Like many other manufacturing industries in the US, the down economy had a significant impact on the agriculture sector, particularly the farm supply market. Queen Wood Products was one of many manufacturers who needed to expand its reach and vamp up its overall sales. The Allendale, SC-based equestrian and poultry farm wood shavings provider needed a fresh idea, updated marketing messaging, and a new sales strategy. With 10 employees on the books and a potential sharp decline in sales and profit looming, Queen turned to the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) for sales assistance.
The SCMEP is a private, not for profit group that serves as a valuable resource to South Carolina manufacturers by providing strategies and solutions to strengthen leadership, sales force effectiveness, and growth. With SCMEP’s help, Queen was able to retain all 10 employees, hire a new sales representative, and increase its peak season sales by over 10%. “SCMEP has helped us tremendously. Our sales continue to grow, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the sales project,” says Queen Wood owner Michael Mathis.
Founded over 10 years ago, Queen Wood Products has been the premier source of affordable wood shavings used as horse and poultry bedding around the Southeastern United States. Skip Queen, well-renowned cutting horse rider and founder of Queen Wood Products, researched and developed Queen’s line of wood shavings based on his experience of the demands of cutting horse riders, breeders, and ranchers. Only the finest wood is used to make the three distinct products offered, all of which significantly reduce stable odor and last longer than any other similar product on the market. Queen Wood’s products are sold in feed stores, sold in bulk to ranches and equestrian event locations, and sold direct to consumers. The product line covers budget, comfort, and durability and is fit for all horse and poultry bedding needs.
The challenge faced by Queen Wood was not a unique one: awareness and sales needed to be increased at a noticeable rate. SCMEP conducted a free of charge Competitiveness Review during which several key factors were uncovered. Queen Wood needed to tighten its marketing messages including identifying and projecting the overt benefit, dramatic difference, and real reason to believe in Queen Wood Products across its brand and all marketing efforts. The company needed an online presence including a functioning website that was conducive to lead generation, product knowledge, and search engine optimization to ensure that searchers could find Queen Wood quickly and easily and also determine that the product line was a fit.
SCMEP helped Queen Wood identify and define its brand, its target market, and effective marketing messages by working with the staff and owner Mike Mathis during several brainstorming and targeted information gathering sessions. Next, SCMEP helped Queen Wood determine the most useful online strategy including building a user friendly website optimized for search effectiveness.
A sales process was introduced and implemented to organize and manage the lead generation produced by the online efforts. Incoming leads from the website, from online sales promotions, and from pay per click advertising campaigns were effectively managed for maximum sales.
By utilizing SCMEP’s sales and operations expertise, Queen Wood Products continues to use the sales process and online strategy implemented by SCMEP and continues to see sales increases across the board. Queen Wood has picked up several large clients and referrals since the launch of the new website. “Thanks to SCMEP’s assistance, we have gained new clients and continue to receive leads from our website. SCMEP really helped us expand our business,” says Mike Mathis.