Sigma Conso - "Our sales doubled in the first few months"
After Fortino's entry, Sigma Conso burst onto the European tech scene. Its Corporate Performance Management Software made it the preferred supplier of increasingly more, and larger, companies. “This private equity partner was the catalyst that allowed me to develop my business faster," says CEO Dominique Galloy.
“Honestly? I was fed up talking to investors. When Filip Van Innis of Fortino called me, I'd had it with due diligence conversations. Not a single investor was able to offer me the help I wanted.” This is what Dominique Galloy, CEO of Sigma Conso, said in the margin of the Fortino Capital CEO Summit in Amsterdam.
Dominique subsequently explains why it didn't take him long to change his opinion in 2020: “Fortino is not just any investor. I discovered that in the exploratory talks. This private equity partner allowed me to develop my business faster.”
He took his chance and immediately benefited from the expertise and people Fortino brought in. It took him, and Sigma Conso, to previously unparalleled heights. The growth of the scale-up, specialised in Saas applications to support CFOs of major organisations with their financial results, regulatory consolidation and planning, accelerated. Today, its 70 employees help more than 620 corporate clients, which include resounding names such as Umicore, Deloitte, Besix Group and Auchan. The turnover increased to EUR 12 million.
For more information, read Sigma Conso: from MVP to international growth and innovation
External expertise creates immediate growth
Fortino's goal was clear from the first talks: strengthen all layers in the organisation and bring in the right people. This is how the Board of Directors, the management and the different teams were expanded. On that basis, it would accelerate organic growth in existing countries and serve new ones.
“I didn’t have a sales, finance and service director,” Dominique thinks back. “Sigma Conso was a one-man show, although I realised the company had grown too big. At very short notice, Fortino looked for and found suitable profiles, including a CFO and sales director. They also suggested I hire an assistant. This didn't seem necessary to me, but my initial resistance disappeared when I experienced how much time and space was freed up.”
The sales expertise paid off immediately. Both the speed of winning deals, the figures on the contracts and Sigma Conso's market increased.
Dominique: “The sale of new licences doubled in the first six months. We landed a successful distributor in Asia and launched activities in Germany. The next sales step was to encourage existing customers to switch to our latest SaaS platform.”
Coaching strengthens CEO
Not just the company's growth was on Fortino's agenda. Knowing that an organisation can only grow if the CEO grows resulted in an investment in said CEO.
“I was introduced to a coach from Fortino's advisor group,” explains Dominique. “This person challenged me and my ideas. I was able to present my problems... and received no solutions, because that's not what a coach does. He did teach me how I could find the answers within myself and how to fully harness my self-confidence.”
The insights of the new and improved reporting allowed Dominique to fine-tune his management faster. “Fortino introduced interesting methodologies, including the weekly report to estimate future sales. Three lines on one graph represent realisations, forecasts and possible upsells. Together, the lines form a blue sea, showing me clearly whether we're doing well. If we might miss certain opportunities, I can discuss it directly with the sales director. This simple visualisation greatly improved the sales follow-up. Combined with sales training by Fortino experts, our entire sales team is now performing at a much higher level.”
Bring in investors faster
Bringing in an investor is not always easy for founders. “You know your company through and through and you've always managed it your way”, says Dominique. “But having experienced Fortino's support, I can give this one piece of advice: Don't wait too long bringing in investors. A good investor helps you overcome the barriers preventing you from growth today. He tells you: we believe in you, we support you.”
“Open yourself to advice, tools, questions and suggestions on how to do things differently. Pick the best from what they offer you. And plot your own course.”