When The SALT Group, a company that provides operating costs and expense reduction services, needed a solution that could double sales, cut costs in half and standardize and improve their call center, they looked to VanillaSoft’s platform to achieve these daunting tasks within three to five years. VanillaSoft is a sales engagement platform that is designed to help speed up the sales cycle with optimized workflow capabilities and enhanced data management and cadence automation.
The SALT Group needed to double sales operations performance, but before implementing anything, Carrie Griffin, VP of Business Development, realized nearly everything had to change from the front-end to the back-end, and from lead generation to operation management. She also realized the real challenge would be improving call-center performance and finding a system that scales.
Although Griffin wanted to implement these changes quickly, there were issues with modifying the systems in place: cost, ease-of-use and determining where to start.
“There were a couple of things that had to be user-friendly,” Griffin said during a session at this year’s B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange. “It had to be really easy to customize and it had to be somewhat inexpensive. But we also needed to make sure that it could scale because one of the objectives was that we wanted to double, if not, triple our growth in a two- to five-year time frame.”
At the time, there was a lot of turnover in the call center, where training on the old system took a minimum of three weeks and was a huge investment. The SALT Group also needed call center agents to get leads, set up appointments for outside sales and quickly move on to the next call. And reps who were doing face-to-face meetings needed the ability to route leads and appointments based on different prioritization rules to maximize impact.
Simply put, The SALT Group needed a solution that was not only affordable to onboard, but also user-friendly and agile. The company also needed to redo the call center process and the entire backend, as it was built off multiple custom platforms.
The SALT Group chose to integrate VanillaSoft’s capabilities into a base platform that didn’t require any complex coding.
“We were looking at VanillaSoft because we saw the demo and said, ‘This is exactly what we need — we don’t need to do anything to it,’” Griffin said. “We can just plug [VanillaSoft] in, go from scratch, do some modifications and we’re ready to go.”
A key tool within the VanillaSoft platform is what the company calls “Result Codes.” The feature is designed to eliminate manual considerations with a standard list of actions and, based on that code, the system indicates next steps for the sales rep.
“[This usually requires] manual processes, it’s very data-entry heavy and very data-intensive,” said Darryl Praill, CMO of VanillSoft, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “Most users hate it and they don't do it. The Result Code gives you the power in a single drop-down code to essentially say — in its most simplistic version — ‘This is what happened. I left a voicemail, and this is what I need to do in a week.’ [You can do that] just with one [Result] Code. That’s the simplest form, but you can go nuts with it. You can do a lot of intelligence and use result codes to start workflows and more. But that's kind of like beginner class versus advanced.”
By having result codes and lead statuses, The SALT Group was able to generate reports that detailed agents’ performances and activities, as well as the activities of clients. Agents could not dismiss tasks that were presented to them and did not have to manually create tasks. It also acted as a measurement of performance, which helped enable training where it was needed.
“We were able to quickly identify what the areas of opportunity were for each of those agents to go in and give them some quality training to help them be more successful,” Griffin added.
The SALT Group also leverages Result Codes to manage their pipeline. According to Daniel Sims, Customer Success Manager at VanillaSoft, the company is able to leverage the Codes to indicate at what percentage a lead is likely to close. For example, if a lead received a contract but there is no invoice yet, the Code is changed to “work in progress 75%.”
“They can then build this into their metrics where they can find all the ‘work in progress’ statuses,” said Sims. “They can leverage this so that no matter what. If we give a Result Code that gets them to this point, we know the likelihood of closing increases or decreases to 75%. It becomes X percent likelihood of closing because of the sequence.”
After switching to VanillasSoft, The SALT Group was able to double productivity in call centers, cut costs of appointments and generate more sales over five years.
“We cut the cost of our appointments in half and we’re still continuing to optimize that process,” Griffin said. “So, that was huge for us because cutting that cost in half gave us that ability to take that money and invest it in growth.”
With the new system, The SALT Group also gained insights on what happens with every single call, providing them with the ability to analyze whether they are following the wrong set of leads or decision-makers. Sales reps were able to go out to more appointments, which generated more sales and revenue. The SALT Group’s revenue grew 30% each year over the last three to five years.
“Scalability is huge because it’s one of the things you really need to be thoughtful around,” Griffin concluded. “You want to make something that’s very prescriptive and very controlled because you can’t continue to hire people. If you don’t have a system that is in a controlled environment, that doesn’t give them a lot of options.”