Prior to being renamed SalesFuel in 2015, our company was known as Sales Development Services for its first 25 years.
Company founded by C. Lee Smith
C. Lee Smith developed the AdTracker computer software for the cable television industry. Product first sold to Time Warner Cable in Lima, Ohio. After working nights, weekends and vacation days to start the business, C. Lee Smith would leave his sales position at The Columbus Dispatch in March 1993 to devote full-time energies to SDS.
Co-op Lead & Data Service launched
Company began providing Lead & Data Service featuring computerized co-op advertising database for newspapers. Today, co-op advertising represents less than 10% of the company’s media sales research.
Company Leases First Office Space
In September 1991, the company moved to its first company headquarters in the River’s Edge Corporate Center on 1335 Dublin Road in Columbus, Ohio. The company operated there until moving to new offices in the Community Corporate Center in North Columbus, Ohio in January 1999.
The first of its kind weekly fax of local advertising sales leads with the ability to receive ad materials and details by return fax. The PromoFAX name was the company’s first registered trademark. In April 1994, SDS began on-site training services for the product with the Selling Promotionally! workshop.
C. Lee Smith created the Advertiser Information Mall as a stand-alone BBS service and began beta-testing in March 1995. In October 1995, the product rebranded as AdMall and launched – becoming the first fully Internet-based new business development system for media sales.
Company Creates First Web Application for Advertising Sales
SDS rolled out the Co-op Processor option for AdMall – the first web application for the media sales industry. The product, also developed by Smith, produced completed memo bills and claim forms for co-op advertisers and a variety of reports for media management.
MatchNight News Network Launched
SDS launched MatchNight – America’s Independent Soccer News Network. The network featured independent journalists and photojournalists covering the first and second divisions of U.S. pro soccer and as well as college soccer. The network was used to help the company learn more about online advertising, with Mark Cuban’s HDNet being a major national advertiser. MatchNight ended operations in March 2007 after turning its first profit in 2006.
Company Becomes Web Host for Columbus Crew SC
SDS became the official web host of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer for the 2002 and 2003 seasons – responsible for web hosting, advertising administration and contributing to site development. The league took over website operations for all of its teams in 2004.
MatchNight Webcasts Major League Soccer SuperDraft
MatchNight webcasted Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft and became the official webcaster of the Columbus Crew in January 2003. We provided audio webcasts of the 2004 and 2005 SuperDrafts before interest in the event became large enough for television, as well as many live U.S. Open Cup games in North American and Central America.
Company Expands, Moves to The SDS Building
SDS helped to renovate a nearly 100 year-old farmhouse into its company headquarters for the next 4+ years. The SDS Building was in Lewis Center, Ohio and later occupied by its landlord Nationwide Insurance.
AdMall for Agencies Launched
SalesFuel originally launched AdMall for Agencies under the Ad-ology moniker in August 2005. The official launch party was held as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina moved through Ohio. Ad-ology was originally launched as a new business development tool for small advertising agencies. The brand grew to become a provider of primary market research in the U.S.
Company Sponsors The Sales Centre at Ohio University
SDS became the first corporate sponsor of the media/advertising certificate at Ohio University’s Sales Centre. At the time, one of only 11 such major college programs in the United States. To this day, the company still sponsors The Sales Centre’s annual sales symposium.
AdMall Forms Strategic Alliance with Borrell
Our AdMall brand entered into strategic alliance with research and consulting firm Borrell Associates in December 2006.
AdMall PRO Launched
SDS launches new AdMall PRO package of presentation+proposal tools which includes mapping, charting, advertiser e-newsletters and premium data options from AdMall partners. In October 2007, a complete sales presentation building web application added to AdMall PRO that taps directly into AdMall sales intelligence databases.
Company Expands Again, Moves Into Current Headquarters
Expansion needs and water damage to The SDS Building caused the company to move into its new, larger company headquarters in Westerville, Ohio in April 2008. SDS would take more space in the same building in November 2013 to accompany future growth.
Company Releases First Smartphone App
The company released the Marketing Forecast. The mobile app was one of the first-ever marketing apps for the Apple iPhone and was downloaded by over 12,000 people in the first four months. The company released the Media Sales Mobile – our second smartphone app for media salespeople – in May 2010. The app ranked as high as 19th in downloaded business apps during its first two months.
SalesFuel Becomes 1 of 5 NSAC Research Partners
Ad-ology becomes one of five American Advertising Federation research partners for the National Student Ad Competition. Ad-ology also provides a scholarship and an award to the college team with the Best Use of Marketing Research. Our company CEO and VP of Sales well both participants in the competition in college.
First AudienceSCAN Study is Launched
The company launched the Ad-ology Audience Interests+Attitudes report series focusing on consumer psychographics, media usage, and attitudes toward advertising. The annual study was greatly expanded in 2013 and renamed AudienceSCAN.
AdMall Conducts First Local Media Sales Forecast
Filling a void left behind by trade publications, AdMall released its first Local Ad Sales Forecast in January 2010 to help sales managers prepare for the upcoming year and have benchmarks compare their market to national averages. The study was renamed Local Media Sales Forecast for the 2014 edition to reflect the prevalence of digital marketing services being sold by media sales teams.
Company Enters Strategic Alliance with Polk
Our company entered into strategic alliance with automotive research firm R.L. Polk. AdMall users received limited market-specific sales data in their Automotive Intelligence Reports. Ad-ology launched Auto Dealer Market Share reports – powered by Polk – in June 2013.
SalesTouch Media Sales CRM Launched
The Smarter CRM for Media Sales was launched on September 12, 2012 at the Local Media Association conference in Atlanta, GA with an evening out at the Georgia Aquarium. The launch followed the entry of a strategic alliance with The K Group of Phoenix, AZ in March.
Smith Becomes One of World’s First Gitomer Certified Advisors
Our CEO, C. Lee Smith, became one of only 65 Gitomer Certified Advisors worldwide in October 2013 – authorized to train and teach the works of Jeffrey Gitomer to media sales teams. Gitomer is the author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. The Gitomer VT interactive sales training system was added to the SDS product family in November 2013.