Smartbags Engage to Carry Out More Sales


Established in 2010, Smartbags supply personalised and custom made promotional bags printed with your own design. Particularly popular in the events industry, the company has built a successful £500,000 turnover business with just 3 staff, helping businesses gain maximum exposure for their brands by creating stylish, yet highly functional eco-bags which will be used over and over again.

As with most start-ups, this organic growth was fuelled by a blend of great word-of-mouth, and expert use of Pay Per Click and SEO marketing. However in recent times it has become harder to maintain the levels of growth the business would like, due to increasing competition. The team at Smartbags realised that they needed to stand out from the crowd further by engaging more closely with buyers. This’support’ approach to providing high quality merchandise, built to the client’s specification, is not available through so many e-commerce-driven competitors offering lower costs of entry.

With this in mind, Leanne Dal Santo, one of the company directors, turned to to work on a way to keep high quality, qualified leads coming into the business:

“The simple answer would have been to hire sales people to ramp up our productivity.

“This presented us with uncertainty and risk. As such a small team, none of whom are experienced or trained managers of salespeople, we felt we wouldn’t have the expertise to get the best out of a relatively inexperienced salesperson – and the costs of experienced salespeople can run very high with no guarantee of results. Employing someone to generate leads for us – with the management, HR and general housing overheads – would, in short, have been a distraction that a small yet successful management team could ill-afford.”


So to help take Smartbags to the next level of business generation, created a bespoke Lead Generation programme that enabled Leanne and her colleagues to engage with more pre-qualified and sales-ready leads than ever before. MD Nick Gilbert noted:

“It was a perfect fit for both parties in a situation like this. We have all of the resources that a growing company such as Smartbags would need readily in place – meaning that any campaign can hit the ground running without a ramp-up period or overheads associated with taking on a new employee. In fact we were up and running within two business days of our initial kick-off meeting” provide a managed lead generation service that removes all of the time-consuming elements associated with new business development. Using the latest social selling techniques, the highly automated system handles “suspect” contact creation, email campaigns, scheduled follow-up, response tracking and lead nurturing – all delivered via a customised CRM that is visible to the client.

The system was first used 2 years ago during the highly successful launch of the sister company – enabling to demonstrate the value of the proposition to Smartbags with its very own case study.

Nick Gilbert continues:

“With two years of significant growth at, we had demonstrated that this method of lead generation was highly efficient, generated consistently higher open and click rates, and presented business development managers with sales-ready leads of a much higher quality than the inefficient model of cold calling a purchased list of indeterminate quality.”


On the approach, Nick Gilbert said:

“The technology that we use takes advantage of the world’s most frequently updated business database – LinkedIn. So we can target suspects much more effectively with a variety of queries based on industry, job role, level of seniority and so forth. This quality of data, combined with the customised and automated nature of our campaign machinery, means that the amount of time spent researching, cold calling, and manually writing follow up material is virtually eradicated.”

Of course, no sales process can work without human input. Turning a list of well targeted suspects, who have read your materials, into sales-ready leads still requires a final push. This is the element that Smartbags have seen as the real game-changer:

“What has really helped turn this around is the qualification process after the campaign generates interest.

“In a very short period of time we were provided with 20 quality, pre-qualified leads that we were able to work with quickly and efficiently, thanks to the excellent work of the qualification team within They have deployed experienced telesales and appointment-setting staff to further qualify expressions of interest and re-engage with those strategic targets who hadn’t responded. By the time the potential client speaks to us, they have a great idea of what we can do and whether it is right for them, so we can get straight down to business”

In the final analysis however, it is the expert combination of all of the elements that has impressed Smartbags:

“The solution has been an amazing integration of technology, process and people. At every step of the process we have a transparent view of the performance of the campaign. We can review recorded calls, gain instant access to dashboard reports, and even control the flow of potential business if we get too busy during certain periods. It has, in short, tripled our manpower and markedly improved our pipeline, whilst having virtually no impact or distraction on how we carry out the day-to-day operation of our business. We are delighted with the results and would certainly recommend this approach to any SME that is looking to significantly improve sales without taking their eye off the ball for a moment.”