Something to Crow About:
It’s always great to crow about are our clients achievements. Gold Mountain Communications is a prime example. With Gold Mountain’s exceptional leadership, talented staff and a warm and friendly work culture, Red Crow Marketing is honored to be part of such an amazing team. We would like to extend our congratulations on your recent expansion and we look forward to seeing many more years of your success.
– Red Crow Marketing
Published By:Springfield Business Journal – Brian Brown
One door closes and another opens. It’s the basis for the creation story for Springfield-based telemarketing firm Gold Mountain Communications LLC, which launched in April 2009 when the doors to Wyndham Vacation Resorts shuttered in Springfield amid the onset of the Great Recession.
Owner Hank Seevers, who managed the Wyndham office, started Gold Mountain by bringing with him 15 key employees, including Gold Mountain Senior Vice President Ian McGuire. Both Seevers and McGuire – who oversees marketing and sales – had 10 years of experience with Wyndham, and handpicked the employees.
“A past boss that I had at Wyndham had a couple of years earlier moved on to another large resort company, and he contacted me about handling some of their business on an outsource basis,” Seevers says. “We were able to put the numbers together. It made sense, so when everybody else was retreating in 2009, I started Gold Mountain.”
The company’s growth from early on is demonstrated by its increasing annual payroll. From roughly $500,000 in 2009 wages, payroll ballooned to $3.2 million the second year and doubled to $6.8 million in 2011. Steady increases since peg the projected 2015 payroll at $15.3 million for its 500 employees, Seevers says. He declined to disclose annual revenues.
Gold Mountain works with four national resort clients based in Orlando, Fla. Seevers declined to name the clients, but a search of resort firms in Orlando turns up Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Bluegreen Vacations Unlimited and Holiday Inn Club Vacations.
Seevers says Gold Mountain works on commission for clients, declining to disclose typical contract terms. About 70 percent of business comes from inbound calls – leads the resorts generate when asking potential customers if they’d like to learn more about resort packages. He says the rest is from outbound calls for client services, such as customer surveys. Gold Mountain’s services include phone sales, order fulfillment and direct mail.
Ron Marshall, president of Springfield advertising firm Red Crow Marketing Inc., says his working relationship with Seevers goes back 13 years to the Wyndham days. When Seevers started his company, he called on Marshall to develop the name, logo and jingle.
“It was the same thing I’ve done for my company; we put an object and a color together and then it has more recall ability,” Marshall says of the name. “You can make a lot of money, so gold seemed the perfect fit. And the image, if you climb the gold mountain, you can get to success.”
Marshall says advertisements typically center on recruitment, and the majority run on radio and television, with a sprinkling of ads online.
The company spent its first year in the Wilhoit building downtown before moving to the Elfindale Center in 2010. The company initially occupied 7,500 square feet but gobbled up adjacent space in 2011 and 2013, before adding roughly 6,000 square feet earlier this year. Gold Mountain now occupies about 23,000 square feet at the Elfindale Center and comprises five sales floors, administrative offices, a break area and a training room.
A cubicle farm spans the western side of the strip center, which once was divided by building design. In the sales and training rooms, large white boards list employee names with daily sales goals.
While telemarketing competitors include Communication Solutions LLC, TeleTech and Sunrise Communications Inc., Seevers says Gold Mountain’s focus on the resort industry makes it unique. TeleTech, for instance, reaches across the automotive, health care, government and financial services industries.
“Attracting talent is our biggest challenge,” he says, pointing to high turnover during the company’s six-week training period.
He says most employees who make it through, stay on and eventually move into full-time positions. McGuire was worried when the company moved in 2010 whether it would be able to find enough quality workers to fill its 83-seat sales room at the time.
“I remember setting up computers and wondering if we could staff this,” he says. “We have somewhere in the vicinity of 225 [seats] now.”
Pay plus commission is the company’s biggest tool in employee retention, Seevers says. More than half of its workers are full-time and the average employee earns around $24 an hour, including commissions. In 2014, Greene County’s average wage was $18.27 per hour, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
Seevers says growing sales opportunities into other industries is on the radar, but vacation sales would remain its core.
“There have been those thoughts,” he says, “but quite frankly, we haven’t had the time because we’ve been so busy.”