Ralph E. Grabowski - marketingVP - fact-gathering, analytical Marketing to steer the enterprise



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Acugen Software case study

Acugen Software case study

World market dominance in 18 months with no capital and no sales force!
"You engineered my secret weapon!"

The problem and my assignments
Process, methods, and tools
M/E Ratio™, an investment in Marketing
Results and payback
A role model for startups
About Acugen Software


Process, methods, and tools

  1. Extracted customer knowledge
  2. Sized the selling motion
  3. Created "Automated Sequences of Touches™"
  4. Constructed a twenty-eight step selling motion

1 - Extracted customer knowledge

To create a selling motion, I first needed to extract knowledge of the customer, because upstream market research guides the downstream selling motion.

Acugen Software has maintained a Marketing/Engineering Investment Ratio™ (exclusive of promoting or selling) of 1, enabling them to acquire knowledge of their customers.  Peter de Bruyn Kops already possessed this knowledge at the time he asked me to start the assignment. 

I understood and was experienced in a key aspect of the upstream market research process; providing guidance to the downstream selling motion.  Therefore, I was not only able to function as the receiver of that guidance and extract the customer knowledge from Peter, but also to construct a selling motion.


2 - Sized the selling motion

"Ralph's Rule" was empirically derived during two decades of experience and of research; prospects require about one "touch" per $1K of price.  (This number is not exact - prospects require about one [+/- a factor of three] touches per $1K of price).

I have defined a "touch" as every personal visit, FAX, letter, mailing, or phone call towards each sale closed.  The ratio may be higher for new entrants such as Acugen Software, and higher still when using mail or telephone steps which are less costly than human action.  Therefore, Acuge's price above $10K pointed to a selling motion sized for several tens of touches per sale.  Traditional selling's two steps have been inadequate

After employing "Automated Tequences of Touches™" with inexpensive mail and telephone methods, Acugen Software experienced twenty-eight touches per sale, or nearly three touches per $1K of selling price.


3 - Created "Automated Sequences of Touches™"

I created "Automated Sequences of Touches™" mechanizing Acugen Software's twenty-eight touch selling funnel.  Part of the process was examining more than sixty "sales automation software" packages to find and recommend the one that was capable of implementing "Automated Sequences of Touches™."

  1. "Automated Sequences of Touches™" executed a series of mail touches
  2. "Automated Sequences of Touches™" scheduled human touches by Acugen staff
  3. Weekly mailings educated and communicated benefits
  4. Customer was prepared when humans called
  5. Branch points incorporated market segmentation
  6. Prospects were provided both a quotation and a succession of sample payback calculations tailored to each segment
  7. Before Acugen invests in the "CLOSE" sequence, prospects had been fully informed about Acugen Software benefits at low cost, and had justified a buy


"Automated Sequences of Touches™"


educated, communicated benefits


and proof



4 - Constructed a twenty-eight step selling motion

I re-engineered key facets of big-ticket selling into opportunities for extended sequences, spurring the sale forward by driving up the number of touches.  A mail progression was conceived to mimic the human selling process: 

  • "Who is Acugen Software?" first, 
  • benefits delivered next 
  • ... 
  • a trial close seventh.  

This "OPENING SALVO" became an eight-touch sequence, with literature distributed over seven weekly mailings and followed by a qualifying phone call.  Software executed the series of mail touches, and scheduled human touches by Acugen staff.

Better than one-year payback means a sure sale to industry.  "PAYBACK" became another sequence of seven touches.

PC software also managed complex selling structure such as branch points incorporated for market segmentation.  Acugen Software served three market segments.  Prospects were provided both a quotation and a succession of sample payback calculations tailored to each market segment.

Before Acugen invested in the "CLOSE" sequence, prospects were fully informed about Acugen Software benefits at low cost, and had justified a buy.


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