"The investments that have happened over the last three years have been critical to our success," he said. "It set us up for the last year."
Those investments have included creating a new website, and spending money on search engine optimization and digital marketing to help drive more leads to the website. That process takes time to yield tangible sales results, but the planning turned out to be invaluable.
CM Shredders went through a slow two-month period when businesses were partially shut down in Florida in spring 2020. But during that time, an influx of leads for future business filtered in through the company's website. Plus, these marketing investments helped attract a higher number of quality leads that are likely to have an immediate impact.
"We had those big backlogs of business and new leads so once we were allowed to operate with safety restrictions in place, it was extremely busy," Astifan said. "We haven't slowed down since."
The company's industrial shredders for tire recycling and industrial waste can be found in almost 30 countries worldwide. A recycler that makes rubber mulch or rubberized playground surfacing from old tires is considered a customer since it might use one of CM Shredders' machines to grind up those tires.
Product line expansion
CM Shredders last year introduced a line of dual shafted industrial shredders, ranging from 10 to 250 HP that offered a less expensive point of entry for start-ups and smaller clients. These industrial shredders were smaller than what the company traditionally offered, which in turn expanded CM Shredders' target market and prospect base.
"They are smaller in stature but very well designed and built," Astifan said.
What is surprising to Astifan is that customers are willing to buy shredders that cost anywhere from $300,000 to $2 million by phone or video, sight unseen. The willingness of customers to buy online is a sea change for the industry, and makes the online and digital marketing investments more critical.
"So, I'm a bit of an old-school guy who was used to jumping on planes and closing deals in person," Astifan said.
Just like any business, CM Shredders has had to manage staff and shift changes because of COVID-19, but the company and its roughly 40 employees have come through unscathed. Most employees are on the industrial floor but are naturally spaced out because of what their roles entail. Others not involved in trades have been able to work at home as needed.