Maria Merce Martin’s specialty is pulling back the curtain, figuring out why people do what they do, and using it to motivate them. And her Fortune 500 clients love it. Since 1998, Martin, founder and CEO of Optime Consulting in Weston, has grown her marketing and sales consulting firm to $12 million in sales.
It all started in her native Venezuela, where Martin worked in IT and computer engineering — first in the oil industry, then remotely for several U.S. companies. In 1998, she decided she needed a change, so with $500, Martin opened a consulting business from a little desk in her home.
“I knew the best way to cultivate happy customers and to grow sales was to provide a reliable, knowledgeable sales force,” Martin said. Optime soon made a name for itself for strategizing unique ways to motivate sales teams.
One of Martin’s first jobs was to help market the Palm Pilot, a handheld computing device, alongside lower-priced competitors. Citrix MetaFrame was another client. Soon, Motorola and others were knocking on the door.
At first, Martin outsourced the work, “but I realized they weren’t as committed or had the same expectations that I had,” she said. In 1999, Martin rented an office and began building her own team.
Optime’s signature service analyzes sales data to identify behavior patterns in a sales force. Clients use the information to motivate sales teams, grow sales and find new areas of business growth. The company’s core programs are business intelligence, loyalty programs and game mechanics, creating dashboards to give individuals immediate feedback, rewards and snapshots of the competition.
“We view business intelligence as a tool that brings companies closer to the individuals behind their sales,” Martin said. “We merge analysis of data with analysis of human behavior to maximize individual performance.”
Company name: Optime Consulting
Owner: Maria Merce Martin
Sales: $12 million in past year.
The difference: Analyzes sales data to find behavioral trends to grow sales and opportunities.
Clients: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Citrix, Adobe, Ricoh, Motorola, Amazon Web Services
Competitors: Marco Marketing Consultants, ICLP, ChannelAssist
Number of employees: 130
Offices: Headquartered in Weston, with offices in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico.
Outside view: “Optime Consulting combines passion for success with years of experience in international and domestic markets,” said client Roberto Ricossa, vice president of sales at F5 Networks/Latin America and the Caribbean. “They build a close relationship with their customers and turn them into true partnerships.”
Worst mistake ever: “Hiring people that I’m related to,” Martin said. “I love helping people and helping them with jobs, but sometimes I make mistakes.”
Best decision ever: Martin said asking her husband of 27 years, Guillermo Palm, to join Optime as IT Director. “I’m the dreamer. I’m the visionary. He’s the one who points me in the right way,” she said.
Strategy: Integrating a human-centric strategy with innovation and automation.
Challenges: “Hiring the right team,” Martin said. “When we hire a person for our team, we want to understand their personality. We want to be sure that we are giving that person the right seat, and that they can really shine in their role.”