Corner the Market
TopRight is a strategic marketing and consulting services firm founded in 2006 by consultants from top firms (McKinsey, Booz & Company, CSC Index), former Chief Marketing Officers and senior practitioners in sales, marketing and applied technologies.
- Marketing & Branding Strategy
- Enterprise Marketing Management
- Marketing Transformation
- Analytics, Modeling & Insight
- Marketing Spend Effectiveness
- Consumer Experience
- Change Managment
- Marketing Automation
- Align Strategy, Operations & IT
- Social Media
- Direct Marketing
- Creative Services
- Sports Sponsorship
- Public Relations
- American Red Cross
“They were so utterly knowledgeable and so completely patient with us.”
TopRight developed an Aprimo enterprise software application to help synchronize the sales funnel and follow-up processes for 400 educational franchises with 1,200 locations.
“They were so utterly knowledgeable and so completely patient with us.”
Oct 16, 2013
TopRight’s work has resulted in dramatic improvements across both customer and account level metrics, including a 50% increase in self-recorded enrollment inquiries. The team was partner-oriented; provided top-rated, experienced consultants; and balanced their own business needs with their client’s.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Could you briefly describe your company?
We’re essentially an educational franchise. It is a network of learning centers and territories across US, Canada and a few other international countries, such as Dubai and Qatar. Our entire enterprise serves kids K through twelve. We emphasize personal learning. Each child has a program comprised of individual curriculum catered to the needs that are identified based on a field assessment. All instruction is one-on-one. And the length of each program depends on the needs and goals of the student. We’ve been around for well over 30 years and have served well over two million students across our network.
What is your position?
Senior Director of Relationship Marketing.
Could you describe the business challenge(s) that you were attempting to address for this project with TopRight Partners?
Our system is a franchise and there are over 400 franchisees. At one point in time we had over 1,200 centers. Each one of those centers and their staff were employing follow-up processes that were unique to their own location. They were using materials that were unique to their own locations. We really did not have a good grasp on a consistent and standardized follow-up, conversion and relationship building process; nor did we have a good handle on the presentation of our brand to consumers. We knew that from a business standpoint, we were not getting as much out of our sales funnel, as we should have been. We were driving away lot of leads. They either did not get followed up with consistently or they received messaging that was not necessarily catered to them. We were striving to plug these holes in our sales funnel. We wanted to establish a regimented approach to building customer relationships all across the entire customer life cycle.
Could you describe the scope of the project in terms of components: did it include custom design, development, training, support, etc.?
The scope of the project was very large. One aspect of it was change management, because for over 30 years, individual locations were allowed to do what they wanted to do. The change aspect required helping them accept that there would be a consistent approach, and ‘corporate’ would be communicating with their customers on their behalf. Our headquarters had very little experience with enterprise software applications of this nature, so internally we did not have the experience to know really what it was going to take from a hardware side to run this thing, the staff we needed, what this really meant for the whole organization, what we were going to have to do to expand it and maintain it. We were looking for guidance. That’s particularly where TopRight came in.
How long did the implementation process take?
From the time that the Aprimo host came on site and installed it to when we sent our first communication in beta, I would say it was approximately ten months. And during that timeframe we were led through the project definition and standup by a TopRight consultant that was on site with us most days of the week.
Is there any particular reason that you chose Aprimo over some of its counterparts?
We conducted a definition of our business needs. We created a document that was essentially our RFP document. And it was really about our business needs versus our technical needs, because again we did not exactly know what those technical pieces were. So we evaluated Aprimo and many other products as well. For example, we also looked at systems like Eloqua and Unica. But we after much discussion and evaluation from a quantitative standpoint, we felt that Aprimo was the best fit for not only what we wanted to do in the near term, but also what we wanted to do in the long term as far as scalability.
How did you actually select TopRight Partners as your solution provider?
We had some internal knowledge of TopRight. They had a pre-existing business relationship and business experience with some of our executive team. TopRight was also a certified Aprimo implementation partner. So, a: I was thrilled as the champion of the solution to get the green light to have support, external expertise to teach us what we needed to know versus us stumbling through the dark and trying to figure it out for ourselves; and b: I was also reassured that there was experience with their work previously.
What parts of the project were you directly involved with in terms of in-house contribution?
TopRight was able to assist me in defining my staffing model. I was able to bring on additional team members based on their help in validating the roles. We eventually brought on a campaigns manager – someone who was working day to day building campaigns, etc. We hired a systems engineer who was dedicated to the Aprimo implementation. We hired a systems analyst that was responsible for translating business needs into technical specifications and project plans as well. As the implementation progressed we were consistently adding team members to augment our ability to manage the work processes.
Could you give me a sense of the size of this initiative in either monetary terms or the number of personnel that TopRight dedicated to the project?
From the TopRight side we started off with two consultants, and we ended up really working so well with one of them that he became dedicated to our initiative and he worked with us through the whole time period.
In terms of cost would it be possible to provide a range at all?
I recall it was over $300,000.
Do you remember exactly when this was completed?
I believe it was August of 2009.
In terms of results, could you share with me any statistics and metrics that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work that they provided you?
On a macro level we have what our various centers report to us. These include number of inquiries, number of kids they pass, number of kids they enroll, etc. Then we also review each individual campaign, which is an aggregated report that can be divided up into unique customer pieces. It’s the difference between looking at actual customer level metrics and account level metrics. But regardless of how you look at it, we had improvements across both the customer level metrics, as well as the account level metrics. And the improvement in our self-recorded results had been very, very dramatic. There was over a 50% gain in self-recorded inquiries to enrollment rate. But again, lots of factors go in there. When you look at the actual customer level, depending upon where you look in the sales funnel, during what cohort, you’re seeing improvements over periods of time anywhere between 10 and 40%. And then at a campaign level – we had many variables. Seasonality was a variable. Did we get permission to use the best offer that we thought was possible? Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t. That was the conversation that went back and forth with our franchisees. I believe we only had one or two campaigns that were bombs for us. And keep in mind, the implementation of a particular follow-up process in itself was a way to add lists to our business because we knew we were touching folks who had just never been followed up with. Ultimately, we were very happy with the results. From a hardcore business standpoint, I was obligated to anywhere between 1,200 and 1,500 enrollments a year. This was a huge revenue driver for us.
How do you feel that TopRight performed on the implementation and their provision of training and support?
Well the consultants that they allocated to our business I give nothing but stars, exclamations, and thumbs up to. They were fantastic. They were so utterly knowledgeable and so completely patient with us. It’s my understanding that there are a number of other consultants that they used that are of the same caliber.
Is there anything you would consider unique or special about TopRight Partners compared to other service providers you’ve worked with in the past?
I do think that they are very partner oriented. As a marketing professional myself, I can tell when you’re trying to sell me something. But at the same time, it can be done in a way that is more palpable and more beneficial to you than may be the case. I think that TopRight has a really good balance between growing their business and growing their client’s business.