Stellar Start-Ups: Personalized online sales help - for those without a shekel to spare

two tribes (photo credit: none)
two tribes
(photo credit: none)
Setting up a Web site for your business is all welland good, but where do you go from there? According to Josh Guedalia ofTwo Tribes (, many businesses go absolutelynowhere - wasting what could be one of their most lucrative salesengines.

"Many businesses set up a shopping cart on theirsites and leave it at that," he says. "But without the rightpositioning, messaging and customer service, many businesses find thatthey sell far less on their Web sites than they anticipated. We canhelp businesses increase their online sales by building a personalizedplan, based on a process we have developed that we have found to behighly effective."

It's a lack of properly managing the sales cycle that killsmost online sales efforts, but with the services offered by Two Tribes,this is the last thing Guedalia's clients have to worry about.

There are many Web site sales-development outfits out there,but Two Tribes brings some unique skills - and unique benefits - to theclient's table. Most importantly, rather than only looking to increasetraffic to the site, Two Tribes takes a holistic business view of theWeb as a way to drive sales. When working with a client, Two Tribeswill first review the landscape: checking out what their customers arelooking for when they surf to a client's site and whether the sitemeets those needs.

Guedalia then surveys his clients' technical andbusiness infrastructure to examine whether they are capable of handlingWeb sales (many business sites aren't, he says) and reviews the methodsthey use to attract customers, to make sure they are aiming for theright ones for their product.

Making sure the product messaging focuses on what peopleactually need and want rather than what the product does, is a majorissue for many businesses selling over the Web, Guedalia says.

"We recently worked with a company whose site wasattracting a large amount of traffic but wasn't getting sales," hesays. "After a review of their content and messaging, we discoveredthat when people got to the site they got a lot of information aboutthe many features of the product without seeing how it specificallyhelped them."

Guedalia helped the company reposition its message intocustomer-specific solutions, as well as giving the customer the supportand education required during the sales cycle. This resulted in asignificant increase in sales, he says.

Guedalia sees online sales efforts as sort of a "funnel": youtry to nab as many relevant customers as possible to a business site,then use the various marketing and sales tools at your disposal toconvert them into sales.

It's in this area that Two Tribes excels, he says: "We attractthe customers to a site, then educate them as to the benefits of theproduct or service the site is selling, and work closely with them,both on- and off-line to convert them to paying customers."

All the while, Guedalia and his staff are working with theclient, honing the message and the methods, setting up what isessentially a customized sales program for each of their clients.

So far, so good - but it's what comes next that is truly innovative.

While building this customized online sales program for clients,Guedalia does not collect any fees upfront - or even at the end of theprocess.

"Our service is performance-based," he says. "We don't startmaking money until our client makes sales. We want results as much asour clients do, and we find this method of working is a win-winsituation for everyone involved."

It would be a gutsy move even during "normal" times; how muchbraver, and more difficult, must it be to do business this way duringthe ongoing recession, when the small and midsize businesses Two Tribesseeks to work with are having trouble even keeping their doors open,because customers are too scared - or broke - to buy.

But recession or not, Guedalia's magic has been having aneffect. "We applied our methodology to a well-known software companythat had a good off-line sales history but had never managed to succeedat online sales, despite having a Web site and an online salesinfrastructure," he says. "After working with them, we were able tohelp them increase their online sales by 300 percent over a six-monthperiod."

And that during a recession! Guedalia hopes to repeat the samesuccess with Two Tribes's newest client, Business Financial Planner.

That Guedalia doesn't charge up front means that there areprobably many businesses that would want to use his services; but, ofcourse, Two Tribes can't work with all comers, due to its own limitedresources. As such, Guedalia can be picky about the company he keeps -and the companies he works with.

"Our ideal client is one who appreciates the need for changeand is open to new ideas and innovations," he says. "By helping aclient look at their company's online sales efforts using our methods,we're able to give clients a bird's-eye view on their business, theircompetition and the field they're working with in general. Byleveraging that information to the client's advantage, we can hopefullyhelp them increase sales by a large percentage."

Guedalia has had a long history at Internet startups, so he has a pretty good idea of how Internet sales works.

"Along the way I garnered some ideas about sales and marketing,especially how to effectively sell on the Web," he says. "It's been mydream for several years to be able to implement these ideas intoactions, and now I'm able to do that with Two Tribes" - to the benefitof all his clients.