A North American security software developer, selling to business organizations of all sizes, was concerned about the low rate of maintenance agreement renewals from its base of smaller customers (under 50 seats). Because they already knew that a call from the sales reps at 90, 60 and if necessary 30 days, was the major contributor to the better renewal rate among larger accounts, the sales force was mandated to begin calling on the smaller customers as well in exchange for a commission on the sale which had not been paid in the past.
Challenge– It proved to be a bad plan for a number of reasons.
Unlike the large accounts, records for the smaller customers were inconsistent and required a combination of different contact methods to reach them.
The sales team was not large enough to make all the necessary calls with voicemail and email follow ups to the full base of smaller accounts and so began to cherry pick the easier call backs to gain extra commissions.
While renewals increased, the smaller invoices offered a poor ROI relative to the cost of sale.
The time consuming calls generated short term renewal sales, but at the expense of more difficult new account development. Additionally, the calling for larger account renewals was becoming inconsistent.
Alternatives – Considered and rejected
High end outsourced telemarketers could manage the different types of contact needed but were more expensive than the in-house resources. Low end outsourced service providers were affordable, but lacked the management support to deal with the many different messaging alternatives needed to reach the accounts with any significant penetration.
Email only reminders provided some lift and a positive ROI, but used alone the overall impact was insignificant.
Increasing the telesales/telemarketing group was not cost effective.
Status quo was not acceptable, given the potential revenue.
The Solution –
A fluid combination of services from Boxpilot was used to reach this market and renew the agreements. Three unique voicemail messages were pre-recorded by the actual sales rep for the account and delivered at 90, 60 and if necessary 30 days prior to the renewal date. The first message was delivered using the guided voicemail service. For some companies, after the contact and direct dial information was verified on the first call, the 60 and 30 day messages were delivered using Boxpilot’s auto-guided service as a cost savings measure.
Each delivered message was followed up with a synchronized email – again from the individual sales rep. The emails offered additional information and an easy method to respond directly to their sales rep representative. Boxpilot’s Live Message service was used for the segment of the list without fully developed voicemail systems and in cases where the desired contact actually answered the phone.
Using the combination of four delivery methods and campaign management services from Boxpilot – Guided Voicemail, Synchronized email, Auto-Guided Voicemail and Live Message – the renewal rates of the test group were 18% higher than the control and the cost-per-sale was well within acceptable limits.
Background – A major software organization was looking to reduce the lag time on service renewals and improve cash flow. It was decided to include maintenance renewals as part of the sales team’s responsibilities. An email program, with messages going out in each reps name was undertaken and the sales reps were also charged with calling customers to remind them to renew on time.
Challenge – The sales team was not making enough calls to have a noticeable impact on renewals and the emails were not driving enough responses.
Increasing the number of emails was rejected due to concerns with over saturating the customer base with emails, since this was also the preferred communication tool for others groups within the company.
Penalizing the sales team for not meeting a renewal calling quota was rejected as maintenance renewals were a lower priority than new software sales – their main mandate.
Shifting the calling to an inside sales team was rejected since the team was too small to meet the volume and not trained to deliver outbound calls.
Outsourced telemarketing/telesales was rejected due to the high cost to contract enough callers to contact the large lists in a short time period.
. The messages not only altered customers to the renewal emails to be send within one day of the campaign, they also drove responses to the inbound call center which was well equipped to manage the inbound renewal requests. Boxpilot was selected because:
Having the sales reps record messages to their own client base supported renewals and an improved relationship with the reps.
The guaranteed delivery timing allowed the voicemails to support the emails and increase the email responses as well as inbound phone
Guided voicemail was considerably more cost effective than adding or outsourcing outbound telemarketing
The large customer base could be completely covered by voicemail over 1-2 day campaigns.
The delivery speed and low cost allowed for multiple voicemails to support responses.
Results– Within 60 days, inbound requests for maintenance renewals increased from 500 to 1200/month. This volume was sustained as long as the voicemail campaigns ran. Over the period of the program the cash flow lag time decreased from -60 days to -50 days.
A large non-software client needed to improve their renewal rates and the accuracy of revenue projections. In a weak market the contract renewal rate had been declining and even with over 61 dedicated phone reps, over 40% of renewal sales lapsed without any sales follow up.
Because the previous sales management had supported aggressive, high pressure selling tactics, the new sales team was subjected to many negative customer encounters when making renewal calls. As a result call volumes were well below objectives.
Email was considered and rejected as it created very low response rates. It also failed as a means to rebuild a personal and positive relationship with some irate customers.
Replacing reps who did not meet calling quotas was rejected since the problem extended to over 80% of the sales team.
The Company selected Boxpilot to execute an intensive calling campaign with voicemail plus synchronized email left 60, 45 and 30 days prior to renewals. The messages were recorded by the sales reps and provided information about renewals with a concerted effort to communicate the emphasis on better customer service and a positive tonality. Results:
Within 120 days the percentage of resolved renewals increased from 56 to 75% and the positive response for renewals increased from 25 – 33%. While the positive responses were lower than desired, they were significantly better than before and the company management was able to create benchmarks of anticipated renewals to create new incentives for both the customers and the sales team.