Coolspirit - Beating the recession

How to keep growing in a recession
Coolspirit is a data storage supplier with a customer service ethos so strong that a key element of the company mission statement promises, “Everyday we will not just please our customers we will stun and amaze them!” That the company lives up to it’s promises is reflected in the number of customer testimonials it receives.

The company has built its reputation on an ability to supply a wide range of data storage solutions from tape, tape libraries, virtual tape libraries and networked storage to storage software and connectivity, in the shortest possible time from enquiry to delivery. Allied to this fast turnaround of orders, is the provision of professional services to support its offerings, from pre-sale consultancy to post purchase trouble-shooting.

Asked to summarise the reasons for the company’s success, Damon Robertson, Marketing and Sales Director says, “We give customers instant quotations, deliver the next day, and check the product has arrived. Our aim is to make it easy to deal with us and to stun customers with the speed of our response. For everyone at Coolspirit data storage isn’t just a business it is our passion.”

Ambitious growth plans drive investment in skills training
Two years ago the company developed an ambitious growth plan to treble in size within 5 years. Key elements of this plan were to invest in both a higher level of marketing and in the development of higher-level skills in the sales and sales support team. Damon Robertson comments “As a company that prides itself on service, its essential that we explore our customers’ needs effectively. We often find that on deeper investigation there are alternative solutions, which better meet customer needs, in some cases not only providing a better solution, but a cheaper one too. So we wanted to ensure all our people had the highest level of skills for exploring customer requirements effectively.”

Huthwaite International Open Courses
Coolspirit selected Huthwaite International to meet these training needs through its Open Courses unit initially. Damon Robertson sums up the reasons, “we found Huthwaite International to be a very professional organisation, with a structured approach. The SPIN® Selling Skills programme is well liked and it works. Our sales philosophy is one of honesty and integrity and the SPIN® Selling programme backs this up with a no nonsense method of getting to the customer’s real requirements rather than just selling them a product. We have started with Open Courses from Huthwaite as we wanted to hit the ground running and get everyone onboard quickly with the same skills. We have a plan in place to move forward with in house courses early next year.”

Acquiring and Developing Accounts by Telephone
Delegates attended either a three day SPIN® Selling Skills programme or a two day Acquiring and Developing Accounts by Telephone (ADAT) programme. As the name suggests, this latter course focuses on the specific skills of selling via the telephone, as a vehicle for both acquiring new customers and developing a long-term relationship. The programme aims to help delegates to:

  • Satisfy customer needs more effectively
  • Achieve higher conversion rates
  • Increase sales revenue
  • Improve repeat business levels

Objectives well matched to Coolspirit’s growth plans.

Instant payback for the training investment
The sales team responded well to the training, with the less experienced team members benefiting greatly from the skills developed on the ADAT programme. As Damon Robertson reports, “Our people were able to apply what they had learned as soon as they were back at work. One of our new team members was instantly rewarded for using his new skills to explore a customer’s needs in depth - uncovering a need for a wider solution. This resulted in a better solution for the customer and a larger sale for us.”

Customer satisfaction
Coolspirit’s approach has been well received by customers such as Paul Kennelly, Senior IM&T Technician, Lancashire Care and NHS Foundation Trust who states, “You can’t fault Coolspirit, they’re a very good company to talk to - when they say they’ll do something, they do it, and they’re very hungry to deliver. Whenever we’ve asked questions-whether it’s been about sales, media, backup, or backup agents - they have been great.”

Continued growth despite the recession
The investment in marketing and training clearly paid off, despite the recession having a significant impact on the market. In the past financial year Coolspirit enjoyed growth of 3% while it’s competitors lost 20% to 50% of their business over the same period. As Robertson says, “When we set our growth plans we clearly didn’t anticipate a recession, especially one of this magnitude, so to continue to grow in this climate is a significant achievement. I have no doubts that developing our team’s selling skills played a significant part in that success. More importantly, we should be well equipped to continue our growth path when the market improves.”