[023] What Call Center Leaders Can Learn From Outside Sales, with Steven Benson from Badger Maps

Episode 22 September 22, 2021 00:46:37
[023] What Call Center Leaders Can Learn From Outside Sales, with Steven Benson from Badger Maps
Scalable Call Center Sales
[023] What Call Center Leaders Can Learn From Outside Sales, with Steven Benson from Badger Maps

Sep 22 2021 | 00:46:37

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Show Notes

What can call center leaders learn from outside sales? How vital is it to be efficient and effective in your outreach?

Working with people you don’t have control over demands a certain level of trust. You want to make certain that you’re getting a good look at what they’re doing.

In this episode, Steven Benson from Badger Maps and I, talk about his experiences in field sales software, specifically helping companies map out where their field sales reps should go, then how does this apply to the call center realm.

Learn more about what’s in the world of outside sales, how to manage a remote team, and also about metrics.


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Connect with Jason on LinkedIn

Or go to Jason’s HUB – www.JasonCutter.com

Connect with Steven on LinkedIn.

Steven‘s Bio
Steve Benson is CEO and founder of Badger Maps, the #1 App in the App Store for outside salespeople to upgrade existing CRMs with mapping, routing, and scheduling. After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steve joined Google, where he became Google Enterprise’s Top Sales Executive globally in 2009. He also hosts the Outside Sales Talk – a podcast specifically for outside salespeople, and is the President of the Sales Hall of Fame.

Steven’s Links
https://www.badgermapping.com/


Jason: Hey, what’s going on. Everybody. Jason cutter here. This is the scalable call center sales podcast. So glad that you’re tuning in and joining me, I’ve got a special guest. He is a returning guest. His name is Steven Benson from Badger maps, uh, which is focused on field sales software.

[00:00:17] And we’re going to get into that. Steve was a previous guest on my other podcast, Steven welcome to the scalable call center sales podcast.

[00:00:25]

Steven: Jason, thanks for having me. I’m really glad to be.

[00:00:28]

Jason: Yeah. So listeners of the authentic persuasion show, we’ll remember you from episode 328, which was from November of 2020.

[00:00:38] Uh, we are recording this in August, 2021. So some things have changed. Not much has changed. Not a lot has changed since then at this point in the pandemic. And I think what’s fascinating. This is where it’s fun that we reconnected and talked about having you come on this part. Is you with Badger maps is focused on outside sales, field sales, helping companies map out where their field sales reps should go, you know, making them, you know, efficient and optimal in their routes and what they’re doing and their outreach.

[00:01:09] So there’s. And then this is a show for call center sales teams inside telephone sales. And what’s fascinating is there’s, there’s a lot that I know that can apply from what you do, what you’ve done in leadership, sales, leadership internally, what you’ve seen with companies that succeed, that apply to both.

[00:01:26] That’s why I’m excited to have you on the show.

[00:01:28]

Steven: Yeah, well, I’m excited to be here and you know, that that’s a great way of thinking out it. I generally focus on field sales teams, I guess the, the learnings and knowledge that one can take from that, or certainly apply to remote work. And, uh, in a lot of it does also cross over into just inside sales teams and purely phone team.

[00:01:46]

Jason: Yeah. And what’s really fascinating. The more that I thought about it, which a lot of people could appreciate is that if we look at a call center versus field sales, right, somebody who’s knocking on doors, going to homes, going to businesses, that’s pretty different. The strategies are different than marketing the lead gen.

[00:02:03] You know, a lot of those things are different. And then the pandemic habit and then call center inside telephone sales. Went remote went virtual. Some are still remote and virtual. Some may not come back. And what’s interesting is how much managing a remote field sales team. Who may be in the office once a week or rarely, and managing a virtual telephone sales team.

[00:02:26] How similar that is. So let’s start with that because I think that’s important. What are some of the lessons that you have learned and seen from the world of field outside sales that would apply to this virtual remote workforce? That a lot of companies are running.

[00:02:44]

Steven: Well, I think there’s a few things. I mean, first of all, working with people who you can’t manage involves an inherent level of trust and a lack of you lose your ability to micromanage to a certain degree.

[00:02:55] And I think field sales teams have, have always dealt with this, which is why so much of their compensation has been tied to performance as opposed to, um, anything else. And so I think really making sure that you’re you’re compensating people and judging them based on. Performance numbers. When I say performance, I don’t mean activity numbers, but actual the numbers that are aligned with the performance of the business.

[00:03:20] So if it’s a sales team, for example, profitable dollar profit coming in the door from their deals. So not even just revenue necessarily, but also think about what the margins are and actually maybe consider comping them on profit. But focusing on. Aligning their activities and behavior with what the business needs of them, because they’re going to be managing themselves to a large degree.

[00:03:42] You just, you lose a lot of the control with the remote team that you have with a team that is coming into the office. That’s not right.

[00:03:51]

Jason: I love that you use the word, which most people don’t like to use, which is micromanaging, which is the truth of it, right? When you’re running an inside sales team or a team that you can see, no matter what department it is.

[00:04:02] There’s some level of being able to walk out on the floor and look at people or see what they’re doing, or have a meeting or manage them and hold them accountable and push them. And so you lose that other than like the revenue, the profits, the results side, and compensating them for that, which makes. Is there any other KPIs that you know of or can think of that are important for sales management?

[00:04:25] Because obviously the final results, the sale, the revenue is important, but most people can only control their actions. And so what do you see as good metrics for that?

[00:04:35]

Steven: There’s gotta be a balance, right? Between just looking at what their results are and looking at what the actions are that you, you know, as a, as a business leader are going to drive the results.

[00:04:45] There’s a fine line to walk there between you. You don’t want to over-rotate and be only looking at one or the other, it makes, especially people who are ramping up difficult to manage, because they might not be getting the sales results for example, but they might be getting a activity results that are great.

[00:05:02] And so you wouldn’t want to judge them too harshly if they’re still kind of on the ramp, things like that. But yeah, I, I. You want to make sure that you’re actually getting good oversight into what they’re doing. So like, if you’re not able to see your reps working on a day-to-day basis in an office setting, for example, it’s good to get out and get in, get in the field with them, or, you know, visit them in person, get to know them.

[00:05:26] If it has to be your moat, join their calls, things like that. There’s a reason that field sales managers historically have done ride alongs and a part of it is to, you know, keep the rapport going. But also a part of it is just, it’s very hard. Manage someone, if you don’t really know what they’re doing, it’s hard to coach them.

[00:05:42] It’s hard to start to teach them things. Um, you can’t just look at the results, but you have to look at the activities and behaviors that are driving those results so that you can make sure that you’re able to, uh, coach them to be.

[00:05:55]

Jason: Makes sense. And I will say having been pretty much always on the inside of sales, there’s a significant advantage for managing those operations, with the amount of stuff that you can track and report on with the right tools.

[00:06:10] Right? A lot of organizations don’t have the right tools in place, but if they did, they could see all of those things that a field sales manager can’t, unless they’re there. And then when they’re there. They’re only seeing a portion of it, right? Like one day in the life or, you know, a week maybe, uh, versus everything can be tracked on the inside.

[00:06:29]

Steven: The KPIs that you’ve maybe traditionally relied on when your entire workforce was in the office sometimes are slightly different than what you wanted to focus on when they’re less under the thumb and out out of your exact line of sight. Right? So. You’re less hands-on with your reps and you’re not with them.

[00:06:47] And it’s now in this kind of post chronic business environment, a lot of call centers have gone remote and they need to pick up some of these kind of historical remote management skills. One thing they couldn’t think about is you can look at your business and ask yourself, am I over-focused on. KPIs that are backwards looking.

[00:07:06] And what, I mean, a KPI can be backwards looking. It can be like, what are the results of the things that we’ve done in the past or KPIs can be forward-looking and not just those backwards, looking at our lagging KPIs. So current revenue, for example, one of the. Metrics around. That’s a backwards looking KPI, right?

[00:07:26] That’s that is, uh, the result of things that have occurred in the past. And I think, especially in times when cash is tight, when business is hard, it’s easy to just look at those types of, uh, backwards looking KPIs because you know, cash is king, right. But I, I think in these times and this environment, as you evaluate your reps, as you, if you’re working in a remote environment, you have to make sure you’re keeping an eye, an eye on forward-looking metrics.

[00:07:49] So if it’s a sales team, pipeline metrics, activity, metrics, Things that will help you identify. Who’s going to be generating revenue and profit in the future, and you need to realign sometimes your KPIs and metrics around looking forward. Especially if it’s a tough time, you may want to think about if right now it’s really hard.

[00:08:09] You want to think about the future and figure out how can I, how can I get us to a better, a better place? So if your team is having a difficult time building pipeline, and you can, you can count lead gen numbers like meetings or, or, uh, meeting scheduled or. Qualified deals, uh, put into the pipeline. If the challenges are more like middle of the funnel.

[00:08:29] Uh, you could focus on things like number of presentations or proposals that are occurring in this remote environment. Um, if it’s closing deals, maybe, maybe you need to look at the negotiation skills and your team. Maybe it’s harder to find KPIs, and maybe it’s more, this is more of a training play, but there are kind of, you know, you can, you can look at things like margin numbers and, and use that as like an a, if you’re upset, able to negotiate on price, looking at margin is kind of a proxy for who’s doing a good job on negotiation on who could maybe Polish up those.

[00:08:58] Those types of skills, but yeah, I mean, you know, ultimately all metrics are secondary to revenue and profit and if you over compensate or over emphasize anything other than those two things, you can get kind of skewy results, you know, you can have your reps focusing on building pipeline and then maybe we’ll never close, except if you’re just managing them on pipeline numbers as your KPIs, for example.

[00:09:22] So that’s all, all stuff.

[00:09:24]

Jason: Yeah, that that holistic balance is important because like you said, if you’re focusing on pipeline or quotes given or discovery calls, right. And you focus too much on that and you incentivize or make that seem like that’s the most important thing, then what’ll happen is the sales team will put their focus on that to just get to that metric.

[00:09:44] I had a client early on in my consulting where that was the main thing the owner put all the emphasis on demos completed, uh, thinking that, you know, if you do enough demos, you will close enough deals. The problem is the reps were doing demos and then that’s where it mostly stopped because. Trying to check that box and make the owner happy.

[00:10:06] Right. And they were focused on that one thing instead of like the whole process. And I think there’s very few businesses that have such a short sales cycle that the activity of today equals the revenue of today in its entirety, right. From marketing to sales, to close deals. Um, which means looking at revenue today is a result of what happened.

[00:10:26] Weeks months ago, and then, you know, those seeds that were planted. So I think that’s great advice when we’re talking about the leadership changes, like with a remote team, with a field sales team, you know, that outside, not in the office and or things that could go with the call center side, what do leaders need to do?

[00:10:46] Or what can they do that you’ve seen best practices for, for changing their behavior and their leadership style, especially a, from. Let’s say the ability to micromanage, not that most leaders would want to or do that, but they have that in the toolbox and then that’s difficult. So what do you recommend or what have you seen that works?

[00:11:04] Well?

[00:11:06]

Steven: Well, I think in economic crisis, economic difficult times when hard times fall on a company and in this case, it’s an external pressure and a lot of cases, I think that’s one of the hardest times to be a sales leader. Right. You know, the whole company is dependent on the weather. Your team is producing to survive and to pay salaries and to make payroll and, um, pay for all the, all the critical things, you know, inventory, et cetera.

[00:11:31] And so sales leaders, you know, it’s a time when they really need to be at their, at their best it when times are, when times are hard, you know, if you’re just accepting. Orders at a constant rate off the, off the fax machine then, uh, that it’s, there’s less to worry about. Right. But, but in difficult times, that’s when you really have to sharpen the sword and be at your best.

[00:11:51] So, so w what do you have to change and what can you focus on? I think now more than ever, I mean, leaders need to be action oriented. They need to be, they need to confront reality. They need to be honest in their assessments of the challenges that are facing their organizations. I think, you know, as a leader, you have to embrace.

[00:12:10] Bad news. You need to ask hard questions and you need to maintain a positive outlook because people need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And in this case, I really think there is a light at the end of the tunnel hearing. We’re already seeing that, but you need to build an action plan towards success and be transparent with your team about what that plan is and make sure they understand it.

[00:12:31] I think managers can be more responsive. In general more supportive of their sales reps. You know, your team is probably scared. They don’t like missing their numbers. They worry about losing their jobs, uh, how hard it’s going to be to get another job. Like. Commission checks, evaporating, all these things are worries, right?

[00:12:49] And sales reps don’t pay them their mortgages with their base salary. Right. They really need that. They need that, that commission. And they count on that commission, I guess, to your question, what behaviors does a leader need to do? I think you to guide your team, to coach your team, ask yourself, am I spending 50% of my time coaching my sales reps?

[00:13:10] And if not, Spend more time, spend more time, really helping them sharpen their sorts. Right. And I guess the opposite of what you should do and what I see a lot of sales managers doing in these times. And, and, and, and really whenever they go remote, it’s easy to be silent when you’re in a remote type situation.

[00:13:27] Right. If you’re managing people from a distance, it’s easy to kind of slip into a managing by spreadsheet, as opposed to leading from the front and, you know, meaning, you know, just looking at the metrics and focusing on. And I think instead you, you, you really want. You want to figure out what does it take to make her up successful?

[00:13:46] Figure out who is on the team is being successful right now with selling to what type of customer profile, if it’s a sales role, what was the playbook for that success, understanding that, and then figuring out, okay, well, what’s your reps have figured this out, putting them under a microscope and figuring out what did they do, right?

[00:14:04] How can we replicate that success with the rest of the team? I think that’s really important for leaders take those types of actions during the day.

[00:14:11]

Jason: Well, and I’m glad that you brought up the communication part as well. Because I know that happens. I see that a lot with organizations, even people that I interact with where becomes more emails, more slack, more texts, and less talking, you know, thinking that email is a good form of communication, which it’s not.

[00:14:30] But you know, my recommendation is generally to over-communicate what will feel like over communicate and not in a micromanaging, just over communicate overshare overexplain, because. You’re missing that kind of in the office interactions and things that happen from what your seeing right in, let’s say pre pandemic.

[00:14:52] And now, I mean, cause you have a lot of experience with your own organizations and then now with, uh, you know, with your clients and seeing their best practices, where do you see companies doing well? Or where do you see them lacking in like the training coaching?

[00:15:10]

Steven: Yeah, well, I mean, I’d say, uh, you know, there, there are definitely places that people are doing well.

[00:15:15] Um, and training and coaching. I think a lot of organizations have those types of initiatives right now, but it’s definitely something they could do a lot more with. And I, I think that, you know, why is training and coaching so hard? It’s one of the most important things that we do, right. And, and the challenges around coaching, you know, our are, you know, I, I think what comes, what comes to my mind for.

[00:15:36] Is when I think about challenges that sales managers face as they, as they switched to teams leading their teams remotely is the coaching of it, right? Because coaching is something maybe you’ve just always swung by their desk and kind of sat next to them for a few minutes. Or you could look over their shoulder and kind of, and they coach each other too.

[00:15:54] When they’re at a, when they’re in the office together, they, you know, they pick up on each other’s phrasing, they ask each other questions. Hey, how do you handle this? A lot more of a manager’s job is on, is on autopilot and in the office setting. And when you, when it goes remote, you really have to be a lot more active and, and coaching and upleveling, your team’s skills is so important during these tough times.

[00:16:13] Right? I mean, it really at any time of change, but, uh, whenever there’s like external pressures coming in, but in this economy, you know, we’re all in this adjustment phase, right? I do think sales managers should be spending 50% of their time coaching their team. And I think it’s a, it’s harder and it’s a less natural motion when you’re not face-to-face with them because you just, you’re not, I almost feel like when I’m sitting around team members and I hear some I’ll S I’ll hear out of the corner of my ear, that I’m doing something wrong or do something I’ll, I’ll think of something that I can help them do it better or teach them or.

[00:16:45] Or show them or get, make sure they have this resource that this other team has. And, and, and so there’s just, there’s synergies to being sitting around one another, whereas remote, you really have to be proactive as, as a, as a manager and, and you have to have this, a real focus on it. This comes in a lot of ways.

[00:17:03] It can be pre-call strategizing. It can be post-call debriefs. It could be, you know, doing joint calls with them, right. You know, call, ride alongs, if you will, for virtual ride alongs, um, it could be opportunities specific coaching where you’re going through, you know, the, the, the blocking and tackling of a given deal and figuring out with them almost, you know, riding, riding shotgun throughout the whole deal cycle.

[00:17:25] So you can see how they behave in each piece of the deals. Anything that helps make your reps better counselors, that 50% rule of thumb. And there are a lot of things to coach right now, right. And, and what your team needs, but it depends on your industry and the actual team and their experience. But, you know, negotiation is a great thing to.

[00:17:46] Revisit, you know, specifically how to defend margins in a tough economy. Everyone you’ve got, everyone has a lot of pressure on their, on their margins. So, you know, your, your customers will put, push back on, on what they’re paying you. Your suppliers will ask for more because everyone’s, you know, the news tightens on everyone, right?

[00:18:04] So it’s really important to review with your reps, how to, you know, in this remote situation, What is the value of your product? How do you communicate the value of your, of your customer? That your, your, your company creates for your customers, what the product or service Y count exactly how much more money are they making on a monthly basis with your product and then without it, or how much are they avoiding losing pipeline building, I think is a huge one right now, uh, that you can almost always coach more around that, that I see.

[00:18:37] I said coming up with almost everyone and sometimes you need to relearn. How to prospect and rethink who you’re selling to and an economy because things have shifted and you’re the best person to purchase your product before might be a different person than as you’re the best person to purchase your product today.

[00:18:52] Maybe that’s shifted a little bit. Maybe it’s shifted a lot. But I think, uh, we need to sharpen, sharpen our, our, our weapons and get out and, and learn and, and hunt better. You know, it’s, it’s maybe in good times, food is really easy to come by, but you know, a lot of it’s nobody’s farming and coasting right now.

[00:19:10] Right. You gotta, you know, the Lucas came and they don’t have the crops and you gotta pull out your bone arrows and get out into the woods and hunt some new deals down. So. Yeah, the good news with generating pipeline is I do think the things are picking up right now. I think people are picking up the phones and being engaged in a way now that we haven’t seen for a while, people are pumped and, you know, people are, people have the time and the wherewithal and the desire to evaluate new vendors because it is a time of change.

[00:19:36] So if your prospects are motivated to check out an event, To solve their problems. It can open doors for you. Hey, it’s Jason

[00:19:43]

Jason: here. We’ll be right back to the podcast in a moment, but first are you ready to help your inside sales team close more deals? In my experience, there’s a certain percentage of your team that acts more like order takers than sales professionals.

[00:19:54] The first step to creating a scalable sales team is to equip your reps with the right minds. And proven strategies to transform them into quota breakers, to build a team of authentic persuaders that will crush their goals, email jason@cutterconsultinggroupdotcomorgotowwwdotcutterconsultinggroup.com. So one of the things that I know, because we’ve talked about this before.

[00:20:18] Yeah. You know, generally I focus on call centers. You’re generally focused on the end of the field, outside sales. However, there’s a lot of companies who have both, either they’re doing lead generation appointment setting. Outside sales teams, right? Let’s say so residential, solar is an example of that, or they’re setting appointments for demos, for software.

[00:20:42] Um, and you know, obviously you’re there’s companies that are doing all of that. So they have both a call center, you know, sales, lead gen aspect. They have their outside sales and they have their call center. That’s doing service support, things like that in that kind of mix thing, or looking at the combination of both of our worlds, if you will.

[00:21:01] What skills do you see have come into more play or become more important? When looking at both of those, whether it’s a phone or in-person, but the in-person wasn’t possible for awhile when dealing with the consumers right now. I mean, cause that’s one of the biggest things is how is the consumer change?

[00:21:21] Whether it’s an individual or a business, uh, it’s still a person that’s buying and bringing themselves to the table. So what new skills are you seeing in that whole ecosystem?

[00:21:33]

Steven: Well, I think. And we do see this a lot. We see our customers that are primarily field sales teams. Right. We, the thing that we do is, is, is to help them.

[00:21:44] We do see a lot of times those field sales teams are being supported by an inside sales team. And that can happen in different ways. Some, some companies will have they’ll have their, their customers segmented into people that can be serviced from the inside over the phone. And then they have other customers that they’ll actually send sales reps out to, to meet with the more important customers or maybe people further down in the sales cycle.

[00:22:07] Other times you’ll just have. More of a pure support play over the phone. So that out of the call center you’ll have a, a, that that’s a sales rep setting appointments. And, and we definitely for the person that’s going out into the field and we definitely support that too. We we’ve got, you know, the routing collaboration tools to help help, uh, the inside sales person set the appointments for the outside salesperson in a way that makes sense.

[00:22:32] And a lot of times you’ll have one inside sales person making calls supporting two or three field salespeople just really depends on the, on the, on the end. Well, we definitely see a lot of that, like inside sales teams supporting the outside sales teams. And I think that’s definitely a trend that I think economically that makes sense.

[00:22:51] It makes sense to, you know, if the field sales person costs the company more money, if you can do parts of their job out of the call center, you want to, you want to split it up. Do you want to focus people that you want to have have people, uh, specialized, uh, another area that we see a lot is people.

[00:23:09] Companies carving off their phone support, uh, you know, given, having a support number that, that the customer can call. That’s not just the sales rep, but goes to a team of people who are on the inside and the call center who can better answer their questions are at a computer Manning, the phone, not driving around, meeting with customers, but are actually sitting there can send you an email, can get, can send you a video showing you how to do it.

[00:23:33] Um, kind of that a faster response and those people can respond to inbound written tickets. They can respond to inbound phone calls. So yeah, I guess appointments setting, uh, SDR work too. We see kind of outbound lead gen. So people making, you know, the, the out of the call center making 80 calls a day and pounding the phones and setting up new deals with new prospects for the field sales team to meet with.

[00:23:57] That’s another thing that we see, and generally, I think the more you’re able to break up. Your sales organization’s roles, the more efficient they become. So there’s a little friction there because now your customer doesn’t just have one person to call for everything. But I think it’s worth the trade-off to always, they can always get the help they want.

[00:24:19]

Jason: Makes sense. And for the part regarding the buyer, the potential customer, right? Again, B2B B to C doesn’t matter. What are you seeing as far as what they’re wanting from the sales side or what they’re comfortable with? Is there anything that you’re seeing as a trend or a change? Let’s say from November of last year when we talked or even before.

[00:24:43]

Steven: I haven’t seen major changes and I think the buyer wants whatever’s best for the buyer. What’s most convenient for them. And so I think that that means sometimes they’ll want a phone call. Sometimes they’ll want to have you show something on zoom. Sometimes they’ll want you to send them a video of exactly how something’s done through video card or one of the, one of the competitive products there.

[00:25:02] Sometimes, and sometimes I want you to come out in person and not only show them how to do things, but take them out to dinner afterwards. So it’s a, it really depends on, I think the customer wants quick responses and they want to get what they need and they want it in the, they want to consume that help in the way they want to consume it.

[00:25:21] So I think it’s important for, and, and, you know, not everyone can have exactly what they want. You know, in different industries, people have to people, different things cost different amounts, right? And so, you know, you have expensive, thick margin product, then you’re, you’re more at someone’s back in call then, you know, it’s more, uh, more of a commoditized product or a smaller sales size.

[00:25:42] You see correlations there, but I think powder across the board because customers expectations. Aren’t trending down. I think they’re expecting us to use technology and give them more, not less as time.

[00:25:58]

Jason: Yeah. And, and more access, more options in the way that they want. Like you said, you know, the customer wants what the customer wants, especially when given the fact that most people don’t want to deal with a sales person, because they’re worried about what may happen.

[00:26:13] However, it’s balanced with the fact that they have a need or a problem they need to solve or a goal. And so they’re willing to take that chance, but they want to do it in a way that they want, which is fascinating. If we look at call centers, Like we use the phone, that’s it having to switch to omni-channel field sales being like, okay, well maybe someone wants to chat or SMS and doesn’t need a demo in the house.

[00:26:36] Maybe zoom works, you know, in the behaviors that are. Uh, over, let’s say the last year and a half. Right. And

[00:26:42]

Steven: custom videos. I mean, that’s something that you didn’t see five years ago, but now I mean that, that’s definitely something that you, you out of the call center, your call center rep. Maybe they don’t even want to talk to him on, you know, right now, but they want that call center up to, you know, make a video.

[00:26:57] And it takes the same amount of time as talking to him on the phone, but now they can consume it whenever they want. Right. So if your call center, it makes it quick. Video. I’m like we we’ve taken a look at big yard products to do this, but there’s a bunch of companies that are doing it now, but, you know, giving them the ability to.

[00:27:13] Make a quick video and send email that video to the, to the customer. That can be a really effective thing you can do right into the call center. So it’s not just a call, I guess. I wouldn’t just think of the call center as a place to take calls. I would look at, look at it as a customer service center, which you might be sending an email out of it.

[00:27:29] You might be sending a call out of it. You might be making a quick video for them. It might be doing a lot of things and that’s all out of the traditional call center. It’s it’s, uh, I would think of it as a customer service center where you’re, you’re giving the customer what they want. Yeah.

[00:27:42]

Jason: Yeah. And I think the more that a organization service and sales can be asynchronous and serve the customer, how they want to be served asynchronous, meaning like it’s not on the phone, that’s synchronous, everything else, like email it’s I send it, you consume it when you’re ready.

[00:27:59] You reply when you’re ready. And then I consume it when I’m ready, you know, that’s what people want more and more of because they want it. When they want it, not just how they want it, but when they want it.

[00:28:09]

Steven: Yeah. Well, you know, one of the, one of the things that jumps out at me here, uh, one of our most successful cost-saving and customers love it, things that we’ve ever done at Badger maps is build out kind of a video self-help suite.

[00:28:23] So kind of any question or problem, or, you know, not knowing how to do something in our product that you can imagine. We’ve built a little article with screenshots explaining how to do it. And there’s a video at the end that fix it through how to do it. And not only can people do. Find those questions on their own and go to the support page and just type, you know, type in the search bar.

[00:28:47] Here’s my problem. But also they can, if they send an email or an, I am, uh, to the support team or, or they’re talking to the support team, sometimes the easiest thing is. This pre-populated pre-written really well done thing that we can just send to them in two seconds. And the, you know, we were able to track how much those videos get watched over the track, how much these articles get read.

[00:29:09] It’s saved us hundreds of thousands of hours over in support over the years, just having that served up and ready to go. And a lot of times it’s the support team who have made those articles have made those videos because they are. You know, they’re the ones kind of on the ground. They know the types of questions that people are asking and they know the answers to it.

[00:29:29] And you can get really fast at responding to these things. Like if you read a ticket into us, The support team, you know, you could have just called us, but the support you, you write in, or I am in they’ll fire, they can fire back our response. And in five minutes, sometimes I think actually their average might be like under five minutes is the goal for that team.

[00:29:48] And they, they turn that stuff around and cause it’s all ready. It’s all. Pre-written, it’s all there already. It’s really powerful that to invest in. Those types of video and training assets for your customers.

[00:30:00]

Jason: Yeah. And I think that really goes into the overall customer experience, right? From the, from the, the marketing, the branding, the sales into them being a customer.

[00:30:09] And then how do you manage and maintain that relationship and keep things going, uh, which is key. So I know that one of the things that has happened in the world in the last year and a half is just a ton of change. I also know that in the world of leading a sales team, running an organization of any size, but especially on the smaller side, is that there’s always a constant need to change, adapt to get better and just become more effective, more efficient at what you do.

[00:30:40] Um, it’s just like one thing I promised new hires that, you know, we’re coming on board is I promised them two things. One is they’d never be bored. Um, and you know, there’s always stuff to do people to call things to, to go over. And then the second one is that change is constant, not just for the sake of change, but for the fact that like, we just want to keep getting better.

[00:31:01] I set that up because, um, where do you see like the balance of changing, changing strategies? Where does that fit in the limit of how much you want to change both internally, extra. Like, what have you seen for strategies around that?

[00:31:20]

Steven: Yeah, I think, I think you don’t, you know, you have to be careful about changing your strategies too much.

[00:31:24] Right? And I’ve seen people get this wrong as often as I’ve seen them get it right on the balance. I think, you know, managers often make the mistake of just blindly increasing sales activity, for example, and they can, they can lose quality and focus and therefore get less profitable sales as a result.

[00:31:43] Yeah, that’s understandable. Right? Fear and panic can lead managers to just want to crank up the volume and sales activity, for example. But sometimes it’s just because they don’t know what else to do. Right. And in quantity, in my experience, very rarely makes up for quality. You need to keep focusing on, uh, the, the most qualified leads that will close at the best margin.

[00:32:07] And you know, it, if you lower your qualification standards that you already have, and you know, are proven out, you can ended up just doing a lot more work with very little results or output to show for it. Right. And, uh, And you want to keep key. So you, you need to make sure that you maintain the focus on what makes a thing qualified, consider your, your leads or your prospects scope their budget, the what is the value of your offering for the certain customer and, and, and other factors that, you know, also defined.

[00:32:40] Makes it successful prospective customer for you and every company, every great sales leader has their finger on that pulse. Right. Um, but we want to make sure that you’re, you’re focused on selling to that, those types of prospects and not just, not just to, to anyone and, you know, especially in a great way to tighten the belt is to eliminate activity for the sake of just looking and feeling busy.

[00:33:03] Right. And frankly, a scattershot approach. Not worth anyone’s time or effort or anxiety. And, uh, so I think it’s a great time to rethink some of those strategies and how you’re doing things and how you’re approaching problems. And, but it’s also, there are some fundamentals that you want to make sure that you don’t get away from.

[00:33:25] Just because times are crazy and you want to make a, you want to make things happen. So I think the, a lot of the most successful companies in these times will be the ones that just, you know, grind it out and don’t do anything crazy because the world does get back to back to normal, uh, eventually here and it is kind of shifting back that way.

[00:33:45]

Jason: I’m thinking too about there’s recruiting and retention. Recruiting, I know is a mystery box, especially right now with trying to get people in there. So what I’m curious more about is from your perspective, field sales, and also what translate inside, you know, call center and virtual is what about the retention piece?

[00:34:05] Like how does the world of field sales approach retention other than just paying lots and lots of money? How do you keep good employees from quitting? Uh, maybe how do you get not good employees to leave? Um, right. Cause there’s good retention and bad retention. Um, w what do you see? Well, I guess, you know, strategies for that?

[00:34:27]

Steven: Well, I think. Yeah, the good news is in America. It’s really released to, uh, to get rid of bad employees. You know, it’s relatively easy to fire people and, and, you know, and that’s, if you think someone should be fired, usually it’s good for everybody involved, right? Because they’re not going to do great at your company.

[00:34:41] If you there’s a reason, you don’t want them there anymore. I have offices, both in America and also, um, in Europe and is a tricky thing about running a company in Europe is that you’re not allowed to fire anyone ever. And, and that, that does change the dynamic a little bit. It’s just very, very difficult.

[00:34:58] It’s possible. They’re very, very difficult. And as a result, I think, you know, as you look around their economy, you definitely see a lot of that. That’s a big inefficiency that jumps off the table and it’s like, well, a lot of people would be better off doing something else. And so they’re not doing what they’re doing well, and it’d be nice if they could.

[00:35:13] Wait, if men were allowed to waver, Alon and reshuffle the deck a little bit, and we have a great team over there, but it has affected hiring decisions before you, you ended up being more gun shy on the higher than you can be here. You, you can’t take the same risks on a higher, you stay between the goalposts a little bit more.

[00:35:30] Whereas here, you know, if I think someone’s got pretended great potential, but if they don’t have the. You know, bona Fides or, uh, you know, educational background or experience, you can take the risk on them. And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve found that if more often than not, it does work out.

[00:35:47] And I think we over, we tend to over-rotate on trying to get people that are too perfectly qualified or have lots of years of experience or went to the best schools and like, I think that, uh, there’s a lot of overlooked candidates that if we put aside some of those requirements that, that actually, maybe don’t drive that much value anyway, we’d get a lot more great.

[00:36:08] We’d get more great hires. And, and, and one way you can do that is. Close your eyes and say, Hey, if I can jump into the cold, the cold water here, because if it doesn’t work out, I can fire him. Right. It’s fine. And that’s a great thing about this country. And so you can get, take a risk and give people a chance, right.

[00:36:24] So I guess, how do you retain great people? How do you focus on retention? I think you, you know, it’s about great retention is driven. I believe by. People quit because they don’t like their managers half the time. That’s the biggest issue. So I mean, obviously things like benefits and pay. Those are, those are big issues and, but kind of people know on the balance.

[00:36:46] I think people know what market is for things like that. And you know, if you’re at 25% of the market salary, like if you’re in the twenties, if you’re in the 25th percentile or the 75th percentile, you know where you’re at and that’s going to affect your retention rates, you know, commensurately. But by and large, I don’t think there’s any other wild card greater than like you liking your manager versus thinking your manager’s a Dick.

[00:37:11] And that that’s, that’s a key issue for, for retention. I think people liking their, their coworkers, and this is harder in the remote world. As you onboard people who are remote. And like, traditionally in your call center environment, you might’ve had, you know, you, you, you, everybody knows who’s, who’s, you know, you can think of your, each one of your employees and go, oh, and, and she’s friends with her and he’s friends with them.

[00:37:33] And like, you know, you kind of everyone, you know, who people go to lunch with. Right. And that’s a big part. I think of what drives retention is creating an environment where people have friends and they they’ve had the chance to get to know each other. It’s a lot harder in a remote world. And, uh, which is a big reason why I, I either comradery.

[00:37:51] Men making management hard is one reason. I think remote work doesn’t work as well as actually bringing people into, uh, into the office, into the call center at this point in, in this case, but also the camaraderie. So it’s harder to manage. It’s harder to make friends harder to it. And that’s that’s, I think that’s a lot of what is really satisfying for people.

[00:38:09] So. And, and we’ve, we try to do that now in their remote world. Um, and our offices are reopening right now, especially with new employees that we’ve onboarded. It’s been harder to develop that same comradery, that same corporate culture that you can when everyone’s in the office. But that’s, I think those are some keys to.

[00:38:27] He’s her attention that people often don’t think about. And so maybe managerial training is something that you could do as a, if you’re the CEO of a big organization, if you want to up retention, look to make your managers better at managing, you know, training, managerial training, uh, Empathy training. Um, that sort of thing.

[00:38:46] I mean, I think they know a lot of people think, oh, let’s a 10% raise instead of a 5% raise is what we need that because retention is off, but it might actually be, we need to treat people a little more empathy and ask them what they want and make sure there’s an opportunity for them to give anonymous surveys about, you know, that our 360.

[00:39:06] And we, we, we do that and I think it’s been it’s it allows you to manage better. If you have the 360 review, you know, you want, you know, an intro level and employee to be able to review what the CEO said in that last meeting. If they are, you know, in that last, all hands, if they’re not comfortable with it, or they wanted to talk about it or they want to challenge it, you want to have an anonymous way for them to do that.

[00:39:30] And I think that makes, you know, letting him play. Right. Their managers letting you know, having anyone be able to jump into anyone’s review and leave anonymous feedback, I think is extremely powerful in an organization. And frankly makes people better people.

[00:39:46]

Jason: I love it. I think that’s great. I mean, I think, you know, I see a lot of organizations who try to give more, pay more incentives, more spiffs, more contests and bonuses.

[00:39:56] More of the other things, which would be like, Hey, we’re going to do free lunches on Fridays, or we’re going to do these happy hour events, or we’re going to do this. And that’s good to a certain extent. But like you said, I mean, if they’re not happy with their manager and the other part that totally agree, but it’s not really spoken about much, which is people feel.

[00:40:15] Happy about who they’re working with and having relationships with their coworkers, which can be tough to do virtual in the office. It can be easier if those two parts are missing, there’s not enough free lunches that are gonna fix your turnover, right. And save you from what’s going to happen. Uh, and that 360, especially the anonymous feedback and review is so important and training those managers as the most important asset towards retention is such a key thing.

[00:40:43] Couldn’t agree. Last question for you, where do you see, or what do you see that sales leaders and owners of sales teams, call centers, whatever that looks like, where do you think they should be putting their effort in now, maybe in general or moving forward through the rest of this year as we enter into 20, 22, like where do you see if you could say, Hey, you need to be putting your focus on this and or this right now, what would that be?

[00:41:14] It

[00:41:14]

Steven: depends on the company and how things are doing. I mean, it, there are cases where, you know, hiring is something that should be taking manager half of manager’s time and making sure you’re getting that. If you’re doing a bunch of hiring right now, bringing the right people, as you’re scaling back up, if you’re losing a lot of customers, it could be focusing on your customers and figuring out what’s going on.

[00:41:33] Where, where are the shortcomings? What do we need to invest in? What are we doing wrong? You know, I, I’m not sure if there’s one thing across everyone. I do think, you know, the biggest part of any manager’s job is coaching and making the people beneath them better. Uh, whatever your role is, helping the next as a leader, helping the layer below you be the best they can be.

[00:41:57] To help the layer below that be the best they can be, et cetera, is the most important thing you can do. So, you know, training, coaching, making sure you’re looking at the right KPIs, not the wrong KPIs are really going to drive a real positive change in the organization. I think, you know, the, these are difficult times for a lot of companies.

[00:42:17] And nothing has changed for other companies. It just depends on the industry. And it’s, it’s a great time if you’re in the, if you’re zoom. Right. But I think, uh, there are on the balance. I think this is a time where we do get to retread a little bit. We get to rethink things. We get to think about what we want our organization to look like.

[00:42:35] Coming out of this and a lot of cases, maybe you’ve done layoffs and you’re going to be, as things scale up again, you’re going to be doing rehires. And, you know, you get to kind of reshape the organization a little bit, you know, you get to rethink well, what is the ratio that we want between this role in this role?

[00:42:51] Should we create a new rule to support the existing. People in this role and scale that team that way, instead of just hiring more of them, are there, is there technology that we can bring in that, that makes this team more efficient that we can bring in as opposed to hiring more people or so I think strategizing or around the direction of the organization and where you want it to go.

[00:43:12] Making the people below you, um, and above and equal to you better and just, you know, helping everyone sharpen their sword in the organization. Those are really important things right now at this point, at this crazy point in our head.

[00:43:26]

Jason: Well, and what’s interesting about that list is I think that list is universally true and best practices for organizations start.

[00:43:33] But like you said, some organizations scaled down now they’re going to scale back up. Others are we’re holding steady. And so there’s a chance that some internal resets and restructuring, not just people, but like strategies, approaches, things like that. So for people who want to find out more, I know that one of the best things is Badger mapping.com, which is the company.

[00:43:54] Also, I didn’t mention the intro, but, uh, previous listeners know this. Um, but you also have a podcast, the outside sales talk podcast, which if people, they can find that on all the platforms, they can also go to outside sales talk.com. I know that you’re really active on LinkedIn as well. Stephen Benson, uh, anything else that, you know, people could find you or find more information or anything interesting that you’re putting out there?

[00:44:20]

Steven: No. I mean, uh, LinkedIn is definitely the best place to find me if, uh, if you’re looking for me, if you’re, if you’re looking for Badger, definitely Badger mapping.com. If you’re in field sales or know people who are that’s, that’s, uh, a great resource and yeah, the podcast, if you’re in field sales and when I hear from sales, The kind of talk about their stuff from the lens of field sales outside sales talk is a great choice to, uh, to do that.

[00:44:46] But, uh, but yeah, definitely. I’m, I’m always looking to hear from people. So, uh, hit me up on LinkedIn’s just Stevens and Badger maps. Just drop that in the search bar.

[00:44:55]

Jason: Awesome, Steve. Thanks again for coming on the new show, continuing the conversation we started on the previous one, bridging that, uh, kind of conversational gap between feed sales inside sales sharing, what you’ve learned over the years.

[00:45:09] So I appreciate you coming on here and being a part of.

[00:45:13]

Steven: Well, Jason’s been fantastic. Thanks for having me on, did you get some inspirations of ways to help your call center sales team win bigger, stronger, and faster. Hope you are fired up to scale your sales operations. If you got value from this podcast, please go in and leave a rating and review also make sure to forward this episode to anyone else, you know, in the call center.

[00:45:38] We appreciate your support in growing the scalable call center sales podcast, family. And if you have any comments, ideas, or feedback, contact [email protected]. .

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