SUCCESS STORY
From Small to Dazzling: VSM Marketing Support Services
By
Jean-Pierre Fortin

The Business/The Organization

VSM is a corporation offering telemarketing services in the information technology domain across North America. Founded in 1993, VSM is one of the leaders in the province of Quebec in this business area, and is positioning itself in the North American market by offering a wide array of marketing services to its information technology clients, including client prospecting and qualification, targeted client databases, business intelligence and profiling, turnkey marketing seminars, and more.

VSM and its leaders have worked to leverage their clients' strengths as they work with customers. They have reached an exceptional level of client satisfaction, and VSM is recognized as an expert in the marketing of information technology.

The Partnership

The president of VSM, Alain Boudreau, had led the company through its initial small business stage and growth. Over time, because of their specialization, VSM created a large demand for their services and high performance. In 2001, Alain hired a new partner who would take over the day-to-day operations of the company.

In November 2001, Alain contacted Jean-Pierre Fortin, executive coach and the founder of Coaching de gestion inc. Alain saw Jean-Pierre, an experienced coach and previous executive, as the right person to coach him and his partner as they worked to take the company to the next stage in their growth. Jean-Pierre, a coach since 1998, had been an executive for over 25 years, and also knew well what it meant to be an entrepreneur facing growth.

The Challenge

Alain's main desired result from the coaching partnership was to effectively navigate the dazzling growth his company was facing. With the assistance of a coach, he needed to:

  • Help his partner quickly engage himself in the right direction
  • Overcome the loneliness that results from being the top link in the decision-making process
  • Shift from a day-to-day operations focus to a more strategic approach in leading the company
  • Modify the company's business model in order to develop a profitable client base
  • Restructure the accounting system to better understand the costs associated with each contract
  • Identify and eliminate non-profitable clients

The Approach

Jean-Pierre related easily to the challenges his client faced, because he felt that he was facing similar challenges in his coaching business. He saw the opportunity to not only support Alain but to also apply the result of the coaching. Jean-Pierre and Alain easily understood each other and established good communication. Concurrently, Jean-Pierre hired a coach located in California to enable him to step back and ensure the success of his own business so that he could more effectively coach Alain through this period of growth.

Jean-Pierre used a coaching strategy that focused on what was most important for Alain: sustained sales growth, higher operations efficiency, and improved profitability. The strategy for the business included:

  • Making a clear distinction between revenue and benefits to eliminate non-profitable sales;
  • Delegating more while emphasizing responsibilities and competencies rather than tasks;
  • Developing a client base with repeat business rather than "one-shot deals";
  • Raising the awareness and diligence of project managers to control the evolution of contract costs.

Rather than pointing to solutions to the complex situations that Alain faced, Jean-Pierre helped him work intensely to discover his own solutions. Over the period of a year, the sessions moved from weekly to as needed and upon client request. The relationship has continued, and Alain continues to turn to his coach to get clarity when facing a complex decision.

The Value Delivered

Over time, the strategies that VSM executive Alain Boudreau and coach Jean-Pierre Fortin implemented have increased the sales growth of the business and led to increased profitability and a higher efficiency in operations.

Through coaching, Alain became aware of the distinction between the different types of costs (direct, general, marketing, etc.) and their implication in profitability. He began to realize that these costs were too high with respect to the estimates they were providing to clients. The coaching led to some interesting results: while sales growth was not significant due to the elimination of non-profitable clients, the profits from the consolidated client base grew by approximately 9.7%.

The intangible results of the coaching partnership were just as powerful. Jean-Pierre felt as a coach that he better understood the rite of passage of a small business to a medium-sized business. The trust built between coach and client and the empowerment and awareness the client experienced will allow Alain Boudreau to continue to lead VSM to even greater growth.

 
Jean-Pierre Fortin, MCC, CEC, CRHA, CA, works with company directors, executives, managers and entrepreneurs primarily in French-speaking Canada and Europe. In 1997, he founded Coaching de gestion inc., a coaching school for leaders within organizations as well as for professional coaches. Read more about Jean-Pierre in the WABC Coach Directory. Jean-Pierre may be reached by email at fortinjp2@coaching.qc.ca.

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