Tag Archives: crm

Illustration of a woman wearing a blue shirt pointing at a pie chart and bar graph to a newly hired sales rep

Must-Follow Steps for Onboarding Sales Reps in 90 Days

26 September 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Must-Follow Steps for Onboarding Sales Reps in 90 Days Process, Training

We get it.

You want your sales reps closing deals the nanosecond they start their first day. But you might want to pump the brakes.

Data shows good things happen when you establish a documented process for onboarding sales reps.

A sales onboarding process increases win rates by 14%.

Oh, and…

Onboarding sales reps increases quote attainment by 6.6%.

So, let’s dive into some of those best onboarding practices.

Step 1: Write Better Job Descriptions

Who you hire will determine how they onboard (or if they’re worth onboarding at all).

So, when you’re writing your job description, you’ll want to be crystal clear about a couple of things to set expectations straight:

  • Familiarity with CRMs is mandatory (more on this later)
  • Compensation

Why should you include salary and benefits? Because you might be losing out on the best applicants—talent who are more seasoned, experienced and selling machines.

78% of jobseekers won't apply if no salary is shown.

Step 2: Ask Applicants Different Questions

When you sit down to interview (hopefully) better candidates, you’ll probably ask the expected: “Why are you looking to move?” “What’s a time something didn’t go as planned and how did you respond?”

Sales reps can answer those without flinching.

So, ask them deeper probing questions like these:

  • “How do you keep up with the news or trends that matter to our target market?”
  • “Would you rather close a guaranteed laydown sale or have a shot building value with that tough, on the fence client?”
  • “How do you motivate yourself?”

You’ll have a better idea of who you’re talking to and whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your company.

DAYS 1-30 of Onboarding Sales Reps

Step 3: Ease Them In

Whoever you hire will want a chance to prove themselves, especially when commissions are part of their salary.

But sales reps should spend those first 30 days learning about your business and its values. Learning about your customers.

And yes, learning about your products.

Taking it slowly makes a positive first impression that can pay off in the long run.

88% of employees don't believe their company onboarded well.

Not to mention…

Companies with an onboarding process have 69% retention rate of 3 or more years.

Step 4: Cast a Bigger Shadow

They won’t ever admit it, but even the most seasoned sales rep could benefit from shadowing.


Sure, they may have sold everything from paperclips to Porsches but let’s face it, the extended warranty industry is fairly niche—so don’t let their pride get in the way. Have them shadow someone from every department:

  • Other sales reps
  • Customer service staff
  • Even the owner

They’ll hear questions and comments they’ll experience one day plus multiple perspectives on how to address them in an industry they probably haven’t worked in before.

DAYS 30-60 of Onboarding Sales Reps

Step 5: Challenge Them

What goals do you have established for your new hires?

Do you want them to focus on making a certain number of calls per day? Sell ten VSCs and five home warranties per week?

Whatever they are, maybe you should make them harder to attain. Yes, you want the goals to be more challenging.

Here’s why.

One study that reviewed 10 years’ worth of goal setting and performance outcomes show that challenging goals lead to higher performance than easy or “do your best” goals 90% of the time!

Step 6: Train Them How to Use Your CRM

Yes, we’re a little biased, but CRM training needs to be part of the process you have for onboarding sales reps.

Don’t believe us?

Consider this:

CRMs shorten sales cycles by up to 14%.


CRMs increase sales by up to 41%.

That’s why we said familiarity with CRMs should be mandatory as part of your hiring process!

And with Inline CRM, your reps’ tasks are loaded in their dashboard when they log in so they know where to focus. Ideally, those tasks align with the challenging—but attainable—goals you’ve set for them.

More importantly, you’ll want to document your sales process digitally or physically.

84% of sales training is forgotten within 90 days.

Don’t worry, though. Inline CRM clients receive ongoing training whenever they need it, for as long as they need it.

Step 7: Surprise Them

Ever wonder if your sales reps literally stick to the script? Here’s a way to find out.

Cast yourself (or another team member) as a lead… without your rep knowing. Have them go through the introduction, information gathering and all the other steps your company has created using Inline CRM’s script building tool.

Pepper them with questions and objections to see how they respond.

If it turns out they are using the script, you can coach specifics.

And if they were winging it? Well, they probably won’t anymore (for one reason or another).

DAYS 60-90 of Onboarding Sales Reps

Step 8: Help Them Improve

Once your new hire gets more comfortable with your process, you’ll want to give them more nuanced suggestions to help them sell more extended warranties.

Some of your suggestions will take a little practicing, like “Say X when your lead says Y”

But some of the things you ask your reps to do can be automated—and they’ll love this functionality:

  • Buy now email templates (they can literally sell in their sleep)
  • Email templates after they leave a voicemail
  • Our Follow-Up Management (FUM) tools to prioritize warmer leads
  • Monitoring their commissions for each sale in real time
  • Managing and selling all products, from extended home warranties to commercial truck policies, from the same record to book more deals easily

And if you hired a real go-getter, you can show them how to create their own custom sales reports that can reveal all kinds of data to help them sell more:

Closing ratios per policy type, postdate throughputs, cancel ratios.Those are just a few of the almost infinite types of reports they can use to sell more. And it might just be the most useful part of your sales onboarding process.


Want to Train Up Your Sales Reps Faster?

Book a walkthrough or get access to a demo of Inline CRM, for free with no obligation!

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Do This, Get More Extended Warranty Renewals

28 June 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Do This, Get More Extended Warranty Renewals CRM, Customer Service, Uncategorized

You know the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

But do you actually apply its wisdom?

If not, the following stats say you should probably amp up your extended home warranty renewal strategy:

Stats about importance of retaining customersL Companies lose $137 billion a year from customers who do not renew, acquiring customers is 5x more expensive and increasing retention can increase profits by 95%

So, what can you do to dig into that treasure trove of potentially recurring revenue?

Let’s find out.


Arm Yourself with Numbers

Let’s be honest. Some customers are going to cancel, no matter what.

But there is a silver lining when they do: Finding out why.

  • Did they find your service to be less useful than they thought?
  • Did it turn out to be too expensive?
  • Did they go to a competitor?
  • If so, which one?

Those are just a few potential reasons, but the reasons exist. Your job is to get data and find patterns—and if you already have data, then getting more granular by asking the why behind the how.

Once you have enough to work from, you can run cancellation reports (and create whatever special report you want) in our CRM to see what the numbers are saying. Then, you’ll know how to improve.


Set the Stage During the Sale

Way to go! You’ve made the pitch. You overcame their objections. And now the prospect is a client.

Whether you make the sale online or over the phone, you need to be as proactive as possible to head off any cause they might have for cancelling down the road.

  • Ask if they have any final questions
  • Tell them when their extended warranty will renew
  • Inform them what their renewal cost will be
  • Confirm who will oversee renewing (and make sure to get that person’s contact info)

Bottom line: You’re more in control of the relationship when you take initiative. And that means a better bottom line for your company.


Educate Them Whenever You Can

Replacing a blown condenser fan or fixing a heat exchanger is a major benefit of extended home warranties—and it’s pretty obvious when those types of claims will be made.

Even if one of your customers has a fairly new unit, remind them why they have a service contract.

Send an email at the end of April or beginning of October to tell them the average cost to repair their AC or furnace is $X and—thanks to your coverage—they could save $Y if something happens.

Or, you could send them a short list of seasonal maintenance tips so their appliances are in tip-top shape.

The more you try to help your customers—especially when they aren’t asking for it—builds their trust. And 81% of customers say trust influences their behaviors.

Trust influences behavior for 81% of customers

Prove Your Worth

People want to feel like they made a good choice. They crave validation for their decisions.

Here’s proof: Using testimonials can generate 62% more revenue!

Testimonials can generate 62% more revenue

So, turn customers who use your service contracts into social proof: Glowing reviews, testimonials, mini case studies. Use any chance you can to put a face with figures showing how your service saved a homeowner from budget-breaking expenses.

Blast it on social media or a review section of your website. The more you can demonstrate how you help real people, the more likely your customers will renew.

Use “Why Stay” Messaging

Is your renewal messaging different from your acquisition messaging?

More importantly, have you even thought about changing your messaging based on customer type?

A recent survey found the answer for most people is a resounding “No.” to both!

58% of businesses think acquisition and renewal messaging should be the same 53% don't have time or resources to differentiate renewal messaging. 28% haven't considered differentiating. 20% prefer consistent messaging.

Here’s why that line of thinking is a mistake: Prospects in the consideration step of their journey need to be told something different than existing customers.

This is the crux of the “Why Change” vs. “Why Stay” funnel. Your company is no longer the challenger fighting for business. You’re the status quo fighting to keep business.

Now, you could pitch a new idea for your services to current clients, or reinforce why your customers chose you in the first place.

Which avenue performs better?

Studies show reinforcing the status quo works better.

Stats about effectiveness of reinforcing status quo messaging: 13% boost in renewal intentions, 9% boost in positive impressions of current provider, 7% rise in credibility perceptions

So, what should you do when renewal time rolls around?

You could send materials to extended home warranty customers using our mail merge solution saying houses in their neighborhood are X% more likely to need a repair, or the cost of materials for their appliances is expected to rise by Y% over the next year.

What would it mean if they didn’t renew?

Tell them, and they’ll be more inclined to act.


Want to renew more extended home warranties?

Schedule a demo of our CRM and you’ll have the data, reports and technology to renew more customers—and keep their revenue coming in.

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Homegrown CRM: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

26 May 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Homegrown CRM: Good Idea or Bad Idea? Uncategorized

It’s a fact that companies can see an ROI of up to 800% by using a CRM.

It’s also a fact that, for whatever reason, it might be time for you to get a new CRM.

You could either “pick from the shelf” or make your own. And for some, the latter approach can be tempting, with a few things working in its favor:

  • You’ll be in complete control
  • It’d be built specifically for your company
  • You wouldn’t have to rely on 3rd parties

But if you take off the rose-colored glasses, there are some potential headaches that may not be worth the effort.

Here’s what you should remember if you’re thinking about making a homegrown CRM for your business.


Building your own CRM doesn’t happen by snapping your fingers.

Much, much more is involved than identifying your needs and hiring someone to build to your specs. The start-to-finish roadmap looks something like this:

The ongoing process of building and maintaining a CRM: roadmap, identify needs, UX/UI design, build it out, test, fix, retest, re-fix, launch

Pretty elaborate, right?

And since you’re probably building out your own CRM so you can customize it exactly how you want, you should plan on completion at least a few months from step one of the roadmap above.

Maybe even a year or more.

And many businesses can’t afford to wait that long.



You know there will be an upfront cost to build your own CRM system. Just how much might be staggering.

It’s not unheard of for the final price tag to be upwards of $700,000, depending on the requirements.

Now you could try to shave some costs by hiring a lower-level software engineer to build it, but why would you? Their going rate will still be a conservative $35 an hour, which will add up quick. And if your needs are so complex that you need to build from scratch, you’d probably want a more seasoned professional—who will charge more—working on it.

Once you hire your developer, you’ll have to train them up on the finer details of extended warranty space (just cross your fingers you don’t have to re-hire and re-train another developer later).

Then, you’ll have to add other costs that will mount over time:

  • Future releases
  • Patches and bug fixes
  • Hosting

That’s not to mention creating even more training: Creating the materials, reference guides, tutorial videos or any other information for your employees to reference so they know how to use what you’ve spent so much time and money on.


Let’s say you follow through and launch your homegrown CRM. It has everything you need and it does everything you want.

Then what?

What happens in six months or a year down the road?

You’ll want to keep improving, naturally. And that means upgrading your CRM to include functionality that didn’t exist when you were building it.

The fact is, reputable CRMs have entire teams dedicated to implementing customer-requested features and working on advanced functionality in the background.

Unless you have a crystal ball or hire someone full-time to do nothing but work on your creation, your homegrown CRM might become obsolete sooner than you think.



 One of the main reasons your business uses a CRM is to have all the information you need at your fingertips.

That information needs to be integrated from somewhere—maybe even as many as 900 different places.

Odds are, your homegrown CRM wouldn’t need to integrate that many systems. Even if it did, you could probably manage it—at first.

But the 3rd party software you integrate will have its own updates and new versions. Sure, whomever you task can write some quick code for the systems to communicate, but after a while and version after version, it can become an unusable, tangled mess.

(Just so you know, Inline’s CRM offers full integration for the APIs your business uses the most.)



Once you make a sale, you have to fulfill it. It’s literally the law.

In the extended warranty space, part of that is printing and mailing physical or digital copies of the policy booklet, cards and other materials.

Not many CRMs have this built-in capability—but ours does. Not to mention direct marketing solutions to help you sell more service contracts.


If You’re Still Thinking of Building Your Own CRM…

 Make sure you’re 100% committed to seeing it through to the end—mindful that in many ways, there is no end when it comes to maintaining your CRM.

Better yet, test drive our CRM before you make your decision. It’s our own homegrown system used by some of the biggest names in the warranty sales space.

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Does Your Extended Warranty CRM Have These Features?

20 January 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Does Your Extended Warranty CRM Have These Features? Uncategorized

It seems like there’s a new CRM hitting the market every day. After all, 90% of businesses with more than 10 employees rely on a CRM, so there’s no shortage of need.

With so many options to choose from, how do you know your choice will work best for your business? What are the must-have factors and call center solutions your CRM should include?

Let’s find out!

You Can Customize It

Your competitors might sell the same things as you, but they aren’t the same as you. Your business will have different focuses, different goals or priorities—and you need a CRM (like ours!) that allows you to be as flexible as you like.

We find that customers who use custom fields, custom email templates and even custom queues of data can boost profits by as much as 95%! And our advanced API can also help you customize just about anything exactly how you want, especially your all-important dashboard.

Dashboard of Inline CRM, showing sales goals, social feeds, to-do lists

You Can Integrate 3rd Parties

No CRM can do everything (but ours comes close). That’s why your CRM should be able to integrate software from other parties to keep your sales agents on top of their game. And since a sale doesn’t happen without communication, you should ideally be able to integrate:

  • Lead generation software to fill your prospect pipeline
  • Email platforms from Outlook to Gmail
  • Calendars, especially since 70% of adults rely on digital notifications to manage their life

When you have all the tools you need integrated in one location, you’ll be much more productive.

You Can Use It Anywhere

Can you believe some CRMs still require downloads and only operate offline? There’s no excuse for this, especially in 2022.

Old systems like those usually require an IT staff to maintain and run updates, not to mention their legacy infrastructure usually means they can’t adapt or integrate the applications mentioned three inches above.

New systems like ours are easily accessible wherever you have internet or data—even on mobile.

After all, you never know when or where you’ll need information to help seal a deal.


All-In-One Customer Profiles

Let’s pretend you have a customer who owns a home, a car, a motorcycle and an RV.

That could make for a pretty big extended warranty sale, right?

But if you’re using the wrong CRM, it could also lead to a pretty big headache. That’s because some CRMs (not ours!) will make you click around and around to get to the same customer profile. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just sell that customer profile and manage those opportunities from a dropdown menu like this?

Add vehicle, RV, Home and motorcycle to customer profile from dropdown menu

With Inline, you can!

Sure, you could work in some workarounds, but then everything wouldn’t be in the same workflow. And that seems like a lot of needless busywork.


Buy Now Functionality

37% of people have hidden a purchase from their spouse.

Some people won’t give their credit card number over the phone.

No matter the reason, you have to take away all the obstacles standing between you and a “Yes” to make a sale.

Our BUY NOW functionality does just that.

Now your prospects can complete their order online once you send them a quote to their inbox.

Buy extended warranty online functionality

It’s easy, convenient, and a proven way to sell more policies than with other extended warranty CRMs.


Robust Reporting

If you had to answer with 100% certainty what your top selling product was, could you do it?

What about your close rate? Your cancel rate?

The fact is, you can’t get better if you don’t why you should be better—and the right report can tell you.

The right CRM can tell you anything you want to know and how to improve.

Maybe you’re calling people at the wrong time of day or focusing on older ranch style homes when cabins have a higher close rate.

You can create literally just about any report you want with our CRM. Did you just think of one? Yes, even that kind.


Lead Management

It’s been estimated that sales reps should make 60 calls per day.


That’s… a lot.

So, how should you prioritize those calls?

A lead management system will tell you—and our CRM has one.

Now you can assign certain leads to certain groups, know exactly when or how to follow up with a customer based on their place in the funnel and a lot, lot more.

With this functionality, who knows? Maybe your sales reps will be able to make 70 calls a day.


Automatic Commission and Cancel Calculations

There is an almost infinite amount of ways you could structure commissions and bonuses. By the number of policies sold. The amount of the policies. The type of policy. All of those conditions combined.

The list goes on and on.

That level of complexity could make even the most seasoned accountant feel dizzy.

With Inline we can help you code the precise commission payout based on whatever criteria you want, including cancellation rates.

And it happens automatically.

Simply put, you won’t find that functionality in any other industry CRM.


Customer Service

Okay, this bit of technology is a little analog.

Somewhere along the way, you’re going to have a question, an issue, or problem that needs to be taken care of right away.

And if it isn’t taken care of to your liking, there’s a good chance you’ll end up canceling.

That’s why we bend over backwards to answer as soon as you call or email. Because even the best CRM can’t replace help from real people in real time.


Is there a feature your CRM needs that we didn’t cover? Schedule a test drive and we can show you all the bells and whistles that come with Inline.



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5 Warning Signs You Need a New CRM

27 October 2021 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on 5 Warning Signs You Need a New CRM CRM

You know how lucrative the extended warranty business can be. In fact, the global market is worth more than $120 billion!

You also know the boost using a CRM can give your bottom line. Research shows a 29% sales increase thanks to CRMs.

With so much profit at stake, you should probably evaluate whether the tools your business uses are maximizing your money-making potential.

Here are some signs you should consider getting a different CRM:

1.) It Has Limited Functionality

Here’s an interesting stat: Only 11% of people will make lifestyle changes even if they are told they could reverse diabetes, restore their health or live longer.

Well, what does that have to do with changing CRM systems?

It shows how resistant we can be to change! Most people have used their existing software from 2-5 years. That’s practically a lifetime of fresh features and improvements they might be missing out on!

If it’s been a while since you considered switching, you owe it to yourself to find out what new functionality you can get (like built-in refund calculators).

2.) Extra Processes

Wondering if your CRM might be outdated?

Well, the average sales process has six steps from introduction to close. The proper tools should keep that number low, even lower wherever possible. So, if you’re making things more complex or constantly updating your processes, it might be time to move on.

After all, your CRM should accommodate you. Not the other way around.


3.) Working Around

If you’re adding more processes, those might lead to more workarounds. And that might lead to a workaround around a workaround to the point you can’t keep track of the extra processes you have in place because your extended warranty CRM doesn’t do what you want it to.

It can get confusing, just like that last sentence.

Looking to see what other options are on the market can save you time—not to mention some aspirin.

4.) It’s Not Cloud Compatible

Can you imagine doing your job without the internet? Probably not, especially when more than 45% of workers work remote at least part-time—and that number will only increase in the future.

That underscores the need for web-based, mobile CRMs.

With access to customer data anywhere, anytime, 65% of salespeople who use mobile CRMs met their sales quotas. Compare that to only 22% of salespeople who met sales goals without a mobile CRM and the math makes sense to move to an online CRM (like Inline!).

5.) You Have to Write Reports

You probably have a lot of different reports to make: Sales, payroll and maybe even the dreaded cancellation report.

Those reports can provide the insights to improve your business. But they can also take up time. Maybe too much time. It’s estimated that managers spend at least one working day each week on manual data tasks like reporting—hours that could be better spent doing just about anything else.

Upgrading to a CRM that creates the reports for you in a nice and tidy visual format, including custom query reports, can improve the way your business operates.

What Is Your Current CRM Missing?

Schedule a free test drive and find out what you can do with Inline.

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