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TÜV Nederland

Bridging the Sales gap: innovate the sales process and generate new business

How TÜV Nederland unlocks a commercial revolution within an international organization and grows revenue. +213% website traffic, +860% leads, +213 customers through inbound marketing.

TÜV Nederland, a renown Certification Body needed to reach growth ambitions and surpass a landscape of competitors while being part of the international TÜV NORD group. This case study shows a snapshot of TÜV Nederland between January 2016 and April 2018; how they started a new business pilot project, unlocked a commercial revolution in the international group and exponentially grew revenue.

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TÜV Nederland: the beginning

Hanover, 1855. It is the early years of German industrialization. A steam boiler explodes – leaving people working near it dead and injured. It was this horrible incident that immediately sparked the need for regular inspections of steam boilers in Hanover and the surrounding area. It was not long when the "Dampfkessel-Überwachungs-Vereins” (DÜV) was established.

In the era that followed, they added vehicles and lifts to their inspections and slowly evolved into the technical inspection associations (Technische Überwachungs-Vereine). Today, we all know this organization as the renowned TÜV NORD group, a service provider that has an expertise in nearly all questions of technical safety, environmental protection, and the conformity assessment of management systems and products.

In 1981, TÜV Nederland was established in the Netherlands as part of the international group. Until this day it is their mission to guarantee safety, quality and reliability of a broad range of products and services for many industries in the Netherlands.


If customers stop calling you tomorrow, what will you do?

If customers stop calling you tomorrow, what will you do?

In Germany, TÜV NORD was, and still is, “the Coca-Cola” of Certification Bodies. In the old days of the renowned TÜV NORD head-office customers found their way to them almost automatically. As many norms and standards obliged manufacturers to do so, the phone of TÜV NORD basically never stops ringing.

Although TÜV Nederland also had a vast stream of customers coming their way, they are also very aware of the fact that their market was very different from that of Germany. In the Netherlands, the market growth for certifications slowly started to decrease. On top of that, new players disrupt the market and put pressure on prices. Customers nowadays can choose to whom they trust their certifications and inspections.

This is where things started to look different for TÜV Nederland. On one side, TÜV NORD group announced her growth ambition towards her Dutch branch. On the other side, a landscape of roughly 25 to 40 competitors quickly increasing their salesforce. TÜV Nederland realized they needed to take a close look at how they had organized her commercial organization. The harsh conclusion: if the phone would stop ringing tomorrow, TÜV Nederland would not have her organization in place to fill the Sales gap.

The enrollment of a new website that started in 2015 turned out to be the trigger for a true ‘commercial transformation’ within TÜV Nederland. This case study shows a snapshot between January 2016 and April 2018, and how they successfully grew their business with a new business pilot project within an international organization.

“To reach growth goals and objectives, we needed to add more value with marketing and sales to potential customers in the entire purchasing process - and start to sell the way customers buy today.” - Edwin Franken — Managing Director of TÜV Nederland


The Marketing and Sales gap

The Marketing and Sales gap

It is January 2016 when Edwin Franken, Managing Director of TÜV Nederland decides the current commercial approach of his organization is no longer sustainable.

Edwin: “Our Sales and Marketing teams were not utilizing their full potential in this digital era, to say the least. Our current Marketing department – that did not even exist before 2010 – consisted of one person and was not equipped to actively support the growth of TÜV Nederland. It was stuck in a communication-oriented role, producing flyers and brochures for Sales.”

Sales was reactive. Their day to day job was mainly administrative of nature. Edwin: “We did not have the right processes in place to add value to customers in the entire purchasing process – from first contact all the way up to closing the deal. Let alone that Sales knew how to actively tap into new markets and connect with prospects. With the current landscape of competitors, that was an absolute necessity.”

Edwin also needed to take into account that TÜV Nederland is part of a large international organization. Edwin: to achieve the goals that I had in mind for TÜV Nederland, we needed to move within the existing framework of the international organization when it came to IT, branding, processes and so on. Even when you are part of the same organization, there are inevitable differences in culture and ways of working. We could not ignore that.”


A ‘new business’ pilot: a bold move

A ‘new business’ pilot: a bold move

Edwin was determined to set up a commercial team within TÜV Nederland that was fully equipped to attract more new customers, while utilizing the possibilities of the digital era.

Edwin: “It was very clear to me that measurable lead generation had to become the most important focus of Marketing, if TÜV Nederland wanted to stay relevant in the future. At that time, we did not have a solid strategy or roadmap on how to achieve this goal. But the insight alone was very valuable to us! Also, I knew that at one point, Marketing and Sales needed to fully integrate their processes. In order to close the gap, Sales needed to adapt a way of working there they would add value to potential customers very early on in their buying journey: sell the way the customer buys today. But we weren’t there yet.”

As they had to start somewhere, TÜV Nederland decided to kick off with Marketing. Edwin: “I assigned my colleague to think about a 5-year strategy. Naturally, the upcoming new website was the most tangible starting point. In order to collect valuable input to fuel our new approach, we collected insights from almost all Business Units within TUV Nederland. We asked BU managers one simple question: ‘what do you need from our Marketing department?’ With the answers we shaped a gap analysis.”

Edwin was very aware of the fact that he needed to find a way to work with the IT systems like ERP systems that were already in place within TÜV NORD group. Also, his current Marketing and Sales team needed to be willing to change their skill-and mindset to make things work. And, most importantly: the commercial team had to re-evaluate and reshape their current processes to bridge the gap: a new approach on how Marketing and Sales work together and how leads are being attracted, nurtured and handed over between them.

Edwin: “We wanted to become the number one Certification Body online. To achieve this ambitious goal, we realized we had to do more than the resources that were provided to us from the international organization TÜV NORD group. So we took a bit of a bold move: TÜV Nederland started a pilot. This way we were able to achieve our goals, while moving within the existing framework of the international organization.”

“The implementation of an Inbound Sales approach caused a systemic improvement in agreements between the Sales reps as well as an integration between Marketing and Sales.” - Edwin Franken — Managing Director of TÜV Nederland