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Turning Satisfaction to Loyalty to Up Customer Lifetime Value

Are Your Customers Loyal, or Just Satisfied?

Customers have a choice every day as to where they spend their money. Most people get into a routine; they like to visit the same grocery store, gas station, department stores. They purchase the same brand of ketchup or cereal. Most people are creatures of habit and like to feel comfortable. But just because a customer is satisfied with a product or business, does not necessarily mean that they are loyal. Many people think these phrases are interchangeable, but they are two very different things. So, it’s no wonder that many businesses mistake Customer Satisfaction for Customer Loyalty.

What is the difference between Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty?

A perfectly satisfied customer could choose to purchase elsewhere simply based on convenience or price. Or have one bad experience and turn against you…permanently (and we know how people like to talk about their bad experiences). However, a loyal customer will come back, even after a bad experience or unfriendly phone call. They will return because they are loyal to you, not just simply satisfied. They could probably be satisfied buying their gas from any gas station, but the trick is getting that customer to be loyal to your gas station. That is why Customer Loyalty is so much more important than just Customer Satisfaction. Loyalty has much more permanence than Satisfaction.

How do you build Customer Loyalty?

Customer Loyalty

1. Build Strong Relationships

People like to buy from people they like.

You need to make conversation and create a good rapport with the customer. In inside sales, it’s important to keep good notes on your prospects, and remember what was talked about previously. Use your CRM diligently, and refer back to it before every follow up. For retailers, it’s important to remember them the next time they come in and make a point to acknowledge them.

2. Make the Customer Feel Important

Don’t sound rushed when on the phone with the customer/prospect or at the check-out counter. The customer will notice, and will not remember the experience as a positive one – or a negative one – they simply won’t remember it at all, and at times that can almost be worse. You want the customer to walk away from each interaction feeling good, which in turn will lead them to have positive feelings when thinking about your business or product. Use the customer’s name, smile, and make eye contact. Go above and beyond to answer any questions!

Customer Loyalty

3. Follow Up

Follow up is critical in gaining Customer Loyalty.

If a customer feels like their business is important to you, then you will be more important to them. In the inside sales world this means having good retention or customer support teams in place. Create a follow up cadence to ensure that your customer is satisfied, and make sure they are fully utilizing the service you have provided.

4. Keep the Customer Satisfied

Listen to the customer’s feedback and implement changes for complaints that are heard often. They are not always a bad thing. They can be an opportunity to better your business and gain even more customers.

Final Thoughts…

As you can see, Customer Satisfaction is just a small piece of the puzzle when gaining loyalty.

To gain Customer Loyalty, you can’t just aim for ‘satisfaction’. You need to go above and beyond – every time for every experience. You need to constantly check in with the customers to get their feedback – and you need to do this before they find the competitor that has what you don’t. At Infinity, we build strong loyalty which is why we are able to get customers, and keep customers. Why is this important? Because a loyal customer is your best marketing tool… a loyal customer will share their experience with their peers. And their peers are your next customer.

Buyerlytics Snapshot

Company Wellness Plans and Competition

With the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many small businesses having to purchase group insurance for the first time, many companies are now employing company wellness plans. Under the ACA, employers are allowed to “increase cost sharing for health coverage by 30% for employees with health risks and 50% for smokers, if they offer a wellness program.”

There are two main types of programs – but which one saves the most money? Furthermore, how can companies increase employee participation in these wellness plans?

How do the company and employees participate in a way that is cost-effective and mutually beneficial?

Company Wellness Plans and Competition 1

Wellness Plans

There are two main types of wellness plans: lifestyle and disease/condition management.

Lifestyle Plans

The lifestyle plan is the most common. These programs are usually structured around physical well-being, involvement in the community, and challenges with incentives: weight loss, for example.

The idea behind these types of programs is to gradually change the company environment by encouraging healthier lifestyles for employees. In the long run, the goal is for the company to save money due to people not calling in sick or developing major health problems due to unhealthy living.

Disease/Condition Management Plans

Disease and condition management plans directly tie into the group insurance program. This concept is based on staying healthy and managing existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease. A team of nurses conducts yearly physicals and reminds people when it may be time to see their physicians.

The incentive is a much lower insurance rate and is based on the “score” of the physical. Those who qualify as “well” receive significantly lower rates than those who don’t, and choose not to get better.

Which Plan is Best?

Disease and condition management plans will save companies the most money in the short-run. The lifestyle plans tend to lead to better outcomes over the long run. Then which one is the best?

Well, combining the two seems to be the right way to go.

Studies have found that comprehensive wellness programs that employ both lifestyle change and disease management lead to higher participation and positive outcomes. This is due in part to the types of incentives and penalties encompassed in a comprehensive plan. It also is due in part to the Herd Mentality. Disease management programs are great for saving money, however, when coupled with a lifestyle plan, it can save a company culture.

Company Wellness Plans and Competition 2

Drive Participation By Making a Healthy Competition

People are competitive. This is no clearer then when on a sales floor. Sales people compete with each other, other teams, and themselves. Incentives based on “wellness points” can greatly increase participation in the comprehensive program. When focusing on all types of wellness, the company can design a program with challenges and contests to get employee buy-in.

Employees who are actively challenging themselves and earning points start to see benefits like: water bottles, salad shakers, bags, 1 hour of PTO, lunch, all the way up to tickets to a sporting event or a drawing for a prize at the end of the year.

What they get will not go unnoticed by their colleagues. The “I want what they’ve got” mentality will light a fire.

When employees are receiving a huge break on their insurance premiums and striving to meet the challenges set before them in a well-rounded wellness program, the sky is the limit on what they can accomplish and morale can greatly increase.

When employees believe their company actively cares about their health and well-being, they start to care more as well. When they see their leadership, managers, and colleagues all reaping the same consistent rewards, a sense of belonging won’t be far behind.

8 Reasons Why Outsourcing is a Better Strategic Sales Decision

More sales.  Everyone wants more sales.  In my 20 years of experience, no board room has ever asked to reduce sales. Sales are so important that one of the first things new businesses do is set up processes to make and fulfill sales

If you have never considered outsourcing sales as part of your sales operation, you are missing out on some big opportunities to make more sales today and in the long-run.

Outsourcing sales has many more benefits than you might think. Here are 8 reasons why outsourcing is a good strategic sales decision:

Top 8 Reasons Why Outsourcing is a Better Strategic Sales Decision

8 Reasons to Outsource - Save Money1. Outsourced Sales Saves Money

The primary reason to outsource sales is cost savings. When you outsource sales, you don’t have to recruit, hire, and train employees. You don’t have to provide benefits. You don’t have to hire managers to manage them or trainers to train them.

Infinity goes one step further to keep it easy for you to control costs: We offer a single fee that encompasses all costs. We can do this because we know our Account Executives will exceed your expectations. When they do, and your sales go above and beyond what you expected, we turn on our revenue sharing model. Everybody wins, and you save a bundle.

8 Reasons to Outsource - Make More Money2. Outsourced Sales Makes More Money

There are a variety of ways you will make more money, from tapping markets that were previously untouchable to offering products in ways you have not thought of before. Over the 20 years that Infinity has specialized in sales marketing, we have mastered all sorts of tactics and strategies that only come with experience.

For example, many clients I have worked with have been impressed at our ability to generate revenue from the SMB marketplace. Other sales firms don’t engage businesses that are “too small” because they don’t think those customers need or want their products. In most cases, we are able to generate tremendous amounts of revenue from markets that you didn’t think were viable.

8 Reasons to Outsource - Adds Expertise3. Outsourced Sales Adds Expertise

At Infinity, you work with people that have an uncanny amount of experience and business acumen. They are going to ask questions you have never thought of asking before and point out things about your sales process for you to take a closer look.

How often do you have the ability to hire someone with hundreds of years of cumulative experience in a variety of markets and industries? That’s what you get when you hire Infinity. Literally hundreds of years of combined experience, all working to maximize your ROI. I can honestly say that every client walks away impressed with our team. Every. Time.

8 Reasons to Outsource - Helps You Learn4. Outsourced Sales Helps You Learn

When you hire people that are experts at penetrating the SMB market, you are going to learn things that you didn’t know. Infinity has a proprietary model for analyzing market results called Buyerlytics. We can show you things you have never known like a comprehensive breakdown of why people are and are not buying . Or the exact amount of time it takes from first contact to sale.

And because all of our sales calls are recorded, we can gather information to improve your ROI. In some cases we’ve actually identified that our client’s price was too low and were able to help them adjust to meet the market. Other times we had uncovered competitive factors that were impacting sales results.

We can do this because Infinity has the infrastructure and knowledge to gather and interpret sales data. Thank you Buyerlytics!

8 Reasons to Outsource - Leads to Growth5. Outsourced Sales Leads to Growth

What’s the best way to get bigger? Hire someone else. I know that doesn’t sound right, but think about it: Outsourced sales gives you an external source of revenue that that wasn’t previously there.

At Infinity, we have a passion to innovate. Most of our projects started as something simple. A single product or idea. Before you know it, we are adding in new products, services, and new aspects to the program. We’ve grown sales for our clients by adding retention departments and inbound customer service, as just a couple of examples.

8 Reasons to Outsource - Find New Directions6. Outsourced Sales Finds New Directions

One of the most positive aspects to outsourcing is providing an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve been doing and finding out what you aren’t doing that you could be.

In Infinity’s discovery process, we ask questions: What do you do? What don’t you do? Why do you do it this way? Why don’t you do it that way? This is how we start to find new ways to improve sales.

And to be honest, for some clients this can be a little painful. It is never fun to learn that you weren’t doing everything perfectly. But nothing worth getting comes without a little bit of pain, and if that pain means more revenue and more success, then pain is gain!

8 Reasons to Outsource - Healthy Competition7. Outsourced Sales Provides Healthy Competition

Let’s face it: Successful salespeople are competitive. Every project I’ve ever worked on when a client ran an A/B test between our team and theirs, , something positive came out of it. Regardless of which team out-produces the other, you will walk away with something valuable.You learn more about what works and what doesn’t. You gain insight into your team. And most importantly, we would have produced more than if we weren’t competing at all.

8 Reasons to Outsource - Always Proves Beneficial8. Outsourced Sales Always Proves Beneficial

The main reason why people say no to outsourcing is they are afraid it will fail.

But it truly can’t fail.

In the unlikely event that we don’t hit the goals and targets, in the rare case that your team proves to be a superior sales force, you have still gained.

You have gained knowledge. You have gained experience. You have gained confidence. You have gained marketability. And most importantly, you will have gained the goal of more sales.

If you would like to learn more, I have a team of passionate experts who can’t wait to teach you what you are missing.

 

Business Intelligence (BI): A 10-Part Breakdown | Infinity

Search Google for “What is Business Intelligence (BI)?” and you will receive so many responses that it can make your head swim. The very first definition reads:

“Business intelligence, or BI, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data.  BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting”.

Another definition that I have seen (and the definition that I prefer) is:

“Business Intelligence (BI), in its most basic sense, is delivering meaningful, accurate, and timely information drawn from diverse sources to support an informed decision making process. Recent business trends indicate it must be flexible, fast and collaborative at all levels in a business.”

 

Business Intelligence (BI)

Let’s break this down and examine each piece in a little more detail.

 

Business Intelligence MeaningfulMeaningful – A BI solution must deliver information that is useful to the person consuming it. If the information is not relevant, then it is useless.

 

Business Intelligence - AccurateAccurate – A BI solution must deliver content that is accurate based on the inputs. Consumers of the information must have confidence in the information, otherwise it will not be used.

 

Business Intelligence - TimelyTimely – The information provided by the BI solution must be delivered in a timeframe that is relevant to any process decisions that it supports. If the decision process is daily, then having the data updated weekly does not support the consumer’s requirements.

 

Business Intelligence - InformationInformation – The word “data” is missing from the definition on purpose. BI solutions are meant to add meaning to data to create information. Data alone is not a BI solution.

 

Business Intelligence - Diverse-SorucesDiverse Sources – BI solutions are often (but not always) required to pull data from various places within the business, as well as outside of the business. These sources can come in many formats, such as spreadsheets, text files, other database systems, web services, etc.

 

Business Intelligence - InformedInformed Decision Making Process – This is probably the most important part of the definition, as it is the reason the BI solution exists – to provide information to support a business decision.

 

Busines Intelligence - FlexibleFlexible – Business decisions rarely follow a set, linear path. There are many “what-ifs” involved, and the solution needs to be flexible enough to make these transitions as simple as possible.

 

Business Intelligence - FastFast – This is a given, and is directly related to Timeliness. No one wants to wait for extended periods of time to get the information they require. If you have time to make a sandwich while you wait, then you’re waiting too long.

 

Business Intelligence - CollaborationCollaborative – Business decisions are rarely made in a vacuum. Decisions made in a silo often leave untapped value behind. End consumers should be able to share findings and make better decisions together.

 

Business Intelligence - All-LevelsAll Levels in a Business – Nowadays, decisions are made at all levels within a business, with the decision process relevant to any number of job roles. BI solutions need to ensure that Meaningful, Accurate and Timely Information finds its way to the end consumers in the business, regardless of what level they are.

 

Final Thoughts…

This is the ultimate goal of BI…to provide quality data, gain insight into the information and facilitate better decision making, and align decisions with business goals at all levels of the business.

8 Revolutionary Factors to Boost Inside Sales and ROI

Top 5 Tips to Maximizing Your Top Down Selling | Infinity

Making more money for your business is always a high priority.  More money means your business is growing. It allows you to hire more people, pay higher wages, offer better benefits and of course, increase profit margins.  The challenge is finding new ways to increase revenue as well as your return on investment.

In today’s world many successful businesses are implementing a strategic sales approach known as “Top Down.”

Top Down Selling

The Top 5 Tips to Maximizing Your Top Down Selling

To put this simplistically, in a top down world, a sales person begins at the highest price available and works down until they and the client are able to come to an agreed upon price for the goods or services offered.

Consumers see this approach in several different industries, most notably when purchasing a vehicle from an auto dealer. Auto dealers purchase vehicles at a low price known as wholesale or trade in value. The automobile then goes through a reconditioning process and is put on the lot at a premium price in order to maximize profit. However, the real magic happens during the sales process.

When a buyer goes to the dealership the first thing the sales person does is conduct a needs analysis. The biggest challenge is getting a customer the vehicle they want. This is a critical step in top down selling.

A consumer will always pay more money to get what they want and need, rather than what the dealer wants to sell.

Next, the vehicle selection process begins. The sales person generally starts with the vehicle that has all the bells and whistles included, knowing it is the highest price point.  This sets the bar on the rest of the cars and prices the buyer will see.  A consumer is more likely to use this price in comparing every other offer placed in front of them.

If the dealer were to go in with the standard make and offer the lowest price available, the consumer will be less likely to want to spend more for added features.  Or even worse, they may want the price of the standard with all the extras included.

The final step is the negotiation process. The dealer starts with an elevated price. Typically there is some back and forth and the dealer has leverage based on what the customer said they wanted out of their vehicle. In the end the customer feels like they win because the dealer “discounted” the vehicle from the asking price. The Dealer also wins because they sold the vehicle above cost, usually for a healthy profit.

How can top down selling impact my sales team?

The same tactics can go a long way for a premier sales agency.  At Infinity this allows our Account Executives (AEs) to be more strategic throughout the sales process and increase their level of ownership.

When an AE starts at the highest available price they set themselves up to have the room to negotiate should the buyer feel the price is too high.  If the client does not object there is obviously now a higher profit margin than if the lowest available price was offered initially.

Having a floor price (the bottom line) allows the AE to know which product will make them the most money. They can use different product and pricing options to negotiate the sale, ensuring they maximize profit. Since AE’s work on commission, this allows them to be responsible for their own income and helps breed an environment of ownership.

Top 5 Tips to Maximizing Your Top Down Selling

The 5 Tips to Maximizing Your Top Down Selling

There are five key tips to maximize the effectiveness of top down selling.

  1. Conduct a needs analysis. Customers pay more for want they want. This also allows the sales person to identify “hot buttons” to aid in the negotiation process.
  2. Always fully demo the product/service being offered. This is where value comes in to play. It’s not just about price. Buyers will pay more if they believe they are getting more value for their dollar.
  3. Provide the AE with floor pricing. This allows them to be flexible with pricing and negotiate on their terms, which encourages ownership of the deal.
  4. Go for “No.” Don’t be afraid for the customer to say no to a price. The goal is to get them to pay as much as possible. If they agree to the price right away there is a good chance that money was left on the table.
  5. Always get a commitment when dropping price. If the customer says they want to pay a certain amount use phrases like “If I can, will you?” This helps make the customer stick to the agreed upon price instead of trying to renegotiate after the fact.

In Conclusion…

When sales people have the ability to offer customers a higher price and negotiate down, businesses will see increased revenue, higher average order values, and will continually exceed monthly goals which will add extra coin to everyone’s pocket. All this while making customers feel as if they won by getting a better price.

Top down selling is a win for everyone involved.

 

5 Tips to 10X-ing Your Quality | Infinity

The Quality Assurance department is a staple in all Sales Agencies, with QA analysts as an integral part of the team.  Listening for compliance, client guidelines, as well as sales skills, the QA analyst’s job is to ensure that a small sample of calls taken from the sales agency are solid calls, and if not, coach accordingly.

QA analysts not only need to know product knowledge, but the sales skills needed for the calls they are listening to, as well as what guidelines are required from the client and industry.  In most cases, the client requires that forms be completed to show the progress of the program, team, and/or an account executive.

These forms will have an overall score made up by what the account executive did well and what the account executive needs to improve.  The account executive is provided with feedback on the call being evaluated and signs off on the form, and everyone moves on and so continues the cycle.

5 Tips to 10X-ing Your Quality

Top 5 Tips to 10X-ing Your Quality

But what if we can break the monotonous cycle?  What can we do to ensure that we are actually developing the best sales people we can?  How can we make an impact on our performance and ensure clients are satisfied?

1. Quality vs Quantity – Stop focusing on compliance

So many times we do a form just to do a form. We choose a call, listen, score, coach, and then move on.  We don’t really even hear the call, or focus on the development of the employee.  It’s a check off on our to-do list, a tally on the report, something to show the boss what we we’re working on.

This is also why you find yourself talking to the same person about the same thing the very next week.   We are so focused on making sure that we get X amount of forms done, however just completing the form to complete it doesn’t matter.

The interaction with the employee is what matters.

2. Different Types of Forms

In my previous experiences, there was one form for all programs. When I started working at Infinity, we moved to program specific forms and created a standard form for each program.  This made it easier to choose specific call basics and guidelines for each program.

Recently, as we started breaking up the calls and focusing on just one part, we started to create forms just focusing on a particular part of the call.  For example, focus only on the “product demonstration”. This allows us to focus on more specific areas of the call flow and coach the account executive accordingly.

The end result is a collaboration of working towards the goal of better quality together.

3. Follow up

This may not be considered 10X but it should be a standard in all sales agencies. Unfortunately more often than not, this step is overlooked. If follow up is done correctly it can have a major impact on the overall performance. Once the coaching is complete, how do we ensure that there is practical application and understanding?

Listening to a call immediately after the coaching session and then again later in the employee’s shift, not only ensures that the account executive is applying the feedback, but also sends the message to them that we expect the behavior to be changed.

Taking this one step farther and creating a form to implement follow up is a great way to incorporate this and ensure this step is not left out.

4. Coaching Forms on Management

Who says that forms can only be completed on account executives? How do we measure the feedback that is coming from the managers?  At Infinity, we use the 10 step coaching method (as previously shared by Ryan McDonald).  However, how can we ensure that everyone is delivering feedback in that manner?  And if they are, is it effective feedback?  By observing, coaching, and documenting, this process can help develop the Manager or Assistant Manager, and the account executive.

5. Self-Assessments

As managers, we listen to calls every day and provide feedback to employees. It becomes second nature; we know what to look for and what we want to hear in certain calls.  However, does the employee understand what we are looking for and why we want to hear that?

By doing a self-assessment, employees get a chance to calibrate with the Manager to get a better understanding of why we monitor and when to listen to different things based on certain performance.  This helps develop the employee even further.

In Conclusion

Listening to and developing employees is one of the most important (if not the most important) jobs in a Sales Agency.  If the employee has good quality and strives for excellence, the sales will follow.  As with all areas of a premier sales agency, change is inevitable.  However, with continuous focus on improvement and thinking outside the box to improve performance, we can ensure quality standards and increased sales.

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5 Steps to Optimizing Your Pilot Program | Infinity

In today’s marketplace every board room is looking for more sales and market share to drive increased revenue for their company through existing and new customers with their products and services.

The chances are high you are constantly tweaking your sales campaigns or even implementing wholesale “change strategies” whether they are driven by an inside sales team or by an outsourced sales partner. Whether you are launching a brand new product to the market, a newly designed product to add to your suite, or you’re just not getting what you want from your current sales outsourcer, how you approach the sales process and what methodology you use to create that process is paramount.

The days of telemarketing with a script, a purchased list and some lightly trained representative have long gone by the wayside. Sales strategies and tactics today, are based on a multitude of critical factors that are analyzed every step of the way to achieve success. Each factor is important, but integrating these pieces into a process and methodology that yields repeatable success is the key to developing a scalable and stable sales base no matter what the market, audience or product. This truly represents the art and science of sales and overall success with customer engagement.  Whether you develop this in-house or relying on a partnership with an outsource agency, it’s not easy, and the right skill set along with years of experience increases your odds of sustainable growth.

At Infinity, through years of experience and refinement, we’ve developed Buyerlytics™ our proprietary methodology that integrates all of the critical factors for sustainable success. Buyerlytics™, coupled with Infinity’s Pilot Methodology, not only achieves your sales goals, but exceeds them to produce superior results in your sales and or service campaigns. After all, isn’t that what you ultimately want to drive!

5 Steps to Optimizing Your Pilot Program

5 Steps to Optimizing Your Sales Pilot Program

While each solution is unique for your particular Pilot Program, our methodology for the design and implementation of all pilot programs involves 5 purposeful steps – that include:

  • Assessment
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Scaling

Now let’s elaborate on each of these important steps and let’s get started on your Pilot Program:

1. Assessment

The first step is the assessment of your program needs is a complete review of your requirements.  This step is important because it creates goals that we can clearly understand and also aids in the development of your company’s opportunities.  A few common paths in the assessment phase include:

  • SWOT Analysis
  • Pre-analysis of Data Files
  • Segmentation Strategies
  • And Any Data Enhancements

2. Design

Next is the design phase which is naturally based on the assessment.  The actionable data is then taken from the assessment phase and is used to develop targeted campaigns based on your needs and the research findings.  This provides the groundwork to develop:

  • Technical Specifications
  • Workforce Selection
  • Training Curriculums
  • Quality Parameters
  • Campaign Development
  • A/B Segmenting
  • Offer Testing
  • And the ROI to Excel.

3. Implementation

Logically the next step is the actual implementation phase which includes the launch of your program.  The implementation step requires that all subject matter experts be on board and ready to roll-out the unique components of your specific sales campaign. Our experts come from areas such as:

  • Client Services
  • Data, Analytics and Technology
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Training & Development
  • Quality
  • Sales Agency

Additionally, it is critical to map out the implementation phase in a living document that can be shared, updated and used by all parties throughout the lifecycle of the pilot program.  This document will serve as the mutual outline for all processes and procedures related to the success of the program and should track open items, owners, and due dates. This is done to ensure all are staying within the implementation timetable.  This type of guided handbook goes a long way to ensure a flawless execution and a positive experience for all.  Now you are ready for launch!

Launch day is here and all the above is ready for that flawless execution.  During the launch and throughout the pilot program, there is a high level of continuous, consultative, and collaborative effort to get a jump on the performance criteria outlined in the assessment, define and implementation phases.  The pilot program performance it constantly monitored and benchmarked by agreed upon criteria.  It’s imperative that ongoing analytics are occurring throughout the pilot program and used to implement incremental changes; such as creating new and different offers, further segmentation, and to fully understand all the facets of what’s working and what’s not during the sale.

4. Evaluation

The evaluation of your pilot program should be shared with you continuously in a series of meetings that occur hourly, daily, weekly and monthly with scorecards, reporting, monitoring, roundtables, and discussions with an informal and formal review of the campaign.  Being in the loop constantly builds the long term relationship you should have with your sales Outsourcer. At Infinity, we’ve built strong ongoing partnerships with our clients over many years. Hopefully, if you are building this in an inside model you’ve dedicated enough resources to maintain daily control.

5. Scaling

Last is scaling your program, because let’s face it – the pilot program is just the beginning to this exciting, successful road.  The pilot program will help you achieve your targeted ROI and meet or exceed your targets. Ultimately, the goal is to create a revenue stream for the long haul.  The analysis that started in the initial phase that turns into actionable steps, can be used to drive even bigger results for the future.

Creating and maintaining successful sales and customer engagement programs that our optimized to produce the best results requires uncompromising dedication to all phases of the Buyerlytics process. A key question for any organization that is looking to build vs outsource needs to ask the critical question of “do I have these capabilities in-house?” If not, then looking for an organization like Infinity that has built its reputation on working with some of America’s most successful brands over the years should be in your mindset to consider.

Quality: To Create a Life-Changing Experience | Infinity

Here at Infinity our company purpose is to provide a life changing experience — for clients, employees, and stakeholders. It all begins with the customer. Providing a quality service to them begins with understanding how we can create a life changing experience for them.

Quality is one element that is oftentimes overshadowed by the core numbers and metrics that we can quantify and point to. Many times our conversations revolve around hard numbers — percentage to goal for the quarter, month over month improvements, etc. Priorities change, strategies shift. Quality needs to be viewed separately from these other important conversations, however. Quality requires a mentality shift. It needs to be a focus 100% of the time, because it changes the way approach your business.

The Importance of Quality

The Importance of Quality

Henry Ford once said “Quality means doing it right when nobody else is looking”. Measuring quality is difficult, because of just that. Yes, monitoring and scoring different tasks to ensure account executives are compliant gives us the ability to put a quantitative number on a person’s ‘quality’, but you usually are only getting a small insight into their individual ‘business’.

Having a focus on quality isn’t a part time thing; it needs to be a focus in every task, every day.

The goal, through monitoring and coaching, is to be certain that we are always providing quality service to our customers. When the focus is entirely on supporting customers in their success, our day to day work will follow suit. Whether it is developing an effective marketing plan (like our Meri P previous discussed), or simply commending a customer on a recent expansion.

In everything you do with a customer, quality can make an impact.

It can be as simple as  respecting a customer’s time by being a few minutes early for a meeting, or logging some extra notes about your conversation to ensure you can reference specifics the next time you speak. In cases where you don’t have the answer right now, assuring the customer you will follow up with the information they have asked for.

Another example of our focus on the customer experience here is structuring our account management team in a way that allows any of our account executives to reach out to a scheduled appointment in the event that the assigned account executive is unexpectedly out of the office. The focus is always on ensuring a seamless and superlative experience for our customers.

Customers don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

From our first conversation, our objective is to express that focus and ensure our goals are aligned. When it comes to finding the right solutions for a business, you need to truly understand the goals, needs, and expectations for your customer. It is imperative for your customers to sincerely understand that you are as invested in their success as they are.

Summary

Creating a culture of quality takes time and consistent effort. Implementing quality into daily huddles. Discussing quality alongside their numbers in 1 on 1 conversations. Reviewing interactions with the customer to provide feedback and suggestions. In the ever-busy business world that we live in nowadays, it is easy to let quality slip in favor of a focus on individual output. Although a focus on quality isn’t always tangible on the front end, the impact an expanded focus on quality can have on an individual, a business, and ultimately the customer is undeniable.

Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten. Here at Infinity we are committed to quality — and committed to our customers.

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Unity Platform – Advanced UI Technologies | Infinity

With all of today’s available technologies, designing a new platform can be challenging.  There are many different aspects in a modern application lifecycle that must be taken into account when constructing a new platform in the LOB (Line of Business) arena such as flexibility and data services.  In this article we will discuss Infinity’s advanced user interfaces and what impact it has had on our company.

The Unity Platform

To the end user, the user interface is one of the most important aspects as it is what they will see and utilize on a daily basis.  As the number of mobile devices soars, more and more people are becoming accustomed to certain aspects of mobile computing.

End user technologies such as smart phones and tablets that allow you to customize what, where, and when you see specific information are becoming increasingly prevalent.

In essence, the account executive can create an environment that best suits their individual needs and wants.  This in turn allows them to utilize the application to its peak efficiencies for their specific sales agency tasks.

We are taking a different approach to the LOB systems, integrating the best of the commonly used UI technologies across platforms. 

Unity Platform

From the familiar swipe on your smart phone for navigation, to voice recognition; all are encompassed in a robust UI that we call the Unity Platform.  It is a fully customizable environment that the user can add task specific items to a layout or page, resize and move individual items around to suit their preferences.

This leads to giving the account executive a feeling of control and ownership over their work environment, allowing them to make the Unity Platform their own.

One of the biggest hurdles in our industry is the learning curve for a new employee to become proficient with unfamiliar company-specific processes and systems.  With our design approach to the Unity Platform, it helps dramatically lower this learning curve as new employees become accustomed to the Unity Platform very quickly, as it feels familiar to them from the start.  Drastically lowering the learning curve for systems training and allowing more emphasis to be put into sales processes and techniques becomes a key factor in the workplace.

Traditionally, sales agency applications have been very plain and simplistic to accomplish the business task they were designed for.  This concept has changed over the last few years, allowing engineers to now create aesthetically pleasing applications and systems easily.  Because let’s face it, who wants to use something all day long that is visually boring with traditional gray scale buttons and white backgrounds?

With current tool sets available, it allows the creation of rich and vibrant applications.  This also plays into the user’s experience, adding in the ability for the account executive to change visual items such as theme colors, giving them even more of a feeling of control over their environment.

Final Thoughts

While designing a new UI platform can be challenging, the benefits for creating a UI system that utilizes the utmost in flexibility and efficiency is well worth the time and effort. The Unity Platform effectively gives the Account Executive the flexibility and ownership over their work environment each and every day. Additionally, it has the ability to grow with the Account Executive, essentially giving them a UI workspace focused purely on what they need to succeed. The Unity Platform is just another innovative feature Infinity proudly uses to maximize our clients revenue and ROI on a daily basis.

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The 3 Categories of Sales Coaching

“Their calls are a mess.  I have no idea where to even start.”

This is a common refrain from Sales Managers.  Sometimes there are people on your team that have so many opportunity areas that it seems easier to just move on and start over with someone else.  That can seem like an easy solution.  However, removing someone from your organization can be a huge risk as it costs a lot of time and resources to recruit, select, and train the ‘next person in’.  Even worse, the next person might have the exact same issues.  We like to think that firing someone and hiring someone new will solve all of our problems, but how often does that actually happen?  It’s usually safer and more efficient to develop someone than to start over from scratch.

That said, even when you have world-class training and development you will still have ‘problem children’, which is another way of saying you will always have something to work on from an education standpoint.  It never ends.  Once you accept that education is a constant part of the job, it gets a bit easier to deal with the frustration of having a team member that is not where they need to be from a sales skills perspective.

In order to build a development plan for an underperforming salesperson you need to get organized mentally. The best way to do that is divide all of the skills necessary to do the job into three main categories….”Call Basics”, “Cosmetics”, and “Behaviors”.  This enables you to create a list of their opportunity areas, rank them by priority, and start creating a plan for improvement.  Let’s talk about each of these categories.

The 3 Categories of Sales Coaching

3 Categories of Sales Coaching - Call Basics

Call Basics – “What we say”

For starters, I realize that your salespeople may not make phone calls.  They may do outside sales or conduct webinars for instance.  So if you aren’t in the inside sales world, modify this category to “Sales Skills”.  Either way, it’s still the “what we say” category.

Call Basics are mostly black and white.  You can listen to a salesperson speak and check a box next to a call basic that says, “Yes or No”.  There might be varying levels of skill and polish that can used to grade their effectiveness and comfort with a call basic, but overall it’s either happening or it’s not.

Some examples of sales skills that are call basics are:

  • Opening/Introduction
  • Gatekeeper Handling
  • Using features and benefits in the sales presentation
  • Offering a product demonstration (if applicable)
  • Closing (aka “asking for the sale”)
  • Responding to objections
  • Asking questions

I feel safe in assuming you have defined best practices and there is a “best way” to do something in your environment.  If you don’t, you might want to stop there and use this as a guide to build a set of best practices.  There needs to be a roadmap to success.  That could take the form of a script, a call flow, talk track or checklist, but there needs to be something documented that defines what your call basics are and how to perform them.

The other thing about call basics is that this is very likely the area you should address first when building a development plan.  Regardless of how they sound or what they do, these are the building blocks to success.  It’s often easier to get someone handling a gatekeeper or overcoming an objection first and then worry about how they sound later.

The analogy I use here is when you clean the house.  You take care of the obvious stuff first, like clothes lying around, dishes on the counter, etc.  Once that is taken care of, you do all of the polishing and address the special touches last.

It really doesn’t matter if that counter is spotless and shiny if you have piles of dirt lying around everywhere else.  So, address the call basics first.  The important thing is that they are installing call basics and through simple repetition they will generally get better over time.  Then you can worry about the polish.

Now, I did say that usually call basics are mostly black and white and they are either doing it or they aren’t.  It is also true that sometimes you can perform a call basic, but it sounds so bad that it actually has a negative effect.  When that happens, it’s usually time to move to our next category.
3 Categories of Sales Coaching - Cosmetics

Cosmetics – “How We Say It”

Regardless of what type of sales you are in, you have to talk.  I’ve yet to encounter a salesperson that could sell a product or a service without talking.  Sure, you might do your business via e-mail or through some online portal, but even then there is a cosmetic aspect to the words you choose to use, how they are emphasized and the implied meaning of your words.

I could sum this concept up by saying “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.”

Cosmetics are mostly a gray area, which can be frustrating when trying to define a set of best practices in regards to cosmetics.  I have had great salespeople that sound horrible, and I have had horrible salespeople that sound fantastic.  So, perfecting how you sound and how you say your words is not mutually exclusive to success.  This is why this category can be so difficult for a coach and for a salesperson.

Some examples of what I mean by cosmetics are:

  • Key Word Emphasis
  • Controlled Pausing
  • Voice Projection
  • Voice Pitch
  • Pace of Conversation
  • Grammar / Pronunciation / Use of Slang

So, how do we approach this topic?  First, I have found that it is mostly a waste of time to work on cosmetics before we have salespeople performing call basics at a level that you would at least consider ‘adequate’.  The reason is because if you change what they say, their cosmetics are going to have to be adjusted again anyway.  It’s sort of like adjusting the satellite dish to get that perfect signal before it’s fully installed…you are just going to have to re-adjust anyway.

A good rule to use when approaching cosmetics is to ask “Is this broken?” I have encountered countless examples where a well-meaning Sales Manager attempts to “fix” a successful salesperson’s cosmetics, only to find they hurt their overall results.

Sometimes, salespeople are very successful using cosmetics that are different from what you would expect to be successful.  If someone isn’t getting sales and their call basics are solid, then address cosmetics.  If they are getting sales with solid call basics and their cosmetics could use work, consider leaving them alone or only making minor, periodic tweaks to what they are doing.  Don’t mess with success too much.

Now, you do have those cases where someone says what you want them to say, and they sound great, but they just don’t seem to do the things you want them to do consistently.  This brings us to our third category.
3 Categories of Sales Coaching - Behaviors

Behaviors – “What we Do”

“I shouldn’t have to babysit these people.”

“I don’t want to tell them what to do.”

“People need to manage themselves.”

I agree with all of those statements.  But consider this…if all of your people said what they were supposed to say every single time, sounded great every single time, and always did what they were supposed to do every single time…well, then why do they need you?

At the end of the day, your job as a manager is to set expectations and then inspect to ensure those expectations are being met.  That’s an oversimplification to be sure, but it’s pretty accurate.  Part of that process is defining what behaviors are successful in your environment and encouraging everyone to emulate those behaviors by using The Three Pillars of Sales Coaching.  It’s not enough to just tell people what to do, you have to create a culture and environment that positively reinforces the successful behaviors, and minimizes or eliminates the unsuccessful behaviors.

Some examples of the behaviors that I am speaking of:

  • Attendance
  • Consistency
  • Accuracy
  • Efficiency
  • Ethics
  • Citizenship
  • Attitude

Now, that’s a big list and there’s a lot that goes into each one of those items.  For instance, what is “citizenship”?  For me, it’s the concept that all members are part of the team and that job number one is that we support each other, help each other, and all contribute to the success of the organization.  For you it might mean something different, but the point is that you need to identify what behaviors are indicative of the core values of your team and your organization.

A good way to go about determining what behaviors are important to you and what behaviors are necessary for success is to really observe and even interview your most successful people.  Figure out what they do every day.

  • How do they act? 
  • What is their approach to the job? 
  • How do they spend their time? 
  • What are they willing to do and what are they NOT willing to do?

One of the most difficult things to do is to coach someone on their behavior.  Even when you use The 10 Vital Steps to a Successful Coaching Session you will still have people that have behavior issues.  Sometimes, people just get complacent and develop bad habits or get away from behaviors that made them successful without even realizing it.

The key is documentation.  You have to be diligent as a manager and document instances when a person was not behaving in an acceptable way.  Document the behavior and what happened as a result.  Keep emotions out of it if possible.  Behaviors have outcomes.  If I miss work, I will not make as many sales.  If I don’t fill out my contracts properly I will have fulfillment problems.  If I treat my co-workers rudely, it impacts our results and creates new problems.  The key to getting someone to buy-in to adopting a successful behavior is to show them what will happen if they start doing it, and then positively reinforcing that behavior whenever you see it.
3 Categories of Sales Coaching - Start

This is All Great, But Where Do I Start?

It all starts with setting expectations.  Make a list of all of the call basics, cosmetics, and behaviors that are vital to success in your organization.  You might even rank each list in order of what is the most vital.  Then, rank each of your people in each category.  Another good exercise is to have all of your people self-evaluate and rank themselves in each category as well.  What this will do for your team is that it sets expectations of what you expect and gives your team a basic framework for self-improvement.

What it does for you is that is creates a roadmap for you to determine where to start, and a basis for that coaching conversation to take place.  Don’t try and fix it all at once.  That’s impossible.  It’s a long journey and it never really ends.  Just focus on the most important things and really address them and don’t stop until it’s no longer an issue.  And then move on to the next one.  Over time, the list gets shorter and you will find that you have more positive examples to point people towards.  That momentum gives you more options to choose from when you coach people.

In future articles I will break down more of the items in these three categories and really dig deep as to what you should be coaching to and how to improve each one.  But for now, this will give you a place to start.