Hate Sales and Marketing – Innovations in Social Media in Sales Performance and Marketing Productivity

 Innovations in Social Media in Sales Performance and Productivity

Accelerating the Revenue Slope Uptake or Adding Motion to the Notion

By Thomas B. Cross – CEO TECHtionary.com

This is a brief presentation on:

1 – Challenges faced by enterprises of low performance/productivity it “slow uptake” in the sales/revenue cycle, and staff turnover and its often negative impact on customers.

2 – Communications challenges faced by training staff and executives.  In reality, this is any manager or any business.

3 – Solutions proven to:

– Increase the revenue “uptake” or performance level cycle,

– Reduce customer support costs,

– Increase customer satisfaction and

– Increase user service/product usability-acceptance.

Click here for the animated presentation.

Key Problems

First, the never-ending challenge faced by any manager is staff turnover and then the initial/retraining required for the new hires and others.  One key point is that just adding more sales staff does not by itself increase productivity.  In many situations, excessive churn in staff has proven to have a negative impact on customers.  However, for anyone in management, the ultimate challenge is to predict, manage to and grow revenues.  That’s easy to say.  Whether sales,  support or any other kind of training, the “uptake slope” or “ramp slope” (think of a ski slope in reverse) is both enigmatic and frustrating.  The “perfect day” of ramp slope is when revenues and productivity both ramp to 100% of forecast and beyond rapidly.  The “perfect worse case storm” of sales and productivity ramp is 0% and continues forever.  Somewhere in between these “perfect” situations is where staff, execs, managers and C-level’s live. The perpetual “hire-fire” cycle continues unabated unless solutions are found.   Figure 1 depicts the problem resulting from slow “uptake.”

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Second, you will never know all the people involved in the sales decision process but you need to sell all of them.  Watch the animated tutorial to show that once the initial sales call or presentation, a decision-maker goes through a series of private evaluations which you are generally not aware of or involved with.  Here are some of the communications challenges faced by sales executives in closing an enterprise or any sales with more than one decision-maker.  In reality, this is any sale.  Some of the steps might include: decision-maker & CIO talk with others including finance, operations, etc.  Then a review by consultants and procurement, then joint meetings with staff, consultants and legal to review and then final review by decision-maker, CIO and consultants.  There may certainly be more steps depending on the project.  One solution is an online animated/video presentation which can be shared easily, quickly with greater quality, consistently and more accurately.  The documented benefits are, among others, 1) getting everyone on the “same page” is proven to reduce the sales cycle by “two weeks” and 2) these tutorials can also significantly increase your sales close rate.

Third, you will never know how much users really know but you need to train all of them to make sure they are all at the same level.  However, it’s not just new-hires but staff at all levels who need training and re-training.  In reality, this is any training program.  That is, there is a lot of training required by all the players and you don’t know who they are.  It begins, however, with an initial assessment of each user.  Next, the user and their manager talk or meet to see what training is required now and in the future.  This may also involve other departments such as finance, operations, etc.  In today’s outsourced environment, you may also need to train consultants and channel partners.  This may likely require additional meetings and delays with staff, consultants and legal.  Then a final meeting or review by decision-maker, CIO and consultants.  Finally, a closing call or meeting with decision-maker for a decision.  In one recent training project, the legal department delayed the training for more than sixty days reviewing the SOW-statement of work.  The remainder of this will focus on potential solutions to this problem.

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Potential Solutions

One viable solution is with video and online animated multi-media presentations which can be shared easily, quickly with greater quality, consistently and more accurately.  The documented benefits of animated/video presentations are, among others, 1) getting everyone on the “same page” faster has been proven to reduce the “uptake cycle” by two weeks and 2) these tutorials can also significantly increase productivity or uptake rate, reduce support call times and reduce user errors.

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In evaluating animated/video tutorials, numerous C-level sales consultants, have noted its three immediate benefits.

First, when TECHtionary’s tutorials are presented on complex concepts such as telecommunications, internet, integrated access, outlook integration, VoIP/SIP, and many other complex systems training presented in an easy-to-understand format.  In a number of tests, a number of consultants noted that a “pictionary” presentation increasing knowledge and productivity and significant reduces user errors.

 Click here for the animated presentation.

In Figure 2 demonstrates the benefits of video and animated tutorials on uptake and reduced errors.

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Click here for the animated presentation.

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Second, support centers often receive large bursts of support calls, forcing many callers to give up their efforts to obtain explanations for their queries because call center agents are “under-trained.” That is, agents have not reached a level of knowledge to be effective and efficient and then calls are escalated further frustrating the caller as they have to explain their problem over and over again.  One TECHtionary.com customer commented that “installation animations on Microsoft telephony products saved a substantial amount of time because support calls don’t come in one-at-a-time, there are often blasts of calls.”  In addition, calls don’t come in just from people with computers; they come in from many places where laptops are not ideal and where multi-media tutorials for portable/mobile/pad devices are highly desirable.

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Next, customer support costs can “break-the-bank.”  It isn’t the first or second phone call that causes support costs to skyrocket.  In addition, with high customer staff turnover and new-hires, often two people call in about the same problem, one consultant added.  TECHtionary.com animations provide a pictorial approach that greatly reduces the number and length of such phone calls, thus saving thousands of dollars while at the same time providing cost-efficiency and insuring increased customer satisfaction.  That is, animated user training for internal user can be extended to external users to allowing them to “self-help” themselves.  This has also proven to reduce “communications errors” resulting from “misunderstood” verbal communications.

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Third, when it comes to client satisfaction, customers seek a relationship with a vendor who will respond during the after-sale period. They want to be sure that new features can be added or changed as new services emerge.  Videos and animations easily meet these and other business challenges.  A user who is convinced by such new video and animation tools for use in training is Cindy Johnson, Director of Technology, Lee County Schools, Sanford, North Carolina.  “These tutorials virtually eliminate users’ training problems.  They reduce the hours of classroom time and problems with scheduling. They simplify how and when to provide classes for those who missed a training session.”

Click here for the animated presentation.

Recommendations

First, aside from quality HR screening in the hiring function, we think that effective, focused and timely training of both internal staff and channel partners can have the most significant positive impact on revenues.  With regard to technology sales and management skills, technical skills tests such as CompTIA IT For Sales Certification, CTM-Communications Technology Manager, VoIP Business Executive and SIP Technology Executive courses are designed to “weed out the meek.”  Translated, this means that IF the user, sales exec or channel partner does not complete these courses successfully, they are not authorized to sell – end of story.

In other words, if you don’t pass the drivers license exam, you don’t get to drive.  If you don’t pass the pilots exam, you don’t get to fly.  So why let anyone sell who don’t have the right answers and are not even aware of what they don’t know, or be allowed to talk to or present to customers.   They are wasting thousands of dollars of time and risking possible good client relationships when they don’t know what the need to know and fall into that category so aptly referred to as “loose cannons”.  Doug Green, Editor and Publisher of Telecom Reseller News, the leading channel partner as well as enterprise publication said it best, “you can’t sell what you don’t know.”  So don’t waste any money or worse, irreplaceable time, on people who don’t know or what they clearly should know.    In addition, “users can use what they don’t know.”  This means if they don’t understand how to use an application or system, they will call, often overload, the helpdesk.

Next, create and build video and animated tools to educate and inform customers directly instead of waiting for internal execs and channel partners to help educate the client for you.  In other words, build tools that customers can “sell themselves” on your products.  The days of traditional selling are over and there is a critical need to build compelling exciting tools that don’t rely on the “hand waving” and “charm school” of the sales person.  We know this works.  “We have built animated selling tutorials for channel partners” that according to Mark Sharp, CEO of Vimenture “reduced the sales cycle by two weeks.”  These same tools can also increase the sales close rate percentage by a significant amount.  Using TECHtionary tutorials, “you have just illustrated one of the more obvious problems no one ever wants to address” noted Peter Meyer Executive Sales Advisor.  He added, “There is an eternal gap between the hiring, training and firing.  This repeats again and again forever.  The key is determined and continuous training of the existing sales staff to continue on the upward revenue trend with, with new tools as those like TECHtionary has produced.”   This means you can sell more and sell it faster.  The bottom-line for this program is – wasting money is one thing but to waste time is another.

Summary of Findings

During this brief presentation we discussed 1) hire-fire cycle, 2) communications challenges faced in all sales efforts and 3) potential solutions provided by video and animated tutorials.

To summarize, animated-video tutorials are able to:

1) Reduce the impact of sales churn resulting from bad hire, slow-uptake turnover or hire-fire cycle for staff or channel partners.

2) Reduce the training cycle for all (customers, channel partners, staff) by improving “visualization” of product/service being provided.

3) Improve accuracy of presentation for all players in sales cycle such as manufacturer, channel partner(s), agents, customer and internal decision-makers.

4) Reduce customer confusion regarding customer support and provide training tutorials for use anywhere.

5) Increase user retention on product/service training.

Bottom-line results – faster “uptake,” fewer user errors, lower support costs and increase in immediate customer benefits as well as long-term customer satisfaction.

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Here are some ideas of when and type of social media and marketing to use during each of the three phases of the customer cycle:

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If you need professional assistance, we can help – email cross@gocross.com

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