Breathing New Life into a Commodity ERP System

Breathing New Life into a Commodity ERP System

Case Study Project Description

The COO of a 20 year old software company needed to find new markets for their product. While other competitors had been acquired over the years, they had carved out a small niche but their customers were migrating to the larger brand name platforms. As revenue declined employees left including their sales and marketing manager. Without resellers and a sales leader, the company seemed like it was heading into its twilight years.

Project Problem

ERP solutions for human resources, payroll and performance are dominated by the large ERP vendors. In this business, the old adage that ‘those that choose to buy IBM don’t go wrong’ seemed to dominate the purchasing decisions. How could this stable and proven software company get into new markets without being PeopleSoft or IBM? Further, the company had pursued many unrelated markets so reference clients were dotted across the spectrum of industries and geographies. There seemed to be no natural fit into any one target market despite the superb reputation they enjoyed for service amongst their great reference clients. The CEO and the COO were concerned about focusing on only one or two markets unsure as to whether they would yield any results.


The solution to this problem was to uncover what this product did that other products couldn’t do. After 20 years in business, the product had some very robust functionality and it did not price out after implementation nearly as high as its brand name competitors. Identifying what it did that other products couldn’t do, we searched for which markets had these unique few issues and needed specific problems solved. When this research was done, then we had to find the industries that had these problems where the company actually had reference clients.

From there, we helped them develop a marketing message, case studies, press releases, a web 2.0 strategy, measurement, KPIs and a lead generation system that tied together to become their call to action. We then coached the senior team in how to work with and use the message, how to build capacity to manage the growth and how to constantly evolve and improve the messaging system so that it would attract motivated buyers within two different and fragmented target markets.


The time-intensive research and market focused discipline combined with a dedication to web 2.0 and public relations approach rather than expensive advertising started to pay dividends. In the first year, they achieved 400% growth in their sales calls and started winning business from much larger competitors.

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