DialAmerica, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, is one of the nation’s largest privately owned dedicated domestic call center companies. Lissa Love and Eileen Renowden, DialAmerica’s two senior vice presidents of client service, wanted to compliment the company’s sales activities by leveraging their account managers to drum up more business with current clients. These are not folks who typically “sell.”
Their first step was to hire Performance Breakthrough to conduct business development coaching for their sixty-per- son client service team. This coaching focused on sales attitudes, sales strategies, communications techniques, sales processes, and role-plays.
At the conclusion of the coaching sessions, Eileen and Lissa wanted to develop something fun and engaging to keep the momentum going and the learning fresh. They pulled together a committee of six volunteers (they didn’t want to dictate the answer themselves) to create a contest that would motivate the account teams to prospect for new business with current clients.
The committee came up with a contest called “The Business Expansion League.” Account executives were organized into five teams. Each team was rewarded a certain number of tickets for specific business development activities. Activities included concepts such as these:
- Contacting a current or past client to ask for a referral.
- Contacting a referral from another source (i.e. LinkedIn).
- Setting up a sales discovery call.
- Defining the scope and estimating the price of a new project.
Rewards were as follows:
- At the end of each week, all of the tickets were placed in a raffle drum, and two tickets were drawn. The winners each received fifty dollars.
- Anyone identifying an opportunity that led to actual business received one thousand dollars.
- Each member of the team with the most tickets at the end of fourteen weeks received one hundred dollars or one vacation day (most people took the vacation day).
Some of the key lessons learned in implementing the con- test were as follows:
- As leaders, don’t dictate the answer. Pull together a committee of volunteers to build true buy-in.
- Don’t rush or overcomplicate the process.
- Anticipate some initial skepticism.
- Reward activity (i.e., contacting a past client), not just results (i.e., new business).
As a result of focusing their team using the principle of celebration over a fourteen-week period they achieved the following results:
- A total of 433 tickets were given out. This represented more than double of their typical business development activity.
- Three new projects were sold.
- Teams spent more time strategizing on business development with their managers.
- A fun and productive rivalry developed between the teams.
- Significantly more discussion and focus on business development was created as a result of the weekly raffle drawing where the raffle winners were asked to talk about their business development activities.