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LR Comms act as a sounding board for all JCM's marketing activity.

Lucy has helped the team to build their own skills which has future-proofed the business.


When JCM met Lucy

Stockport-based JCM Business Solutions is one of the UK’s largest partners of Zoho software solutions. Its marketing activity was sometimes successful, although there were no clear measures on what was working.

Through open discussions and guidance on thought-provoking activities at ‘Consult’ stage, LR Comms helped owner Chris Moran and his daughters Elle and Sara to fully explore their vision, goals and purpose. Their ‘Business First, Software Later’ ethos was born from the revelation that what they sell is not software but improvements to business processes.

LR Comms act as a sounding board for all areas of JCM’s marketing including branding, customer engagement and partnership management. Personal coaching from Lucy Rennie has helped the team build their own skills which has future-proofed the business for when Chris hands over the reins to Elle and Sara.

Like many small businesses, JCM’s target market in the early days was ‘anyone with a pulse and a cheque book’. That meant that not all clients had the appropriate processes in place to implement their business software and long lead times proved costly. They knew they needed a more defined strategy but weren’t sure how.

Defining our strategy

“From the start what set Lucy apart was her genuine interest in our company and getting to know us as people. When we started working together, we actually didn’t do any marketing for a good 6 months. First and foremost, we needed to work out who we were – what our values were and key messages. With lots of discussion and suggested activities, Lucy steered us to figure that out for ourselves.

It was quite a revolutionary moment when my Dad walked into the office one day after a session with Lucy and said “We don’t sell CRM systems anymore. So what do we do?” We realised that what we were selling might be software but what clients were buying was improvements to their business processes. And so our new ethos was born: “Business first, software later.” What came from that was our mission statement, boilerplate, values and USPs – and a crystal-clear confidence about what we are and what we’re not.

In the same way that Lucy got to know our business, we really got to know the business of our clients. It’s helped us to focus on those markets that benefit most from improving their business processes (10 – 20 users). And if it turns out that a client’s processes are robust enough without our software, we simply refine our offer to sales training or process management.”

Measuring success

We know our 5 step approach to communications and marketing is working for a number of reasons:

  • We now have plans in place and are measuring our marketing success. In all honesty, I don’t like numbers and I don’t like measurements! But Lucy helped me to formulate a simple spreadsheet that documents what our overall objectives were, how much we spent, the return on investment and notes on how we might improve next time.
  • Our clients better understand our approach to working with them. They can see the value in sorting their processes first before investing in the software because we’ve developed case studies that evidence this.
  • We’ve developed the confidence to run our own events. Now we’re delivering 3 expos each year, gaining 30 – 40 leads from each. With over 70 attendees, our quarterly ZOHO community meet ups have become the biggest ZOHO meet ups worldwide.

Building skills for the future

For me, the journey with Lucy has been a very personal one. I was only 20 when I first became involved in the business and with no marketing training. I needed a sounding board – not just for day-to-day activities such as social media, client communications and website content – but in terms of strengthening our partnership with Zoho. When the opportunity arose to participate in a panel discussion at their EU partner conference, I was beyond petrified but my daily mantra soon kicked in: ‘What would Lucy do?’ I knew I couldn’t turn down such an opportunity to raise our profile and we got great feedback as a result.

Over the next two years, my Dad plans to step back from the business. Lucy’s role as mentor, confidante and sometimes mediator (!) is invaluable in helping us all to navigate this transition and future proof the business. Such is our trust in Lucy that she’s become one of our closest friends inside and outside work. We wouldn’t be the business we are today without her.