Derbyshire Dales based business, CEM Solutions, who offer installation and calibration of equipment, monitor emissions to air and process control, alongside repairs and hire services, were seeking the guidance and support from the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub to refocus their sales and marketing activity and attract new business.
After the busiest year of the company’s history the company had neglected their forward planning and a lack of consideration was given to the future of the business following current project’s completion, leaving the businesses future financials in jeopardy. Re-evaluating their position in the market the business quickly realised there was potential to grow but needed support to unlock their potential and to achieve their growth plans.
After contacting the Growth Hub’s gateway team, the business was referred to Business Growth Specialist, Darren Buxton, who carried out an in depth one-to-one business diagnostic with the business and quickly identified the business needed a focussed approach to customer management. Developing relationships with existing clients, whilst attracting new business, posed a challenge for growth as well as a risk, as the business had a small number of clients providing 80% of their revenue. They needed to realign their focus on sales and marketing to attract not only new business, but the right kind to grow their business further.
Darren supported CEM Solutions by focusing their efforts on profitable activity; to develop and improve relationships with customers and suppliers, and by developing the businesses sales and marketing strategy. The support provided was part of a programme of support available to growth companies via the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project, and is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
With one to one support, Darren took the business back to basics and identified their key points of focus and helped develop a framework to guide decision making
Darren said, “The business was enthusiastic and taking them back to their original goals helped the business realign where they needed to be and where their efforts should be placed”. From there Darren analysed the businesses current customer base, considered where their current business was coming from, the customer journey and the customer activity to enable the identification of ways in which CEM could drive more sales from the current customers. A strategic planning exercise and development of marketing messages followed.
Jo Lloyd, CEM director, states “Not coming from a sales background we had a scatter approach to attracting new customers and we relied on customers coming to us. We needed support to become more proactive and drive customers to our business.”
The business has also taken advantage of the popular Masterclasses on offer from the Growth Hub’s Enhancement Project which offers businesses tools and skills which support business growth. Attending both sales and strategy, and LEAN thinking Masterclasses the business has taken away tools and techniques which has enabled them to plan to reduce inefficiencies and use tips and hints to improve their sales strategy.
Since the support from the Growth Hub the business has improved relationships with key accounts and key suppliers, and improved enquiry levels coming in to the business, especially via their website. New business has increased turnover to over £400k with growth for next year identified at 150%. The business has also employed additional employees to manage the businesses growth, along with a graduate via the Growth Hub’s RISE programme.
Jo said “Darren came into the business with very challenging and difficult questions – exactly what we needed. He challenged how we operate, motivated us to come up with solutions, and created excitement within the business. Darren opened our eyes to new possibilities we didn’t even know we could achieve”.
The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project is receiving up to £2.7m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’ (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, business, create jobs and local community regeneration’s. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.