A Day in the Life of an Outbound Sales Team Manager

Friday, 18 October 2013

Posted by: William Dow - Team Manager, Stellar Europe

I wanted to share a bit of my story – how I got here, and what a typical day in the life of an operational team manager in a contact centre looks like from the inside!

My career goal was never to be a Team Manager, let alone work in a contact centre.  I decided to take a casual job in a contact centre for some easy money, with the intention of leaving when University started.  At the time my younger brother already had a contact centre job, and he promised me that it was a ‘fun place to work with good rewards for hard work’ – though I was sceptical. 

Who knew, but I found that I took to the sales environment very easily, and enjoyed the competition within the team to be the best performer.  After the first three months I found I was making good money, but more importantly and surprisingly, I was enjoying the job far more than I ever expected.  As a result, one year became two, then two became three and so on!  I never quite made it to University, but I have completed a number of Scottish Vocational Qualification courses supported by the company, which have proven very useful in my role, and have helped me develop my career.

Ok, enough about me, let’s get into a day in the life of a Team Manager.

Let’s not start with the usual clichés of ‘every day is different’, since that could be said by most Managers whether they work in a contact centre or the local fast food restaurant.  Granted, each day does bring its own fresh challenges, but the overall objective is pretty much the same; keep your team motivated to achieve the targets set out by the company and the client.

Prior to my team arriving for their shift, I get together with the other Team Managers for a morning meeting we call the huddle.  We discuss the successes and challenges from the previous day, agree what information needs to be rolled out to the frontline teams, and share best practises to help us drive performance forward for the day ahead.  One of the biggest things that I have learnt over the last few years here is how to think as a business owner, so I know how my team’s accountability will affect our ability to meet the business goals of the contract.  

With Huddle done; we then kick off a team brief with our agents.  This is my chance to say a big “well done” to the previous day’s big hitters, and share ideas and tips with anyone who needs some extra support.  The team will already know how they’re performing, as they always have real time access to their results (and those of their team), via our in-house business intelligence reporting tool – E.Q.u.i.P. (Efficiency, Quality, Integrity and Productivity. We’ll discuss how many sales we are looking for either hourly or for the day, and we mark up the targets on the sales board to be crossed off as the sales fly in during the course of the day.  Watching the end results get nearer is one of the most energising parts of a sales centre – and we’ve always got one eye on the board!

Time to get the day under way!  Once the team start making their calls, that’s when the real fun begins, with the agents jostling to see who can make it onto the board first and exceed yesterday’s highest performer. It never ceases to amaze me how driven my team can become as they edge closer to qualifying for the company incentive scheme.  We’re focussed not only on performance, but also on quality & compliance. Just as well, given the hefty fines being handed down to high profile brands by industry regulators these days for non-compliance!

I take a few minutes to draw up my “To Do” list in my diary, planning and prioritising what needs to be done, how crucial things are, and which tasks will have the biggest impact on individual and team performance.

I start my coaching with anyone who struggled the previous day, but sometimes before I am able to sit down with Joe Bloggs, who didn’t get a single sale the previous day, he has managed to put two sales on the board. In the case of some client accounts, this could equate to two thirds of the daily sales target for individuals, so the focus of the conversation would need to be tailored to enhancing whatever is working today – or I’ll work on finding other ways of supporting my team members. After all, we are all individuals and what works for some, does not always work for others in terms of motivation.

My company, Stellar, has developed a number of special systems aimed at helping operational management in their daily role to support our sales and customer service agents. I have a number of tools at my disposal to help the team get more out of their sales calls, but the starting point is generally our I.Q. dashboard. This dashboard is part of our business intelligence system and from here I am able to analyse agent and team performance, looking at questions like: Are we burning through contacts (Data)?  Is talk time low? Are we battling with customers who are too old to be eligible for the product or are already covered? 

Using the I.Q. RAG (Red/Amber/Green) system I can quickly see areas where further investigation or support may be required.

Coaching and reviewing performance obviously takes up a lot of the day as we look to make sure each agent knows where they need to be, but also working on how they are going to get there.  Coaching can be completed in a number of ways, including side by side and remote listening. However, at times a motivational chit chat works just as well as I listen to their challenges and try to spin a positive outlook to ensure that we have the team in the right frame of mind. I’m sure we’re all aware of the amount of outbound Telemarketing that takes place in the UK alone, so it’s no surprise that our sales agents are occasionally on the receiving end of an ear bashing from an irate customer who is annoyed at having to get off their couch in the middle of their favourite soap to answer a sales call! On the plus side, I know that we only make outbound sales calls with the full approval of our clients, so while there may be the occasional disgruntled customer, we’re always within regulation and providing the best service for the client and their customers alike.    

Although we are all one big team here, I generally find that team versus team and indeed agent versus agent competition is the best driver for the overall results.  A little friendly rivalry never hurt anyone!

Along with the daily duties I’ve already mentioned, I also liaise with other departments throughout the course of the day such as our ListeningCentre to ensure my team are making compliant sales. The ListeningCentre is our in-house Quality Assurance Department who listen to, and score a selection of sales and non-sales calls every day to ensure that we are adhering to client quality and regulatory guidelines.

All in all, every day really IS different - but the end result should be the same: achieving the campaign specific targets to ensure that I continue to deliver great outcomes for the client, strong revenue back to our business, and sharing the success with my agents.

This is the view from one team manager in one particular contact centre, and although every company is different, I’ve come to the conclusion that working in a contact centre such as Stellar can be very rewarding if you’re willing to work hard.

Give it a try.....you might be pleasantly surprised!

William Dow - Team Manager, Stellar Europe

 

If you are interested in working for Stellar please visit www.stellarbpo.co.uk or contact our Recruitment Hotline on 0845 658 5970

 

If you are a business and are considering outsourcing customer management services, please contact:

 

Brian McKee - Marketing Manager

Stellar Europe

4 Symington Place

i3 (formerly Riverside Business Park)

Irvine

Ayrshire

KA11 5DE

T: 01294 225337 / 07957818678

Email: bmckee@stellarbpo.co.uk

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