Financial Services Case Study: Field Sales for Product Launch

A large financial services company.

One of the world’s largest financial services companies came to Sales Partnerships asking to lead a large field sales effort for a new product rollout that would collect research information while distributing marketing materials to small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) across the United States. They wanted a field campaign that would not only boost their revenue for the new product, but also boost their brand awareness and affinity.

Although the company had previously worked with other national sales outsourcing firms, including one of the largest telephone-based sales outsourcing companies in North America, they had only been able to achieve limited success. Furthermore, no other sales outsourcing firm they had contacted had the technical capabilities to lead a field sales program this expansive.

Sales Partnerships was able to develop a program that would not only expand the financial service company’s footprint in new markets, but also grow market share within areas they already had an existing presence.

The program’s objectives were set into four main goals:

  1. Drive awareness of the client’s product portfolio and determine the SMB merchant’s disposition toward the company.
  2. Communicate new product benefits and value.
  3. Gain a commitment from customers to use the product.
  4. Place signage up for the customer to promote their brand to the SMB merchants’ customers.

The Client’s Problem
The program immediately presented some intriguing and complex challenges that telephone-based sales had had limited success with. We knew a higher level of customer engagement would be necessary, and it would start with field teams getting face-time in front of the financial service company’s targeted businesses. Acquiring that crucial face-time with more than 3 million SMB’s in an effort to explain the benefits of the new product would be challenging, and working with limited data and a constantly changing customer footprint would require a particularly dynamic solution.

Another glaring challenge was learning how to properly communicate the value of the new product while thwarting any initial trepidation the salesperson may impose. Gaining enough trust from SMB owners and employees to put up store-front signage required salespeople to not only be personal, but informative about the brand.

Finally, the program would require a robust database with a user-friendly interface that would not only save representatives field time, but be able to handle the massive amount of information being input throughout the day. Furthermore, taking the newly-learned information from customers and entering it into a database required every representative in the field to be equipped with mobile devices, applications that could plan and route their territory as well as transmit information back to the database in real-time, and to be completely trained on how to properly use everything.

The Sales Partnerships Solution
Onboarding, training and sending this many sales teams into the field to work with this many customers this quickly had never been done before, and was often described as Herculean. Seasoned sales professionals were quickly hired and trained on the program, brand standards and best practices, and then sent into the field to start making impressions. Quality assurance teams were built to re-assure all field representatives were highly committed to serving the client, stuck to brand standards and financial regulatory scripts, and represented the client’s business with integrity.

“Sales Partnerships has the brains and can do the math to make complicated sales programs simple.”
 – Director of Sales and Marketing, Client company

The financial services company’s business datasets were run through a Residential Business Delivery Indicator (RBDI) process and integrated into our proprietary Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping solution. A new suite of Business Intelligence (BI) applications were then developed and launched so that field representatives would be provided with real-time, pinpointed information about the businesses in their territory, as well as a place to store information collected about the business’ disposition toward the new product. Once representatives began pulling in field data, the information was extrapolated and used to adjust territories and continue maximizing ROI for the client.

Within 6 months of launch, Sales Partnerships had placed field teams into more than 110 MSA’s and were achieving positive ROI almost immediately. New teams were active in the field within 3 weeks of hire and an overall representative retention rate of above 90% was maintained. Field teams grew from 70 representatives to 300 representatives, and more than 1 million pieces of marketing material were given to customers within 10 months.

Signage being introduced into storefronts helped produce an $80 million spend lift in as little as 8 months, and conversations had with SMB’s helped improve brand affinity across the board. Beyond that, stigmas and antiquated myths about the financial services company began fading.

“Sales Partnerships is more than a staffing agency. They are a customizable sales force that became an integral part of our growth strategy.”
 – Director of Sales and Marketing, Client company

By collecting data in the field in real-time, Sales Partnerships was afforded the ability to work hand-in-hand with the client to adjust future training, improve targeting, and continue refining their brand message in order to keep increasing their return on investment. After one year of work with a team of 300 field representatives, more than $1 billion in new client revenue has been generated and stigmas surrounding the financial service company have dramatically decreased.

No similar program has ever successfully been launched by another sales outsourcing company in American history.

Program Highlights

  • Worked closely with the client on new training, training methodology, messaging and targeting to expand effectiveness in the field and provide the client with complete transparency.
  • Began with 70 field reps in January 2016 and grew to 300 by October 2016. Maintained over 90% retention rate.
  • Created a quality control team to verify field representatives were highly committed to serving the client, sticking to brand standards and financial regulatory scripts, and represented the client’s business with integrity. Twenty-two managers and two regional directors were hired to expand the scope of the quality control division and improve the quality and performance in the field.
  • Built a customized data capture software application for the client using geo-mapping and territory management tools, as well as integrating reporting and analytics.
  • Used customized software to facilitate, process, and deliver 3.3 million customer records and subdivide those into territories for all 300 field agents. Used new data captured by field reps via tablets to continually prioritize and target the best opportunities.
  • Warehoused and distributed more than 1 million pieces of client marketing materials that were left with SMB customers in 2016, making the entire program turnkey for our client.

About Sales Partnerships, Inc.
Sales Partnerships continued growth as the market leader in field sales outsourcing in 2015 and 2016. During this timeframe, our clients’ profitability in field sales outsourcing to us, at minimum, doubled when compared to their prior sales outsourcing vendors or internal programs. Sales Partnerships was responsible for more than $1B in revenue closed for our clients with deals “stickiness” doubling our clients’ industry averages.

With a program success rate of almost 90% (measured as beating quota during the proof of concept period then sustaining beating quota every quarter), our 2:1 out-performance of our competitors set Sales Partnerships as the standard for the market.

Sales Partnerships’ recognitions include several Stevie awards (top outsourced sales team, top field sales team, top training systems, top recruiting systems, finalists for sales representatives of the year/sales managers of the year), various industry awards, and 3 Inc. 500/5,000 wins.