In some cases, thousands of sales reps required guidance as they moved to a work-from-home environment. Although they faced adversity, some companies showcased an incredible ability to adapt, as they moved their everyday operations off-site, plugged their operations back in, and continued to work seamlessly.
“We had a lot of our IT organization working to get all of our service providers on to new technology and make sure the call routing and all of that was happening. While other teams were doing this for days and days, our team had already been working. Reps were plugged in up and running with the calls routing, just the way that they were, you know, seven hours before, but now in the work from home environment. We literally went home one night and then the next morning plugged in and all the calls routed the way that they did the day prior.” — Denise Drake, PAYCHEX
In light of recent events, when faced with work-from-home orders, companies that focused on leadership, communication, and technology adapted, and in many cases, thrived.
Drawing Inspiration From PAYCHEX and the LA Clippers During Tough Times
To dive deeper into real-life accounts, we partnered with the AA-ISP Chicago Chapter to host a panel discussion. During this chapter meeting, we uncovered some of the most forward-thinking, actionable strategies being used by real companies. Focusing on “the people, processes, and technology that supported them in a time of crisis.”
While their core goals were to minimize loss, support work-from-home operations, and continue to accelerate through the uncertainty of COVID, the systems, technology, and processes they implemented will continue to benefit them long after this pandemic has fully subsided.
Listen to our chapter meeting with Denise Drake (Manager and Enablement) of PAYCHEX and Jason Green (Vice President, Ticket Sales & Service) of the LA Clippers, both of whom are leaders across Fortune 500 and professional sports organizations. Our goal was to gain insight from two different perspectives, and although PAYCHEX and the LA Clippers are from two different worlds, there was a lot of overlap in terms of their recent experiences and how they responded to COVID-related challenges.
Since we’re all facing and coping with similar struggles, perhaps one of the most important questions we can ask is, what solutions are available and how can they be utilized across varying industries and businesses?
Millions of Employees Shifted to a Work-From-Home Protocol within Days
As reported in a recent World Economic Forum article, “Historically, remote working has been reserved for the privileged few. Citing reasons ranging from company policies to barriers for technology and internet access, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 29 percent of wage and salary workers could work-from-home in 2017-2018.”
“Crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees may be a thing of the past.” — Jes, Staley, Barclays CEO
Now, fast forward to late March 2020. In response to an unexpected pandemic, many companies began to transition to a work-from-home environment and as of May 1, 2020, 98 percent of the nation was working from home. In the process, many corporations found out that when you leverage the right technology and implement the right systems, productivity does not suffer; and that while working remotely, “the office” isn’t necessarily what allows an employee to accomplish their work tasks.
Chatting with Two Unique Companies—The Transition From Office to Home
For companies and organizations like PAYCHEX and the LA Clippers, within 24-48 hours, they needed to transition to a work-from-home environment, strategize, communicate, regroup, and then carry on as usual — well as close to “usual” as possible.
Denise shared with us that when the work-from-home order was first discussed, PAYCHEX focused on a rapid assessment in terms of how they’d keep their employees safe while allowing them to continue what they needed to do. Two days after that initial discussion began, the company moved more than 500 people to a fully operational work-from-home capacity. The following day, the entire sales division was working remotely.
“From a process perspective, a lot of the processes are through Salesforce and DialSource, so a lot of those processes didn’t change very much for our reps. They were used to logging into the system — it was just that they were working from a new place, maybe in comfier pants. — Denise Drake, PAYCHEX
Jason of the LA Clippers was also highly concerned about the people, both in terms of customers and employees. Within those first 48 hours, there were a lot of tough conversions conveying the importance of patience, communicating a sense of optimism. The first week was spent making outbound calls to their sales team to touch base and keep everyone in-the-loop. After that initial first week, outreach to current customers and group buyers began to see how they were impacted, and then three weeks into the initial shut down period, they hit the ground running with a new business approach — which they have been successfully rocking for weeks.
Both Denise and Jason agreed that during times like these, effective leadership and communication are imperative. When something like this happens, “there is no playbook,” Denise said, “we didn’t have all the answers, but when you’re a true leader, your team expects you to be honest.”
“We wanted to focus on what was right. It’s okay to be vulnerable, there’s a lot of uncertainty and you can’t over-communicate enough. Acute awareness around mental health is also incredibly important, making sure that our team was okay in terms of isolation was a top priority. A lot of our reps moved to LA to have this opportunity, so many do not have family close by — we made sure that they felt a sense of community.” — Jason Green, LA Clippers
How Technology Supported Such an Immense Transition
“When it comes to our tech stack, we look at it from a crawl, walk, run mentality. We rolled out our tech stack over time because your technology is only going to be as effective as the sales reps who use it,” said Jason.
Both PAYCHEX and the LA Clippers used the type of technology that allowed them to transition to a work-from-home environment, long before the 2020 pandemic. Their chosen tech stack meant that they were set up to adapt, as key systems and processes were already in place.
Here’s a closer look into some of the most important technology being used by these companies. This technology enables companies of all sizes to sell virtually from anywhere.
- Salesforce, for CRM, giving PAYCHEX a pulse on their business, especially in terms of smarter targeting
- DialSource, not only to dial and receive incoming calls but also to gain intelligence to understand what’s working
- DocuSign, for when they can’t be in front of a person
- TimeTrade, for intelligent online appointment scheduling
- WalkMe, to be able to push new materials towards sales reps in a consumable format
- Microsoft Dynamics, for many applications (i.e. video calls via Microsoft Teams)
- DialSource, “we’d be flying blind without DialSource”
- ClearSlide, for easy screen sharing
- Zipwhip, to better engage customers with texting
- ExecVision, for recording callings in order to address sales roadmaps
More on DialSource
“DialSource has been key. When it comes to CRM, it’s a foundational piece to any business. It’s how you understand who your customers are. CRM is the breadcrumbs along the way so that you can look back to see exactly what’s happened to better understand trends,” Jason said.
With the LA Clippers, work-from-home was never really a thing. Jason explained that DialSource held everything together, making the recent transition seamless. Sales reps were able to simply log in from their cells, just as they would from their office line.
When using DialSource, Jason said just some of the most pivotal benefits include:
- Understanding how many times their sales reps have to reach out to someone to get a conversation started.
- Knowing the optimal time to talk to someone before they’re able to move the sales process forwards.
- Access to data they can trust, which is huge. If a fan deals with multiple reps over the years, it’s important that interactions are personal. Knowing who that fan’s favorite player is, what their kid’s name is, and other such details are key. Having a central point of truth in Microsoft Dynamics makes the transition from rep to rep a lot smoother for fans.
As Denise said, “Technology is one thing, and it’s incredibly important during times like these, but we want partners to work through our road map and strategy. DialSource is more of a partner than a software. While stability is a close second during tough times, if you have the right partner, you can work through pretty much any challenge by showing up and figuring out what can be done together.”
For more information and guidance, be sure to check out the AA-ISP Knowledge Center to gain access to the best inside sales thought leaders, best practices, resources, and more!
Ready to make key changes within your business? Looking to better support your sales reps and customers? If so, request your live DialSource demo today!