In this interview, Marcel the director of sales and marketing of The Great Outdoors talks about their collaboration with Minite. The company had experienced bottlenecks in its processes due to its fast growth and decided to hire a part-time, smart, and ambitious High Flyer to support them in sales and marketing tasks. The interview covers topics such as the High Flyer's role, and the benefits of working with young and talented students.
Let's start with the first question: What does The Great Outdoors stand for?
The Great Outdoors is a company that manufactures and sells custom-made garden offices throughout the Netherlands. We are a small company based in Haarlem. The company’s heritage lies in New Zealand, which is where the name "The Great Outdoors" comes from.
All of our products are named after islands in New Zealand, such as Kapiti, Waiheke, and Matakana. We are a very international company, with coworkers from all over the world, including England, Ukraine, Sweden, and Germany. I am from Germany, and we have founders from New Zealand and some from the Netherlands. My role is one of the owners and the director for the sales and marketing part of The Great Outdoors.
Why did you start working with Minite?
We started working with Minite because we had reached a point where we had a bottleneck in our processes. Our company is three and a half years old and, like many startups, we did everything manually in the beginning and hustled a lot to get things up and running. At some point, we started implementing processes, systems, and templates so that we didn't reinvent the wheel every time we tackled a problem.
We were growing at a fast rate, but then we created some bottlenecks for ourselves. We realized that we needed talent in some areas, specifically in the sales department, to help us with the repetitive tasks we had. We also started working with AI and automation, but we wanted a clever, smart, young, and ambitious team member to help us out with that on a part-time basis. A month ago, I saw a Minite advertisement on one of the advertising poles. I took a screenshot on my phone, contacted you, and we started working together.
We wanted a clever, smart, young, and ambitious team member to help us out on a part-time basis.
What does your High- Flyer do at your company and how does she help your business?
We are currently only working with one High- Flyer, as we just started working with her a couple of weeks ago. She supports us with anything related to sales and marketing and works for five to 10 hours a week. We spent the first week completely onboarding her, where I showed her all the systems we use and gave her the lay of the land of how we operate, our vision, and where we want to go with the company. I also explained that we do not have a lot of hierarchies and wanted her input on clarifying roles, frameworks, and how we work. Our priority is lead generation, lead conversion, and customer communication. We are also managing our social channels and diving deeper into data analysis. We are slowly building towards this goal and may add a second team member in the coming months. So far, it's going well.
Can you tell us a bit more about the kind of project you have collaborated on with Minite?
Before we hired our High Flyer, I was the only one working in sales. Our High Flyer is responsible for handling the first contact with our leads using our customer relationship management system. She also automates some tasks and qualifies leads before passing them on to me. Our sales process is rather lengthy as we deal with high-value purchases (40-50,000 euros) that require a lot of consulting and meetings. The High Flyer takes care of scheduling appointments and answering questions, which frees up my time for showroom visits and consultations. Going forward, we plan to involve her in marketing efforts as well.
What's the benefit of working with High-Flyer?
Well, you come across young individuals who have a career ahead in a similar field. They're interested in the topic, eager to learn more, ambitious, and hungry. I enjoy working with her because it's a two-way street; we can also provide them with something they can use during their studies. Of course, it was also a way for us to stay within our budget. At that stage of the process, we couldn't afford to hire someone who would cost us a lot of money. Working with Minite allowed us to get the support we needed while still staying within budget. We have worked with a few freelancers, in the past, but there is always a lack of accountability. What I appreciate about Minite is that we have support from the company as well.
Well, you come across young individuals who have a career ahead in a similar field. They're interested in the topic, eager to learn more, ambitious, and hungry.
How would you describe the experience of working with students?
Our experience working with students has been very positive. Our High Flyer is punctual, communicates well with our clients and us, and has a sharp mind. She also provides valuable input and asks intelligent questions that lead us to good outcomes. It's still early days, but we're very happy with her work so far.
What's next for The Great Outdoors?
We have several goals we want to achieve. Our medium-term goal is to diversify our product range and increase market penetration. Additionally, we plan to expand into other markets, such as Belgium and Germany. In the short term, we want to establish a steady pipeline while maintaining stable operations. In the past, when our pipeline was strong, we became overwhelmed, but when our operations were stable, our pipeline didn't look as promising. Therefore, our priority is to stabilize our operations before discussing expansion and diversification. To achieve this, we are considering hiring one or two additional High-Flyers in three to four months at the latest.