Surecom Case Study: 6-9 Months
“Transition and change…moving beyond box shifting.”
Serial entrepreneur, Ash Hanna, decided 11 years ago when he established technology provider, Surecom, that he would do it all differently. His goal was to build a business that his team could grow without him holding the reigns day-to-day.
Like many other companies operating in the highly competitive technology sector, Ash appreciated that Surecom needed to establish a clear position as a solutions provider and not just a company shifting boxes of hardware.
Losing the path to market leadership
Over the past five years, the Surecom team developed a new product mix and skillset, but it has been evident that the transition towards a position as a solutions provider is a significant challenge.
“Whilst we were recognised for our solutions, we had lost our way as far as innovation goes,” Ash commented during a recent interview.
“On one hand I wanted this business to be a service-oriented company, but on the other we were still operating as a box mover, which tends to be the industry’s default setting.”
What the team at Surecom recognised during the transition towards their new model, was that the business lacked marketing capability.
Whilst Surecom’s internal skillset and services offering were critical assets, the company was losing market leadership because it failed to enunciate and communicate its points of difference.
Digging deep to develop a position
After gathering Surecom’s senior leadership team together for a 9 Strategic Performance Benchmark, it became apparent to Ash that there was a need to review the business to fully understand its Position, Capability and Channel.
The insights-gathering process undertaken by 9 Strategic revealed a critical gap between where Surecom aimed to be positioned, and where its customers and staff saw the business. The purpose of the review was to get deep under the skin of the company and understand how it operated both internally and externally.
The insights gathering process for Surecom encompassed both qualitative and quantitative surveys conducted across a broad cross-section of stakeholders. The response rates to the surveys were very solid, indicating Surecom had good levels of engagement with its key constituents. This was supported by glowing reviews of the organisation, which provided a very positive base from which the 9 Strategic team could work.
That said, whilst customers appreciated and valued the service they received from Surecom, in many instances the relationship was still transactional.
“It’s really tough to have one idea in your head, only to be told that your customers see things from an entirely different perspective”, Ash said in response to the insights obtained during the survey period.
Another key takeout for Surecom was the incredibly crowded and competitive market in which it was operating, making for some challenges in developing a positioning that set the company apart from other businesses.
Surecom is not alone in facing the “positioning challenge”. In 9 Strategic’s recently released report, The Findings, 40% of the 500-plus businesses which participated in the two-year benchmark programme, indicated they had little or no knowledge of their market position.
Success = translation of marketing to revenues
There is no question that the process of building a market position, strategic marketing capability and channel strategy into the business has been a challenge and disruptor for the team at Surecom.
In Ash’s mind: “We needed a way to evolve the organisation to build growth an longevity into it. My aim was to get Surecom to the point where the staff was running it.
“Bringing 9 Strategic into the business marked the moment where we decided to apply a different approach and articulate what we do and where we are going.”
Ash agrees that introducing 9 Strategic has had a two-fold impact on his business – excitement and stress.
Whilst a recent launch of the company’s re-brand gave staff a chance to come together, re-engage and share in Surecom’s vision, the journey so far has also challenged and extended team members beyond their comfort zones.
Surecom now has a marketing budget and a twelve month programme with clearly enunciated objectives. The business knows its position in the marketplace and has a clear path in approaching its target market.
Surecom has implemented a sales process that builds and nurtures long term relationships with customers and uses its partners more actively to access clients. This is supported by messages which the business can be confident are of high value and are being received in the right way.
Whilst this is a long term programme, initial results are positive with Surecom generating as much revenue in the first six weeks of the 2013/14 financial year as its turnover for the previous year.
9 Strategic director, Linda Ginger, commented: “Surecom has a great story to tell here. They were a market leader in 2006, but unfortunately lost some of their leverage because they didn’t engage with strategic marketing.
“Today, they are still very much ahead of the curve using technology which can catapult them over their competition. They definitely have a point of difference, and are well into the process of building the capability to enunciate it properly in the marketplace.”