Last week Lucid Travel met with a venture capitalist who gave us advice on how to grow and transform our company. This lead to the development of concrete company values. We focused on our goals for 2019 and how to improve our process for sales and marketing. These goals include perfecting a turn-key process, providing value for our customer, and honoring quality over quantity.
Time is a major resource for the company. Our focus for 2019 is growth in revenue and image. The question is how to develop sustainable growth as efficiently as possible? Our sales meetings consisted of analyzing our current systems and transforming them into a perfected, standard procedure.
Our current sales process has consisted of contacting universities we’re hoping to partner with. Once contacted, we connect with them by conducting a survey. The survey asks about how they handle their sports travel and any difficulties they face with it. We send them the survey results so they can see how other schools like them handle their travel. They can also see how other schools have benefited from using Lucid. The survey allows us to see if they would be a good fit, and if they are, we try to set a meeting with them. The funnel process after contacted and connected is as follows:
Survey –> Send Survey Report –> Set Meeting –> Send Travel Page -> Set Training Meeting –> Partner
However, there are flaws in this process. There is a lot of unchartered actions between meeting set and partnered. We’ve been valuing the number of meetings we set a week, but have realized that it isn’t the number of meetings that matter, but the quality. We want our partners to want to be affiliated with us. We want to help them manage their travel better and to benefit from it. We want to become consultants instead of sales people. This became clear after meeting with a venture capitalist. He gave us great advice on how to grow and transform Lucid Travel.
Meeting with a Venture Capitalist:
We were reminded that making $0-$100k is the hardest part of a business and that $100k - $500k makes for a real business. Lucid Travel has achieved the hardest part. His advice was to keep doing what we’ve been doing but to double down on our process. Our advisor had big-picture ideas. He told us he could see Lucid Travel becoming a stepping stone for a new, previously non-existent tech company. But how would something like that work?
It would require Intellectual Property (IP) – something like a patent or trademark. It can also mean a company has a product that is defensible, not easy to replicate and has enough distribution to dominate the marketplace.
We’ve looked at big companies time and time again for inspiration. AirBnB is one of our favorites. They have clearly begun to dominate the market. While their software is re-creatable, their defense is their inventory. By striving to become consultants rather than salesmen, and by valuing the quality of our partners over the quantity, our inventory could also become our defense. Nobody else in this market would be able to foster the same kind of customer relationship as Lucid Travel.
Before we broaden our horizons, we have to hone in our on current niche: university sports travel. The majority of who we contact are team managers and event directors. We are in less contact with teams and individuals. We need to connect with individuals more –and realize that all of these other categories are made up of individuals. We have come up with several solutions to quantify our sales process into something we can perfect.
The benefits of these solutions are to help us focus on precision, quality, and time management.
· Organization – precision is the key to efficiency.
o Create a more detailed funnel process
· Detailed, updated notes on potential partners to reference with each conversation – this establishes a connection with them
· Define how much worth a partner will bring us before we contact them
o Not partnering with colleges that have less than 6 teams
· Keep the process flowing. If they’re not connecting, figure out why.
o Be quicker to write them off as a bad fit. This will help us to focus on quality and manage our time by weeding out the unmotivated and imperfect fits quickly.
· Provide more information about Lucid by creating a personal content page for each potential partner
o This ensures they have enough information about Lucid to help them move forward with us
Furthermore, we decided to not set a meeting when we conduct the survey. Instead, a follow up will be included with the survey results. We think that by letting the universities show genuine interest, it will ensure a quality relationship. Subsequent follow ups will give them the option to set a meeting. This technique also shows our belief in Lucid Travel and the ability it has to sell itself.
A couple weeks ago, we were troubled with how to improve our marketing strategies. How do we get people to know we have the best rates on hotels? How do we get people to know that our customers get savings and cashback? We want to extend these benefits beyond our university partners. This week, we think we’ve found a solution in major event marketing.
When a major sporting or entertainment event is scheduled to play, Lucid will advertise the event by offering discounted room blocks. This would fall into the ‘experience’ category Lucid previously discussed implementing, like AirBnB, TripAdvisor, and Expedia did. We believe this will get individual interest, be good for content, and increase our overall revenue.
Lucid Travel realizes that becoming a bigger company poses risks. The biggest one is losing sight of company values. To conclude this week, we decided to clearly define what they are – both for ourselves and for our customers.
· Proactive Honesty – a good idea for anything and anyone
· Curiosity – keeps an innovative, excited, and appreciative mindset
· Discipline – so that we can have the freedom to live as we want to. Work efficiently, since time is the biggest resource
· Humility – idea that everyone can provide value. Be open to new ideas
We believe that these values will help us, and our customers, to grow as people outside of work. As our favorite saying goes, “it’s not what you buy, it’s why you buy it.”
Author: Willow Groskreutz