2012 Winner: Ruth P. Stevens, eMarketing Strategy
2012 Winner: Anneke Seley, Phone Works, LLC

2012 Winner: Tonya Signa, Signature Marketing Services

Tonya-signaCompany: Signature Marketing Services
Years in Business: 8


Brief description of nominees achievements:

Tonya Signa launched Signature Marketing Services in 2004 with 2 very important goals in mind: 1) to help companies acquire new clients faster and 2) to help women looking for better life balance the opportunity to contribute their skills and expertise while working from home. She’s done both.

Tonya and her team work with B2B organizations selling high value services to executive-level buyers and need help securing initial meetings to jump-start the sales process. Through a unique methodology she has developed called Client Discovery, her team creates interest with key decision makers, identifies the opportunities worth pursuing, and secures coveted access on executive calendars for introductory conversations.

Tonya’s business has grown 50+% year-over-year with absolutely zero marketing. New clients have come through referrals from her loyal clients, including GE Healthcare, Kodak, Johnson & Johnson, the American Medical Association, and Ingersoll Rand.

Tonya’s success has come from her unique ability to step into the shoes of her client’s prospects to see the world from their eyes. After understanding the minds, challenges, and opportunities of executive buyers, she creates messaging for her team to use in their outreach that achieves immediate relevancy and cuts through the vendor static to grab attention.

Nominee's Achievements in the Field of of Sales Lead Management:

Although Tonya’s clients come from an array of industries, most are in healthcare and sell consulting, services, and/or products to hospitals, health systems, and health plans.

The state of the healthcare industry is having a significant impact on the ability to sell complex services and solutions. Hospitals, dealing with declining reimbursements and flat patient volumes, are becoming increasingly risk-averse and are investing in only what they believe is absolutely essential or provides an immediate, proven ROI. Because of this, early stage sales work is even more critical to developing strong sales pipelines to achieve predictable revenue growth.

Despite the challenging sales environment, her team secured over 1000 meetings with key healthcare decision makers in 2011 for her clients. Here are a few of their successes:

The sales pipeline for a division of GE Healthcare increased 100% in 2011, with over 50% of current opportunities forecasted to close starting with a cold call from Tonya’s team.

Secured a highly strategic and sought-after meeting with the Nat’l President of a major health association in Washington DC, whom her client had been unable to reach previously.

Secured 50 meetings with health plan executives in a 3 month pilot for a healthcare IT firm breaking into a new market with no brand recognition at all.

20 meetings with Chief Medical Officers of large healthcare systems in the 1st month of a pilot for a new client.

Secured several strategic meetings with high-level Texas government officials for a healthcare advisory firm opening a new office in Austin and who needed to develop relationships with key influencers in the area.

20% success rate securing meetings with a target group of organizations that had been extremely difficult to penetrate previously.

Following is a success story that illustrates the type of results that Tonya and her team delivers:

An Account Executive noted the following in an email to his colleagues:

“Yesterday I got to thinking about the amazing progress we are making....The big swings we are working on could fundamentally change how <major health system in midwest> delivers care and could mean tens of millions of dollars for us.  These relationships were started through Tonya Signa’s campaign and I wanted to say thank you.  I can unequivocally say that without her help opening these doors we would not be in position to be having ‘solution’ discussions with these senior health system leaders.”

Tonya’s strategic method of connecting with C-Level executives is like no other.  Following is another success story for a client that illustrates this difference:

After 16 touches (calls and emails), Signature secured a meeting with the CEO and his leadership team of a major health system in Arizona. The sales executive told Tonya that he would have stopped after just a few calls. This health system was looking for ways to create more surgical capacity to grow their volumes, and Signature’s process, persistence, and gracious professionalism ensured the call finally got through at the right time. The sales cycle was less than 6 weeks long from start to finish, and Tonya’s client has realized more than $1.5M in revenue from the opportunity.

Another key client within GE Healthcare had this to say about Tonya and her team after recommending her to a colleague in another division of GE:

“Signature’s expertise in this area is evident from start to finish, employing a collaborative process to create the right messaging and strategy and then leveraging/building unique relationships with the assistants of targeted executives to drive valuable meeting opportunities for our sales leaders. Their knack for follow-through and results make Tonya and her team a frequently employed element of GE Healthcare's market growth plan.”

Tonya’s expertise extends beyond healthcare with several Fortune 1000 clients, including a $10B provider of logistics and freight transportation. Like other clients, their sales professionals were stretched and didn’t have the time to do all the cold calling necessary to generate the growth they needed. During the first few months of a pilot, the Signature team secured initial conversations with over 50% of qualified prospects contacted resulting in several large new clients.

They’ve achieved similar results for: Trane, a division of Ingersoll Rand, selling services and product to school systems, as well as government entities….securing meetings with 25% of targeted prospects. Kodak, selling digital workflow technology to product companies…securing over 100 meetings with key buyers of large organizations in less than a year (including Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Sonic, Wyndham Hotels, Choice Hotels, Amway, Croc Shoes, and Darden Restaurants).

In addition to providing early stage sales support to set executive appointments with buyers, Tonya provides consulting and training services. She’s helped several major companies develop processes and compelling collateral to drive both the efficiency and effectiveness of their prospecting activities. She’s also conducts “cold calling” training classes for new GE salespeople. Her proven method along with her warm personality puts even the most nervous cold caller at ease.

In summary, Tonya represents professional, smart and successful women everywhere.  She had an idea, started a company, and 8 years later, GE, a giant in the business world, calls her a strategic partner…and even more importantly to Tonya, she’s working with a team of amazing women who now have greater work/life balance and job satisfaction through their work with Signature’s clients.

Tonya is a strategic thinker, a creative problem solver, and a consummate professional, and I recommend her for this award whole-heartedly.