Pan European Communications Group
Parachuting In To Save an Event
A European company contacted us in a frenzy. They said: "We have a mammoth very public event coming in six weeks. We have advertised it in many media outlets and there is buzz in the marketplace. But, we have a critical problem; our Marketing Vice President has folded under the high stress level and is incapable of pulling this off. We have a great image in the community and if we blow this it may take us years to rebuild our image. Can you help us?"
We were engaged to assume the responsibilities of the fallen Marketing VP on an Interim Management assignment. We held our first 'all hands meeting' the first day and found there was a lack of an understandable project plan, a large number of people were scurrying about working on their pieces in a vacuum, there were no internal communications between the marketing department and other departments; in a word, it was chaos.
We immediately created a project plan to hold the event, and assign responsibilities to the appropriate parties in the newly reformulated project team. This created the "missing links "– accountability and mutual dependency. We distributed short daily project updates, developed the public task checklist and calendar and held daily project team meetings to up open up communication. In addition, all operating departments were required to send a representative to the daily meetings so they could be the conduit to their own departments thereby improving internal communications.
The event hosted international actors, local high profile personalities, a concert and terrific food and drinks. All details of the team's event plan were executed seamlessly, precisely on time and those in attendance were quite pleased. This created new sales opportunities for the company, which was one of the overall goals of the event.
The company President breathed a sigh of relief at the outcome, the project team learned how to successfully plan, prepare and execute a project with a complex structure. And, most importantly, everyone learned the importance of communication and team work. The Marketing Vice President went on to leave the company and was replaced by a more qualified individual we were tasked to find.
European Industrial Products
Sale to Fortune 100
The American/European owners of a producer of industrial products contacted us and said: " We started our business 15 years ago, have grown to be a very profitable going concern with excellent upside potential. However, we feel it is time to monetize the equity we have built and one of us will retire. Can you assist us to find a buyer".
Working with the client we established a list of prospective target buyers (both trade buyers and private equity groups). we swept through the company and improve the shop floor image, began to produce financial reports in GAAP format (in addition to required local financial/tax reporting), instituted IT security measures which were quite lax ( backups were kept in a drawer under the computer in the accounting office) , improve the company's web presence, prepared sales presentations and offering documents, communicated with target buyers, prepared owners for buyer presentations and rehearsed with them to get it right, arranged potential buyer meetings etc.
The result was that the company was sold at a fair price to a US based fortune 100 company. One owner took his proceeds and retired and the other two remained in place and became employees of the buyer of course with their proceeds from the sale.
Below are four brief case studies that represent some of the varied work we do. (As is standard policy, client details are kept confidential)
We look forward to having you be part of this group of pleased clients.
BRIEF CASE STUDIES
This multi-national producer of food products was referred to us by a colleague who was a board member of the company.
During an initial meeting with the Managing Director it was clear that not only did they have growth challenges but they had organizational issues which were the root cause of their anemic growth. We suggested a full 'Internal Due Diligence' effort to ferret out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing this multi-generational family owned enterprise. Our proposal was accepted and we began a series of meetings, discussions and operating/financial data reviews.
Initial findings pointed to a significant amount of internal disconnect with respect to communications, operating routines, poor accountability, significant human resource problems, tardy and disjointed financial reporting, poor marketing and sales strategies and faulty execution. Staff were working at cross purposes and all too often undermining each other with a typical 'blame game'.
Once presenting the issues to senior management their eyes widened and the negative headshaking became positive eye opening realizations that there were in fact myriad issues they had not perceived before. We triaged each and every department in the company from the board level down to the shop floor and showed the Board where their problems were and what was needed to fix them to get the company on track and regain market share.
The Board engaged us further to put our insights into a tactical plan, informed the staff as to what our role was and indicated that all levels of staff were to cooperate with our efforts no matter how unpalatable they may seem.
We were able to work with the client to achieve a variety of crucial improvements.:
Increase EBITDA by over 12% in year one and a net increase of an incremental 17% in year two in a company that had seen EBITDA being flat for over 24 months.
Take unstructured staff meetings to highly structured agenda managed weekly meetings with department head presentations, improved communications - they went from slack-jawed gripe sessions to effective, professional meetings - meeting time was taken from 1/2 day to a strict 1 hour
Drove finance department to reduce time needed to produce monthly P&L's from 30 days to 5 working days
Made Divisional VP's accountable for their entire portion of the P&L and sales numbers
Structured professional monthly P&L reviews whereby each VP presented their results, discusses variations to budget and 'fixes' where necessary
Changed sales and PR department structures by bringing them under marketing to focus accountability for growth
Redesigned all marketing and collateral sales materials
Developed new sales training and control systems
Added CRM program which included client visits by senior management
Developed an all employee feedback program so senior management could interact with all levels of employees - also had senior management and Board members meet staff employees for lunch twice a week in an informal very small group setting with the goal of showing the staff that their opinions were important and that they were valued as team members
Reduced overtime by 20% by streamlining routines and eliminating efforts that were not germane to the growth of the business
Consumer Products Firm
We were approached by a European Consumer Products firm which provided a specific remit: "Our sales are not only down, they are plummeting. We added 50% more sales people, paid them more but nothing seems to work. We need some assistance"
During our 'Internal Due Diligence' we found there was little or no sales training throughout the entire sales organization (from the Director down to the sales people). The Director of Sales had 40 sales people reporting to him; too many to effectively manage. Sales meetings were occasional and non-productive. Sales meetings were more like funeral masses or gripe sessions. Sales support materials were outdated/poorly designed and often incorrect. There was no defined sales process for the sales people to follow. In fact the sales reps were often unknowingly contacting the same prospects thereby duplicating efforts and creating a poor refection of the company. (the company also had no CRM program). There were no sales objectives or goals, at any level. Additionally, there were no short or long term incentive programs to motivate the sales group (including for the Sales Director). No one was watching the competition. Finally, client billing was a mess and often incoherent and incorrect. A real recipe for disaster!
We prepared and assisted the client in implementing a full reorganization of the sales department. The Sales Director was replaced by a superstar we recruited with the company President. The new Director became Vice President of the company and she now runs a squeaky clean, highly motivated sales and marketing department. Sales results turned around and the effective execution of our plan has allowed the client to claw back earlier deficiencies and sales are growing at a double-digit pace.