Reporter, Kansas City Business Journal

Corporations sometimes can be hesitant to give startups a shot, but in WireCo WorldGroup’s case, it saw the ideal technology in Overland Park’s Command.App and quickly signed up to use the custom app. For both companies, the relationship has paid off in multiple ways, from driving innovation to landing Command.App an early adopter and marquee client.

“People who know WireCo know we have a long history, and this is the opportunity for us to be progressive and to really make that leap into the next chapter of WireCo history,” Audra Hernandez, marketing manager for WireCo, told the Kansas City Business Journal.

A marketing director at Cerner Corp. helped forge the connection between the two companies. During Command.App’s pitch, she suggested WireCo as a potential client and offered to make an email introduction. That email led to a meeting with Prairie Village-based WireCo, who said it wanted to test the app during an upcoming trade show, the Offshore Technology Conference — the largest annual oil field conference in the U.S. The trade show was only two or three weeks away, but Command.App assured WireCo it could add the content in time. The startup delivered, and the app led to a 50 percent increase in qualified leads compared to the previous year.

“The response was fantastic,” Hernandez said. “(The leadership team was) like when can we have this, can we do this more and can we make this bigger?”

How it works

Command.App’s cloud-based interactive app helps companies deliver better sales and marketing presentations. It allows sales reps to be armed with the right piece of content at the right time and turn presentations into conversations, Command.App founder and CEO Brett Davis told KCBJ.

A key differentiator is content templates and paths in which companies can create tailored presentations depending on who they’re talking to, whether it’s a CEO or CFO or someone who will use the product they’re selling. The app is packed with interactive content including videos, photos and 3D animations that allow reps to take a nonlinear multimedia approach. But the app goes beyond sales presentations and can be used for aspects such as gathering prospective client information and then sending an email, accessing analytics, building quotes or creating safety checklists and daily maintenance routines.

At WireCo, what started out as a presentation featuring its products for offshore oil rigs in 2015 has now been expanded to all of its product lines, brands and breadth of industries it serves. Those capabilities are featured on WireCo’s industry solutions homepage on the app as line items that can be clicked on for more features and information.

“It basically sends the message that we can do anything,” she said. “I think that will help us build market share too.”

In the old days, everyone wanted to do PowerPoint presentations, but it was challenging to keep the information updated, and it wasn’t uncommon for sales reps to meet with prospective clients using incorrect information, said John Josendale, a WireCo senior vice president and global director of marketing and business development. But with Command.App, WireCo can easily manage the information and instantly update it across the app. It creates brand consistency, Hernandez said. It also makes WireCo’s sales reps more effective, Josendale said.

“From a sales side, the point that’s interesting is 9 times out of 10 when you’re talking to a customer, they ask you for the one piece of information you don’t have, so the fact that you literally have all of it right in front of you to present it and have makes a huge difference when you’re calling on an account,” he said.

The world also is changing, Josendale said, adding that procurement companies and procurement officers now have so many product lines that it’s even harder for sales reps to score a meeting. And when they do, time is limited. So having the right information on hand is vital and “makes all the difference in the world now,” he said. It also gives WireCo a competitive advantage and helps it appear more progressive than competitors, Hernandez said.

WireCo liked the app so much, it’s now using it as inspiration for its website redesign and is using it for recruiting employees, particularly millennials.

Building a relationship and learning together

For Command.App, having WireCo as an early adopter allowed it to use the global company as a marquee client when pitching other companies. It validated the app and allowed the startup to stress test it to the max, Davis said.

“If we would have picked a small company that had one or two products, it wouldn’t have put the pressure on the platform that we needed it or that we wanted it to do,” he said.

Command.App’s tagline is “make the complex clear,” and WireCo was a prime example of that, said Michael Corbin, chief marketing officer and a partner in Command.App.

“We love showing their stuff off, because the complexities are crazy,” Corbin said. “WireCo has stretched it to a global level that shows the potential of it.”

WireCo also provided candid feedback, which helped Command.App improve the platform not only for WireCo but for other clients. The relationship with WireCo also helped Command.App to know which questions to ask during the onboarding process so the team could build out the right features and content for other customers, Corbin said.

“We knew they were a young company, but what they brought and what they presented was exactly what we were looking for,” Josendale said. “I said all along to them that part of our goal would be to let them be successful and then use this to let people know about them. ... Their reactiveness, their interactive skills and their ability to work with us has been above and beyond.