Sales Staff Sets Up Transoft for Future Success
As the 21st century began, there were a number of signs that the future looked bright for Transoft. Through advertising in influential print magazines and having a presence at key transportation trade shows, orders for AutoTURN, GuidSIGN and AutoTURN Aircraft were coming in steadily.
“Our customers were sold on AutoTURN in a bigger way than any of us expected,” said Milton. “This trust led to easy success with selling complimentary products such as ParkCAD, AutoTURN Aircraft, and GuidSIGN. We had an engaged customer base and it was up to us to maintain their satisfaction and interest in Transoft products and services in the years ahead,” said Milton.
While Transoft’s small team of developers and marketers continued with their product development and aggressive marketing activities, it was clear that in order to achieve sales growth and strengthen the company’s position, the company needed to expand its sales capacity. After a strategic planning exercise, the decision to go forward with a direct sales team was deemed the best approach. This decision was, in part, driven by the desire to deliver top notch customer service, and to complement the excellent product experience our customers were already experiencing.
“Up until 2001, our in-bound sales, resulting from our strong marketing activities were bringing in constant and quality sales leads, generating sufficient revenues to carry as many as 12 individuals,” said Milton. “However, we knew if we were to grow stronger, full time sales staff could help us boost the revenues, as we were soon to find out.”
The company’s sales approach has been consistent since inception. As readers might remember, Milton’s wife Val was the company’s first frontline customer service person. As the company expanded, Milton believed it was essential to have a positive first point of contact. To this day, he still takes an active interest in hiring that frontline person.
“Ensuring that a customer has the very best first experience and impression is extremely important to any business that values happy, long-term customers,” said Milton. “When this first touch point is handled in a professional manner by a person with excellent communication and social skills, then followed by equally great service from our sales account managers, the entire sales process can be shortened and can lead to solid long term relationships. For this reason I have vowed never to adopt an automated answering/routing system!”
The first step, in building our in-house sales team was to hire Manon Dumoulin, a contractor who began creating the first sales plans and assembling the sales team. Two of the early hires Manon made were Margaret Gochngbok and Richard Link, who would later lead the sales team. Others like Irma De Leon and Angela Mortensen joined Transoft as frontline customer service staff and soon moved into sales account roles. Today, over ten years later, both Margaret and Irma are outstanding members of our sales team.
“When I first started working here, we had only three products and one shared bathroom!” laughs Irma De Leon. “What is now AutoTURN and AeroTURN was then sold as a bundle called AutoTURN Aircraft, so clients got the aircraft and vehicle libraries in one package. We have grown a lot since then not only in staff but also in our product offerings.”
Milton recognized that more products to sell represented more opportunities, so the new sales force was tasked with finding new opportunities. A transition period was needed as the company was gearing up from selling a single product to selling multiple products. Customers who used AutoTURN were presented with the features and benefits of the complimentary products.
Even as Milton was gearing up with building the sales team, no-one was able to see the recession about to set in during the 2001 to 2003 timeframe nor the effects of the September 9/11, especially on the aviation sector. Nevertheless, with some minor staffing and financial planning, the worse was averted and Transoft weathered the storm unscathed. In fact, recessions, as we will see later, are great opportunities to re-calibrate and re-align the company.
Combined with the company’s extensive marketing efforts, it was clear there was great potential for sales in Latin America and other overseas locations. Milton wanted to ensure the company wasn’t left on the sidelines in these new opportunities. He set out to capitalize on these interests by hiring Alfredo Figueroa. Alfred came on board in 2001 and immediately was tasked to study the Latin American and Spanish market.
With an engaged sales staff in place, sales for the company increased exponentially. In the next few blog posts, we’ll look at the development of the complimentary software products that help Transoft build its brand in the transportation engineering field.