The day Ballistix Managing Director Justin Roff Marsh walked into the offices of Drake International, he could see immediately that its sales force was operating at below optimum.
In reality, Drake was suffering from two core problems.
Firstly, chronic multi-tasking of the sales force which gave the perception of activity, but with no measurable increase in new business.
Secondly, Drake lacked the ability to communicate with potential clients at an executive level. This was a result of Drakes’ loss of reputation as leaders in recruitment. As a consequence of this market perception, Drake was stuck pitching to middle and lower management clients almost exclusively.
Rick Whitman is one of two Drake project managers who worked closely with Ballistix to apply a two-pronged solution to the problem. Over a nine month period Ballistix worked with Drake to restructure the sales process and develop new practices and a new methodology for the sales team.
“We implemented the Ballistix sales process for our internal sales team to increase the return on our large investment in sales people and gain greater control of their activities”, says Rick.
“The first phase was to re-assign administrative and lower-leverage jobs to the sales coordinators”, he adds. “This meant employing a team of eight sales coordinators who were responsible for setting 240 sales appointments a week”.
According to Rick, the key issues revolved around changing the attitude and behaviours of the sales team – they had to learn to release non-core sales activities to the sales coordinators.
“A good example of this is appointment making and post-call follow up – freeing the sales team by handing over their diary management allowed them to focus on selling and freed their time for face to face contact with clients”.
In fact, the Ballistix model advocates a ‘five appointments a day, five days a week’ salesperson productivity level, achieved by giving the responsibility for diary management and administration tasks to a sales coordinator.
“Any resistance soon dissipated when sales people saw twenty new appointments a week in their diaries with no cold-calling involved – they were able to use the Ballistix sales process to generate new business from these leads, which is what having face to face time creates”, he says.
Ballistix also built specific management information software for Drake that provided key information and statistics about the effectiveness of campaigns and the productivity of the sales team.
The Ballistix team worked closely with Drake management, challenging them to identify their core business offering and subsequent ‘manifesto’. This resulted in the development of the Drake Workforce Optimisation approach, a methodology that encompassed the essence of Drake’s product offering.
This was incorporated into the process and promoted via seminars, as Rick Whitman explains;
“At the same time we implemented the new sales process, we also launched an events program based around the Drake Workforce Optimisation approach. We invited C-level executives to attend breakfast seminars which we hosted and used as a unique selling platform, generating leads for our sales coordinators to follow”.
This program re-positioned Drake and gave relevance back to the business at an executive level.
“This allowed us to engage with senior level management and position ourselves as credible leaders in our field, who were capable of servicing high end markets, a position we had lost in previous years. The value of this market perception is immeasurable”, says Rick.
“By re-positioning ourselves as executive leaders we have increased our actual revenues by taking on higher paid commissions. We were also able to shine a light on our existing sales team – by taking back control of the sales process and using organised systems to measure the actual productivity of our team, we were able to address issues as they came up. It made communication straightforward and really boosted morale”, he adds.
“Average sales went from eight to nineteen a week within a few months – we are achieving high sales revenues and activities and importantly, high individual productivity from our sales team”.
According to Justin Roff-Marsh, it’s important to recognise and work with individual strengths. “Ballistix software allows management to see better than ever which sales people are good at selling new business and which are better as servicing existing accounts”, he says.
The Ballistix project has not only given Drake a new, more robust sales process but a process for consistently generating leads to funnel into the sales process with a seminar based marketing program.
This ‘buffer’ of leads is fundamental to the Ballistix sales process model as it provides a qualified ‘list’ of prospects to be scheduled into the salespeople’s diaries.
Based on his experience with the project, Rick feels that any business that has a team involved in business to business selling would benefit from adapting the Ballistix approach.
“In fact”, he adds, “it’s hard to think of a business that wouldn’t benefit”.