Case Study: Five Stone

Developing a Marketing Platform to Expand Offerings, Revenue and Profits

“We’ve increased our average revenue per sale by 150%, while lowering our cost per sale by over 50%, and we built out better systems that help us forecast and track the financial results of our marketing and sales spending. All of those things translate into better business results and a better customer experience.”

Austin Farmer, Director of Global Marketing, Five Stone Tax Advisors

Five Stone Tax Advisors, LLC (Five Stone) is a full-service tax firm with more than a hundred years of combined experience. To grow the business, CEO, JP Krueger sought outside expertise to develop and execute a comprehensive strategic marketing plan. Chief Outsider, Matt Benner, worked with leadership to devise a new go-to-market strategy and brand, build out a new website, identified and implemented the right CRM and financial tracking systems. With their customer acquisition cost down 50% and average revenue per customer up by 150%, Five Stone is enjoying an improved bottom line while providing an enhanced customer experience.

Business Background

A Strategic Approach

Five-Stone-Tax-Logo.png“We exist to make a positive impact for both individuals and businesses. And we primarily do that through lowering their tax burden to the lowest level possible within the law” stated JP Krueger, CEO, Five Stone

Five Stone’s team of tax attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and tax consultants provide tax representation in the form of IRS tax resolution, tax preparation, tax planning, international tax, and property tax protest.

Five Stone’s core offering of tax planning delivers on a forward-looking strategic approach to insure that executives and business owners pay the least amount of tax within the law.

“Earning our customer’s trust is huge for us,” related Austin Farmer, Director of Global Marketing, Five Stone. “We’re helping them with one of the scariest, high-risk things that they can do, whether it’s with their personal finances or business, and that’s deal with the IRS.” 

Platform to Expand Offerings

As a client-centered company, Five Stone wanted to expand their offerings and develop new ways to ease their clients’ tax burden. To facilitate the expansion of the business, the need for a new marketing platform became obvious.

“We had a lot of work to do, so we considered several options, including someone that could come in to help us,” explained Farmer. “We looked at Chief Outsiders and brought in Matt Benner because we needed someone that understood both the strategy and the operational details of what we wanted to accomplish.”

Growth Strategy

Starting from Scratch

When Five Stone first start working with Chief Outsiders, it was clear that as a group they are composed of hard working people with a very strong set of ethics and values. They always wanted to do the right thing for their clients.

Earlier this year, they had a real set of business challenges. They were planning to rebrand the business, while launching new product lines, and entering new markets internationally. In addition, they needed to do this with a very small team and limited budgets. This was a bit like swapping out the old propeller on an airplane for new jet engines while flying at thirty thousand feet.

“There were quite frankly a lot of challenges, that seemed a little bit overwhelming at the time,” confessed Farmer. “We had to basically start from scratch.”


Benner worked with leadership to prepare a pragmatic set of objectives that would enable Five Stone to grow and change, but not break the budget or the capabilities of the team:

  • Develop a new go-to-market strategy and marketing plan
  • Re-brand everything under the Five Stone name
  • Design and build a new website
  • Implement a new CRM system
  • Find the right SEO and advertising vendors
  • Prepare all new sales and marketing materials
  • Plan advertising spend and program

With a significant investment of resources required to carry out the plan, leadership carefully considered the ROI.

“As CPAs and tax attorneys, we’re always looking at the bottom line and stewarding our resources,” stated Krueger. “All of those things needed to be effective, ultimately producing a win for our clients.”

Executing the Plan

After identifying the most profitable sets of potential customers, Benner helped executives develop the tactics to connect with them most effectively. Then he dug in to help Five Stone execute the plan, coordinating efforts to:

  • Select key vendors
  • Establish key metrics
  • Implement tracking systems
  • Build an effective marketing team

“Matt helped me recruit, build and coach a team that enabled us to scale to where we needed to be,” stated Farmer. “And, he made sure that we got the financial results that we were looking for.”

Growth Results

Average Revenue per customer Up 150%

Five Stone made great progress over the next six months, realizing some exciting early results. “Matt was able to help us identify how to connect with better quality customers so our average revenue per customer is up 150%,” explained Farmer. "Improving the quality and value of the customers we bring in has also helped us reduce costs in other parts of the business like accounts receivable."

Acquisition Cost Down 50%

Implementation of the new plan cut the average new customer acquisition cost by over 50%, without sacrificing service.

“We’re more efficient on the marketing side so we can do a lot more with the budgets that we have,” stated Farmer. “And our customer experience has gone way up.”

Increased Client Satisfaction

As clients respond to the new brand and improved experience, Five Stone is seeing record customer satisfaction and referral numbers, which helps them continue to drive new business.

“We know that we’re building trust with our customers when they are able to say I’m confident enough in Five Stone that I’m going to recommend them to colleagues, friends, family members,” related Farmer.

Improved the Bottom Line

In addition to planning and executing a comprehensive marketing strategy, Benner helped Five Stone implement efficient systems to forecast and track spending and financial results.

“I have better data to take to the senior leadership team that we use to drive business decisions,” stated Farmer. “Personally, I like working with Matt because he’s able to help us design the right roles, pick the right candidates, and coach me as I develop and scale my team.” 

With the right team, improved customer quality, increased client satisfaction, reduced costs and better financial visibility, Five Stone’s bottom line has, not surprisingly, also improved.

“All of those things translate into better business results and a better customer experience. We’re seeing more profit and we have better customers coming in every day,” concluded Farmer. 



Contact Partner and CMO Matthew Benner