have temporarily halting spending due to the economy, many are expected to close. There are 28 companies in the active pipeline with 10 high-value leads in the RFP/pricing stage – three of which have a projected spend of over $2 million.

The Results

Crystal Results