Archive for the ‘sales’ Tag

Grow revenue through consistent sales force execution

Despite best efforts to drive consistency, why do large disparities still exist between the best performers and low to medium performers?

In unpredictable economic times, it’s critical to focus on driving consistency and many companies are doing so by investing valuable time, resources, and budget dollars aimed at helping their agents consistently execute a successful sales process. Common steps include restructuring compensation plans, developing training, and even creating new internal support organizations. Despite the company’s efforts, sales agents are still executing inconsistently, which begs the question…

Why don’t agents consistently execute a successful sales process?

Hundred of interviews and observations with field sales agents and managers have produced insights surrounding the mystery, including:

> 67% of agents said they do not know HOW to execute the sales process

> 72% of agents said they find the process too complicated and unrealistic

> 95% of agents do not feel supported by the home office (tools, marketing, training, etc)

> 91% of field managers said they coach all agents, yet only 37% of agents said they received coaching from their managers

To overcome the challenge, we have 4 proven tips that drive consistent execution. When done correctly, these tips lift and maximize sales results in a short period of time:

1. Improve the sales process: Ensure your process is grounded in what your top performers actually do by spending time observing them in the field. Next, clarify expectations at each step for every key player. Finally, communicate the right level of detail so the process is clear and actionable

2. Simplify the agent’s world: Focus on developing only the activities and behaviors that will improve agent results. Then use existing technology to create marketing materials that are easy to locate, customize and use directly with customers at “the moment of truth”.

3. Enhance reporting: Customize performance reports so management can inspect an agent’s performance across process, measure progress toward sales goals and quickly identify gaps.

4. Facilitate culture change: Shift the organizational mindset from accommodation to accountability and develop managers to drive successful behaviors in the field.

To learn more, please go to www.weberassoc.com.

How the economy will affect the education industry

Last month alone, more than 160,000 jobs were cut in the United States, according to Forbes magazine. What are all those people going to do? Well, many plan to enroll in undergraduate and graduate programs to increase their marketability.

That is great news for universities, but a serious problem still remains. How do the universities get the students who enrolled to actually show up on campus (or online) and start paying tuition? This challenge is especially difficult for technical universities, which historically have “show rates” below 50%.

There are numerous root causes behind those low numbers, but the two primary reasons are the student’s financial concerns around paying for college and the need to continually sell the value of the university throughout the enroll-to-show process. This puts a lot of pressure on the university to have all the right pieces in place, which is easier said than done.

Because it is so difficult, many universities simply accept the steep decline in show rate and focus their energy on just getting more students to enroll. Those universities typically put a lot of focus and investment into developing marketing materials, which can be VERY expensive and rarely produces significant return on investment. While effective marketing is critical, the real challenge is creating an ideal prospective student experience that only comes from truly understanding their point of view.

To help with this challenge, below are five steps for implementing changes that have proven to significantly improve the prospective student experience and increase show rates:

  1. Marketing support: Develop targeted material that the frontline (anyone who has contact with prospective students) will actually use, that is targeted to the student’s needs, and that is proven to deliver results.
    Especially in today’s economy, potential students are extremely worried about their financial situation. The number one reason we hear students say they didn’t show up for the first day of class is they didn’t think they could afford it. Knowing that, marketing material needs to communicate how the university will help make the student’s dreams and goals come true and that the university will also help in every way they can to make college affordable. Unfortunately, many universities overwhelm prospective students with generic material that is rarely relevant to them and often confusing. This is not only an incredible waste of marketing budget, but it also turns off the prospect.

  1. Student segmentation: Help the frontline to identify the major student profiles based on actual enrollment and show rate trends and align the appropriate products, services and messaging according to those profile needs.
    Companies typically provide the frontline with segmentation material that is simply demographics and psychographics of potential student, which does not give a clear plan for catering to the segments’ needs. Instead, provide a student profile tool that is a clear and simple roadmap for tailoring the conversation to each students’ needs and interests. This will allow the frontline to quickly identify the student’s motivators and goals so they can show how the university will help to achieve them.

  1. Contact strategy: Diligently help students at every step of their journey, from the point of signing a contract to actually showing up for class.
    Often times, universities react to lack of responsiveness and missed deadlines from prospective students by increasing the pressure on them. This one size fit all approach leads to communications that are generic, confusing and even threatening to the prospective student. Instead, the communications that reach the prospective students need to be tailored to their specific needs and motivate them to want to act out of excitement, not out of fear. Every single point of contact should sell the value of the school and how it will help the prospective student attain their goals.

  1. Ideal process: Design the ‘ideal’ student experience or sales process in simple usable terms that the rest of the organization, including marketing, can easily align to.
    Most organizations have process documentation in place, but it is either too high level or too detailed and confusing to implement with any significant results. Instead, the process should be based on the observed best practices of your people and define each step in terms relevant to the frontline.

  1. Execution: Create an environment that leaves no room for inconsistent execution.
    Most companies have the correct strategies in place, but fail to execute on those strategies because they leave it up to the frontline to figure out how to pull them through into their everyday activities. Instead, companies need to create a coaching culture that focuses on developing key behaviors, constantly tracks both cause and effect results, and holds EVERYONE accountable. This will also help identify who the true top and bottom performers are so the school can ensure they have the right people in place.

If you’d like to learn more about this methodology or to discuss a particular challenge, contact Zach Pavol at zpavol@weberassoc.com or 614.222.2168.

Why Don’t My Call Center Agents Cross-Sell?

There are four main inhibitors that typically prevent service reps from becoming successful sales reps, but there is a way to address each one.

1. Service-oriented reps do not feel sales should be part of their job.

Solution: Communicate how selling can enhance service if you can offer something that the customer needs and/or wants.

2. The reps lack the skills and/or behaviors to sell.

Solution: Recruit and hire reps with sales competencies. Then train and coach the reps to successfully identify customer needs and match them to your products and services.

3. The reps view selling as not worth the effort

Solution: Put in place carefully constructed, consistent and fair incentive programs that not only rewards reps for getting results, but also displaying the correct sales behaviors.

4. The company makes selling difficult on the reps. (constant product changes, pressure to meet service levels, inconsistent QA evaluations, etc)

Solution: Simplify the expectation of the reps and develop on-the-job tools that make it easy for them to execute the “ideal call’