Telling the truth about SME life today

Small companies can suddenly transform into global players like this one

Founded in 1992 and based near Napoli, Megatron Sensors (Megatron Srl) designs and manufactures temperature sensors for coffee, vending and slush machines; boilers, HVAC, refrigeration and temperature control systems; food and medical equipment.

The family-owned company and its ten employees were turning over a healthy £1.5m per year. But new CEO Luca Grimaldi recognised that revenues had flattened out and the firm needed to sell beyond Italy. Megatron knew that expansion was about more than simply winning international orders. For growth to be sustainable, the company needed to become more flexible, scalable, streamlined and focused. And by working with business expansion experts, the Megatron team made key changes in four areas.

(1) Go-to-market strategy

The company added a new product management function and restructured its marketing and sales capability, so any new products could be brought to market in a way that focused on customer benefits, not product features.

(2) Customer experience

How would Megatron cope if business took off massively in multiple countries” To address this, the company introduced new customer relationship software and management tools helped to streamline business processes, so the team could deliver a great customer experience and cope with a surge in demand.

(3) Tracking and reporting

If Megatron grew quickly, there was a danger that the business could become a victim of its own success. But a managerial reporting system enabled CEO Luca Grimaldi and his colleagues to spot logjams and other problems early. So if extra workers or equipment was needed, they’d know exactly where to put them.

(4) People and change

In many respects, Megatron needed to become a new company and so it updated its vision, mission and values, translating these into clear objectives. Luca’s team also introduced a performance evaluation system to help everyone to stay focused on the tasks ahead.

What happened next?

With these fundamentals sorted, Megatron re-branded itself, launched a new website in six languages and crafted a company presentation to pitch to prospects world-wide.
The approach worked. Revenue grew by 40 per cent, thanks to new international clients. A sales pipeline of £350,000 took shape within two months. And the company achieved a ten per cent gross margin increase on its international sales.

Crucially, growth is sustainable. New orders haven’t caused the company to over-promise, over-extend and overheat. Instead, Megatron has been able to play in the global league by thinking in a different way about its own company, its products and its customers. And CEO Luca Grimaldi said: “We knew where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to achieve. This gave us all a new mindset, and eased the discussions with international prospects ?many of which are much bigger than Megatron. Most of them are now our best clients.”

Stefano Maifreni is founder and director of Eggcelerate.

Image: Shutterstock

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