“The Chief Outsiders concept is genius! The size that we are, we could not afford a full-time CMO. Being able to pull on that lever, to gain so much traction in six months is a material value for us. I love it!”
Steve Walker, Director of Sales and Marketing, TBConsulting
TBConsulting (TBC) provides technical and business consulting and managed services to mid-size and enterprise clients. Seeking processes and talent to jumpstart growth, leadership engaged Sharon Spooler, Chief Outsiders Fractional CMO. In just a few months, Spooler’s research, analytical skills and resource connections transformed the company’s Random Acts of Marketing into a fully functioning engine for growth. With the right people, plan and budget in place, TBC’s lead generation has taken off on the way to predictable, scalable growth.
EOS Process Review
TBConsulting (TBC) seeks to empower its clients by supporting transformation of their IT capabilities to support and drive growth. The Arizona firm provides cyber-security consulting, ITSM governance, managed services and cloud services to mid-market and enterprise customers nationwide.
Implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to improve operations, leadership realized they lacked manageable marketing processes. Despite a lot of activity, various marketing efforts and events failed to gain traction.
Over the past three years, TBC had engaged four marketing agencies with poor results. “Every marketing agency has their secret sauce,” related Steve Walker, Director of Sales and Marketing. “They were selling us was what they were good at (website, content, lead generation of this sort or that). Without a strategy, all failed epically.”
“Without having that strategic foundation set, we were trying to outsource the tactics with no alignment to a greater strategy and a way to measure them.”
Random Acts of Marketing
Fortunately, Walker knew Sharon Spooler, Chief Outsiders Fractional CMO, from a Vistage group. Catching up outside the meeting, he walked her through how TBC wasn’t hitting its sales numbers and EOS goals.
“She said we were facing issues typical of an organization trying to grow and suffered from Random Acts of Marketing. We were getting little results for the money spent, constantly changing our direction with most of our money spent on events.”
Spooler thought it unreasonable to expect results from a marketing spend with a lack of strategy. She shared with Walker the Chief Outsiders methodology, including brand house, messaging and positioning and how to tie strategies and execution back to metrics.
Walker recognized he needed a more systematic approach. With the marketing manager moving on, it was a good opportunity to bring in a fractional CMO to assess what was needed and who to hire next.
“Chief Outsiders represents the future of how we will segment business,” stated Deter Gable, CEO, TBC. “Everyone is going to do what they’re best at and look for expert partners to handle other things that are important.”
Gears on the Ground
Beginning in February 2019, Spooler worked remotely, making conference calls to participate in weekly leadership meetings and going on-site once or twice per month. “They very much embraced me as part of the leadership team,” she said.
Digging in, she found big gaps in product marketing and demand generation and that TBC’s CRM hadn’t been fully implemented. Aside from a website, no digital marketing was in place. Consequently, Walker’s marketing efforts failed to generate the leads he expected, the opportunities or ultimately, the revenue leadership wanted.
“The gears were all lying on the ground,” explained Spooler. “No one had put them together into a system, an engine that could run. I told them to hold the marketing spend until the gears were put together and to focus our efforts on building a sustainable platform for growth.”
Following a 60-day assessment, Spooler proposed a six-month action plan with steps to:
- Minimize reliance on one, very large customer
- Drive $5 million incremental revenue in 2019
- Shore up marketing processes and capabilities to scale the business and drive leads
- Build capability to measure impact of marketing on the business
She prepared a detailed plan for how to get there with inputs and outputs, including:
- Customer and market research
- Better positioning, messaging, and buyer understanding
- Marketing plan that ties vision to execution
- Scalable marketing platform (messaging, operations, web)
- Defined budget, metrics and plan for every activity
In addition, she found and hired a capable Director of Marketing and engaged the right agency and contractors to fill out the organization.
Launching integrated campaigns every other month, TBC now has a way to measure the impact of their investment and better align sales, marketing and product within the go-to-market plan. The roadmap, framework and the right people are all there for TBC. It’s a matter of executing and delivering on a big head start.
“Sharon was a nice blend of being collaborative and holding us accountable for the decisions we had made to ensure that we stayed on course before putting gas in the engine to see results,” reported Walker.
“She came in, assessed what we needed and had an answer to all our issues, whether from a strategic or resource or agency standpoint,” he noted. “She has a strong Rolodex of resources to pull from, which is how she was able to get so much done in six months.”
Spooler also offloaded some of her day-to-day work to Nancy Shanahan, Marketing Manager, who Walker said was, “a fantastic hire.”
“Sharon is highly professional, very knowledgeable across all marketing functions and very relatable,” offered Shanahan. “She’s easy to engage with, very pleasant and results oriented.”
“Steve Walker is extremely smart with natural strong consultative skills, a rare combination of deep technology understanding and great customer focus, super capable yet willing to ask for help,” added Spooler.
Lead Generation Takes Off
With the growth engine built, TBC rolled out its first integrated marketing campaign, including blog posts, email, digital marketing efforts, and lead nurture strategies . The results can all be tracked back to the campaign and efforts optimized accordingly.
“Four weeks in, we have 15-20 leads already,” related Walker. “It’s early in the sales cycle but, going after larger clients [where one sale can provide a significant return on marketing investment], that’s meaningful to us.”
“We’ve gone from zero leads to five this week,” added Spooler. “We cleaned up the contact database so we could leverage the existing data and then used best practice inbound marketing to drive even more engagement. ”
“It’s a big paradigm shift,” noted Shanahan. “We’ve already seen a dramatic uptick in awareness and a huge increase in website visitors. We’re expecting big results.”
In six months, TBC transformed its approach from Random Acts of Marketing to a fully functioning engine for growth. Overhauling the marketing automation platform and CRM, Spooler had capably implemented a sales and marketing process and developed messaging for the business and core solutions.
“We brought on the right long-term team to run the process, including both internal and external resources,” reported Spooler. “and built the engine they need to scale and grow the business.”
In summary, Chief Outsiders has made TBC’s marketing much more forecastable, predictable and understandable for the organization. Everyone knows what to do, what to expect, how to gauge success and adjust spending going forward.
“On a fundamental level, Chief Outsiders helped create a solid platform for growth,” stated Gable. “It means coming out of the shadows to be visible in the marketplace.” Obviously pleased, Gable has already referred Spooler to another of his investments.
Scalable, Predictable Growth
“If you’re looking to grow in a scalable, predictable way with fidelity and aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, you should have hired Chief Outsiders six months ago,” advised Walker. “It’s a complete no-brainer and money well spent.”
“For the time she spent with us, it’s insane the gains we’ve made. To put all the pieces together and leave us in good hands is incredible considering we’ve gone through four agencies in the last three years.”
“Chief Outsiders has set us up to not only hit our 2020 goals but to exceed them. I have not been a big believer in marketing, until now.”