SageGlass Market Engagement Strategy

SageGlass was started in 1989 as an ambitious research project that would eventually result in a manufacturing approach that could develop large format, dynamic glazings that darken in response to sun light. The implications of this development were enormous, as it now became possible to manufacture photo sensitive glazing in sizes large enough for use in building construction projects. Previously, the largest sizes available limited the use of electrochromic glass to consumer optical products such as ‘transition’ lenses for eyewear.

When the company approached Paladino, it had recently relocated from an incubation lab in the ceramics department of Rutgers University (NJ) to Faribault, Minnesota, in the heart of the “silicon valley of windows.” Subsequently, it had received funding to construct a new factory which could produce the large format glass at a much reduced cost, and in larger quantities than had been available previously.

Now the task was to ensure the company was positioned to take advantage of expected momentum in the green building market by presenting SageGlass as an energy efficient alternative to conventional glazing systems and green options.

Strategy

Paladino recommended first validating SageGlass’ contribution to energy efficiency by performing energy analyses comparing the performance of SageGlass in an array of different building types, comparing the standard, or conventional (non-green) glazing systems and the conventional ‘green’ option—which included the use of low-e glazing, interior light shelves and exterior sun shades—to the SageGlass options. These findings would be used to identify the most ideal building types and sectors on which to focus sales efforts.

Based on the findings, Paladino then developed a market value proposition for each of the relevant building types (where savings and other direct and indirect benefits had been identified), and contributed energy efficiency performance data to a SageGlass developed white paper. Paladino’s work was used to support the due diligence process in a business partnership deal that would see French building products manufacturer Saint-Gobain investing $80 million in SAGE Electrochromics Inc. to support global market expansion efforts.

Paladino’s task then was to assist SAGE in supporting the sales process, so that the new factory could ramp up to capacity. To support this goal, Paladino developed a sales training program focusing on the green value proposition of the product for each of the key building types, accompanied by a suite of materials that would assist new sales executives in getting up to speed on the building design and construction industry, architecture and engineering decision makers’ selection criteria, and key sales messages likely to resonate in different opportunity scenarios.

Results

This multi-year engagement has resulted in the successful positioning of SageGlass as a provider to the green building market; an outcome that is reflected in the company value proposition throughout all its branded materials and sales processes. SAGE’s success in integrating and leveraging green building market opportunities was validated by the successfully completed acquisition of the company by Saint-Gobain in May of 2012.