How to soften the blow of brain drain

When people talk about churn in the telco and energy industries, the focus is often on customers drifting away. But there’s another kind of churn that’s just as big a problem and often gets overlooked: brain drain. 

Every time talent leaves a company, it’s not just the individual who goes. It’s their years of valuable insight in the industry. Their unique understanding of their role and the territories they work in. If they’re moving to a rival, you could even lose your competitive edge. 

Although you should try to reduce brain drain where you can – especially if it’s rooted in a culture or employee engagement problem – there’s no way to stop it altogether. People will always retire, move on or seek new challenges. 

But just because churn is a fact of life, it doesn’t mean the impact has to be. If you can’t always keep talent from leaving, you can at least make it less of a hard reset for the company when they do. 

Keep control of your market insights 

Although brain drain occurs when someone leaves, it can still happen even if the talent stays within the company. For example, if a field rep team leader gets promoted or a manager steps down, and their expertise at that level isn’t replaced. 

It might also happen because you need to change your relationship with a sales agency partner. A common problem for telcos and energy companies is becoming too dependent on their sales agency, because there is a risk that all of their market knowledge and insight is held by that team. If you want to change partners, or work with a different agency in a new space, that knowledge is lost. 

One way to avoid this is to buy your own sales solution and onboard a sales agency onto it. That way you become more self-reliant and own your own sales data. The insights stay within the building, and you still know what’s going on in your market even if people leave or your agency relationship changes. 

Use your data to see where the real problem lies 

Part of keeping insights within the company is knowing what data to collect and how best to use it. 

You might have an excellent field sales team you know you can trust. They’re productive in the field, they reliably knock on every door on their route, and they respect your potential customers by not overselling or ignoring compliance. Getting to that stage wasn’t an easy task, but the result is a highly efficient and skilled team to represent your brand on people’s doorsteps. 

But if those reps move on for any reason, it’s a problem. The people that made the team so well-oiled are gone, and you can’t yet trust their replacements in the same way. If sales performance is dipping, how can you tell if it’s because the area has been saturated or your new reps aren’t knocking on the doors they say they are? 

When you’re not capturing information accurately, it creates too much grey area. Reps are able to say they tried an area to no avail, and it's impossible to diagnose why the results aren’t coming. 

But with the right data capture process in place, you can know where the problem lies and zero in on ways to make your sales team more productive. Then you’re not overly reliant on your star reps, and it’s less of a setback when those talents leave. 

Protecting your knowledge will protect your brand 

When valuable knowledge leaves, that can be just the tip of the iceberg. If a company isn’t prepared for the loss of talent, the impact of brain drain can reach much further than their specific role. 

To begin with, the cost of training replacements is a setback. But if a team’s progress and operations are regularly disrupted each time a manager leaves, that can make the rest of the team less motivated and more likely to move on as well. 

Where the impact of brain drain can be especially serious is where compliance is concerned. If only one person is keeping track of issues like rep behaviour and compliance processes, they leave behind a major hole when they go – one which regulators might look into. 

Without that compliance lead’s oversight, anyone new to your sector or sales processes might not know what to watch for and how. As a result, leads that should be removed from campaigns are left in. Reps aren’t armed correctly and risk overselling or pressuring potential customers. And when customer trust is breached, so is your brand integrity. 

But when compliance is an automated part of your sales process, you’re not reliant on individuals to uphold it. If there’s turnover in your sales team, a new team leader can slot in and the system ensures your customers don’t feel any fallout. 

If you’re thinking about customer experience and how to make your operations as smooth as possible, limiting the effects of brain drain should fall into place. To learn more, check out our thoughts on boosting your customer experience with territory management and the competitive advantage of compliance. 

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

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.

4 reasons to deliver training via device for Field Reps

For your new hires, nothing is more important than being able to properly train them so they can smoothly integrate into your already existing company operations. And in the utility industry, the speed at which training is done plays a crucial role in how quickly your new employees can go from trainees to full-fledged employees finalising contracts in the field.

In this post, we’ll outline the benefits of training your new staff with the use of a digital sales solution, on their device, as opposed to conducting informative sessions in a traditional or digital seminar setting.


Transition with Ease

One of the toughest parts of bringing new members on board is being able to shed their past work habits and instil ones that benefit their new role. For companies that have salespeople in the field, and utilise a digital sales solution to deliver for your customers, introducing your sales reps to the solution early supports quicker ramp up time.

Rather than conducting training sessions in a traditional or digital seminar, make use of your digital sales solution through a mobile device to instil a sense of mobility in your workforce.

Whether your company subscribes to a BYOD policy or if you provide your staff with devices, having your hires in front of the application right out the gate is bound to get them acclimated quickly to the productive work environment that you’ve created.

Training via seminar is beneficial if your team works from an office. However, as an energy or telco provider, your employees will be in the field, at customers’ homes and in the office. On-the-job training will likely be required as new members may pair up with experienced field team members. While commuting between clients, these new hires can make use of their time by fulfilling training sessions on your mobile solution.


Improve Memory Recall

Oftentimes, it’s the non-traditional methods that stick out the most for employees. In fact, more companies are using mobile applications or games to conduct training sessions as opposed to seminars due to their ability to improve memory recall.

Especially for the tasks that may be mundane and repetitive, using these new-age techniques for training can help make it easier to remember how your management team likes tasks to be done.


Meet Employees Where They Are — On Their Device

As it’s becoming more popular to see companies adopting BYOD policies as part of their business strategy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that employee training is cashing in on this trend also.

While your utility company makes necessary adjustments to industry trends, the same should go for your internal operations. By meeting your employees where they are, you’re showing your ability to adapt to new trends and that will likely improve your team’s satisfaction within the workplace.

Spend less time assembling your new hires and coordinating a physical seminar by conducting your training sessions on your mobile solution.


Save Time & Paperwork

Seminars are costly, from assembling all the necessary employees, printing materials and pausing regular business tasks. And while there are benefits for face-to-face interactions, there are also helpful training tools you can use with your mobile application platform to get your team up-to-date on the way your company is run. Using the technology at your fingertips in your training session allows you to eliminate the costs for paper, ink and paused business.

As there are clearly benefits for both forms of training, teaching is done through mobile application platforms likely best suits those in the utility industry. For more information on how to conduct training sessions effectively using your digital sales solution, contact one of our representatives to set up a consultation today!

3 Ways Energy and Telco Providers can Safely Reap the Rewards of Door-to-Door Sales

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of rogue energy and telco sales reps defying company rules and government guidance to gain access to people’s homes. In an effort to persuade residents to switch providers, rogue reps are using misleading sales techniques, not wearing face masks, and ignoring social distancing mandates. Sales code of conduct breaches have always been unacceptable, but today the potential ramifications are significantly greater. With their reputation at stake, many energy and telco providers have begun to wonder whether they can still benefit from door-to-door sales.


The future of field sales is here

While rogue reps are a cause for the provider to take immediate action, the truth of the matter is that pounding the pavement still produces impressive results. In fact, we’ve been monitoring the situation and have determined that energy and telco field sales delivered, on average, 2-5 sales per day per rep prior to the pandemic. Today with more people at home field sales reps are producing 30% more in sales! With many pandemic restrictions still in place, you may be wondering what’s the secret to improving door-to-door sales.

To minimise risk for both the customer and the rep, keep their business compliant, and set themselves up for long-term success, providers are adopting the following three tactics.


Tactic 1: Using remote recruiting and training for sales staff

The first step in mitigating customer risk is to minimise potential risks for your sales reps. In a field where there’s a high turnover rate, you need to keep the recruiting and training processes in constant motion. Even before the pandemic, many recruitment interviews took place without the candidate stepping foot in your facility. Covid-19 gave interviews via video conferencing an extra push, and this method of screening applicants will most likely continue – even when the pandemic becomes a distant memory. A Gartner survey of 334 HR leaders confirmed the rise in remote interviews, revealing that 86% of organisations are conducting virtual interviews.

When it comes to training, this necessary onboarding and ongoing activity are both time-consuming and costly – but it doesn’t need to be. In-house remote training, as well as video training modules, provides your sales reps with the tools they need more efficiently and cost-effectively. Using digital training methods allows reps to do ‘just-in-time’ learning, enabling them to immediately apply skills and knowledge just learned, which of course reinforces positive behaviour. By swapping in-person training with digitised sessions, you’ll gain a better return on your training investment, while providing your reps with the learning materials they need, when they need them.


Tactic 2: Adopting technology to manage processes and ensure compliance

Do you know what your reps are doing when they’re in the field trying to make a sale? Chances are the answer is no. While the majority of your sales reps are conscientious people who follow the rules, we need to be mindful of the rogue reps that’ll throw caution to the wind in order to make a sale.

Keeping your reputation intact and ensuring you’re always in compliance doesn’t have to be an ongoing hurdle. There’s never been a better time to incorporate technology that will transform your processes from administrative-heavy everyday tasks into automated solutions. With the right software, you’ll get ‘track and trace’ applications which will increase the support you provide to your field staff while ensuring they are always in compliance with company rules and government guidance.


Tactic 3: Strengthening the sale with contactless delivery 

Whether providing prospects with brochures, videos, price comparisons or sales contracts, energy and telco companies are migrating to contactless delivery of virtually everything – giving their customers peace of mind, while reducing costs. As the pandemic drove home, people want to interact with sales reps in a digital manner.

Once a prospect decides to become a customer, energy and telco providers are now enhancing the sale by delivering a summary of the order, the terms and conditions of the sale, and the contract directly to the customer's mobile phone. This last step in the customer’s sales journey is simply accomplished by sending the customer a link via a text message, which provides a summary of the sale for the customer to review and sign, turning the entire ordering process into a contactless sale.


“The ability for the potential customer to review the sales with the rep and complete on their own device adds to the robustness of the sale as the customer feels a sense of ownership.” (Mike Cody, Head of Sales, Iberdrola Ireland)


How to take your door-to-door sales efforts to the next level

Compliance is essential to keep your business financially healthy. And doing this requires a software solution that enables you to manage processes, track sales, and quickly change as the industry evolves.

PSI’s Fusion Platform provides a wealth of business intelligence that enables you to:

  • - Analyse sales data
  • - Understand what is happening in the field (which often results in more sales)
  • - Manage and revise customer journeys
  • - Manage and follow up on leads
  • - Establish and improve upon processes

With leading-edge technology and best-in-class after-sales support, we’ve been helping energy and telco companies better manage their day-to-day sales processes for 15 years. And what we’ve learned during that time is – with the right processes and the right technology, providers can safely reap the benefits of door-to-door sales.


But don’t take our word for it… 

"When we initially start selling on the doors it was a manual process but the business was being exposed by reps misselling, we needed to put a rigid structure and processes in place to mitigate this risk. This structure ended up making a huge difference, from simple things like not having to decipher bad handwriting to less broken sales, with a limited risk of misselling.

Over time both the doors and the contact centre were both put through this process and given manners which led to it becoming a golden standard. We utilised the PSI solution including back-end automation and checks to improve the quality of our sales process, the data captured, and how we behaved in the field.

From the regulators perspective, we went from being the worst energy company to best in class for the last 6 years running. We are given as the example of what should be done to the other energy companies.”

- SSE (a PSI customer for 12 years)


Reach out to our team to learn how we can help you improve compliance and boost sales.