Athena offers a complete solution for front-end sales and pipeline management, including target market profiling assistance, target list building and cleaning, direct outreach (calls, voicemails, personal and bulk emails), marketing (content development – literature, blogs, ebooks, etc.– social posts, and website visitor tracking), inbound lead follow-up, pre- and post-trade show support, and pipeline management (meeting setting, and RFQ and quote follow up) – all of which are part of a well-honed process. “We had Athena come in, and after listening to the technical presentation and the processes that they have, we decided that Athena offered a more personalized package,” said Michael Kulzer. “If we hired an inside salesperson that just gets us someone to make cold calls. It doesn’t get us the marketing and literature, it doesn’t get us a list, and it doesn’t get us anyone to scrub the list. It doesn’t get us people to do all the hard work. Athena had an all-in-one solution. We got more people and more help from Athena than we would from inbound marketing agencies.”
The onboarding process included a kick-off meeting where the Athena teams learned more about KTK’s service offerings and helped them to focus their energy on the ideal prospects the team would pursue.
“The onboarding process makes you, as a manufacturer, think about your target audience and the company sizes you are going after,” said Michael. “Before, sales reps were going after whoever they wanted. Being head of sales made me think, who do we really want to talk to. It helped me focus on our target audience.”
Sales Support Helps with Brand Recognition
Starting a new company has many challenges, and one of the biggest hurdles is getting your name into the marketplace and building trust. The sales support from Athena aiding KTK with building brand recognition in the market.
“Building the brand was one of the most important things Athena was able to help with through email blasts and literature – no one knew who KTK was,” explained Michael. “Suddenly, our web traffic showed that our competitors were on our website and knew there was a new player in the market. We had old customers that didn’t know about the name change reach out to us from this. Athena
was very helpful with brand recognition.”
Patience is Key
Whether you have internal sales support or are outsourcing, patience is the key to success when you are dealing with long sales cycles. KTK sales cycle is about 2 years from the first meeting with a prospect, so Michael understood it would take time for opportunities to come to fruition.
“We understand we have a long sales process. Right now, we have some really big opportunities in the sales pipeline. We wouldn’t have known they were a company let alone that they were an opportunity for us without the help of Athena,” he explained.
Another point Michael noted is that to get the most out of the program, your whole team needs to be on board with the process.
“Athena is an extension of KTK. You have to get everyone in the organization to buy in. For example, if you have a salesperson that is hesitant to give up opportunities that have stalled, they can find themselves running in circles. But they need to give it back to Athena to let them do the legwork. If it is in their process, it will get more touches than what we could do.”