Canadian business management experts Synerion has achieved over 7,000 installations worldwide of its two major products – Agile Workforce and Enterprise Workforce. Synerion’s biggest challenge was to capture the attention of new markets. The company used Google Ads to help solve this challenge and successfully expanded across North America.
Headquartered in Mississauga, Canada with remote sales-people across North America, Synerion sells workforce management software and technology solutions for tracking employee time and attendance, automating HR processes and absence management for businesses of all sizes.
Synerion knew there were opportunities to sell its two major products (Agile Workforce and Enterprise Workforce) internationally, because of the universal need for businesses to manage employees. A key challenge, however, was being discovered by new markets outside of its home country. “We’re confident in the quality and breadth of what we offer,” says Paolo Gilfillan, Director of Sales and Marketing for Synerion North America. “Our biggest challenge is being found.”
Synerion already had a robust Canadian online marketing strategy, which included SEO, blogging, social media channels and Google Ads campaigns. However, when the company wanted to start selling internationally in 2011, Gilfillan found that he needed to adjust this strategy to make it work in international markets. Synerion was largely focusing on inbound marketing but there was a need to ensure that once found, the information it served to its new audiences was relevant to the local market.
To this end, before entering the U.S., the company looked at the online search patterns of different regions. “Keyword matching is a strong indicator of local market interest,” explains Gilfillan. “The words being searched can be totally different depending on the market.” After researching the behaviour of each market, Synerion began rolling out separate Google Ads campaigns in Canada, and in different regions across North America. Each campaign provided valuable insight into what worked with different audiences, allowing Synerion to adjust campaigns as necessary.
The company also made tweaks to the international versions of its website to further complement the insights that it gathered from Google Ads. “Online marketing has always been a priority for us and it became the number one priority when growing abroad,” says Gilfillan.
To drive faster international growth, Gilfillan enlisted the help of a Google Partner, Search Engine People, to help with research and online campaign development. “It can be a mistake for businesses to hire ‘any individual’ they know for digital marketing because they’re ‘good at this stuff.’ There are plenty of professional digital agencies that aren’t out of reach for small businesses,” says Gilfillan. “Look for agencies that focus on your goals and ROI rather than your media costs.”
This strategy has paid off for Synerion, with sales outside of Canada strongest in the U.S., Israel, South Africa and Australia, and increasing 30% in just one year. “The ROI is incredible,” says Gilfillan. “We plan to continue increasing investments in digital.” This success is setting the pace for the company’s upcoming goals, as it expects to double its North American revenue in the next three to five years.
Gilfillan credits digital marketing for the company’s recent advances into international markets. “Digital marketing gives you the knowledge and insights you need in a cost-effective way that allows you to adapt to a market and drive revenue quickly,” he says. “In my mind, marketing comes first and sales come second.”
“Digital marketing gives you the insights you need in a cost-effective way that allows you to adapt to a market and drive revenue quickly.” Paolo Gilfillan, Director of Sales and Marketing, Synerion North America