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An Award-winning Company Turnaround

Company turnaround - Panzura

Incredible technology comes with incredible challenges. The smart engineering minds that develop it aren't always the best equipped to describe its benefits to potential customers. Instead, the temptation to describe the technology and what it's capable of — instead of talking about the difference it can make in customers' lives and businesses — can be irresistible.

The resulting confusion can throttle growth in ways that the tech itself doesn't deserve, simply because the benefits aren't clearly articulated. Instead, both buyers and sellers must become experts in the tech's capabilities in order to understand how they might benefit from it.

Not only does this create an internal problem for the company, as sellers require an extended period of time to come up to speed in order to become confident, but it gives competitors a wide opening to throw shade.

Putting features ahead of benefits can also force a myopic view of what's possible, causing wider applications with a greater addressable market to be discarded.

When we first met Panzura, everyone described the technology differently.

Back in 2019, it took nearly 20 hours of internal interviews for revenue ninja consultants EDGY Inc to understand Panzura, and appreciate just how awesome the technology was. There was no cohesive messaging, and no marketing strategy. Competing teams were absorbed in tactical execution, with no clear idea of what the outcome should be, or what a good outcome would be.

Marketing funds were set aside for expensive analyst webinars, without considering how to drive attendance, or how to manage leads. Marketing and sales had competing views of what was required, and were operating in silos.

Lack of brand and coherent messaging was hurting the company badly. At that time, concern over competitor behavior was so great that the fastest path to generate new customer demand and assist the sales team was to write a competitive white paper that led with benefits and described specific differences.

Written by Dan Waldschmidt, that white paper was the ultimate demonstration of how impactful clear, concise and accurate messaging is, at every level. For the first time, everyone could understand what Panzura did and why it mattered. It formed the basis for a new way of describing the company and its technology in a way that everybody could get behind.

Several months of cohesive marketing and demand generation followed, culminating in the acquisition of Panzura by Profile Capital Management and EDGY, and the beginning of the company's serious transition from a global file system to a hybrid cloud data management company.

Everything needed to change, and it did.

Turnarounds like these require enormous energy, relentless determination, hands-on competency, a very clear vision, and a team of truly awesome human beings who wholeheartedly embrace the mission. 

We took over a company with phenomenal growth potential, impactful technology, low brand recognition, and a Glassdoor rating in the low 3s. That's less than ideal, as the high caliber people you want to join the turnaround won't give you a second glance when it's obvious that those already in the fray are frustrated and unhappy.

So, we worked relentlessly to demonstrate to those on the team that a new sheriff was in town. And, it worked. People got excited. Talented individuals with long track records of success, who didn't mind rolling up their sleeves and getting things done personally, signed on.

The Glassdoor rating rose to 4.3. Employees actively recruited others to join the mission. The excitement was palpable, there was a clear vision for the future, and people embraced the challenge.

As part of the refounding team, brand and marketing was our thing.

We set about re-messaging, re-making and re-branding the company. We adopted a process of iterative excellence, and every piece of collateral, every written word, email, web page, document, listing — every single, minute detail was picked up, examined, and either overhauled or retired.

We dramatically improved Panzura's appearance and market proposition, culminating with a complete rebrand in late 2021.

The spiky, often misused logo was replaced with a modern, clean and frankly beautiful logo mark that worked at all sizes. We put digestible, useful, coherent information into the hands of sales people, account managers, and cloud architects.

We rebuilt the website from scratch, making it sleek, fast and easy to use. Our long history in SEO meant we could optimize each section for the traffic we wanted, see results fast, and make adjustments on the fly.

We boosted employee experience with a sleek intranet, and funky online shop, and the company's virtual happy hours with entertaining presenters and activities drew large crowds. 

We built a new partner portal, and then defied experts who said it couldn't be done to build an interactive HubSpot-based customer portal to improve our customers' experience with service tickets. We identified friction within the wider customer experience and produced information to help customers get unstuck, as well as worked with the product team to identify solutions.

We gained attention from all the right people, earning a steady stream of media stories. We talked endlessly to industry analysts, and gained inclusion in influential analyst reports such as Gartner's market guides. We won a string of industry awards, among them 2020-21 Hybrid Cloud Solution of the Year from the Cloud Awards. This gave the whole team multiple reasons to help share the story through their own personal networks, and to feel they were truly part of something special.

We bootstrapped the whole thing. As a deliberate choice to free up funds for engineering excellence, we used smarts, skills, and ingenuity in place of money. Most importantly, we listened intently to discover what customer and prospect organizations were struggling with, and we used that learning to create informative, useful and engaging content.

Where competitors went to events, we got good at running webinars. We got close to the challenges faced by customers, and we listened to how they described what was important to them, and what they had tried in order to solve the problem.

Marketing is not the coloring in department

Marketing often gets a bad rep for focusing on ephemeral branding and messaging no one can use. But marketing is just as responsible for producing revenue as the sales team.

At Panzura, marketing was part of the sales team. We worked in lockstep to ensure those at the coal face had everything they needed to help customers. We developed, directed and coached the approach they should take and when it wasn't working, we changed it up.

We produced quality leads, we engaged customers, and we played our part in Panzura's turnaround, which saw 3-year growth of 485%. That earned a spot on Inc 5000's list for 2022 as the 76th fastest growing IT company, and the 1,376th fastest growing company overall, in the entire USA.

The company gained the Inc 5000 list again in 2023, with record revenue to the end of 2022 including a string of record deals, and record quarters.