Tag Archives: Sales

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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An illustration of a robotic computer symbolizing how technology can automate sales processes

Six Secrets to Automating Outbound Sales

22 August 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Six Secrets to Automating Outbound Sales CRM

You hired your sales reps to sell.

But odds are your sales reps are wasting 21,000 seconds every week on administrative tasks. That’s almost a full working day!

Sales reps waste six hours every week on administrative tasks

Now, some of those tasks simply can’t be avoided, like prepping for a call. But you can automate certain tasks to make more outbound sales.

Here’s how.

Do Away With Data Entry

Your sales reps should spend time focusing on what to do with data—not manually entering it.

Don’t get us wrong: Prospect information and call notes are important. But every keystroke your sales rep makes steals time from talking to another lead.

That’s why Inline CRM makes it possible for you to eliminate data entry in multiple ways!

  • You can upload data into our extended warranty CRM so your sales reps don’t have to create records from scratch when a prospect calls in
  • Your data can be posted via API when a lead fills out an online form, which means your sales reps don’t need to re-enter it
  • When a customer wants to get another extended home or auto warranty, your sales rep can just add the new car or home and get right to the quote, without tediously reentering customer information

When your call center reps don’t have to deal with data entry, they’ll talk more and type less—and that’s a big deal.

Follow The Rules

Some leads are sure-fire slam dunks. Some need to be warmed up.

Trying to decide which category a lead falls under not only takes time— it can cost you revenue if you prioritize wrong.

Fortunately, you can put lead management on autopilot with Inline’s queue tools.

Lead prioritization with Inline CRM

Just create the rules that feed into your call center’s custom scoring system and our CRM takes care of the rest! Leads are automatically placed in different queues so your sales reps know where to focus first.

Even better, you can make as many prospect buckets as you want and tailor them so certain reps get assigned to certain kinds of leads.

Customize The Next Action

So, a prospect needs “to think it over.”

What’s a rep to do with that non-committal answer?

They could manually set a reminder to follow up in a few days. They could write an email from scratch summarizing the call.

Or, they could just use our automated sales Follow-Up Management (FUM) to trigger the next steps.

If a lead says “Call me back tomorrow,” they’ll be bumped up automatically in your queue.

If a lead says “Never call me again,” they’ll automatically be removed.

And if a sales rep sets the action as “Left a voicemail,” our CRM can send a pre-written email to the prospect and move them to another queue for additional follow up.

Backend of Inline CRM showing which action completed triggering next action to take

The result? Automated sales follow up that helps sales reps think less and move more towards their next conversation.


Direct Dial

Try this: Dial any 10-digit phone number and time yourself.

How long did it take?

Even if it was two seconds, it doesn’t matter—that was two seconds too long.

In fact, the average salesperson spends 28 minutes a day manually entering phone numbers! That’s 15 workdays a year—three full work weeks—doing nothing but dialing!

Sales reps spend 15 workdays a year dialing phone numbers

That’s a crazy amount of wasted time.

So, consider investing in a click-to-dial program (and yes, it can integrate with Inline). You’ll dial less and call more.


Drip On Your Leads

Want 451% more qualified leads?

We have two words for you: Drip marketing.

Yes, nurturing leads really is that effective. Why?

Because you’re sending targeted, personalized messaging based on where they are in the sales funnel. You’re giving them the kind of information they want when they want it.

With Inline, you can set up infinite drip campaigns for quotes or renewals. You can tailor the messaging for different types of policies, from RVs to duplexes. You can even send a templated email if a charge failed.

Bottom line: Drip campaigns help make sure you don’t drop the ball when it comes to communicating with leads.


Sell In Your Sleep

 What’s the easiest way to automate your outbound sales process?

When your leads do all the work—and yes, it’s possible with our Buy Now functionality!

Here’s how it works:

  • Your sales rep sends an email with the service contract quote
  • Your lead opens and clicks the Buy Now button
  • They enter their credit card information
  • Your sales rep makes a commission

In fact, your sales rep could be closing a deal on the phone and through an email they sent the day before at the same time with half the work.

Pretty cool, right?

Ready to Automate More Outbound Sales Tasks?

Try Inline CRM’s functionality, completely free!


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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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A man looks at bar graphs on his tablet

Tips to Optimize Your Direct Marketing Campaigns With a CRM

22 February 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Tips to Optimize Your Direct Marketing Campaigns With a CRM CRM, Reporting, Visual Reporting

You’d probably sell more policies if you had an infinite marketing budget.

But odds are you don’t have a money tree in your lobby.

In fact, the average business has a marketing budget of around 7% of their gross revenue, according to the Small Business Administration.

That’s why tracking your direct marketing campaigns is so important to your company’s finances: When you know who becomes a customer and how you hooked them, you’re positioning yourself for sustained revenue.

For example, it might be that people in Illinois respond well to direct mail for vehicle service contracts and websites make more sales in Colorado.

Report showing sales breakdown by year, state, mileage and media campaign

Advanced reporting in our direct marketing CRM can help you pinpoint the campaigns that won, lost or have real profit potential with the right tweaks.

Let’s cover some of the proven ways to put those analytics to use, broken down by media type:

Personalize Direct Mail

 If you notice one of your direct mail campaigns didn’t generate the pull you expected, what should you do?

Well, nowadays we expect marketing to be personalized, especially when it comes to what arrives in our mailbox.

It probably makes sense to look for ways to speak (or write) as directly to your customer as you can. That could include:

  • Showing a picture of their car, down to the exact model and color
  • Showing a picture of the outside of their house (yes, it’s possible!)
  • Listing the common types of problems that vehicle or home might have given its mileage or age
  • How much those repairs might cost—and how much they could save by buying one of your warranties

And since personalizing your marketing can increase ROI by 70%, it seems like it’s worth the little extra cost and effort.

E-Mail’s Secret Weapons

 Here’s a pretty amazing stat: You can expect $42 in return for every $1 you spend on email marketing!

But even with a 4,200% ROI, you can still improve your performance.

One way is to include some relevant preview text.

Email preview text example

Believe it or not, including effective preview text can increase your open rate by 45%!

How do we know that? A/B testing, which is picking one variable to change while keeping everything else the same.

There are other A/B tests you could do, like the length or your subject line or the color of your CTA button.

And since Inline has “Buy Now” emails, you could play with which color pulls the most. That one tweak alone can increase responses by 21%!


Affiliate Marketing

The only thing better than making a sale is having someone else do the selling for you.

Affiliate marketing report summary

Inline makes it easy for you to set your affiliates up in our system! This is a major competitive advantage other CRMs don’t offer.

With our reporting, you’ll be able to analyze your affiliate’s performance just like you would your own call center.

And what if some affiliates aren’t selling like they should? A couple of things you can do:

  • Follow up with them; they may have questions or roadblocks you can answer
  • Offer a bonus or incentive on top of what they would normally receive

But be careful: You’ll only want to offer a bigger bonus if you have a firm grip on your profit margins… which you’ll know by glancing in our CMS.


Socialize Smarter

It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

And sometimes, an emoji can be worth a thousand shares.


Including something as simple as a 😊, ❤️, 🏠 or 🚗  can increase comments and shares by 33%!

Admit it: Your eyes probably widened a little seeing what’s in the line above.

So, if you’re not using emojis, give it a try.

And if you are, but the performance is lackluster, try scheduling your posts a little differently.

It could be your audience isn’t online when you post. Fortunately, there’s a study that shows the best days and times to get social.


Export Everything

 Now, you might be thinking “This all sounds good, but I don’t feel like exporting all that information from all my applications.”

Don’t worry. You can export everything with Inline’s direct marketing CRM! All the data you want, all the reporting you need, is right in our system.

Just schedule a test drive of our CRM’s capabilities to see how easy it is.

You might get an incredible ROI on your time.

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Reporting capabilities of Inline CRM

How to Make Money From Your CRM Reports

23 November 2021 Melissa Chambers Comments Off on How to Make Money From Your CRM Reports Payroll, Reporting, Visual Reporting

Running the right report can mean more money for your business—lots of it.

But making that report (and interpreting it) can also take time away from your business—though it doesn’t have to.

Which reports can help you sell more extended warranties? How can you save hours creating them?

Read on and find out!


The “Whatever You Can Think Of” Report

CRM usually stands for Customer Relationship Management.

At Inline, our CRM stands for Custom Report Magic. That’s because you can create just about any report you want:

  • Policies expiring in the next 90 days
  • Cancellations that happened on a Tuesday
  • Warranties sold for Toyotas with exactly 145,926 miles
  • Prospects with the first name Tina

We’re not sure why you’d want the last kind of report. But we do know that even though our software comes with 143 standard reports, you know best what information will help you make more sales.

And our tools make it possible to learn pretty much anything you’ll want to know.


The “Performance by Campaign” Report

You spend money to make money, right? And your money might be spread across multiple marketing campaigns and channels: Direct mail, emails, web leads and more.

Now, some of those dollars will do a better job than others. And our CRM will help you decide how to direct your budget to more effective tactics—without pivot tables, filtering or formulas!

At a glance, you can get sales reports by:

  • State
  • Affiliate
  • Lead source
  • And more

Here’s a more specific example: Let’s say you notice a dip in response rate in a certain time frame that just happens to coincide with data you used from a new vendor.

Given that bad data can cost reps $32,000 in sales, you might want to have a discussion with the provider to see what can be done to improve their performance (or not use them again in the future).


The “Let’s Keep Cancellations From Happening” Report

Cancellations are going to happen. There’s no getting around it. In fact, 40% of customers will end up cancelling a service at some point, regardless of the industry or product.

Okay, you knew that already—but what can you do about it?

Run a report, of course!

Inline CRM report showing cancellation trends in a line graph.

You’ll be able to see cancel rate trends in addition to other important data.

Let’s say you notice one particular rep has a higher cancel rate than others. You could offer to coach or shadow them to see if they’re over-promising certain aspects of the warranty being sold.


The “Hey, This Is Really Selling” Report

You probably have a decent idea which policies sell the best. But to be as profitable as possible, you need to know without a doubt.

It just so happens there’s a report for that.

Inline CRM report showing which extended warranty products are selling the most

A couple clicks is all it takes to see a lot of useful information, including:

  • Most profitable term lengths
  • Most popular warranties
  • Profit ranges

If your money-makers aren’t selling, consider promoting different features or benefits. If certain term lengths aren’t being bought, consider dropping the price.

What you do with the information is up to you—and you won’t have to work hard to get it.


The “Have You Followed Up?” Report

Selling isn’t normally a one and done process. But for whatever reason, 44% of sales reps give up after the first follow-up, even though 60% of customers say “No” four times before saying “Yes.”

The main takeaway here is to keep taking the time to follow up with prospects—and emails are a smart choice for how.

Email follow-up report from Inline CRM

Inline can set up automated follow-up emails to customers who have received a quote and help you avoid relying on the sales person to do the follow-up.

After a while, you’ll see how successful your efforts are (or have ideas on how you can improve the response).


The “Pretty Much Automatic Accounting” Report

Excel is like oxygen to accountants.

After all, 90% of companies use it for budgeting and 63% consider it a vital accounting tool.

But tabs and tabs of formulas and through-the-roof stress levels at the end of financial quarters say there has to be a simpler way to do things.

There is!

Accounting reporting capabilities from Inline CRM

All it takes is a few inputs to know your:

  • Gross Profit
  • Collected Profit
  • Disbursements
  • Expected Funding
  • Premium Rate
  • Expiring Credit Cards

That’s just a fraction of what’s at your fingertips, all without manually compiling or computing anything!

That will give your accounting team more time to focus on bigger-picture financial matters that can make your company even more money.

The “Painless Payroll Calculation” Report

Your sales reps deserve every last cent of commission they earned. But figuring out exactly how much commission they’ve earned can eat up a lot of time—literally days— if you’re not using the right software.

Did that client make their first monthly payment? Is the sales rep getting tiered or residual commissions? Did they hit a multiplier bonus?

Cutting a commission check shouldn’t be so confusing!

With Inline, it isn’t.

Coding customization for extended warranty commissions

We can code every commission condition exactly the way you want for fast and accurate paydays. And happy sales reps are productive sales reps.

We can even code commission for your fronter, takeover, collection, and retention teams.


What Report Do You Want?

Schedule a free test drive today and see what reports you can run to make your business more profitable.


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