By Brad Stevens, CEO of Whiter Image LLC and an EO Atlanta member
Many have journeyed down this road who have numerous tales of strife and challenges that riddle it along the way; staff turnover, data quality issues, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software challenges, defining compensation plans, finding solid management to name just a few. However it doesn’t have to be a nightmare with the proper game plan and strategy in place.
I started studying sales models and insights from them resulted in an effective strategy that delivers higher profits, scalability, and predictability! It has taken numerous overhauls and tweaks but we finally got there. In no particular order, these are the next four key areas that I found to be the most critical for building an effective inside sales organization.
Understandably, coming in every day to hammer phones can be a very challenging and repetitive job. Keep it as exciting as possible! We try to keep humor strong and look for personalities that will add value to the sales team “vibe.” We have a little bell and a big bell in the office. They rung based on the size of each order and our staff love ringing that bell and everyone in earshot claps for them. We have “get off early on Friday” sales numbers. And we tie in elements of compensation to keep it upbeat. It’s not always about the cash. We find out the personal interests of our staff and buy personal gifts for achieving certain goals.
There are a couple of components to this. First, choose a solid phone system and make sure it scales with your growth. We tried to stretch cable Internet over 15 lines with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and it cost us a fortune in lost calls. Step up sooner than later to the proper for phone and maintain a separate provider for data. Next, you must use a CRM. Properly research and choose an effective yet easy-to-use solution and take advantage of marketing automation software. It enhances the capabilities of a sales representative. We use one that will automatically push emails, direct mail, fax blasts, and even voice broadcasts and the sales representative just pushes one button to initiate it! It nurtures leads automatically and lets the reps focus on customers who are closer to the buying decision, which maximizes their daily time.
You get what you pay for. We originally tried to go cheap on buying leads and it was a disaster. Our staff wasted very valuable time getting disconnected numbers and wrong addresses. Pay a little more for quality sales leads from a respected vendor.
We think of every aspect of our messaging and focus on one question with each element: “What action do I want the person to take from this piece?” We created a Visual Script Map concept that offers a decision tree type of approach so that the staff can follow clear directions when they are on the phone. Challenge your marketing team to be creative and come up with unique techniques that will elicit a response.
Building a solid sales machine requires us to know our customers’ needs, focus on them when selling, and define jobs within the realm of sales so that we sell efficiently and effectively. Our marketing services help us maintain a lasting relationship that is beneficial to our company and the customers because we usually sell our customers additional products on an ongoing basis.
The original process Whiter Image had in place was broken; tradeshows with no follow up or technology to accompany it was a losing battle. What we learned has worked best is that combining elements of messaging, communication, organizational structure and technology maximized our output and business as a whole.