we deliver measurable change in the short term.

We build strategy for sustainable growth.

we transform technology to value and value to business performance.

we are your springboard to greater success.

 

ABOUT SPRINGBOARD CONSULTING

Springboard Consulting, Inc. is a Boston-based firm with international perspective and expertise. We work with only a few select companies at any given time, intensively committing ourselves to accelerating the growth and value of early-stage ventures, and often assuming an operational position in the client company. Although our experience is diverse, work usually begins by focusing on the sales and marketing of the client’s business, either in the U.S. or abroad, particularly in emerging markets.

Founded in 1999 by James Popeo, Springboard gets results. While nine out of ten start-up companies fail, Springboard clients succeed. All of them. Every company with whom we have worked has gone on to achieve its goals. Our record speaks for itself. We welcome your inquiry.

 

Jim Popeo has created and accelerated the value of early stage technology companies throughout his 40-year career. His efforts helped lead to three acquisitions, two highly successful IPOs and significant improvements in an impressive portfolio of high growth companies.  He has earned a distinguished track record in product strategy, sales management, marketing, business development and operations within multiple industry segments.

 

Key achievements

 

  • Defined the turn-around strategy and execution plan for Exa Corporation resulting in 40% CAGR from 2000 to 2008 and IPO in 2013.

  • Served as general manager of Altair Engineering’s (NASDAQ: ALTR) global computational fluid dynamics (CFD) business defining product development requirements and rollout resulting in 50% CAGR for new incremental business.

  • Positioned Intelligent Light for acquisition delivering 20% revenue growth in 2108 and subsequent acquisition of the FieldView business unit in 2019.

  • Repositioned and accelerated growth of Unicam Software, leading to acquisition by Tecnomatix.

  • Grew revenues 75% annually from 1995 to 1998 for Sensitech contributing to the company’s subsequent acquisition by Carrier Corporation.

 

Areas of expertise

 

  • Predictive data analytics

  • Product life cycle management

  • Electronics manufacturing

  • Architectural engineering and construction

  • Supply chain management

 

Career

  • Springboard Consulting, President

  • Altair Engineering, Corporate Consultant – Global CFD Strategy

  • Intelligent Light (JMSI), Chief Marketing Officer

  • Dynamic Decision Technologies, CEO

  • Exa Corporation, Executive Vice President

  • Bricsnet, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing

  • Unicam Software, Vice President Worldwide Sales and Marketing

  • Sensitch, Vice President Worldwide Sales and Marketing

 

Education

B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Lowell

 

A more detailed curriculum vitae is available upon request.

ABOUT The principal

James G. Popeo

Founder & President

WHAT WE DO​

Springboard works with early-stage technology ventures to accelerate their growth and value. They may be faltering start-ups, technology spin-offs of larger corporations, or companies that have been in business for a number of years, but which have lost momentum and failed to realize their potential.

Springboard steps in… right into the middle of things. We don’t observe and report. We begin working directly with senior management and with managers in perceived problem areas.

Our initial sales and marketing focus begins with a thorough analysis of the client’s underlying value premise.  This includes:

 

  • Understanding the high-level business priorities of our client’s customers;

  • Aligning the client’s technology, products and services with those priorities;

  • Assessing barriers to entry;

  • Determining a sales and marketing strategy; and

  • Creating a well-defined, measurable action plan.

Then we execute that plan, working in a hands-on relationship that may well involve assuming an operational role in the client company.

Over the life of an engagement, we deliver

  • Accountability;

  • Creation and execution of the product, sales and marketing plan;

  • Visible value; and

  • Continual improvement and success measured in quantified revenue, profit and growth metrics.

This approach works. Every Springboard client has achieved its goals.

 

SUCCESS STORIES​

It is sometimes easier to understand what a company does by reading about its work for actual clients.  These profiles, while disguised for reasons of confidentiality, highlight situations many companies face and provide a picture of Springboard in action.

 

THE CONTEXT OF SUCCESS

Building more energy-efficient products and bringing them to market more quickly is a compelling goal in many industries. To a large degree, achieving that goal depends on building and testing actual prototypes—almost inevitably an expensive proposition. When MIT researchers developed a digital test model that promised an entire industry significant time and cost savings by eliminating the need for one type of real-world product testing, they quickly started a company to take the new technology commercially.

Ten years later, however, sales had plateaued, costs were up, capital had been exhausted, and management was considering selling the unprofitable company. Springboard Consulting was brought on board as a last-ditch effort to kick start sales and marketing. It was nearly a failed effort, as the consultant, a 20-year engineering pro, was stymied after initial interviews with salespeople, application engineers and senior management. Still struggling with the client’s highly abstract terminology, he could not get a clearly articulated explanation of why the product was superior to similar technologies or the compelling value it offered over traditional methods.

"By transitioning the client from a technology-centric research organization with a focus on the underlying technology to a business-centric solution provider the company’s sales flourished."

And in that inability to articulate a compelling business argument lay the answer to the company’s failure to thrive. Born in a research institution, nurtured and managed by PhDs, the client had never moved beyond the initial challenge of proving to the engineering world that the technology worked. Unable to easily demonstrate its product or show how it could help solve business problems, the client became identified as a scientific/ research company. As a result, the company’s sales force was comprised of researchers and technologists…who talked to researchers and technologists at client companies.

Springboard moved into action, taking over global sales and marketing, repositioning the client’s offering and resurrecting the initial business premise—the same business premise that had attracted millions of dollars in venture funding. Key elements of the turn-around executed over a two-year period included:

Stabilization

  • Redefined the customer engagement process, transitioning from a technical approach to one focused on business solutions and impact.

  • Instituted account management and forecasting procedures that delivered a predictable and sustainable revenue contribution.

 

Discovery

  • Expanded customer contacts in order to explore and validate key business drivers and the stakeholders within the organization.

  • Explored a magnitude of cultural, technological and incumbent process barriers to entry – key considerations for the creation of the sales & marketing strategy.

Value Mapping

  • Dove into the attendant business problems faced by the client’s customers, conducting market analyses, meeting with industry thought leaders, participating in trade shows and talking directly with customers.

  • Mapped the cost of business problems against the clients’ solution to develop value metrics to support a long term selling engagement,

Planning and Execution

  • Used solid industry and account background along with the newly
    developed a compelling value proposition to formulate a credible business plan and strategy.

  • Redefined sales and marketing strategy in support of corporate objectives.

  • Realigned the organization to meet the new business focus, adopting a two-tiered (business/technical) account management focus. This included bringing on board a team of high-level, strategic sales professionals (many without a technical background) and transitioning the technical sales staff into more product-focused roles.

The results? In the first six months, the client company stabilized revenue, reduced expenses and became profitable. Over the ensuing 18-month period, revenues grew exponentially as customers adopted the client’s broad-based solution.

It’s all about context. By transitioning the client from a technology-centric research organization with a focus on the underlying technology to a business-centric solution provider the company’s sales flourished. The product didn’t change, only the context of the sales and marketing effort…and that started them on the path to a 50 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years. Today, the client company is a vibrant leader in its industry.

Culture of Success

 

"Everything that Springboard did comes down to three words: understanding cultural differences. This applies both to national and to company cultures."

THE CULTURE OF SUCCESS

In an age when the global nature of business is in the headlines almost daily, any successful company is bound to feel the pressure to “go global.” But how do you approach this if you have no experience, little to no success with your current international distribution channel, and no appetite for a risky venture that could eat up investment dollars unseen halfway around the world?

This was the situation facing a successful early-stage American company when it challenged Springboard to build the company’s Asian business. Asia represented a huge marketing opportunity, but management was understandably leery. Working with a broad array of distributors throughout Asia had brought limited success over nearly a decade; it had also created the perception that working in Asia was particularly difficult because “straight talk” was elusive, and one never knew what was really going on.

Within the framework of cultural expectations, Springboard began to rebuild business relationships, beginning in Japan. The broad distributor network there was dismantled because, while the client had seen this as a way to penetrate the Japanese market with minimal investment, prospective customers saw it as evidence the company
wasn’t committed to Japan wouldn’t support them properly, and wouldn’t be there for the long term.

Instead, Springboard teamed with a highly respected Japanese business agent. He held a Ph.D. from MIT, was fluent in English, and was well connected in the client’s industry. Personal introductions were followed not only by official presentations, but also by frequent social invitations, trade show participation and, eventually, low-cost proof-of-concept projects that let prospects evaluate the company’s products and service capabilities with minimal risk.

As the client’s image improved and awareness of its products broadened, Springboard boosted the activity level. A seminar series involving well-regarded industry peers from other countries focused on how they had successfully implemented and used the client’s products and services. This drew an expanded audience, built credibility, and provided compelling evidence of the benefits afforded by the client’s software and services. Projects grew in scope and importance as the client’s domain expertise and trustworthiness were repeatedly tested and validated. Only at this point—after two years of paid proof-of-concept projects–were licenses actually purchased. To facilitate a successful implementation and technology transfer to the Japanese clients, skilled support specialists were placed on-site at the customer facility, sometimes for up to 12 months. Within the following year, the client hired a Japanese support staff and opened an office in Tokyo.

Was the two-year investment that led to the first license worthwhile? Over the following seven years, the client maintained a 70 percent compound annual growth rate. That resonates well in any country, but it could not have happened without a deep understanding and respect for cultural differences.

Context of Success

 

fly fishing... and why it matters

"For me, fly fishing has been the vehicle for escape. It has provided clarity, creativity and a completely new perspective. My best work has been done on the stream."

                                                                -James Popeo

Fly fishing is more like business than one might think. In business and in fly fishing there is always more to learn. We accumulate knowledge over the years and years of experience and apply what we have learned to an ever-changing environment. Success is predicated on our ability to be open-minded, creative, and willing to adapt and change.

In business, we continually search for answers, looking for the right formula, the right strategy, the actions that will lead to success. Because we are so intensely immersed in our quest, we more often than not completely miss the obvious. Breakthrough results emanate from new perspectives and creativity. Creativity requires that we move to another place, one far removed from current thinking.

A day of discussion, advice and fly fishing the streams of New England.

If you are interested in stepping back from the details of your business and getting a fresh perspective, this is the perfect opportunity. It’s also a great venue for an introductory meeting with Jim Popeo to discuss your business challenges and determine if there is good alignment between your needs and Springboard’s offerings. A guided day on the ponds and streams of New England, fly fishing for rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout and salmon, mixed with open discussion and advice, will provide clarity on business issues and a strategy for moving forward.

Please contact Jim directly at jpopeo@springboardboston.com.

A good day!

 

RESOURCES​

From good books to partners offering services beyond the scope of Springboard’s core competencies, these are resources we are pleased to recommend.

Market ResearcComprehensive and astute market research is a critical adjunct to our work. Our researchers delve deeply into market trends and drivers, demographic data, key account organizational dynamics, current market news and information from industry thought leaders, and incumbent competitive technology and services. This information produces detailed metrics for a business plan or marketing and sales strategy as well as customized presentation material ranging from client priorities and pains to a well thought out value proposition.

For more information, please contact info@springboardboston.com.

First Point of Contact (FPOC)

One of the most challenging tasks encountered by any sales organization is getting in front of key influencers and decision-makers at target accounts. Springboard has a team of experts who thrive on this challenge. Armed with strong industry knowledge and a clear understanding of senior management’s pain points, Springboard will deliver FPOC meetings with appropriate senior-level managers within target accounts. Getting initial buy-in from senior-level personnel ultimately responsible for budget sign-off and for aligning client strategy with customer business priorities is an essential first step in developing and growing a long-term customer partnership.

For more information, please contact info@springboardboston.com.

Sales Training

Springboard provides strategic sales training and has affiliations with a number of world-class trainers and training programs. Based on specific client needs, we will direct you and your team to the appropriate program.

For more information, please contact info@springboardboston.com.

Suggested Reading:

The Power of Now 

by Eckhart Tolle

Diffusion of Innovations 

by Everett M. Rogers

The Elegant Universe

by Brian Greene

The Tipping Point 

by Malcolm Gladwell

Emotional Intelligence 

by Daniel Goleman

The Black Swan 

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Innovator’s Dilemma 

by Clayton M. Christensen

Understanding Global Cultures 

by Martin J. Gannon and Associates

Experimentation Matters 

by Stephan H. Thomke

 

CONTACT​

Email: info@springboardboston.com

Tel: +1 978.664.5351

Mobile: +1 617.803.8446

Fax: +1 978.664.0947

Springboard Consulting, Inc.

42 Spruce Road

North Reading, MA 01864

USA

Get In Touch
 

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