Group 8

The route to becoming the #1 co-development partner

How Veco Precision is building a future-proof commercial organization and generating more revenue in the digital age. Result: 30% of new business comes from online.

In this case study, we take a closer look at how organizations make a CRM transformation from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot successful in a complex environment. We look at the role of various C-level positions in the journey and outline JCDecaux's successful CRM roadmap.
We also highlight the differences between Microsoft Dynamics and the HubSpot CRM Platform.


Veco Precision: the early years

1934 saw a number of innovative breakthroughs in technologies surrounding filter plates. The founders of Veco Precision immediately capitalized on this by adopting anadditive manufacturing technology - quite unconventional at the time - called electroforming. Before long, Veco also moved into the world of etching and laser cutting. Since its founding in 1934, Veco has built a track record as an innovative organization.

But the world is changing. Companies that want to innovate today and occupy a relevant position the market realize that the miniaturization of products - and especially the components contained in products - is more important than ever. Engineers are increasingly looking for ways to micro-scale their metal components; cost-effectively and on an industrial scale. Veco can provide this added value by applying technologies such as electroforming, etching and laser cutting.

The challenge

Veco Precision faced the challenge of entering new markets and increasing its share of new business. Their approach relied heavily on existing customers, with much of their sales coming from customers who purchased standard products. This strategy limited the growth potential and product life cycle. Veco realized they needed to shift to a co-development partnership with customers to achieve long-term relationships and sustainable growth.

The solution

Veco Precision implemented a strategy focused on co-development partnerships with their customers, restructuring their sales process and broadening their precision component offerings. This approach, supported by digital transformation and marketing efforts, enabled Veco to focus more on their customers' needs and increase the value of their offerings. For more details, you should check out the case study on their website.


What would you do if customers stopped calling you from tomorrow?

On top of that, Veco has a strong R&D team that turns complex design challenges into micro-precision solutions for customers. The scope ranges from determining the initial parameters of the product, to sample creation and industrial-scale production. By providing this level of co-development, Veco can rightly claim that the organization enables innovation for many industries.

Today, Veco provides its products and services worldwide from its offices in the Netherlands, England, Germany, India and the USA. The organization maintains a position as a world leader in the manufacture of high precision metal components.

Are you exploiting your growth potential in new applications and markets?

Even at Veco, this exponential growth in miniaturization of products did not go unnoticed. The commercial team determined that there were still many applications and markets untapped. However; in order to exploit this potential and grow the business, there was a very important shift that needed to take place.

At that time, a significant portion of the customers were companies that primarily used products that Veco already had on the shelf: metal components requiring little to no R&D. Veco knows that the size of orders with these customers decreases significantly over time. On the other hand, however, there were a small number of customers who did develop their metal components with Veco. The life cycle of these products is considerably longer. This type of customer starts small but grows into a valuable long-term partnership.

Veco realized that they could no longer rely so heavily on their existing customer base. The goal became clear: increase revenue from new business by tapping into new markets. But the route to becoming the No. 1 co-development partner was not yet paved. At the end of 2015, they decided to take the plunge. This case study shows a snapshot of Veco Precision between January 2016 and May 2018, and how the organization grew revenue after successfully transforming its commercial organization.

Marketing is lacking, and Sales is doing cold calling

Filipe Oliveira da Silva, Group Director Sales & Marketing at Veco realized that his commercial organization was facing some significant challenges.

Filipe: "Our Sales department consisted mainly of account managers who both served existing customers and were 'hunting' for new ones. The latter they tried to achieve with cold calling! The lead lists were not qualified and we did not have enough common ground to start a conversation with prospects. In addition, there was virtually no marketing power in the organization. We had to admit that wasn't going to work."

On top of that, potential customers - engineers - are searching for solutions to challenges online. The ideal solution goes beyond the forms of metalworking they are already familiar with. Engineers are often unaware of the existence of some technologies such as electroforming. Let alone that they know that Veco can develop a product with them, saving them time, money and energy. Furthermore, the online visibility of Veco's technologies and services in Google, among others, was virtually nil. When potential customers wanted to learn about technologies online, Veco's website was not visible.

Filipe: "I felt that not only were we missing out on potential, but also that we were at risk of not meeting our commercial targets if we did not adjust our Sales and Marketing approach. We lacked insight into the profile of our ideal customer and how to solve challenges. In addition, we had no insight into that customer's behavior on digital channels. If we did not change our commercial strategy, we continued to attract the same customers, customers who did not grow with us. I was afraid that later we would not be able to compensate for that."


From lead generation to customer retention

Filipe's goal was clear. On the Marketing axis, the first step was to find a way to generate qualified leads through digital channels. On the Sales axis, Filipe wanted to be able to predict future sales through prospecting.

Filipe: "When we started, we didn't have the right processes, people or tooling in place to attract new customers. When it came totooling, we only used BI software linked to our ERP systems. This ERP was very product-oriented. It did not help me identify the needs of my customers. Let alone track the behavior of prospects and why they buy from us. We needed tooling that could fill this gap."

In addition, Veco's Marketing and Salesforce needed to scale upby adding new people to the team with the right competencies.

Finally, the most important item on the agenda was implementing newprocesses. Filipe: "We did not yet have a clear vision of where to start, but I knew that implementing the right Sales and Marketing processes, and aligning them with each other, was the most important prerequisite for all this to succeed. We needed to find a way for Sales and Marketing to work together structurally in generating, nurturing and tracking leads. And in doing so, put the customer first, not the product! With our highest goal in mind - keeping customers a shared wallet - processes were our top priority. We can help customers grow with our innovations, and they help us grow with a long-term, valuable partnership. I was sure we were going to achieve this goal."

Building a future-proof commercial strategy

Filipe decided to put the trust in his network to get Veco's commercial transformation off to a flying start. To achieve goals with renewed processes, scale up with the team and gain momentum with modern Marketing and Sales tools, they partnered with Webs.

In the first year, Filipe rolled out an Inbound Marketing strategy in his organization combined with HubSpot ' sMarketing Automation platform.

Filipe says, "We knew that a good CRM was also important, but Webs helped us set the right priorities. That led to the decision to start with a Marketing Automation tool to attract and nurture leads all the way to the Sale. Webs put the process in place and made sure management was on board from day one.

A major eye-opener in this process turned out to be "Engineer Jim," a persona created to better understand the goals and challenges of engineers. Our entire organization now has a clear definition of the DMU. Over the past two years, we have worked closely with Webs' consultants, copywriters, designers and technical specialists. Physical campaigns were set up to generate leads, measure results and improve.

After a few months, when the first qualified leads were transferred from Marketing to Sales, Veco rolled out an Inbound Sales strategy and the HubSpot CRM.

Filipe: "Our Sales activities were heavily based on gut feeling. The way leads were followed up at our foreign offices was a black box. We didn't have a clear plan defined: we jumped in the car when we felt we had a good lead. Once Marketing was set up, my next goal was to structure lead qualification and follow-up."

Key milestones:

  • Shaping a clear Growth Plan to make Veco's technologies and co-development service known to the world;
  • Establish closed loop reporting and a mindset to continuously improve;
  • Establish an Ideal Customer Profile and define Personas to attract more (co-development) prospects;
  • Validate leads: qualify each lead to establish 'fit';
  • Establish Marketing and Sales funnels and roll out an online (content) strategy to attract more, and better leads via online;
  • Implement modern Marketing and Sales tools.

The route to co-development

From January 2016 to today, Veco has worked hard to implement the new strategy and tooling to achieve goals. And not without results:

  • A growing number of companies that have recently become Veco customers fit the Ideal Customer Profile and have the potential to become major accounts in the future;
  • Foreign offices of Veco are all working with the Inbound methodology and HubSpot tooling;
  • The Inbound Marketing & Sales team has grown from 1 to 4 members; first an Inbound Marketer, followed by a Designer and most recently an Inbound Sales rep;
  • Marketing and Sales are fully integrated and the departments work together to attract leads and close deals.

After implementing Inbound Marketing into the organization, Veco saw significant growth in visitors and leads.

However, there were still several customers who did not yet fit within the Ideal Customer Profile. Filipe: "We are slowly making the switch from telling people about our technology and applications, to telling relationships that we are a co-development partner. This is starting to pay off: the latest most recent new customers fit exactly within the Ideal Customer Profile. The data we collect from the tooling tells us exactly what works, and what doesn't."

In terms of Sales, Veco has also made some important steps forward. Filipe: "We have learned that we don't have to wait for leads from Marketing, but can be proactive in identifying prospects. To make an appropriate connection, we share our existing content, adapted to the specific accounts Sales wants to approach. That way we add immediate value."

When figures from 2016 and 2017 are compared, we can conclude that Veco has already made great strides in becoming an "Inbound" organization:

More traffic: from 3,000 website visitors per month to 30,000 visitors per month.

More leads: from 0 qualified leads per month to an average of 40 qualified leads per month: leads that Sales can follow up on. A white paper on Electroforming was downloaded more than 1,000 times.

More customers: almost 30% of new business comes from online (Inbound Marketing and Sales). At the start of the process, this was 0%. In the first year, Veco was already able to pinpoint 21 customers who got in touch with Veco through online efforts.

And the future?

Filipe: "We have grown exponentially in traffic, leads and customers with Inbound Marketing and Sales. We are making great strides in business development with good validation of leads. My biggest priority now is to improve the quality of leads. This will bring us more co-development customers in the future."

In addition, Veco wants to work with application engineers to ensure "first time right" prototypes with each new customer. Moreover, to build long-term partnerships with customers, good key account management is crucial.

In 2018, independent investment company Gilde Equity Management (GEM) Benelux acquired Veco. Filipe: "Gilde's investment will accelerate the route we have chosen to shape our commercial strategy. Our Inbound Marketing activities are an important driver to make the No. 1 co-development partner."