On the edge of Haarlem, I look out the window while waiting for my appointment. Busses and cars whizz by towards the A1 or downtown. Cyclists on the adjacent bike path were on their way to work, school or the daycare. A few minutes later, they wait next to the exhaust fumes from the cars, busses and mopeds until the bridge closes, and they can continue on their way.
The phone rings. The receptionist sounds alert, but her eyes are dull. Through the sparse windows of the office on the second floor, a streak of light shines on the blue-grey carpet tiles. Particles of dust dance before me. The account manager passes by, mumbling and sighing.
With an outstretched hand and a small smile, the director comes towards me: a tall, blonde, slim woman in her mid-50s, with tired wrinkles around her eyes.
She hurriedly pours two cups of coffee and hands me a mug without asking. Carefully, a bit awkwardly, because of the full, steaming mug and my big briefcase, I follow her to her minimalistically furnished office. A yellowed mood board stuffed with thumbtacks hangs on the wall. A layer of dust lays on the stiff leaves of the houseplant in the corner. The desk at which we sit, by contrast, was spotless. With a nod, she directs me to the seat across from her and launches in immediately:
‘We are an organization with eight very experienced employees and ten freelancers. We are doing well, growing slowly but surely. But we do not yet have enough knowledge in-house about making contact with potential clients. We often seem to be one step too late, and we miss out on many potential new clients.’
I explained to her that many companies deal with this problem. Everyone who offers a service or product wants to make contact with as many companies as possible, in order to increase their business opportunities. But they often do not have sufficient discretionary hours, knowledge or manpower in house. And it takes a team with understanding of lead generation or an external partner that can do lead generation for them. Tricycle is that kind of external partner.
While she listened, she enjoyed the coffee, or listening instead of always having to be the one talking and on alert. It was ‘just’ filter coffee. Just like the company was run entirely by ‘just’ people, who ‘just’ work hard. A pleasant company, they stay close to their core, their product, believed in it, and that was probably the key to their success. They needed space and time to shine at what they were good at.
Fixed roadmap and strategy
I told her that we could help them with lead generation by starting with calling potential leads for an introduction. A good relationship follows from a nice conversation. It is about knowing who you are talking with: what is key for them and why this company best suits them. Our goal was to generate leads starting on the first day. When I said that, I almost literally saw a weight fall off her shoulders.
From the bus back to Amsterdam, I saw the office, glittering in the sun. I hoped that I had been able to relieve her with the prospect of the many business opportunities, and with that with a positive view of the future.
We would get to work with our fixed roadmap: both they and Tricycle would give a presentation, to tell what both companies stand for. After that, we would have a brainstorming session. This was essential for determining a strategy and because with this we would discuss the target group, the approach, the process and the ‘what’s in it for me’. After we determined the strategy, we got to work. During the very first week, there were appointments made with leads.
When I came back a number of months later for a follow-up discussion. I waited at the same place as the previous spring, but the view seemed changed. Were the windows open?
The voice of the receptionist still sounded alert, but this time her eyes also glowed. The account manager whistles a tune, and smiles at the receptionist. The positive vibe was tangible.
We believe that employees make the atmosphere and not the work. That was, to my great enjoyment, confirmed here.
The expression on the face of the director was relaxed, and she smiled broadly. We sat down in her office again. I immediately noticed that the old, yellowed mood board had given way to a new one, on which I could read the mood from their latest event. She noticed me looking at it:
‘Right after the start of your campaign, I organized an event. I wanted to concentrated on the appointments instead of having to put myself and my team through all kinds of contortions just to get an appointment made. We can get back to the reason why we started this company: personal contact with clients, knowing what you have in common, meeting each other. We were all working on our own islands a bit. But now we again have the energy that we had when we had just started, because we are doing it together. The fact that we are excited again has an impact on everything, on the employees but also on our clients.’
They came to the conclusion that our enjoyable collaboration and preparations had led to many successes, so that they wanted to extend the campaign.
To date, we have made 60 appointments for the organization, of which 10% were completed projects and signed contracts.
Their database consists of 550 accounts, with a total of 410 contact persons. Of the 410 contact persons, we have had a good conversation with 235. That is to say, that we have obtained a personal email address to provide them with more information and that there will again be contact by phone in the future. In total, 1135 calls have been made.
The campaign has currently been extended multiple times, including again recently. We are now continuing through December 2016, and consultation will again take place in November 2016, in which the plans for 2017 will be discussed.