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The terror of doing something different – Part Two

08 Jun 2012

I promised last week that I would tell you how Jim, along with our help, turned things around.

As a recap, here is a summary of the problems that Jim had:

- His CRM system was rubbish

- Call reporting from that CRM was also rubbish

- Telesales (Inside Sales) was ad hoc and unscripted, and wasn’t working

- Inbound and Outbound call targets and actual results were abysmal

- Direct mail was a ‘shotgun’ approach producing return results of less than 0.3%

- Business website was a mess

So, here’s what Jim tackled, and in which order:

Step 1: Set Foundation

Jim needed something really simple to run the sales and marketing side of the business without having to rely on a ‘cast of thousands’ (which he had) in the marketing team. It needed to be automated and as ‘hands off’ as possible. Jim took our advice on a cloud solution and bingo, we were away. Jim trimmed the marketing team back from four to one in the first two months.

Step 2: Attract Traffic


Jim scrapped his website and started again. His old site had around 50 (yes, 50) visits a month, and most of these were probably Jim himself. A website design company turned this project around in four weeks from start to finish. They did all the clever SEO and Google stuff whilst our team added in the ‘engine room’ components (lead magnets and webforms) to grow his data lists and start the engagement process with his target market.

Outbound calling

Jim outsourced the telemarketing (inside sales) to a great company in Auckland. We designed the calling strategy and scripts, trained the calling agents and set them up with the new ‘engine’ so they could feed successful calls directly into the lead funnel. They were ‘up and running’ inside 3 days and delivering leads to the ‘engine’ and sales team by the end of the third week. At month five, Jim is now averaging 30 qualified leads per week.

Step 3: Capture leads

The ‘engine’ captured anything hitting the website through integrated web forms. Jim created a really cool calculator that his visitors could download once they had provided their name and email address. The calculator enabled his visitors to calculate their household insurance costs and see what monthly savings could be achieved by using Jim’s services. This is what we call a ‘lead magnet’. For the occasional phone inquiry and any leads uncovered by the sales team, these details are also added to an ‘engine’ web form.

Step 4: Nurture Prospects

The ‘engine’ keeps a track of each and every prospect. It sends out regular, automated email campaigns with loads of great information and helpful advice. At various stages in the nurture process, the ‘engine’ prints out a letter on good quality paper and emails Jasmine the receptionist. Jim then personally signs each letter and Jasmine hand writes each envelope and pops them in the post. Later in the nurture cycle, the ‘engine’ sends an email to the sales agent advising them that the prospect is ready for a sales call. They have had brilliant results from this approach.

Step 5: Convert Sales

Now we get down to the hard stuff. Jim’s business service is not really something you can easily sell online. It requires face-to-face meetings by the sales agents, sometimes more than one, to close a sale. You might recall from last week’s blog that the nine sales agents were achieving around 20 – 26 outbound calls (cold calls) per week between them. Yes indeed, that equates to only 2.8 per week, per sales person. Not great by any measure.

After all the gnashing of teeth, posturing, complaining and ultimatums, Jim was left with three sales people, so we hired two more, re-trained everyone, set new targets, and away we went. Jim’s sales team are now targeted on, and achieving, eight ‘Permission calls’ each per day, and the leads are developing very nicely indeed.

Step 6: Delivering and Satisfying

Now if you know sales hunters like I do, you will know most are fairly useless at after sales follow-up. Account managers on the other hand (and I mean real account managers, not hunters in disguise as appears to be the fashion these days) do this very well.

When the sale is made, it is so important to ‘surprise and delight’ your customers. With the account management ethos that Jim now has in his team and the ‘engine’ supporting the business, every sale is seen as the start of the client relationship. Jim’s ‘engine’ ensures that each and every customer is personally and regularly communicated with through custom email sequences and letters. Gone are the days of the email newsletter blast that went straight to the trash bucket.

Steps 7 & 8: Upselling and Gaining Referrals

The problem with leaving upselling and asking for referrals to the sales team is it is often forgotten. In New Zealand, we are not used to asking questions like:

"I highly recommend you also consider the XY option with your purchase. If we add this to your order now we could offer a further 5% discount off the total price?”

"Thanks so much for your business. We have a really great campaign that rewards referral business. If you recommend two (2) people to us, either of which results in a sale, we will credit your account $500 for each sale. Can you think of two people that you would like to nominate as your referrals?”

Jim and his team now have this strategy firmly embedded in their sales process. The sales team are even rewarded separately for each referral lead they receive. Better still, the ‘engine’ does all of the hard work and question asking in the background, just in case they forget, as well as sending out the upsell offers at regular intervals, asking for referrals, and sending out reminders, just in case.

In a nutshell

Jim is a happy camper, staff numbers have reduced, work rates increased, marketing has improved through the roof, costs have come down (big time), cash flow has moved from negative to positive, leads are coming in thick and fast, and the fun has returned to the office.

About Sean McDonald

Sean is the founder and managing director of Sales Systems Ltd. His company and team of consultants help organisations improve the overall effectiveness of their sales and marketing operations through the introduction of new processes, tools and technology to ensure they are operating at peak performance in today’s highly competitive environment. Sean is a regular contributor to Techday.