Success Story: Tusco Manufacturing Closes New Opportunity With $1 Million Annual Potential

For many metal fabricators, filling their opportunity pipeline can be a challenge. Working with Athena, Tusco Manufacturing filled its sales pipeline and closed a deal with $1 million annual sales potential.

Tusco Manufacturing Logo

Client Profile

Tusco Manufacturing, located in Gnadenhutten, Ohio is a custom contract metal manufacturer that offers a one-stop shop for precision sheet metal components, assemblies, and products.

Business Situation

Mike Lauber, CEO of Tusco Manufacturing, struggled to see the results the company needed from its sales development efforts. Salespeople preferred working with current customers and not trying to find new customers.

Mike thought about using independent reps but hadn’t had much success with them in the past. “Hundreds of thousands of people operate very successfully as independent reps, but their key operating term there is independent. They will do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for you. And I know from experience that it’s a full-time job managing them and making sure you’re a high priority. Just like in any population of people, there is a normal distribution. You have super achievers, which are rare, and weak performers, which are not rare enough. And then the great middle where they’re okay sometimes and other times not. We really wanted to move the mean forward in our efforts.”

Mike tried a firm that sent out emails on his behalf, but that didn’t work either. Mike was constantly looking for something different that could help him grow sales. That is how he found Athena.

The Meeting

Mike became aware of Athena through his trade association, the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA). As soon as Mike learned Athena had joined, he reached out and met with Todd Zielinski, Athena’s Managing Director and CEO.

“I really appreciated Todd’s frank approach to selling,” explained Mike. “Todd said, ‘if you’re not going to give us eighteen months, don’t do it because we’re not the Pied Piper of custom fabrications you’re looking for. We’re going to need to learn your business, figure out with whom to talk and how to talk to them.’ He wasn’t pressing for us to close the deal that day. The second thing I like is the process, the systematic methodology employed by Athena. First, identify your own strengths and then try to find companies that may be a fit. Instead of blanketing the earth with emails, let’s fine-tune it – find the right types of titles, do phone and email outreach, and create marketing materials that we can put in front of people. I want a customer for life, and I know once we find that fit, people will not feel the need to go elsewhere because we’re going to take great care of them. We have a great track record in doing that.”

Performing Due Diligence

Athena has extensive experience working with metal fabricators, like Tusco. Still, it is prudent to perform due diligence.

Mike spoke with current customers to learn more about Athena and verify that the process works when followed as intended. “I really appreciated the chance to talk to Athena’s noncompetitive clients and ask them to give me chapter and verse. What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? And people were very forthright. That was incredibly helpful in selling me on this.”

Implementing a Process for Opportunity Pipeline Growth

The methodology that helped sell Mike is wrapped around an inbound/outbound marketing program. It consists of several planned activities intended to convert prospects to leads and help a metal fabrication company like Tusco move them toward a sale. The inbound portion (search engine optimization, website updates, etc.) is designed to drive traffic to Tusco’s website and convert visitors to marketing leads through forms or interaction with a chatbot. Website visitor tracking is monitored to learn who is visiting the website.

The outbound component involves following up on inbound leads, including website visitors when known, and creating lists of prospects based on Tusco’s criteria. The prospects on those lists are contacted through email and phone to set up first-step meetings with Mike’s team. All prospects are followed up with at scheduled intervals until resolution – they schedule an appointment or tell us they are not interested. All prospects not ready to meet are put on a nurture list and receive monthly newsletters, which are generally educational, to keep Tusco in mind for when they are ready. In addition, the Athena team will follow up with leads that have gone dark after a meeting or receiving a quote to move them to the next steps.

Underselling and Over Delivering

Mike appreciates his connection with Todd and how the Athena team works on his behalf. “They are straight-shooters and professional in their approach – this goes to Todd, certainly, but the rest of the team I’ve had contact with, too. They are underselling and over delivering. That’s where we want to be, and I think that Athena is simpatico with that.”

Seeing Opportunity Pipeline Successes

Athena has gotten Mike in front of companies he hadn’t considered, and the work both companies have put in is beginning to pay off. “There is a company I’ve been aware of that is a half an hour away from us, right along the Interstate, but we’d never called on them and wouldn’t have thought to call them. But the Athena team uncovered them as a possibility, and we figured out pretty quickly that we are a good fit for them, and they see the value in what we can do for them.”

Athena Account Manager Zach Costello added, “We put a ton of work into the Active Sales Cycle follow-up to help with that win. We did a lot of following up and scheduling follow-up meetings to help get that over the finish line.”

The Results

New Business results

It has been fifteen months since the first prospects were contacted, and Tusco Manufacturing has quoted $950,000 from Athena’s leads. In addition, they have closed a large new account with $1 million in potential annual sales. There is currently another $709,000 in the sales pipeline.