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Catalyst Sales

Written by the Symplicity team

Maritime Resilience is a series of stories on how local organizations are adapting to COVID-19.

Catalyst flips traditional sales model to bring more value to customers, increase focus on sustainability

For any business that relies on face-to-face contact to build sales relationships, the onset of a pandemic is a serious setback. Catalyst Sales and Marketing provides electrical solutions including lighting, heating, renewables, and automation. The company works with clients in the industrial, commercial, and residential spaces throughout Atlantic Canada.

As an independent manufacturer representative, Catalyst targets end users, home builders, electrical engineers, designers, architects, contractors, distributors and lighting showrooms.

When COVID-19 hit the region and businesses were forced to shut down, Catalyst saw its business drop right away. In fact, Mark MacDonald, a principal with the company, said he and the team were preparing for a 30 to 50 percent drop in revenue.

Catalyst team members Eli Asoyuf and Mark MacDonald enjoying temporary at-home workspaces
“We focused on relationship building activities and customer entertainment. All of these activities were gone overnight,” MacDonald said. “Customer buying habits were on hold, or dramatically reduced, so the company made an internal decision not to hard sell, but to focus more on delivering value.”

Catalyst got to work to organize a series of knowledge-based webinars, instead of products or features. Since March 15, the team has offered more than 40 webinars bringing all levels of the industry together from all over Canada and beyond.

Their efforts are being noticed. Catalyst was featured in the largest US industry association monthly update and is the only sales agency to be added to the learning management portal for one of its key distributors.

The Catalyst team is committed to making a difference through sustainable electrical solutions, so the team took this time to amplify its efforts in this area. The company is working with national developers to roll out a new electric vehicle charging infrastructure and making it easily available to clients who are able to access subsidies for greener practices.

MacDonald remembers through all this he kept thinking of Winston Churchill’s well-known saying ‘Never waste a good crisis.’

“Once we got our feet under us, we used this time to focus on our weaknesses and double down on improvements,” MacDonald said. “We recognize the world will continue to change and you can’t waste time fighting it. As a team we need to identify changes and ensure our business is continuously adapting. Being clear on what job you do for your customers and what value you bring is key to knowing how to adapt.”
MacDonald commends government at all levels for providing support so businesses like Catalyst can survive the pandemic and come out stronger. He also believes this support should be directed to continue working toward a low-carbon economy.

“We cannot let this crisis set us back in the progress we’ve made on the environmental side. This crisis has already sped up the shift of many things, like working from home, doing more business online, and there is no reason for our environment not to be an issue that gets accelerated.”

MacDonald added his team has learned many lessons through the pandemic, but the main one is the importance of constantly improving the business and adapting to change.

“While dealing with external forces and uncertainty is tough, we were able to adapt and persevere because of the time we’ve spent working on our business. We’re continuously looking at how to better our processes internally and finding new ways to bring value and provide service to our customers.”

Catalyst Sales is offering webinars and continuing their efforts in sustainability.

Visit their website or social media to see what they’re up to!

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