What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
I can say qualitatively that by working with them we gained new clients and partners that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Two years is pretty short in the scheme of things. They really helped expand that reach that we didn’t have before. For us, success is based on the investment and the kind and size of the deals we get from each of these customers – the value we get from each opportunity that’s won. We definitely got our return on investment in that sense.
The ultimate success is that they’re gaining meetings for us and that these communications turn into revenue generating sales for ROI. But there are additional incremental indicators in terms of the number of qualified leads we get and how productive those conversations are – particularly because what we were selling is fairly unique. There’s a lot of education required to educate the clients. CIENCE was very thorough in that aspect.
How did CIENCE Technologies perform from a project management standpoint?
We would have weekly calls with their entire team to go over what was done in the last week. We mostly communicated via email or phone. We never interacted face-to-face but it felt like they were definitely part of the team. They were a great team to work with on a personal level, which is important.
Overall, I think the project management is one of their key assets. Right off the bat, they were organized and good on following up with potential clients. They were able to take feedback and apply it in real-time. We’re selling a heavy, complicated scientific research-based offering that they were able to pick up really quickly and manage accordingly.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their ability to offer a customized, hands-on experience both for us and for our clients, the people that they’re reaching out to. Their messaging wasn’t mass, blanket emails but came from a real person representing our company. They could respond if there were any questions. It didn’t feel automated or like you were talking to a robot. They provided a concierge-type approach.
A little anecdote to share is that with clients and partners that I’ve had an opportunity to meet face-to-face, they always ask about the CIENCE colleagues by name. The CIENCE folks that were doing the outreach really provided a personal touch and our clients expected to interact with them in a greater way. In essence, being asked for by name was a true testament to how involved they were in the whole process.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I think it’s hard for anybody with that type of offering to be a domain expert in every field. They tend to be generalists rather than industry specific. It’s hard for us to find anyone that specializes specifically in biotech or the life sciences. It’s not really a ding against them, it’s just one of the trade-offs. When someone asks them a very technical question, they ultimately have to punt it to us. But that’s probably a good thing since we have the domain area expertise.
One of the things I brought up to them in feedback, and that I think they addressed, was meeting reminders. When you set up client meetings 2 weeks or a month out, you want to follow-up with a reminder 24, or 48, hours before the call or meeting. That sort of follow-up was initially lack. When I brought it up to them, they implemented it right away. Hopefully it has been globally implemented across their work.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Be very involved at least in the early stages because it's such a customized, personalized solution. Provide as much detail as you can. Be involved in the process of how you define your target segment and the profile of your customers. They’ll do a good job on their own; they’re savvy enough to do their own research. But it’s helpful to be involved in that process.
Secondly, and related to this, be involved in designing the messaging. The email template becomes your voice, and it’s the first point of contact with potential clients. CIENCE can put it together on their own but it’s worth your initial investment. You’ll reap the rewards on the backend.