David and Joshua Kahn placed a lot of faith in the strength of the automotive industry, but now it was coming back to bite them. As the recession of 2008 took hold and brought automakers, among other businesses, to their knees, sales volume at Perfection Spring & Stamping Corp. took a big hit.
“Our greatest challenge was twofold,” says David Kahn, president and co-owner of the precision metal formed component supplier. “One was to grow sales and two, to further diversify the sales base so that if another downturn did come down the road, we wouldn’t be impacted as greatly by the automotive industry.”
The Kahns concluded that their stale marketing strategy was a big part of the problem at the company, which has more than 100 employees.
“The only people that knew us were the people that knew us,” says Joshua Kahn, co-owner and executive vice president of sales. “In order to increase market share in our current markets and also obtain new markets, we needed to refocus our marketing and sales strategy.”
Joshua felt the company wasn’t doing all it could to support its existing customers, nor was it doing enough to obtain new customers and expand the business. The company’s failings at marketing were most evident on its website.
“At the time it was built in 1993, it was really about photos and fluff rather than being a user-friendly site with information that customers would go back to time and time again,” Kahn says.
He decided to get out and attend industry association meetings to learn more about what other companies were doing with their sales and marketing strategies. But before he actually went to those meetings, he met with his management team and ironed out exactly what Perfection Spring was looking to achieve.
“I made a list of all the different marketing strategies that we could come up with as a management team and then went to these meetings with eyes wide open to learn,” Kahn says. “If I were to offer one piece of advice, it would be to understand what you want to do, then go ahead and do your own research. Many things introduced in the meetings, after I came back and did research, I found were not necessarily for us.
“It was a great platform to really review our entire marketing strategy. But you still have to be wise and figure out what’s best for you, for your business and for your customers.”
Kahn says it’s easy to go to a conference or hear from an expert and simply buy in to everything that this one person is trying to sell you. But it may not be a good fit for you.
“We started doing trade shows as a result of the conferences,” Kahn says. “We redid our website. We changed our sales organization internally. We did quite a number of things. But we didn’t jump into anything.”
In fact, after attending conferences in the summer of 2009, Kahn and his team took several months to digest what they had heard and plot a new strategy for the business.
“We wanted to make sure we did it right,” Kahn says. “Not fast but correctly.”
One thing that has become very obvious to David is the need to get in front of customers on a regular basis.
“We supply parts, but we don’t supply standard parts,” Kahn says. “Everything we supply is custom. So we are in essence a service provider. The greatest service we can provide our customers is engineered solutions to their problems, not only from a design standpoint but, more importantly, from a cost reduction standpoint.”
The deeper connections that are being formed between Perfection Spring and its customers are showing results. The Kahns give a lot to credit to Thomas Industrial Network for helping them to develop an effective web strategy.
“The actual design of the website has certainly played a big role in obtaining prequalified leads and new key customers,” Joshua Kahn says. “It has let us expand into markets that we were never in before.”
How to reach: Perfection Spring & Stamping Corp., (847) 437-3900 or www.pss-corp.com
One of the most important changes made at Perfection Spring & Stamping Corp. is the effort to create a website that would enable the company to prequalify sales leads.
“Just as we are prequalifying prospects, they are prequalifying suppliers,” says Joshua Kahn, executive vice president at the precision metal formed component supplier that has more than 100 employees.
“When they put in their search terms, they are finding us and we are finding them. By the time we get a quote request, there is a good match. We go through a detailed qualification process after we get a quote request to make sure our company is on the same track with their company.”
When it comes to websites, you’ve got to know what you want since there are so many directions you can go.
“The first thing we did as a management team, we listed everything we wanted and we literally wrote it down,” Kahn says. “We brainstormed. Then when we met with the various vendors that could provide us with those services; we were sure to ask them all the same questions. Then when we met again and reviewed the answers from all the companies, very clearly as our management team saw, there were certain companies that would meet what we expected and others that would not. A website is a living, breathing thing. Even though we went live, we are constantly changing it.”