A new online training program created to solve an immediate problem during the pandemic ended up solving a longer term business goal for Davey Textile Solutions and helped increased sales in new markets.
Gail Burak, an account manager for the manufacturer of high-quality safety trim for workwear, couldn’t travel to see her customers during the COVID-19 outbreak and was feeling isolated working from home. She needed a way to stay connected.
Burak pitched doing a series of online training webinars for the company’s customers that would be personalized and interactive with lots of time for questions.
“We’re also known for educating and we’re experts for our customers,” says Burak.
She had the content for a high-visibility session to kick the series off and had the idea to do a photo shoot with staff members to make sure she could do a visual demonstration of day and night conditions. “So we had a lot of internal expertise.”
She contacted customers and was able to book larger sessions than when she visited an office in person as participants signed up from multiple locations.
“Before, in person, I would only get a few individuals. The webinar series offered greater outreach,” says Burak. “It was positive, it was good energy.”
Customers also started referring Davey Textiles to their customers for the training webinars, which gave them the opportunity to connect with end users — a long-time goal for the company.
“These customers have their customers who can benefit from the training. So it spins into other opportunities.”
President Grant Davey also credits Burak’s idea with the chance to reach out to new markets to help grow the company during a difficult economic period.
“We started with our customer base in Western Canada, where they know us well. It just snowballed from there,” says Davey.
“The markets we opened up were in South America and into Mexico when they understood about the North American standards and they wanted to learn more.”
Davey Textiles also coordinated an online international sales meeting in October 2020.
“I was really proud of that, it was awesome,” says Davey.
The success of their online programs and getting through a difficult time was also due to the years of work in building strong relationships with customers, says Davey.
“That really helped get through the pandemic for them and for us. It was that open communication and relationships we built that really helped us through.”
Davey Textiles did a lot of education before COVID-19, but it was all face-to-face seminars and conferences.
“This is a new way of doing that,” Davey says.
When the pandemic is over both Burak and Davey expect to continue with online training in combination with face-to-face meetings.
Education is a long-held value at Davey Textiles and Grant Davey believes it is one of the difference makers for the company in the marketplace.
“People come to us with questions, looking for expertise,” he says. “We’re knowledge brokers really.”
Davey Textiles is certainly known for educating, says Burak.
“It’s a corporate value and it also makes us leading edge in our field.
“It gives us the opportunity to engage our customers and we’re known as industry experts. It really solidifies our partnerships with our customers.”