Category Archives: News


Uncovering key considerations on how to ramp up resources for seasonal sales periods

 

Are you preparing for Black Friday 2020 but find it challenging to set up a flawless back-office customer support team?

 

Forecasting the necessary resources can be a hurdle, and even more difficult with the current market uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. eCommerce sales are expected to raise but integrating digital channels into the Customer Experience (CX) strategy is not so straightforward.

 

If you are finding it tricky to successfully plan and operate peak demands, keep reading.

 

Operating within the eCommerce landscape for a wide variety of clients, CPM International Contact Centre have developed unparalleled expertise dealing with the seasonal peaks and troughs related to sales, product launches, returns and in some instances, handling unexpected volume demands. By combining omnichannel strategies, flexible resource models and operational know-how, we constantly deliver a seamless experience for the end customer, no matter the sales period.

 

The impact of Black Friday week is not only on the sales and eCommerce Support department but it also affects recruitment, training, IT teams, and many other areas of the business. The preparation for this November commerce period can start up to 12 months in advance. Yet, specifically in our business we see a peak from September onwards with hiring and onboarding induction. Some of our clients work in a unique way as they update their forecast on a monthly basis, but for a relatively small, core team, this can create some challenges to manage the operation successfully.

 

Our holistic approach to peak demand planning is tailored to every client according to their needs. We closely design the ramp up strategy together with our client partners resulting in better performance management, deep employee engagement, exceptional customer satisfaction and ultimately, higher sales. During 2019 Black Friday season, CPM delivered €5 Million in sales for our eCommerce Contact Centre clients.

 

In this article, we are uncovering what business areas are critical to preparing for a successful Black Friday and provide you with best practices on how the operational manager and CX teams can build and work on a structured plan encompassing 3 core areas: business, client, and people.

 

1. Business area: Dynamic Resourcing

Firstly, you should determine where resources should be allocated within the business. When using a dynamic resource model, budget and headcount vary on a monthly basis according to expected fluctuating demand. For a contact centre careline this implies:

  • New approach to recruitment: revise agent profiling to look for people that are more flexible, fast to learn and adaptable to change, with versatile interview assessment.
  • Induction training: generic onboarding sessions for time saving.
  • Flexible contracts: enabling the business to hire more part-timers, and introducing new working schedules around the arrival pattern, hence, minimizing the impact during opening time.

 

2. Client area: Operational Optimisation and Transparent Reporting

Secondly, operational excellence is key to delight customers. We work closely with our client partners to revise the procedures and streamline the day to day operations; adopting a continuous improvement approach:

  • We optimize resources by sharing agents across different operational teams, driving cost efficiencies and improving our knowledge base.
  • Create new analyst roles responsible for reviewing CSAT results and quality assessments to provide insight and build the plan for the future.
  • We build robust tailor-made reports delivering consistent insight on the customer journey and share NPS reports with the client.
  • Consider investing in reporting tools such as Power BI to enable arrival patterns tracking versus forecasting on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
  • Improve CRM platform configurations to drive efficiency among the team.
  • Integrate technology into your omnichannel strategy. CPM develops chatbot solutions (Answerbot) to support during peaks and enabling automation of transactional contacts.

 

3. People area: Employee Experience

Thirdly, remember great employee experience equals great customer experience. So, make their work-life easier, motivating, and enjoyable – especially during the accelerated operating rhythm driven by sales peak. Some tips for enhanced people experience that will lead to high performance are:

  • Introduce employee engagement surveys: allow your team to have a say, and be transparent by sharing their feedback and outcomes during a team’s session. Allocate budget for employee engagement activities, boosting team building.
  • Revise the incentive plan: ensure people feels motivated and valued while stimulating productivity.
  • Career development: during the peak it can be arduous to maintain the standard 1to1 session with every employee, therefore you can introduce group sessions. Still, it is important to map clear individual career development, not only to reinforce your structure for the future, but to ensure your people have the opportunity to stay and grow within the business.
  • We review work-flows and provide templates in order to support the team and to provide a consistent responses to customers.
  • We offer our people stability and job security during the off-peak periods with options to reduce hours or work on other CPM operational teams.

 

As CPM work with clients operating in a wide range of sectors, their peaks and troughs fall on different times of the year. This allows us to manage our resources across different projects having all busy sales periods covered and avoiding idle staff. For instance, an agent recruited for Black Friday, has the opportunity to move within our business in line with another client peak. This help us to drive cost efficiencies by reducing the cost of new hire and training.

 

With flexible resource models we can offer our clients the security to have efficient resources to manage sales peaks. Being flexible and sharing resources helps to avoid backlog situations, and ensure we have happy, engaged and retained staff. We have been able to reduce backlog from 28 to 0 days for one of our clients in just few months and reduce employee turnover by 38%.

 

 

We invest time into reviewing different operational and delivery models, offering transparency and flagging potential risks. We encourage involvement from our clients and approach this in a collaborative and agile way. Some of our existing clients work with multiple partners on global basis and have replicated our business and delivery model across other programmes to offer a consistent customer experience. CPM have transformed its eCommerce Contact Centre Programmes to agile and flexible omnichannel solutions with Customer Experience excellence at its core.

 

We don’t know what 2021 will look like. This year has certainly evidenced we can’t always plan for the future. However, we believe the industry needs models that are flexible enough to cope with challenges that you can’t yet foresee, so you can be ready to adapt in a very proactive way.

 

What if getting ready for Black Friday could be a smooth endeavour? Contact us at infobcn@cpm-int.com if you would like to master your eCommerce sales and customer support regardless of your business seasonal fluctuating demand.

 

 

 

Discover how to reach your full revenue potential with this proven award-winning formula

 

We are approaching the last quarter of the year and you are far from meeting your revenue objectives. It’s getting challenging with the new market dynamics driven by the pandemic. Also, in a B2B environment, mastering sales can be much more complex due to scope, scale and extended sales cycles.

 

You know outsourcing your sales team might help accelerate your results but you’re hesitant on external support.

 

We’ve got your covered.

 

With over 30+ years contact centre sales experience working with clients across varying sectors and markets; CPM International Contact Centres have developed unrivalled expertise in creating high performing B2B sales teams, delivering incremental revenue growth of up to 10% in just 3 months. How have we done it? Our strategy formula encompasses people, process, customers, technology, and partnership.

 

In this article, we will be covering our 5 top components to creating a best in class outsourced B2B sales team and provide you with best practices on how to achieve it.

 

1. Defining what success looks like: Process definition & improvement

Defining business aims and challenges together is the first step to establish an effective sales process framework and a clear strategy for sales pipeline management. A streamlined framework can promote speed and agility and allows for innovation, constant development, and growth. There are two key considerations at this stage:

 

  • Effective integration:
    Take a holistic plan to design and optimize processes. A combination of sophisticated technology and a collaborative approach helps build up a dynamic business relationship with your partner. Together, you can develop and interpret insights, perform transparent root-cause analysis, create joint business plans, and execute continuous improvement.

 

  • Progression and achievement:
    Keep track of performance, productivity and quality to detect issues rapidly and provide the knowledge needed to improve processes. Different data sources including CRMs, web forms, CSAT scores, etc. can be fed into data visualization reports through tools such as PowerBI to provide deep, actionable insights to reach your goals swiftly.

 

2. Developing your motivated team: People training & performance

People are your most important asset. In particular, in a B2B environment the sales team usually deals with customers who are already subject matter experts, so account managers have to be product savvy and also knowledgeable on business development. Understanding the employee journey is essential to have a highly skilled sales team – from hiring passionate people, onboarding and training, to motivating and empowering professionals.

 

  • The Training journey:
    An ongoing sales training plan is the basis of your team member’s performance capacity. For this reason, training does not stop at onboarding and brand immersion; a continuous coaching approach with a focus on client’s products, services, and new technologies is critical for enhanced results. Furthermore, as sales is centred around people and building relationships, soft skills such as ability to relate, communicate and actively listen are as just as important focus to drive high performing sales teams.

 

  • The Talent Development journey:
    Career development, along with a positive work environment and employee engagement strategy are integral to keep the team motivated, retained and driving results. A clear Personal Development Plan (PDP) enables employees to own their career progression, based 100% on meritocracy, with an emphasis on examples of going the extra mile and look for opportunities to add value to client relationships.
    In addition to PDPs, and as a standard with all sales focused programmes, financial incentives are a great way to keep sales team members motivated on closing sales. KPI targets and incentive schemes are typically defined in line with the financial year and can be based on a monthly, quarterly or half yearly payment, subject to each project’s needs. Performance measures encompass results, quality and productivity outputs. Our approach to setting, measuring and financially rewarding performance is simple: does it meet our client’s objectives, does the customer have a good experience and are we creating the right behaviours within our teams?

 

3. CX equals sales: The Customer journey

Delivering great customer experience results in higher sales conversions. That is why having a customer-centric culture in place is so noteworthy for a sales team. Understanding customer needs helps optimize the customer journey towards a 360 approach where cross-selling and up-selling opportunities can be created. Working on an account management basis can assist the customer journey as the manager can focus on nurturing the customer relationship. It is a more personalised selling process resulting in higher sales and customer satisfaction.

 

In the B2B environment, only 23 percent of B2B companies have embraced a customer centric approach (Forrester, 2019). However, the growth window of adopting this strategy have been proven to be enormous and it definitely creates competitive edge. What are you waiting for to embrace it?

 

4. Accelerating informed decisions: Technology & Insights

Whilst the sales process is mostly powered by people skills, technology is a meaningful factor which should not be overlooked. Technology can be used by sales professionals to improve visibility and generate more leads, build a new business pipeline, optimize conversations, nurture and accelerate conversions.

 

In addition, investing in state-of-the-art technology allows to visualize business impact and its projection to make the right decisions faster. Operational effectiveness is achieved thanks to CRM systems, real time reporting and predictive analysis. Innovative tools should be adopted by sales teams to not only fuel the sales process but also complement and aid in the relationship development approach. For example, tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator have been proven to help speed up the sales cycle by focusing in on the right prospects 90% faster.

 

5. Great partnership: working together

Outsource your sales team to a partner, not a provider. It is all about a win-win situation in which trust and communication are the foundation.

 

  • Two-way communication and collaborative approach:
    A solid cooperation between the outsourcing agency and the client will make the sales programme more agile. We recommend working with an open-door policy across both businesses to coordinate and plan together according to transparent objectives and expectations.

 

  • How client can benefit from the partnership:
    Outsourcing your sales force drives cost efficiencies and increased sales. You will be hiring sales specialists, highly trained and working in an optimised team structure for which scaling is organic and natural. Moreover, experienced sales people keep up with latest trends and have access to tools and tactics needed to thrive in any business climate. External sales teams are not only responsible to provide accountability and reporting but also make recommendations or adjustments, helping to create sustainable sales strategies aligned to your business growth objectives.

 

B2B sales team

 

 

What if you could rely on a trusted partner who knows how to seamlessly employ this winning formula? You will be able to benefit from a high-performing B2B sales team focused on growing your business while leaving you free to get on with what you do best.

 

Don’t miss out on the competitive advantage of an outsourced B2B sales team and get started with the 5-step strategy today. Contact us at infobcn@cpm-int.com to find out how we can build up a bespoke sales programme tailored to your business objectives and needs.

 

 

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