Get ahead of your telco competitors with offline capabilities

The connected world has made life much easier but while networks are getting better and faster, there are still black spots. In our personal lives, the minutes lost to poor network connection might mean waiting for a video to load or for a call to reconnect.

But in a sales situation those vital moments of disconnection could translate into uncaptured data, frustrated potential customers, missed orders and lost revenue.

Pair this with the high expectations customers now have when it comes to synchronicity and seamlessness and it's easy to see why offline capabilities are an absolute must. Particularly for the telco industry, which should be at the cutting edge of connection. Field sales teams need to be able to close leads without limitations, otherwise there will be a limit on revenue.

Stu Holliday is the Chief Commercial Officer for ZYBRE, and he’s worked with field sales teams throughout his whole career. He says, “There’s definitely a knock-on effect of not being able to complete an offline order, on the customer, rep and business.”

But surprisingly, most sales software doesn’t include offline working as a key feature, and the bottom line of telco companies suffers as a result. If field sales teams find themselves in badly connected environments 15% of time, that’s a 15% increased likelihood of lost sales, reduced productivity and decreased team motivation.

 

Selling reliable connectivity anywhere

During new customer acquisition and customer onboarding, clients are looking for a reliable service. When companies try to sell connectivity but don’t have a dependable connection themselves, that reliability is challenged. This occurs in both urban and rural areas but for telco companies like Ogi, for whom remote regions hold much of their customer base, the impact will be even more significant.

Paul Main, the National Sales Manager of Be Fibre told us, “It is part of the government’s maUnlessnifesto to bring gigabit broadband to ‘every home and business across the UK’ by 2025. However, 4G connectivity only covers 85% of the UK so finding a mobile sales solution that operates ‘out of network coverage’ will play a critical role in ensuring we keep the promise.”

Some impacts are obvious. At the point of closing a sale or a key stage of data capture, stalled sales software forces customers to stand around in frustration and might lead to failed orders.

Elsewhere, let’s say a sales rep invests time in delivering a presentation to get a new business client on board. But after their winning conversation they can’t complete the sale – simply because they’re offline. Here it’s a double hit. The business loses revenue and the rep’s motivation also suffers.

Stu says, ‘’It’s not just about having good connection to be able to increase the speed and number of orders being processed, but it’s also about the effect on the mental state of the sales rep too.”

“Salespeople will get demotivated if they’re pressing confirm on an order and it’s not going through,” Stu says. “You’ll see their body language change, they may feel under more pressure to complete sales and therefore start pushing harder than they should for a new order.”

It’s all easily avoidable. Our sales software is designed specifically with telco field sales in mind, which means it’s designed to stay connected at all times. It does a lot more than simply allow a rep to fill out a form offline. Our software functions in its online capacity even when it’s offline.

How is that possible? Let's explain this key feature of ours.

 

How we designed our online platform for an offline frontier

When one of your reps is offline, our systems can detect this. And instead of simply waiting for an internet connection, our software responds intelligently, going via an offline route to update the server.  This allows the rep to continue to collect customer data as part of the offline sales process, with the device then syncing this data once a connection has been made again.

Stu says, “PSI’s ability to process and timestamp an order offline automatically, is a game changer.”

“If you’re asking reps to select offline, load the new CAF, submit the order then try to turn it online again, productivity can be hugely impacted. Whereas the PSI system means performance is consistent and reps can sell whether they’re in rural areas, the top of a high rise or even at an underground business.‘’

You could say we’ve worked around the imperfection of the 99% connected world. And we’ve done it with a creative software solution that works how a customer looking to buy a connectivity package would expect.

This key feature also means our offline capabilities are fully GDPR compliant. The system still functions as one device processing the data in one fixed moment.

Of course, just like all modern cloud-based systems, the customer doesn’t know anything different has happened. The whole process is smooth and contained. And with less chance of sales breaking, teams are free to grow leads and own more effective territory management.

 

Sales software built by industry-vertical experts

PSI’s sales software are alone in offering this vital key feature. You can line up all the sales or lead capture products on the market, and PSI is the only option with GDPR-compliant, offline capabilities built in.

Paul says that this technology “will continue to allow us to push into UK rural areas that we have been unable to reach previously, serving our communities better and delivering our promises.”

We pride ourselves in providing a unique customer service to the telco industry and always scan the market to see what problems are arising so we can provide solutions from automation to multichannel sales.

All PSI products come with this dedicated industry expertise and focus built-in to the design and configuration, so you know you’ll always have the best systems running. Get in touch to book a demo and see it in action


Futureproof your organisation with end-to-end sales software

Not all sales solutions were created equal. Some are effective in initial lead capture, but for the telco industry in particular, it’s vital to allow businesses to fully map customer journeys and control sales processes within an end-to-end solution.

 

Lead capture versus end-to-end

Lead capture represents the wide start of the sales process after which teams need to convert leads into customers. New customer acquisition is full of contact points at which the sale could break down and businesses face increased risk of potential customers changing their mind if their sales process has to pause for breath. It’s ultimately down to the point of sale, and all lead capture tools can do is kick start the sales journey.

In contrast, end-to-end sales software can record all a customer’s information in one place after just one conversation, including installation dates if the customer is happy to decide there and then. Your backend systems will have all they need, and the customer won’t have to give it another thought.

The ISP and managed IT services provider Ogi discovered this when we set them up with an end-to-end solution that replaced their previous software platform.

“PSI enables us to complete a quick sale in 10-15 mins from start to finish,” said Alexander, Breverton, Telesales Manager at Ogi. “This probably would have taken a couple of days in our previous out-of-the-box solution.”

Any further communication then becomes an opportunity to nurture the relationship rather than hassle the customer for more information. With all a customer’s information neatly contained in an end-to-end sales solution, companies can also sell more enhanced services, such as add-on connectivity packages, or they can ask for Trust Pilot ratings, which are more likely to be higher after such a seamless customer experience.

 

Future-proof your organisation’s sales

So what if you’re a new contender in the market and you only want lead capture right now?

Well, with PSI’s sales software, businesses can choose to pay for an initial lead capture tool and build on it later as their needs and budget evolves. Other sales solutions don’t offer this option, companies would have to onboard a whole new system at a later date – often with great upheaval and expense.

With PSI, you can scale your sales solution easily whenever you’re ready. This makes it a great tool for businesses and startups with growth ambitions.

So if your new company’s eventual aim is to have a multichannel sales process with an automated customer onboarding journey, we can facilitate that step by step. We can give you a sophisticated lead capture solution as you start out and then build it out into an end-to-end solution later once you have the scope to take full advantage of it.

By choosing a solution that's ready to scale with you, when you do need an end-to-end solution, you'll find it much easier getting the internal buy-in you need. You won’t need to convince field sales teams or C-suite execs to invest time and energy in onboarding and training for a second piece of software – everything will already be in place.

 

Scaling with a team of experts

PSI offers a consultative approach to sales solutions. Our software is able to handle nuance and it can be reflexive to fit around your businesses growth goals.

We know that the more flexibility and data companies have available, the more they’ll get out of not just a sales solution but also business growth. In territory management for example, additional customer data captured in end-to-end sales software can be assigned out to field sales teams working in both on-net and off-net services.

Likewise, when growing an alt-net network, data can be entered into the PSI systems as the network is being built so that sales reps know which addresses already have build-out processes in the pipeline and which don’t.

With our software, your teams can also use the data to know when leads are coming out of another contract, so that they can target them with a sales campaign once their contract end-date draws closer.

 

Beyond standard SaaS. This is a partnership

We work with scalability and partnership at the forefront of all we do. If a business is currently using a field sales agency as its core team but wants to move longterm to an in-house telesales team, our sales solutions make that transitional period as easy as possible.

Sales agencies often use software platforms that work for their broad needs, not for a specific business model, target audience or growth area. When companies decide to part ways with that agency, all the initial customer data that’s been captured is owned by the agency. That makes any sort of transition a difficult prospect, and inevitably leads to lost sales.

In contrast, PSI’s sales software offers longevity. If you want to put a sales agency on our software, you can. And if you want to switch agencies, you can do so without losing any data – and the same goes if you want to take sales in-house. In short, with our software, your teams won’t need to start from scratch when you decide to grow.

We know the telco industry and our end-to-end software means you can feel secure in the knowledge you've not only got the right software behind you, but the right team of experts too. Get in touch and future-proof your business with a solution that’s ready to scale with you.


No more missed opportunities: how lead capture takes your sales results beyond what you're used to

Missing a sales opportunity doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Sometimes a customer needs a bit of breathing room, some time to reflect, or simply to reach the end of a contract before they can make that jump. Nobody wants to be pestered to buy into a new product or service, but perhaps a gentler approach, one that the potential customer can anticipate, is the way forward. 

The question is: how do you achieve that? 

 

How can a lead capture solution help improve your customer experience?  

Certainly, the customer experience is of vital importance, even while they’re only potential customers. According to a study by PwC, 32% of customers will walk away from a brand after a single negative experience, and after several bad experiences, that figure rises to over 50%. Being harassed by sales representatives after having declined an offer is not going to endear the potential customer to change their mind. 

Customer retention is easily as important as customer acquisition, as the initial cost of acquisition is larger than that of retention, and customer churn costs companies vast amounts of revenue. Loyal customers become advocates though, and according to Temkin Group, 77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after a single positive experience.  

But is it a big deal? Why focus on missed opportunities? If a potential customer wasn’t ready to commit yet, why not just move on to the next? How would you even capture the missed sales opportunity? 

 

Is multichannel sales the answer? 

It is widely known that missed sales opportunities are a problem, but if sales targets are met, then solving that problem is not high on the list of priorities. When a business is emerging, or moving into a new territory, customer acquisition is essential, but finding customers who aren’t already under contract is a challenge. Making first contact with potential customers when their contracts are nearly up is highly unlikely, so what do you do? 

A multichannel sales solution that captures and stores leads may well be the answer.  

A call to a potential customer could reveal that they may not be 100% happy with their current supplier, but that they still have several months remaining on their contract. The ability to agree a time and date that they would prefer a call back ensures they feel in control and creates a warm lead for the sales team to follow up on. 

Likewise, if the potential customer can choose to be sent a reminder via a channel of their choice, they’re more likely to welcome the communication. A multichannel sales solution joins the dots here – enabling a field sales rep to easily schedule in a phone call or an email instead of another door-to-door call.  

According to PwC, 43% of consumers would pay more for greater convenience and 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience – and by capturing leads with a multichannel sales solution, you can offer both. 

These warm leads could be useful for forecasting future sales and gaining insights to the desirability of your products in the market. Effective territory management from multichannel sales software can also remove these potential customers from lists of sales representatives’ calls, preventing sales representatives from cold calling them prior to the agreed contact date.  

 

One solution across multiple teams 

Without using a joined-up multichannel sales solution, there is little incentive to pass on a warm lead to another team to follow up on. If a sale is made from a follow-up, the representative who made the initial contact often wouldn’t benefit from it at all. But if both teams are working from the same system, you can see when contact was made the first time and allocate the lead accordingly. 

If a warm lead is successfully converted, then the reward and recognition from the sale can be shared between the teams. This creates an incentive to share leads and a greater chance of capturing a sale that may have been lost otherwise.  

We have a compliant solution for just this need. To find out more about our multichannel sales solutions, check out the story behind our tech or learn how it fits together to give you a competitive advantage.  

You can also get in touch to schedule a demo here. 

 


Restart, rebuild, reimagine –  the story behind our multichannel sales tech

According to research by EPFL university, 73% of start-ups need to pivot to a different market over time. The sector first targeted by a tech company rarely stays the focus forever, and so it was with PSI. 

Before we stepped into sales software we worked with pharmaceuticals, trading excess stock to prevent pharmaceutical waste. It wasn’t long before we saw the need for improved sales applications in that industry, and the first one we designed transformed a pharma company’s manual, slow processes and made their customer acquisition much more efficient. This would be an ongoing theme for many years to come. 

 

Honing in on telco, utility and sales software 

We were soon doing the same for mobile technology projects, and after experimenting with a number of different directions, we found our stride in 2010 when we overhauled sales processes with Miller Brown and Eir, Ireland’s largest telco operator. 

“The PSI platform was an instant improvement,” says Mark Higgins, Eir’s Head of Field & Affiliate Sales. “Not only are our reps better equipped, but I now have instant insight into sales. I can see which bundles are selling well, which regions are hitting their targets and the progress of orders. All in real time.” 

We had found our sweet spot so we honed in on it. Over the next 12 years we designed and provided sales software solutions for telco and utility. Our 1.0 platform evolved to service these industries with increasing focus.  

 

Tearing down and building up to multichannel sales 

“Over a long period of time, technology that is built up like this becomes quite unmanageable,” says David Costello, CEO of PSI. “So we took a clean slate and rebuilt the platform to deliver everything we’d learned how to deliver, but in an efficient and scalable way – switching to web technology enabled us to support multichannel sales more effectively.” 

At this stage our solution was matured, omnichannel, and could be configured with our domain expertise. These are some of the aspects that made us appeal to Ogi, an ISP and managed IT services company that is transforming Wales’ digital landscape. 

“It’s very unusual to go out to market, as a start-up business, with a sophisticated automated sales process,” says Sally-Anne Skinner, Chief Revenue Officer at Ogi. “This is what we have with PSI.”  

 

How we stayed agile 

Part of the reason we were able to get this far has been our ability to pivot and keep on the frontfoot of evolving sales software and the needs of our customers. 

“We’re privately owned and we’re not VC backed,” says David, “so we don’t have funding that’s driving us down a particular path. This has enabled us to focus on a niche market and be agile in responding to what our customers want.”

This agility was key for SSE Airtricity, a leading green energy company, who had to respond fast during the pandemic to enable their business to deliver more with the same resources. They also needed to stay agile for future product updates. 

“Time is a major factor in this,” says Ernest Asensio, Retail Efficiency & Systems Manager of SSE Airtricity. “We needed to respond to changing requirements both initially from dialling up web functionality for business units, but also recurring as these business units would have a lot of frequent product changes… PSI Touchstone enables us to respond quicker and easier to save resources across multiple departments.” 

 

A long term solution for fast omnichannel sales 

 “We don’t just build and walk away,” says David. “We become an integral part of customer experience processes for our clients, and we constantly evolve these processes to do more with them.” 

This is the case with Eir, who switched to PSI to manage their customer acquisition and onboarding in 2010. Usually, if a company stayed with a legacy system for long, they would have to take on the difficulties of moving the tech forward, along with the costs of the almost inevitable rebuild. Instead, Eir simply kept telling us what they needed and we kept evolving the system for them. And when we saw the opportunity to rebuild, we absorbed that cost. 

“The simplicity of the system should not be ignored either,” says the Sales Director of Eir. “The PSI interface is simple, data is easily accessible, and the customer sign-up wizard is straightforward. This means that our reps can give more of their attention to clients, further smoothing the sales process and raising the quality of service we give them.” 

PSI’s initial pivot to sales software and telco and utility onboarding was a result of listening to the market – and we’re still listening now. We’re paying attention to the market and to our clients, following the good ideas to deliver something of value.  

To see what the latest version of our multichannel sales software can achieve for ambitious organisations, our work with Ogi is a prime example. Alexander Breverton, Ogi’s Telesales Manager adds, “PSI enables us to complete a quick sale in 10-15 mins from start to finish. This probably would have taken a couple of days in our previous out-of-the-box solution.” 

 To learn more about how we created this tailored solution in just a few months, see our case study on Ogi’s multichannel sales software. 


How automation can accelerate telco and utility sales teams

How much hassle, how much waiting and how many manual tasks lie between a first ‘hello’, a completed sale, and the moment the service is switched on for a customer?

If telco and utility organisations make this first point of contact frictionless for the customer and sales rep, the benefit is simple: more sales close, more often. Automation is what will enable companies to leapfrog to this next generation sales and onboarding experience, along with its next generation margins.

Telco and utility companies are already beginning to make automation work from them. Chatbots are saving time for customer service teams, machine learning is helping to generate call-lists, and some organisations are making moves towards a zero touch customer experience.

Sales and onboarding teams, however, probably have the most to gain from automation, AI and smart integrated systems. They’re the ones for whom almost every minute counts – and for whom the seamlessness of the experience can make or break a sale.

 

What many systems lack

By HubSpot’s count, sales teams typically only spend 34% of their time talking to prospects, and most of the rest of their time completing tasks that could be automated.

We’ve seen before with clients that even if an application is quick to complete initially,  progress often stumbles, trips and crawls its way through a company’s systems afterwards. Forms can take time to arrive at head office. Payment details might later need to be re-verified by phone.

Ogi, an ISP and managed IT services company, knew this pain first hand. “Out of the box B2B sales solutions tend not to be fit for purpose for residential sales,” says Telesales Manager Alexander Breverton. “There’s lots of manual provisioning, manually sending customer emails and manually sending terms and conditions.”

So what’s the alternative?

 

Automated systems at a glance

In McKinsey’s report, A Blueprint for Telecom’s Critical Reinvention, the authors argue that  “telcos’ success will hinge on their ability to leverage data and deploy advanced analytics, AI and automation at scale to drive new sources of growth and change the broader economics of the business.”

Similarly, in Salesforce’s report A new chapter of Telco service transformation, the case is made that telco companies need to face up to the constraints of legacy architectures and build something new: “unified back-end processes and increased automation that support slick and cost-effective front-end design and channel experiences.”

Building new sophisticated architecture like this is a process that can take years – and much trial and error. But with Ogi, we demonstrated that it’s possible to configure a tailored, multichannel, sales-focused system in a matter of months, not years – with an intuitive frontend that new sales teams can quickly pick up and run with.

 

A new and inspired team

When a solution enables a sales team to validate, book installation appointments and complete the entire process on the spot, there’s a greater sense of completion. Nor does the sale’s associated commission still hang in the balance.

Sophisticated automation doesn’t just reduce admin time, it also ensures that the right data is in your reps hands, whether they’re on the phone, in the field, or following up on an incomplete web sale.

This kind of provisioning reduces frustration and helps to promote an inclusive sales culture, where telesales can pass a lead to field sales if they can’t reach them, and vice versa.

 

The Ogi experience

 Ogi’s managers are now able to create automated, optimised routes and campaigns for field reps – and their field and tele sales teams have rich data to help them achieve better results.

Their teams can perform contactless sales with very little manual provisioning, booking installations at point of sale, and wrapping up a sale in moments. Everything else automates all the way to its final destination.

“PSI enables us to complete a quick sale in 10-15 mins from start to finish,” says Alexander. “This probably would have taken a couple of days in our previous out-of-the-box solution.”

To learn more, see our case study deep dive into how PSI helped Ogi scale and penetrate their market


Multichannel sales tech: How it fits together to give you a competitive advantage

In capped industries like utility and telco, you’re often targeting people who are already with a competitor and likely don’t actively switch providers. To stand a chance of winning these customers and their long term loyalty, you need to build trust through flawless customer experiences – that’s where multichannel comes in.

Your customers live in a multichannel society now. The standard is instant, convenient, frictionless onboarding – and anything less than this feels jarring. Customers expect to interact with brands face to face and over the phone and web, without needing to join the dots themselves.

Many utility and telco companies are working with legacy systems. Which means any that can master the complexities of this new multichannel playing field will gain a distinct competitive advantage.

 

What kind of system is needed for multichannel sales?

As McKinsey’s telco report Change the channel: A new multitouch point portfolio outlines, multichannel sales tech is what will set future telco industry winners apart. But it needs buy in from everyone in the business to bring all channels and departments together:

“Delivering a multichannel strategy and enabling cross-channel customer journeys usually requires significant changes in IT platforms,” the authors write.

“Target IT capabilities to be developed include, among many others, a cross-channel product advisory engine, a fully multichannel architecture offering, an agile operations platform supporting real-time automated processing, fully online event-driven CRM, and a fully parametrical product catalog.”

However, a complex system only needs to be complex under the hood. For sales reps it should be effortless – an automated breeze that enables them to whisk people through a tailored customer journey and close deals almost instantly anywhere, anytime.

Off-the-shelf options that try to achieve this are rarely a good fit for telco and utility companies. They’re designed for different customer journeys and fewer processes, so they create additional friction for sales teams and anyone trying to manage the back end.

To make cross-channel integration work behind the scenes, and to make it work effectively for customer journeys in utility and telco, often requires many tailored APIs. Zoom in on the multichannel architecture and it’s clear that this can’t be the work of just any developer.

 

Multichannel architecture: how it should fit together

When we configured our multichannel sales tech for Ogi, an ISP and managed IT services company, the engagement was as important as the delivery.

We worked with Ogi to shape a customer journey for field, tele and web sales, and we identified what APIs we would need to pull in and push out the relevant data.

While some systems might make use of only four calls, more sophisticated systems like Ogi’s can make use of up to 12 API calls. These can include requests, such as for product, address data and so on. They can also involve many outbound calls, sending information for payment verification, to book installations, to 3rd party systems and other sales processes.

All this makes the tech simple but specialised on the surface, enabling Ogi’s reps to make contact with potential customers and close deals in record time – without stalling points in the process – on the phone or in the field.

Beneath the surface, the cross-channel integration makes it possible to analyse sales performance metrics in a new way across field, tele and web sales. Ogi can see where they can retarget prospects that don’t complete the sales cycle, or where customer journeys needed to be tweaked further.

 

What’s an affordable route?

 As a new contender in fibre, the Ogi team says they struggled to compete on price against other providers, so they needed to offer a great customer service as a USP.

“The sales processes we had in the business before PSI were not fit for purpose,” says Sally-Anne Skinner, Chief Revenue Officer at Ogi. “We would not have been able to go out to market and deliver the scale that we have and the penetration that we have without significant amounts of customer dissatisfaction and pain and resources.”

An out-of-the-box solution wouldn’t integrate field, tele and web sales in the way they needed. But sophisticated solutions are usually built gradually over many years, often from the ground up. Ogi couldn’t afford to wait.

They needed a seamless multichannel experience. Although customers would never think of it in these terms, in a multichannel world, they are coming to expect tailored customer journeys, unified by an automated backend system.

Using our full suite of products – Fusion Core, Pulse, and Touchstone – Ogi were able to create this seamless end-to-end sales journey across the three sales channels that they operate in. It was a world away from their former solution.

“If we were still using that solution,” says Alexander Breverton, Telesales Manager at Ogi, “we wouldn’t have had the success we have had, it’s safe to say,”

To learn more, see our case study deep dive into how PSI helped Ogi scale and penetrate their market


Complaints: Moving from reactive to proactive engagement

Customer complaints are a fact of life for most companies.

From the humblest small business to the largest utility providers, there are bound to be at least a few unhappy customers from time to time. While some challenges are small and easily resolved, large numbers of complaints might serve as a warning sign that something is going wrong with your customer journey.

In a competitive market retaining customers is key according to Bain & Company, "a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit", they also say “a customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price- or product-related”. It's key therefore to get a handle on customer challenges as early as possible

Here are 3 suggestions that you might find helpful in getting ahead of any risk:

  • Understand the root causes of customer challenges
  • Prioritise clear and effective communications with customers
  • Consistent and impactful training for your sales agents

 

#1: Understanding the root cause of customer challenges

The days of one-way communication are over, customers want to engage in meaningful dialogue, especially when something goes wrong. However, waiting until something goes wrong can often be too late.

Creating regular opportunities to seek feedback from your customers on their experience will enable your business to take action.

From surveys to complaint forms, the single most important step in remediating customer challenges is to identify the causes and to understand whether they are one-off issues affecting this customer alone or a recurring issue in your process that warrants further investigation.

This process will also give you insight into what you are doing well, ideas for improvements over time and potentially additional revenue opportunities. Why wait until it's an issue? Let's make space to talk to our customers.

#2: Prioritise clear and effective communications with customers

For many people change is difficult in general, that remains true when it comes to switching to a new energy supplier, changing your phone contract, or understanding price increase notices. It is why there are so many people in the UK that are on the standard variable tariff, the most expensive one.

When choosing a new supplier, for example, there can be an overwhelming amount of information to process, and if this information is unclear or open to interpretation it can cause more stress and anguish on a customer. This in turn could lead to complaints or the customer switching provider.

Utility companies can benefit immensely from simply focusing on making the communication of their services, billing structure clear-cut and easy to understand. By keeping communications between your company and the customer simple and easy, your customers will be able to digest the information and understand what they are agreeing to at each stage of your process.

#3: Consistent and Impactful training for your salespeople

Any employee who interacts with your customer is acting on your business's behalf. We have all seen the impact of rogue rep behaviour on other businesses and the utility industry as a whole. This doesn't need to happen in your business though, creating the right processes and the right environment will enable you to mitigate the risk. One of the most important ways you can deliver for your potential customers is by creating consistent and impactful training for your salespeople.

From communication your brand value and what's important (is sales the only thing that matters or is the customer experience, data quality or market intelligence as important?), to specific training relating to interacting with priority or vulnerable people, your sales tactics - solid training is at the heart of your success.

 

How you deliver that training can impact how well that knowledge is retained and applied.

There have been numerous research efforts to chart the speed at which newly learned skills and information gained during a training session are retained or lost. Sometimes called the “forgetting curve,” the loss of ability to recall new information over time after a training session is almost inevitable. While the amount of information lost to an individual may vary based on a breathtaking number of factors, statistics cited by specialist organisations such as Festo-Didactic state that as much as 77% of information from a single training session is lost after just six days.

So, is training pointless? No, but it does need to be done right in order to ensure the retention of information. The problem with many training programmes is that they consist of a single seminar where the employees are trying to retain every piece of information that they need at once, typically without any chance to practice the knowledge gained. The result is that each employee tends to remember a few tidbits of information from the training session that they found poignant and little else.

One way that your company can improve the retention of information from a training session is to have a digital learning solution in place on the agent’s device, with regular just-in-time learning before application, and regular assessments to ensure they are 'fit to sell'. This provides employees with the chance to review smaller, more digestible chunks of information and test their knowledge on specific portions of the training. By offering continuous learning opportunities within their workflow, you can significantly improve how well employees remember their training.

Effective training can be the single most important way in which your company prevents customer complaints, as trained, knowledgeable sales staff are much less likely to miscommunicate services and frustrate customers.

 

How happy are you with your customer engagements in the sales process and beyond?

If you think there is room for improvement we would love to hear from you.


Best Practice Digital Sales Solutions

How much of your team’s time is simply wasted?

If you’re still clinging to old-style sales techniques, I’m going to guess that your sales agents spent a lot of their valuable time waiting around.

Waiting for the company to give them the resources or marketing materials they need. Waiting for their training to get signed off. Waiting for leads. Waiting for background checks to clear. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

And as you no doubt know, waiting around and wasting time is very bad news for your team’s levels of energy and enthusiasm. In fact, it’s a massive wet blanket when it comes to motivation.

Great sales people are go-getters. For them, sales is a verb. They’re impatient. They need to act.

So let them.

 

If you want to harness, rather than hinder, the potential of your top performing sales people, you’re going to have to find digital sales solutions that encourage and accommodate as much productive selling time as you possibly can. And for that, you’ll need top technology that streamlines the process, speeds up lead distribution, cuts down admin and gives new starters the chance to hit the ground running.

That means ditching the cumbersome paper trails and the endless manual data entry and switching to a future-proofed digital data capture and sales fulfilment platform. One that automated those niggling little tasks that so easy swallow up your team’s time, helping them to help you make money.

Agents can access digital training resources and continuous learning options to make sure their skills and knowledge are refreshed and honed, right before they go sell. They can access digital copies of handbooks and other resources through their mobile devices or PDAs, meaning that marketing can get new messaging out to them in the blink of an eye and you can be sure they have the latest sales information for frequently changing products or updates to regulations.

Back in HQ, you can track the progress of staff out in the field or working from home, analysing what’s working and where, allocating leads or redirecting your team in a fast, responsive style that maximises their time, improves their success rate and keeps them running on gas. If there are challenges in your sales process, you can rectify the challenge in real-time and increase your chances of success.

Even better, digital sales solutions that are based in Business Process Automation actually help to improve the accuracy of data captured during a sale.

That’s because these platforms make it far easier to comply with regulations and smooth things out along the entire fulfilment chain. Straightforward, structured digital systems mean that that sales agents are discouraged (or even prevented) from cutting corners, reducing the risk of human errors and lost sales later on.

And, because the solution can enable validations, take payment details and complete the entire process on the spot, sales staff have a sense of completion. They know everything’s gone through ok – they know that the sale, and their commission is already in the bag. And they can head out to their next lead feeling fired up and hungry for the next triumph.

All of which keeps your sales staff happy and working at their best, while reinforcing your reputation as a top-drawer, highly trusted leader that everyone wants to learn from.

As well, of course, as raising your standing in the company as a whole – not just within the team you run. And that can’t hurt, now, can it?

Want more tips on capitalising on your sales teams killer instincts? Contact our team today


Effective territory management is more than basic geography

Historically sales territories have existed as a way to simplify the division of accounts between your sales team. Geographic boundaries and sales team availability is used to establish which accounts belong to which account manager. It is then down to the territory manager to service the accounts and leads in their patch.

The problem with traditional territory management is that it treats all customers (and leads) equally. Your field sales reps will typically plan their weekly/monthly/annual visits, cycling through customers site visits in the same way indefinitely. Every contact is afforded roughly the same level of facetime.

In an ideal world, this equality would be fine. But the truth is that some clients spend more than others, making them worth more to your business. It is these clients that should be receiving greater attention from your sales reps.

 

Redefining your territories

Taking your sales strategy forward, it may help to stop thinking of territories in terms of physical geography. Instead, you can create territories around various different factors including:

  • Product range or tariff
  • Account type
  • Local competition
  • Personas – the type of people being targeted in your field sales campaigns

Even this basic change of definition opens new sales opportunities. You are now able to reallocate leads and accounts to sales reps in new, more effective ways:

  • Product experts can manage specific accounts based on the utility service they use.
    • You can split the sales team between corporate and consumer accounts, allowing reps to specialise in one or the other.
  • You can reallocate additional field sales reps to target regions where your competition is particularly strong or weak.
  • Your sales team can tailor their strategy and pitches according to an allocated persona.

 

Targeting customers

From a business account perspective, you may already have divided your territory based on account value – after all, those clients who spend more warrant more of your resources and time. But the truth is that some accounts will have a secondary value which is sometimes quite significant.

In the age of social business, you may find that some of your low-value accounts are actually very good at referring their own contacts. So the value of their contract may be low, but the referral business they bring in more than compensates.

This realisation is another important motivator for changing territories and account allocation. These clients will need similar nurturing and encouragement as you would provide your highest-value accounts. Losing these high secondary value clients could have a serious effect on your sales.

This is still relevant in a domestic/retail setting where the size of accounts can still be a factor, especially considering the age of smart where increasing devices further embed your products through your customer’s homes. In the majority of accounts though you are playing for the longevity of the relationship, who is more likely to stay with you and why. Do you understand why they are signing up with you? Is it price alone or price and service, and how do you continue to add value in the long term to keep them a customer? Capturing and acting on relevant data can help give you an edge over your competitors.

 

Get flexible

Changing the way you define and manage territories is not a one-off task, however. Your customers’ needs and preferences will change frequently, as will market conditions. And where territories are defined by any factor other than geography, they too will need to be updated to reflect the changes.

In the data-driven sales environment, this is more complicated than changing a few lines on a map. The factors used to segment advanced territories are not so immediately obvious.

The sales operations manager needs a sales platform that allows them to manage every aspect of their sales strategy and supporting data quickly and efficiently. This flexibility allows you to change strategy whenever required to maximise conversions and sales.

 

The value in your database

No matter the channel, feeding the sales engine is a constant battle for sales leaders, do you have enough quality leads, how can you improve your conversion rate, are there more opportunities for improvement? With the complexity of multiple channels, customer and product types sitting alongside multiple systems and processes there is the potential to leave opportunities on the table.

It’s therefore key to have a strategy and a digital sales solution that will enable you to capture and centralise pertinent sales data including; leads from any channel, intelligence about product performance per channel and area, alongside other data that is relevant you your business e.g. do people in the southwest sign up more often when the weather is rainy.

When you have insight that can be actioned, you can utilise more value from your database, leads can be nurtured until ready and delivered to the relevant channel at the appropriate time, improvements can be made your sales processes if you understand where people get stuck, you can resource your territory appropriately based on performance, and monitor the results in real-time through your sales dashboards. Each door knock will in turn deliver more value if managed correctly.

 

Digital Sales Solution

PSI has been delivering tailored solutions to energy and telecommunications providers since 2004. Our robust Fusion platform can manage the full matrix of your sales engine, from how you sell, e.g.; field sales, telesales, web sales, channel partners, 3rd party sales, to what you sell and to who. We make it easy for your customers to switch, for your team to deliver, and for your business to gain intelligence and maximise sales.

If you want to see the solution in action, schedule a 30 min Demo with our specialists.


How to Build a Successful Field Sales Team

In order to cut through today’s digital noise, energy and telco sales reps are hitting the streets and knocking on doors. Known to elevate your brand, door-to-door sales adds the human touch that other sales methodologies lack. When you put your sales reps directly in front of a prospect, they’re able to build and strengthen relationships, provide a higher level of education on your products and services, lessen miscommunication, and create the type of trust and credibility that promotes customer loyalty. But getting your sales reps field ready can be a challenge.

As you know only too well, sales is a demanding and many times thankless job and it’s up to you to set your field sales reps up for success. The process starts the moment you hire a new field sales rep and the training you provide. It doesn’t, however, end there. Keeping your reps engaged over the long term, avoiding sales code of conduct breaches, burnout, and boredom, while improving your profitability can be a slippery slope. That is why you need a strategy that will take the guesswork out of the equation. Read on to learn how you can build a successful field sales team and grow your business simultaneously.

 

Strategies That Will Have Your Field Reps Working at Peak Performance 

Many sales organisations view sales as a game of numbers. While reaching sales quotas is essential to the financial health of your business, it needs to be part of the company’s overall strategy. For example, let’s assume that your energy company’s field reps are paid strictly on a commission basis and are given virtually unattainable quarterly quota goals. While the numbers may add up and you’re achieving revenue projections, where does this leave your reps? To reach their goals, there is the potential that they may resort to cold knocking on ineligible doors, go off script to convince customers to switch providers, or even use fake phone numbers, bank account details, and phoney or duplicate addresses to create a sale. When a rep goes rogue, it not only chips away at your brand’s reputation but can result in regulatory fines.

Training needs to be an essential component of your overarching strategy. As explained by Chron, savvy business leaders understand the relationship between training and employee performance. However, to get the optimal results from your training and continuous learning initiatives, you’ll need to create measurable metrics. To start this process perform pre- and post-training evaluations, as well as set key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to track your field reps performance over the long term. Be sure that the KPIs you decide on align with your brand values and expectations. It’s also important that, at least at the beginning, you don’t set the bar too high. Your measurable metrics need to be attainable, yet provide room for stretch objectives.

When you expect too little from your field sales reps or provide little to no guidance, you run the risk that your reps will not only go rogue but become bored with their daily routine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, unattainable expectations can cause reps to quickly burn out. This often results in high field sales rep turnover, which ultimately means a revolving door of new hires and the ongoing costs of recruiting and training. To get your reps working at peak performance, the pressure you put on them needs to range between moderate and high.

In an ideal world, field sales reps would be naturally motivated to always work at peak performance. However, the very nature of field sales lends itself to an unpredictable work environment. If you’re like your counterparts, you’re constantly searching for ways to keep your reps motivated. A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that increased productivity and higher performance can be attained when workers are motivated by the interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself.

As the face of your business, field sales reps should be provided with the kind of work environment that will foster their ability to do what they love and deliver the kind of value that provides prospects and customers with the level of service they expect, while boosting their earning potential. Although many businesses rely solely on extrinsic motivators such as compensation, rewards, and recognition, the blending of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators have been proven to foster more engaged, loyal and productive field sales reps.

 

Crush the Competition by Taking Field Sales to the Next Level

As you can see, poorly trained field sales reps or mismanaged expectations have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. Reps that take a genuine interest in their customers and achievements are your ticket to profitability. However, their success relies on you. Be sure your reps have everything they need to hit the road running, including having intimate knowledge of the products they are selling, energy or telco industry expertise, the tools to build customer rapport, the knowledge to accurately answer customer questions, and the skills to close the deal.

Your field reps are the face of your company to every prospect they meet. And as such you need them to represent the company in the most positive way possible. Whether you’re outsourcing your field sales efforts or have an internal team, you need to mitigate risks by planning ahead. And that starts with setting your field sales reps up for success!

As the leading sales technology partner for energy and telco providers, PSI has been helping more than 20,000 field reps positively represent the companies they work for. With more than 12 years of industry expertise, we have a unique understanding of the challenges individual reps, teams, and the business in general face when selling energy and telco services door-to-door. Our industry-specific platform and team of specialists are helping companies, like yours, focus on providing the tools reps need to operate at peak performance.

 

View our most recent case study to see how we helped SSE Airtricity set their field sales reps up for continued success.