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Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise

Established in July 2000, the Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise at the University of Portsmouth aims to inspire Portsmouth students to learn and succeed in entrepreneurship through developing enterprise skills and experience.

The Centre helps both existing and former students by guiding innovative ideas and developing skills in business start up, self-employment, freelancing and consultancy. The Centre is open to all students, regardless of their course and services are free.

For those students who are serious about their business ideas and set up companies the Centre provides enhanced support including a Business Review Panel, which comprises of independent experts in the fields of finance, law, operations, strategy and sales and marketing. The Business Review Panel meets regularly and provides advice and guidance to the students to help then overcome specific challenges and make rapid progress.

Cognitive Sales Consulting, who help organisations improve and maximise sales and marketing results, have been providing the sales and marketing support to the Centre since 2005, by providing an expert for the Business Review Panel, as well as sales and marketing training and seminars, as part of the popular annual Enterprise Challenge.

Cognitive Sales Consulting,who work with companies in Hampshire, Berkshire and the Thames Valley help by. providing very practical operational and strategic advice, sales coaching, sales mentoring and interim services, based on many years success in sales and sales management.

Richard Sant, Enterprise Lecturer for the Centre commented;

“Bryan has been a great help to our students and entrepreneurs. We really value working with our local business sponsors and supporters, who offer us time and valuable resources”.

For more information about the Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise please contact Richard Sant;

Email: [email protected] +44 (0) 23 9284 3543

see www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/enterprise


This client case study gives a client perspective on a recent Sales and Marketing Health Check that they had performed to help them fast track sales growth.

Russell Wiltshire, Director of Vivantio shares his experience;

What challenges did Vivantio face ?

We knew that Vivantio had excellent products and services. We also knew that Vivantio had little real experience in selling and marketing. Plenty of experience in being sold to and marketed at, so we knew what sort of message our potential customers would respond to. But we didn’t know how best to find them and what sort of return we should expect from all the different forms of sales and marketing activities that we could undertake.

What did you want from the Sales and Marketing Healthcheck ?

We wanted to know;

  • how best to manage the sales process.
  • if there were ways of marketing and selling that we used.
  • how to use well known methods to make them more effective.
  • how to get the best return on our limited marketing spend.
  • what sort of return we could expect.

We like to think that Vivantio people are fairly smart, sensible people with keen business minds. So we liked the idea of getting advice and taking it forward ourselves, rather than employing someone to do it all for us.

What was it like ?

The Cognitive Sales Consulting Sales and Marketing Health Check process made a lot of sense to us. We felt we received good advice with sufficient detail that we could act on it. We liked the fact that our background and long-term aspirations were fully explored, and that this was taken full account of in the recommendations and Action Plan.

Going through the Action Plan in detail and being able to discuss the recommendations was also very useful. We had an open mind and were willing to give most of the suggestions a try. In short, we were fully convinced that Cognitive Sales Consulting knew much more about this than we did and we appreciated the coaching and follow-up support helping us to work our way through some difficult decisions.

What have you done differently as a result of the Sales and Marketing Healthcheck ?

We’ve been a lot more systematic. Vivantio sales and marketing has now become a planned process rather than a case-by-case make-it-up-as-we-go-along affair. We’ve taken a more holistic approach to our sales and marketing efforts and can now compare different methods to assess where best return is. We now have much better data about what we do and can analyse results to continually drive more sales.

We completely refocused the web site and brochures for Vivantio, based on the benefits of our products and services rather than the features. We’ve found that focusing on the benefits is useful in setting the scene for potential new customers – before they get onto the detailed list of features. We started a whole new advertising campaign and we could immediately see the benefits from it.

What results have you achieved ?

Well, its difficult to say anything like “we doubled our sales figures” because we had so little information to go on before and we were still ramping up. But we knew, even from the short time that we had been doing things, that we weren’t going to get very far without help.

So really, the main result, is that without any real in-house sales and marketing experience, Vivantio have been able to put in place a pretty good process. We can now see the effects of the improvements we make. This saves money in itself and we can see what happens when we change anything. Before the Cognitive Sales Consulting Sales and Marketing Health Check we would have had to guess.

We have already won more business as a direct result of a new advertising campaign recommended in the Action Plan on a very cost effective basis.

We’re a lot more confident and motivated because we can see patterns starting to emerge. We know what our win rate is today, so we can be more confident in planning ahead because we can tell what’s going to happen based on the current number of prospects coming through.

What Return on Investment have you achieved ?

I can definitely say that this is a high value service. Even a company with a modest potential market and turnover should be able to achieve a positive return on investment from the health-check within a reasonable time.

I have no hesitation in saying that the Cognitive Sales Consulting Health Check was worthwhile. Our sales are higher and our marketing spend is reduced as a direct result. In just three months we recouped the investment and estimate that we will see a return on investment of at least 300% in the first year alone.

Vivantio was formed in 2001 and provides fresh and innovative web-based software solutions as well as business and technology consulting services. Their team of experienced business consultants, creative designers and highly skilled developers combine to provide a range of high quality products and services to clients such as DHL Global Mail, West Wiltshire Housing and Bard Health Care.

Vivantio’s products and services include:

Best Value Review – a comprehensive analysis of how an organisation uses information and communications technology.

Software Design and Development – including web site design, intranets and custom-built software.

Vivantio Surveys – a web-based service for online data collection such as customer satisfaction surveys.

Vivantio Helpdesk – a complete software solution for customer service and support teams.
see www.vivantio.com

Mwr InfoSecurity

“Cognitive Sales Consulting helped us create an environment that supports accelerated contract wins and their expert analysis of our sales and marketing processes has helped put us firmly on the path of continual improvement.

I admit I was a little skeptical at first, but I am now most confident that their input and advice has proved to be very valuable in growing our sales pipeline, increasing our deal sizes and increasing our win rate.

I am certain that their continued input will result in further measurable improvements to our sales results and that we are achieving a payback many times our investment.”

Alex Fidgen, Sales Director of MWR InfoSecurity.

MWR Infosecurity, based in Basingstoke, help companies manage IT Security risk risk by providing expert independent security testing. Established in 2003 they have quickly built an impressive client base with the enviable position that every client is so happy with the services provided that they are all referencable !

Based on this success, MWR were planning the next phase of their growth and wanted to ensure that they were selling and marketing their services to greatest effect.

They engaged Cognitive Sales Consulting, who, having analysed the situation recommended what changes were needed and the urgent ones were implemented immediately rapidly resulting in several new contract wins.

A prioritised action plan was developed and implemented to continue to drive rapid growth in sales.

concentia consulting

“Thank you for a great workshop on Negotiation. You are able to explain issues in a very clear and pragmatic way, ways that you can get out there and save yourself money. An excellent insight into how to get a better deal for you and your business.

Thanks, much appreciated.”

Mark Fineman, Director Concentia Consulting

concentia consulting delivers Learning and Development Solutions, Management Consultancy and Coaching expertise to many organisations, companies and people.

see www.concentiaconsulting.com

shere Solutions

“A true giver and a real professional – I saw him in action this week running a really interactive workshop on negotiation. If you’ve got a sales team that needs to sell or a staff that need motivation, I couldn’t recommend a nicer fellow”

Tom Evans, Director shere Solutions

Our solutions empower businesses to take full advantage of new technology. We de-mystify the jargon and make things happen for our clients. Our solutions enable you to work smarter.

Wired Berkshire

“We had a serious challenge on our hands – to move from a fully government funded organisation to one which our members were happy to pay for.
Cognitive Sales Consulting  helped us tremendously in that transition by working with us to quickly define a Sales and Marketing strategy, design and execute a rapid customer survey, help define the services to be offered and
develop promotional material such as case studies  to help launch the new services.
 I am certain that  we will see a significantly more successful campaign and a higher level of member subscriptions as direct a result of Cognitive Sales Consulting’s expert input and are very happy that this was a great investment for us.  “

Sarah Britten-Jones – Manager Wired Berkshire.

 Wired Berkshire is the premier network for sourcing suppliers of new media and information communication technology services across Berkshire.

It  aims to support these suppliers and enable them to gain more business by facilitating interworking, bringing organisations together to collaborate,
share services and best practice and collectively bear the cost of learning and business development. Wired Berkshire Cluster members bring local economic growth by stimulating e-enabled services in all businesses.

The Sixth Form College Farnborough

Following a guest speaker appearance on the marketing module of the A level Business Studies course, Anja Harwood, Senior Tutor remarked;

“Thank you so much for taking the time to come to the college and present to our students. It was very much appreciated. It was a valuable learning experience for the students and clearly demonstrated the importance of understanding your target market segment.

In the post presentation feedback the students had clearly grasped the material. It was exactly what I had hoped for.”

Comtrol Europe

“Cognitive Sales Consulting were very effective in helping us uncover and then develop some specific areas for improvement to help us increase sales more quickly. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who wants see a step change increase in sales.“

David Morris, Managing Director, Comtrol Europe

Comtrol Europe is a leading supplier of specialist communications solutions which are used across many applications and industries. In 2003 Managing Director David Morris, initiated a review of sales operations which commenced with a Sales Health-check conducted by Cognitive Sales Consulting . This analysis all key sales activities and identified several areas where improvements could be made. A series of interactive workshops and coaching sessions were conducted to develop them, including a strategic shift from a product to a solution sales approach, as well as more effective approaches to generating new business and negotiation strategies for larger deals. Comtrol is now a regular client with periodic checkpoints to ensure that everything stays on track.


“Cognitive Sales Consulting helped us analyse our current situation and then provided valuable, effective, high quality training and coaching to help us understand the new area of the market that we are targeting, as well as mapping out the steps that we now need to take to implement the plan successfully.”

Rod Taylor is the European Client Services Manager for Aquitec, a leading Supply Chain Management software company.The critical issue for Aquitec was that they had started development of a significant new product capability due to a customer request but this took them into a new sector of the software market where they had little prior experience, presenting them with significant risks.
They needed to very quickly gain an understanding of this new market sector, determine the business opportunity and put together a development and marketing strategy to leverage it into increased sales whilst minimising costs and risk.

Cognitive Sales Consulting ran a workshop which educated and coached the management team through a review of the new market, mapping out the options to be considered before reaching a decision on the way forward, resulting in a clear development and marketing plan.

Rod commented that “we have been provided with some very knowledgeable training and coaching that will help us drive the company forward much more effectively in this market”