It’s a business-to-business Cinderella story — but it didn’t take a magic spell to engineer a 320-percent increase in Web-based marketing activity — and new sales growth — for one local data back-up and storage company.
Up until last summer, Colorado Springs-based STORserver, a privately owned, 15-year-old company had been doing well.
Its 40 employees, teamed with 300-plus channel partners, were steadily building awareness for the up-and-coming enterprise. The firm’s primary competitor, however, still controlled more than its share of business.
STORserver’s management team, headed by Chairman and President Laura Buckley and new Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Burns, was solid, but the firm’s resellers were leaving too much new business on the table.
“We were doing OK — but our Web site was only getting about 20 hits a day. Once we polled our channel partners, we discovered that they were frustrated trying to get information from our various portals. They’d try to pull up specs and then have to call in for updates. We had plenty of product information out there, but it just wasn’t that accessible online — and it was hard to explain what we do the end-user,” Buckley said.
The executive team decided it was time to make a move. Burns ran into Sandia president and long-time Internet marketing consultant Bernard Sandoval downtown last August. The two men huddled, trying to determine how to best move STORserver forward.
Within 30 days STORserver launched an entirely new Web site that was debuted for its channel partners on-screen at Kimball’s Peak Theater during mid-September.
It streamed video of Chief Technology Officer Kelly Lipp, who is now able to speak directly to the resellers about new products and service updates — and connected to dozens of reseller Web sites using embedded microsites that allowed reps to link directly to the STORserver site. At the same time, a click on the company’s home page or a call to a 1-800-number from a BlackBerry phone, immediately took the channel partner to a product or delivery manager at STORserver, saving time and moving the sales process ahead.
As a result, Burns has watched Web hits multiply exponentially to 1,000 visits per day.
“Alexa.com, owned by Google, now has us ranked No. 640,000 on the list of the most active global Web sites — up from 2 millionth six months ago,” he said. “That surpasses our biggest competitor which is ranked at No. 760,000 — they do $60 million a quarter. And we’ll probably rank among the top 100 Web sites in the U.S. this year.”
Revenue through 2009 exceeded 2008’s by double-digits, and Burns credits the new Web site for the lift.
“It also kicks an inquiry on to our sales list,” he said, adding that he’ll need ongoing agency support in order to stay abreast of next-generation digital technology.
STORserver’s new Web technology also provides the Internet Protocol address of visitors to the site — valuable information, especially for resellers building sales relationships. The company is also developing a community of regular followers, generated through social media and hosts regular reseller webinars.
As far as how other companies can make the most of online marketing, Burns was clear.
“I’d tell anybody interested in upgrading their Web presence to make sure your first step is to listen — really listen — to your customer. Once you do, you’ll be able to target your time and resources,” he said.