Mar 18, 2014

Silverline: Growing A First Call Advantage

Do your customers call you first when they’re ready to buy? What about your partners? Do they refer you first?

Achieving a First Call Advantage is a powerful marketing position. It means you have the preferred brand, and customers and partners choose you first when they have a need.

According to Gireesh Sonnad, Partner at Silverline, “Almost 90% of our business, or our lead flow, comes from Salesforce.com itself.” Silverline is an implementation partner with Salesforce.com. They help companies and organizations who have purchased Salesforce.com to properly implement the platform, and make it work for their business.

Strong Positioning: Do what you do best

Silverline has nurtured a First Call Advantage by being clear on what they do best.

“Financial Services is our number one vertical, and the one we know the best and have the most experience in. Healthcare and Life Sciences is our secondary vertical, and we just started in that vertical in the last twelve months,” continues Gireesh.

Silverline’s commitment to niche markets increases their value and referability with the Salesforce.com reps. Gireesh explains, “While Salesforce.com is attempting to sell a customer on the Salesforce platform, especially in these verticals, they look for people who have done it before or can help prove to these customers that what they’re trying to achieve can be done within the Salesforce platform. As a result, a huge majority of our lead flow today comes from Salesforce looking for partners to meet their customer needs, and then recommending us to them.”

There are over 650 Salesforce.com consulting partners in North America. Strong positioning is essential for Silverline to rise above the herd. A sales person cannot remember the names of all the partners and all their strengths and weaknesses. But they will remember the leaders in a specific vertical.

Create top of mind awareness

If you don’t blow your own horn, nobody will.

A strong niche and good work will take your business only so far, but a First Call Advantage needs to be constantly renewed. It’s based on relationships and top of mind awareness.

Silverline achieves a First Call Advantage by purposefully going above and beyond the call of duty for their key referral partner. Gireesh explains, “Down in the trenches where individual deals are made, the relationships we have with the Salesforce.com sales team, the guys who sell the deals and talk with customers everyday, are extraordinarly important to us. We spend a lot of time fostering those relationships, and making sure those teams know we’re here for them anytime they need us to help with a deal.” And it’s those relationships that make the brand stick, and keep their sales funnel full.

Silverline’s First Call Advantage has accelerated their growth. The firm was founded in 2010, and in less than four years they’ve grown to over 100 employees, achieved the elite Gold level in Salesforce’s partner program, and they’re busting at the seams with more opportunities than they can handle.

That’s the power of a First Call Advantage. A strong reputation and the right referral partners can accelerate your growth beyond traditional marketing activities.

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