Michael Fulthorpe is founder and managing director of Stormcast Sales Consulting Limited which helps business owners and leaders to build high performing sales teams through a holistic approach of combining sales training, coaching, process and methodology. The business also delivers sales enablement for global corporate businesses through a partnership with Altify, built on the Salesforce platform.
Michael has been working with Scaleup Partner, Jon Symonds who said: ”Michael has developed a fantastic and creative approach to building high performance commercial and sales teams through his trademark CAST selling system and his dynamic and innovative training programs.
“Having sat with Michael to understand his vision and ambition for his business, it was evident that in order to do what he wanted, it was imperative that Michael create the right business model, underpinned by a commercial strategy and robust financial model to not only scale but lay the foundations to delivering his long term vision for Stormcast.
“Having probed, questioned and explored ideas with Michael, it has unlocked his thinking and the results Michael is achieving are incredibly rewarding.”
We asked Michael a few questions about his company and plans for the future:
Tell us about the background of the company and your journey to date.
The company started as a provider of sales training and process consulting and was developed around our core methodology CAST Selling®. This provides sellers with a structured and consistent approach to opportunity development and a coaching framework. We quickly built a number of long-term clients that we still work with today providing coaching services using our online CAST Selling® coaching tool.
Who are your customers?
Any business that has a B2B sales function of between 2-10 people, where they need to build a high performing team is a perfect fit for our CAST Selling® offering. For the larger corporate enterprise businesses with larger sales teams using Salesforce, we partner with Altify to offer Customer Revenue Optimisation through technology and enablement.
We currently sell mainly through our referral network, social media and by increasing our presence and value within our existing clients. We typically work with clients over a period of several months to transform their sales performance.
How has the company changed over the years?
We have made an intentional move from being not only a modern, leading provider of sales training and coaching to being a more holistic sales enablement client partner through coaching, technology, process and people development. We are investing a lot in the people side of sales enablement and working with clients to help sales people develop core skills and efficient processes, but enable them to be more effective through building trust, relationships and presence. Some of the softer skills, but increasingly important aspects of selling today.
What are your strengths, what do you do well?
We focus on our strengths. They are plenty of sales training and outsourcing businesses out there that try to do many things from recruitment and outsourced telesales tor training for large mixed groups. We take a different approach and focus on what we do well, which is helping businesses to build high performing teams. We partner with experts to deliver real change over a period of time that is measurable and effective. We know sales training and coaching is more effective when part of a more holistic enablement program and tailored to the individual businesses and people within it.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
No major challenges, but in the early days, getting the brand and our presence established and moving from a few clients to many whilst investing in building a technology application and running the business made prioritising time really important.
What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome on your way to establishing a successful business in the North East?
Like any growing start up, the business model has been constantly evolving based on customer feedback and the market and it continues to do so. I initially started with a North East focus but have grown to deliver to UK wide clients and now globally. One of the hurdles has been to make sure I invest the time in my own business to evolve it to the needs of clients as well as project delivery.
What made you apply to Scaleup North East?
I first contacted Scaleup North East to be part of the service delivery to partners, having recognised scaling businesses need support in building sales capability. Through those discussions, I quickly realised that I had some of the challenges that many growing businesses face in terms of getting a business model right from the outset and putting a growth plan in place. Jon Symonds our Scaleup Partner has been a fantastic support in helping evolve the thinking and getting us ready to scale.
Where has your Scaleup Partner had the most impact in your business?
The financial modelling of a business. Having someone independent to your business that can give you a different perspective on what is possible is invaluable, as is helping to visualise what I want the business to look like a year or three from now.
What advice would you give to others in the North East looking to scale their own businesses?
There is so much knowledge and experience in the region on growing businesses in all sectors and often the challenge is identifying who can help you and shape your thinking. I would recommend looking for mentors and support from other people who have been there and/or are doing it.
Scaleup North East provides a clear path to doing that and a network of people to ask advice from through which you can also give back. I often meet business leaders and sales leaders to talk about sales and their challenges over an informal cup of coffee and we normally get mutual benefit from those interactions.
What’s been the best bit of advice your Scaleup Partner has given you?
The most valuable advice has been around financial modelling and what is needed to scale effectively and sustainably.
What are your plans for the future?
Now the technology platform is being widely adopted by clients, the focus is on scaling the business and further building out the holistic service offering to become the leading sales enablement partner to any business selling B2B. I am looking for more partners and people to bring added value to clients over the coming months and years.
About Scaleup North East
Scaleup North East is delivered by RTC North in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Scaleup North East forms an integral part of the North East Growth Hub and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Local Growth Fund (LGF). The programme is aimed at supporting businesses that can demonstrate both the hunger and the potential to achieve high levels of growth.
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