The Art of Incremental Improvement to Achieving Inbound Sales Success


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“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was possibly the greatest innovator in the history of America. Imagine if he didn’t try to improve on unreliable incandescent light technology to create the light bulb. What if he gave up after the first couple iterations?

This incremental improvement ethos that Edison embodied should be a message for improving inbound sales in the contact center.

As within any industry, a lack of innovation and ‘following the herd’ are recipes for stagnant sales growth. Executives and managers are tired of ‘average’ sales. Conversion rates are always scrutinized, but seldom lead to sustainable improvement. We hear this day in and day out from new clients and contacts.

Incrementally improving conversion rates starts with creating a sales center environment that learns from failures and successes at each point in the inbound sales process. Each campaign and product is different, and each agent has unique methods and techniques to close the sale. Keeping tabs on all the moving parts can be a difficult task.

Here are four foundational policies and processes that help harness the micro improvements that can lead to real change.

  • Failing forward – creating a cultural dynamic that encourages agents to try new things will allow innovation to thrive.
  • Knowledge sharing – over the course of a campaign, agents will identify intricacies that help close the sale. Bottling this knowledge and sharing it is essential to giving other agents the most effective techniques.
  • Coaching and mentoring – create defined roles for coaches and mentors to guide and disseminate best practices help agents.
  • Identify the All Stars – in every sales environment, there are few who rise to the top. Identify these people, find out what they are doing differently, and document it.

Notice that all four of these pieces are not related to metrics, numbers, or data. It’s about creating a center that organically drives improvement. By the time a customer has picked up the phone and dialed, millions of dollars have likely been spent to get to this point in the sales cycle. It’s not enough to simply pick up the phone and take orders. Sustaining these improvements in the contact center environment requires exceptional focus and leadership to mastering the art of incremental improvement.

Marion Timpson
Marion Timpson is the founder and Chief Performance Officer for PlusOne Company. Marion's background started as a call center agent for a leading call center outsourcer. After quickly becoming one of the top sales producers in that organization, Marion decided to start PlusOne Company. Since the company's inception in 2008, PlusOne has risen to the top of the Direct Response industry as the company with the highest sales conversion rates.


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