Trade Extensions – Client Spotlight

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 2 comments

client-spotlight-trade-extensions-thumbAbout Trade Extensions

Trade Extensions provides an e-sourcing and optimisation platform that uses problem-solving technology to help businesses find the best solutions in complicated situations. The company was founded in 2000 by scientists with world-leading competence in the combination of algorithm design and microeconomics, including market design and negotiation protocols.

Trade Extensions’ software is mostly used to help their clients design and run online sourcing projects , but can also be used, for example, to find the best way to display products on supermarket shelves, or the best allocation of TV adverts to advertising slots. The software is extremely sophisticated, but must be presented in a way that quickly makes sense to potential customers.
The company delivers sales presentations on a regular basis, to an international audience who may have little prior understanding of what Trade Extensions can offer.

Challenges

One of the major challenges that Trade Extensions faces is in attempting to sell a concept which is new to many companies. The company felt hindered by not having a sales presentation that effectively communicated their products and services, and how they could benefit customers. By failing to get across what the company offered, there was a risk that some prospective customers failed to understand how using Trade Extensions’ software might help them.

The most popular application for Trade Extensions’ software is in procurement. Even though the company could save significant amounts of money for prospective customers, or help them choose higher-quality suppliers, explaining the real power of Trade Extensions in a way that can be quickly understood is not straightforward . Using text-heavy presentations together with screen-shots which can often be difficult to read did not seem to convey the message adequately.

A secondary challenge Trade Extensions needs to overcome is that the versatility of its software can make the company appear to be a ‘Jack-of-all-Trades’. The company was concerned that, by appearing to be able to solve such a wide range of problems, audiences might lose sight of the major opportunities Trade Extensions can bring.

Finally, the company felt that their current text-heavy sales material failed to help the company stand out, or create a memorable experience for prospective customers. Two senior executives at Trade Extensions had worked with m62 visualcommunications with their previous company, and had a clear sense that a visual sales presentation would be more effective.

Objectives

Trade Extensions enlisted the help of m62 to create a bespoke presentation that could be delivered by virtually any member of the organisation on a face-to-face basis, or via a web-conference, to potential new clients.

The brief to m62 was to provide a tool that would help increase conversion rates and boost new business wins by demonstrating that complex procurement exercises can be run more easily and more effectively using Trade Extensions. m62 were also asked to hint at the other applications Trade Extensions’ software had, without diluting the strength of the core message. Overall the presentation should have impact at the strategic level appealing to senior decision makers in potential clients.

Solution

One of the key creative decisions m62 made with Trade Extensions was to make use of an interactive element at the start of the presentation – inviting the audience to solve, using pencil and paper, a relatively simple procurement problem. This problem was made more complex because the small number of suppliers in the exercise were capacity constrained, and offered volume discounts. By showing the audience that even quite simple purchasing problems can be difficult to solve without software, the prospective customer quickly understands the essence of Trade Extensions’ sophisticated offering.

Client Spotlight – Trade Extensions Slides

Please hit ‘pause’ if you want time to try and solve the simple buying problem shown here.

m62 used visuals and diagrams to show how Trade Extensions can help companies to buy better, not only in terms of price but also in terms of their strategic objectives. By using images in these diagrams, m62 managed to show how optimising algorithms can be applied in different situations. So, Trade Extensions can credibly claim to help decide who should be awarded tenders, or, for example, which scrap metals from which locations should be used to create which alloys – with visuals explaining clearly how these processes are similar.

m62 worked with Trade Extensions to establish a clear value proposition that was repeated within Trade Extensions’ presentation, to ensure that audiences would remember the key benefits of working with the company. By using this memory technique, m62 helped to make sure that Trade Extensions’ complex message was easy to grasp and remember.

Results

The project took just six weeks to complete. Joe Critchley, Vice President of Sales at Trade Extensions attributes some of this rapid turnaround to m62’s project delivery ability -

Strong project management was maintained throughout the time we worked with m62, especially during the latter stages of our collaboration, close to the deadline, when M62 were quick to turn around the final amendments.

Trade Extension can now deliver a better-structured and more-impactful presentation to its potential clients, conveying the real benefits it can bring in a compelling and clear way.. Critchley sums up the immediate impact of the project:

The new presentation has been extremely well received both internally and with clients. The quality of the presentation is consistent with the world-leading capabilities of our offering and our presenters have a high level of confidence in the quality of the material. The presentation is effective in both face-to-face situations and via a web-conference. Overall there is a clear consensus within Trade Extensions that the decision to engage m62 took us to a new level of presentation quality and proved excellent value for money.

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2 Comments to Trade Extensions – Client Spotlight

  1. #1

    jones

    7:02 am, October 27th, 2009

    great slides. Can I have a copy of it? thks

  2. #2

    Joby Blume

    8:46 am, October 27th, 2009

    Sorry Jones, but these slides belong to Trade Extensions. They kindly agreed to let us write a case study about the project, but I can’t imagine they would want to give their sales presentation slides to the public.