Understanding Why Key Sales Were Lost
A Boston-based high technology company was troubled about sales lost after initially promising and very cordial interaction between the sales force and prospective clients. Using City Square Consulting's structured process for dealing with "lost accounts", a picture emerged of a market segment in transition, requiring both a new sales approach and new offering options. What distinguished this project from previous market research was the actionable nature of the findings...a feature deliberately built into City Square Consulting, Inc. engagements at the outset.
Getting a Fix on the Competition
A successful broker of independent consultants had developed a 3rd party payroll and benefits unit to act as an "employer of record." This service enabled the broker's clients to hire independent contractors free from the concerns of IRS audits resulting from misclassification. As this "sideline" business grew over the years, the broker became interested to know the true revenue potential of this offering. City Square Consulting, Inc. conducted a thorough marketplace analysis, and developed a Competitive Landscape which provided detailed information concerning competitors and substitutes in six distinct market categories. In addition, the broker got first-hand information on the needs of current and potential clients for the services offered, and the reactions of independent consultants who would also be served by the offering. Finally, the broker was given a set of options for competing successfully in this niche market, which included multiple "what-if" scenarios and their financial implications.
Finding and Keeping the Best Employees
In an effort to keep recruiting costs at a minimum in what has been characterized as an “employers market,” many firms have stopped using external recruiters, and have begun to rely almost exclusively on online posting. The good news is that a single advertisement can yield hundreds of applicants overnight. The bad news is that someone has to sort through a “mixed bag” of qualified, marginally qualified and totally inappropriate candidates to find one or two that really fit the job. And, more often than not, there is no one at the firm who has the time to concentrate on screening, further delaying the hiring decision.
Within days of a single online posting, one of City Square’s key technology clients received over 400 resumes for a position that needed to be filled immediately. Using a set of prioritized screening criteria, and a brief array of “keep in, knock out” questions, City Square was able to quickly narrow in on a few, acceptable candidates for the position. In addition, City Square prepared interviewing managers in the client organization with a set of questions that would clearly communicate the reality of the position to the qualified candidates. As a result, only clearly qualified candidates who were really interested in the position made it to the final screening stages.
Once the client understood the value of the outsourced screening process, they asked City Square to broaden the scope of its involvement, including development of the online ads and detailed reference checks. All senior level hires, from product managers to the VP of Sales were sourced and screened using this process. As a result, the client reduced its overall recruiting expenses during FY 2003 by nearly 75% compared with typical contract recruiting rates. And the candidates selected are considered among the firm’s top performers today.
Changing Direction with Stakeholder Support
A large not-for-profit organization, which had historically acted as a “funding conduit” for other agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a small northeastern state found itself in a financial squeeze caused by reduced “real dollar” donations, and increased agency needs. As the member agencies of this organization battled for fewer and fewer dollars, the “value add” of the “funding conduit” came under intense scrutiny from the community, donors and the funded agencies.
In 2002, the organization made a bold decision to “change the model,” and focus its limited dollars on a few high impact areas that would bring about real, positive change in the community. However, for this change to work, they needed to get the community behind them, and win over historically funded agencies which would have to find alternative sources of funding. This organization in transition turned to City Square Consulting, Inc. which assembled an expert team with skills in large group change, communications, community organizing and transition management. After fine-tuning the model developed by the client organization’s leaders, City Square designed and managed two 400-person statewide summit meetings. At the 2-day meetings, representatives from stakeholder groups as diverse as heads of state agencies, key business leaders and homeless service agency clients developed “common ground” goals and priorities for the community. As a result, the client organization has not only a clear direction for change, but an energized and committed mass of people ready to take part in the transition.
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