Launching a product is hard. Launching a company is even harder. Launching a product and a company within a pre-existing industry is a monumental task. Halo is an automotive tech startup that managed to do all three and gain the support of people within its industry by the time that it was a year old.
The Halo service is sold in new and used cars through automotive dealerships. Halo shows the car’s location, translates check engine lights, and allows for service scheduling with the tap of a button. Halo connects people to their vehicles in a meaningful way by bringing in service providers and other services, making the information coming from the car useful. For the dealer, it allows them to locate and manage their inventory, retain customers through service, and become more efficient.
Late in January of 2017 Halo rolled out in beta at Beaverton Toyota, the largest dealership in Oregon. After months of collecting and analyzing data from the front lines, Halo was ready for an official launch. We learned that support is a two-way street. With months of invaluable feedback and information from the sales consultants selling Halo, we now needed to supply them with the right tools to help them succeed.
With this in mind, the team thought of highly-visibility installations to increase engagement, support the sales people, and inform our customers. In the end, this came down to a list of roughly a dozen different deliverables:
- A 15-foot wall installation with a mounted TV and glowing logo
- A branded floor car with an interactive Halo demo
- A Sales training manual and certification process
- Over a dozen table-top vinyl covers
- 8-foot vinyl covering the service bay windows
- Halo T-shirts
- Halo Pins
- Sales pamphlets
- Sales brochures
All of this coalesced into a beautiful launch on May 12th that positively affected the dealership in a number of ways:
1) The dealership staff respected the product more. Companies come and go. In automotive, and tech especially, nothing is permanent. At first, the salespeople weren’t sure what Halo was, how to sell it, or whether we would even be around in a month or two. Cementing our presence within their dealership through these initiatives solidified us as a legitimate company in their eyes and assured them we’d be around for a long time.
2) Dealership staff had an easier time selling. As mentioned above, we discovered that selling Halo came with a bit of a learning curve. The sales consultants at Beaverton Toyota were used to selling cars, but a technology-based app/device/service that boasted several different features and benefits was too much to unpack. By implementing our own sales manager into their culture, we learned how they learned. We saw what worked and what didn’t, and we ended up rolling out supportive documents to help the salespeople understand Halo and how to sell it.
3) Direct to consumer preperation. In addition to expanding to other dealerships, Halo’s next step is to sell directly to consumers. Luckily this launch gave us even more information to analyze and carry forward that will help shape the company for years to come. The reception was positive, and we will continue to study what resonates with customers and what doesn’t.
All of this will lead to more impactful communication and a better, more effective end product. Halo was created with a singular purpose in mind: to empower drivers with knowledge about their vehicles. To put power back in their hands and eliminate some of the “unknowns” that surround car ownership. We plan on carrying that mission out in many other dealerships, and for many more years to come.
None of this could have happened without our excellent team of developers, engineers, designers, writers, salespeople, and dealership staff that all believe in Halo and its mission. Over the past year our Halo family has grown exponentially as we’ve expanded our product and its scope. We’ve taken on more engineers, designers, and sales managers than we ever could have imagined when the company first started a year ago. As we look to the future, we plan on rolling out in even more dealerships in 2017 and using everything we’ve learned at Beaverton Toyota as a foundation.
Thank you to everyone involved in our launch both behind the scenes and on the front lines. We couldn’t have done any of this without you, and we’re working towards a beautiful future.