What has changed or driven things in the BPO world in the previous year? How is your company affected by the pandemic?
Last year has been truly disruptive. When the pandemic started, the whole BPO sector turned remote, and no one has ever desired, allowed, or considered having their teams, individual reps, operate remotely at scale.
In this episode, Jason Sterns from Transparent BPO, and I talk about his experiences in leading a sales team, and as business development for the company.
Learn from the challenging experiences that occurred in the BPO Industry when the whole world shifted as the pandemic came in and what alternatives were developed.
Find out if your Sales Operation in Scalable
Or go to Jason’s HUB – www.JasonCutter.com
Connect with Jason on LinkedIn
Jason is the VP of Business Development for Transparent BPO, which is focused mainly on building teams in Belize to support their clients. Jason has been a business development professional for over 17 years and he joins me today to talk about the world of sales and sales leadership – both from the perspective of selling clients on using Transparent’s services, as well as running his own internal business development team.
Jason: What’s going on everybody so glad that you’re joining us on the scalable call center centers, sales podcast. My name again is Jason cutter. And my guest today, I am really excited about because he works for a company called transparent BPO.
[00:00:13] His name is Jason Sterns and he is the VP of business develop. At transparent, uh, which they’re mostly focused on building teams and Belize and around the world to support their clients. Uh, he himself has been in business development roles for over 17 years and he is joining me so that we can talk about both sides.
[00:00:36] That are interesting to me because he’s leading a sales team, he’s got his own internal sales operations that I want to talk to them about. And then as business development for transparent, he’s reaching out to companies. And so he has insight into what other brands, what other businesses are doing and then how they’re helping solve some of their sales challenges.
[00:00:54] So this should be a good one to talk about both perspectives, the internal and the external from a BPO’s perspective. Jason, welcome to the scalable call center sales part.
[00:01:05] Well, thank you very much for having me very excited about, uh, talking about a lot of things and thanks for the invite and nice to see your face as we’ve, as you mentioned before, it’s been a while since we’ve got a chance to talk.
[00:01:14] So it was great to see you. Yep. It’s been a while and, uh, you know, conference season is just starting to warm up at some point. Uh, we like many people I’ve been working on meeting up with we’ll actually meet in person. So that should be fun. I’m super looking for it. As I mentioned in the intro, I was looking forward to this conversation because usually someone’s either managing their own team internally or selling externally in some kind of capacity, especially when it comes to call centers.
[00:01:42] But you’re doing both because you have a team and you’re doing that outreach. Let’s talk about that. What you’re seeing now externally, like over the last year, like before we hit record, you were sharing some things with me, like the trends that you’re seeing from a outsourced service provider. And if somebody is not familiar with BPO it’s business process outsourcing a lot of times, that’s either admin support customer service tech support.
[00:02:07] In this case here, we’re talking specifically, you know, potentially sales campaigns. Phone campaigns. So what are you seeing that’s changed or driven things for the last year?
[00:02:18] I think probably the most important. You know, thing to talk about is just the disruption. Um, whether it was, uh, you know, the pandemic and then really kind of what happened after the post pandemic.
[00:02:30] And as we deal with things, I think that the, uh, the BPO industry had a very. We’ve always talked to BPO house, always cycling. There’s always been conversation at cars going off shores, going nearshore, whatnot. I’ve never felt that was the case. I always felt like this, this cycle, as you know, as it were kind of test these different markets, but I feel like this last year has finally been truly disruptive and mostly because historically you kind of have.
[00:02:52] Kind of a hierarchy of like off shore or near shore. We’re going to do tier one customer support, maybe some back office operations, maybe near shore. Um, and, and domestic locations are going to do tier two and some more sales and in the U S and domestic markets we know, or in-house, or is the only markets that we truly trust our sales, you know, touches.
[00:03:14] I feel like that’s kind of, for once it’s kind of gone out the door due to the pressures of, um, hiring people. Attrition’s really scaling up and a lot of brands that I’ve talked to, honestly, that I felt like if I talked to him a year ago, or two years ago, three years ago, we’re like, we’re not even going to consider.
[00:03:30] Outsourcing or our sales. And I feel like that’s all gone out the door and they’re really looking at any possible market. And of course it’s a traditional reasons why like, uh, you know, reducing costs. But I think also like, Hey, do you have a stable, uh, geography for hiring? What’s their education? Do they understand, uh, the, you know, the brand or the service we provide.
[00:03:50] And I feel like a lot of these, um, hindrances or obstacles are kind of out the door because it’s almost like a sense of desperation where we need to solve this problem tomorrow. And I’ve heard so many stories of that have been starting to ask the question a little bit more often of like, what, give me an example.
[00:04:04] Like, well, we just had a hiring class of 25. We had five people. We had three people show up and so they’re dramatically under understaffed. And so I feel like that’s probably the number one change of the industry trends, especially in the past three, four months that I’ve been hearing consistently.
[00:04:21] It’s so fascinating that you say that because I think one of the things I saw, which then leads into your experience is that when the pandemic hit, everyone went remote. It was literally this whole industry, which is call centers, sales, telephone sales, where I’ll just say it pretty much nobody ever wanted or allowed or thought of having their teams, their individual.
[00:04:46] Working from home working remote at scale, right? Like maybe there’s some companies with some teams, but not like that. Now, when you talk about a call center and then overnight everyone had to adjust. And then for me it seemed like there’s that desperation piece that you’re talking about, which I want to cover, but there’s also resetting the possibility, which is wait a second.
[00:05:05] Maybe I don’t have to have someone sitting in my office to do this thing. Right, because I don’t have a choice which then leads to, well, maybe somebody else can also help me with this. Right. You know, a different office or offshore shore. Right, right. You know, and, and outside of the BPO, like every, everybody in this industry has been challenged to do things differently.
[00:05:27] And there’s been so many amazing success stories of, oh, we got all our computers, you know, and agents homes and eight days or seven days, or whatever is a lot of people have success. But then kind of the 2.0, as like. Wait, how do we hire people? How do we train people now? How do we coach them? How do we get together and keep them inspired?
[00:05:45] Or if someone’s going to attrit, how do we have a quick conversation to figure out, like, why, why are they doing this? Instead of just an email comes in and saying, I quit and that’s the end of it. So I think it’s just been this ongoing learning process for absolutely everybody Western internal operations or with our BPO partner.
[00:06:03] It’s, it’s, it’s been probably the most fascinating change in our industry. So speaking about that desperation part, because I can totally see that, especially when we talk about pharma, the hiring standpoint, a scalability standpoint, depending on who, when somebody listens to this or where they’re located in the world, it’s very challenging in the states to hire people for many reasons, which we don’t need to get into all those details and find the people that you want to fill things, you know, In most industries right now, uh, it’s challenging.
[00:06:32] Where are you seeing that leading to with your sales cycles, with your ability to help brands? Let’s say that desperation, just use that word. Um, and then where is it also? Like it’s not working. You’ve seen companies make the wrong choice out of desperate. Hmm, that’s a great question. And the second part is that’d be interesting to take a while to get the hindsight of like where you, where do you think they went wrong?
[00:06:56] I, I think the, um, traditionally our sales process is a long sales process, especially with larger, you know, the fortune 500, the four to 1000 organization. There is a bit of regiment around it where we, we have. Possibilities. And then we have certain questions and then we evaluate those questions. We have a team that do that most brands now, because going back to the word desperation, they don’t have the timeline to do that.
[00:07:21] Um, also there may be a little bit short on their internal resources and internal resources or dealing with other let’s label them as fires, you know, that are going on. So they wouldn’t even have the resource available, so that timelines greatly decrease. Um, and they like, we need to make a decision now, now they’re not throwing the.
[00:07:39] The process out the window, but they’re moving a lot quicker on that. Um, I think also, I think there was certain mindsets before of like, we’re only gonna look at, you know, this jock or for you, or this region, I’ve noticed that they’re looking at multiple regions and also within the regions, they’re also adding additional countries within that.
[00:07:58] Like, oh, you know what? We’re going to look at these countries as well, because we can’t leave any stone unturned. We need to make sure we can quickly find them. Organization, hasn’t gone away though. When you have these conversations, there are still certain mindsets. Um, what, I still always find fascinating where it can be anywhere from, you know, how strong is your redundancy or is your what’s your infrastructure like, and then down to, you know, the traditional questions, if this near shore off shore, is it safe?
[00:08:26] You know, is it okay to visit there? So even though they’re willing to look at stuff, there’s still those certain mindset where they have a little bit of hesitancy about certain areas or, um, I kind of ideas in their head about like what it would be like. So they’re still asking the same questions, but they’re a little bit more easily accepted when you dress up.
[00:08:45] And then as far as like, if there is a mistake that’s going on, I still feel that it’s price where. You know, when you, when you look at everything and there’s some, there’s some gray areas where it’s kind of those soft areas that you’re trying to evaluate, what kind of come down to, well, at least let’s choose the lowest price.
[00:09:04] And then at least we can point to that. Like we, we talked to. 12, you know, fenders. And we had this many too in RFI, we chose a lowest price and at least they can kind of put their, their, you know, stake on that and say, well, at least, you know, we, we thought we made the right decision. We’ll fix it later on.
[00:09:19] And I think that’s probably, maybe that’s happening a little bit more often, uh, due to making a quick decision. Yeah. And that’s interesting from a sales process and sales cycle, like selling to someone who might pick the lowest price vendor, the lowest price option. In my experience, especially in longer sale, multiple stakeholder type decisions.
[00:09:40] It’s really wanting to hedge that bet. If they’re wrong, at least they weren’t wrong about that, right? Like if they pick the wrong vendor, but it’s the higher price one, then they really look bad. They pick the wrong one and it’s low. It’s like, well, at least it wasn’t the most expensive. So something to keep in mind in that that feels like, and also for any, uh, brands, buyers, customers listening to this at any level, right.
[00:10:03] Is to be careful, they making the decisions, not just based on a fear, you know, CYA versus, you know, what’s. Correct. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. So got these companies that are actively looking for this, uh, looking for help in various ways. Right. And, and just industries in general. So when we talk about that part, I was thinking, you know, if they’re looking to make these actions, which ones for you, cause you’ve been doing this for a long time, right?
[00:10:32] So you’ve been in this industry essentially for 17 plus years. Which ones do you see are going to be successful? With you not just outsourcing, but also building a scalable sales process, right. Internally, externally, whether they’re using, you know, transparent for it or just scaling it on their own, what have you found?
[00:10:51] Like you’ve talked to someone you’re like, okay, this is going to work because they have fill in the blank or this is not going to work because literally blank. Uh, man, that’s a, that’s a great question. I think that. Kind of understanding, you know, as simple as what’s the goal, and I’m going to try to avoid using the phrase end of the day, but I said it anyway, right?
[00:11:12] Uh, where, you know, what, what are we trying to do? And I think then it’s like building it backwards to how do we, how do we ensure the success of that? So, you know, in a sales thing, I always look at as you’re actually trying to solve a problem. So whether it’s a widget or a process or a service. Utterly you’re sharing the opportunity to solve that problem.
[00:11:34] So if it’s like a, you know, I’ll pick an industry out of boot, like an E pharmacy, you know, with any pharmacy, you’re consolidating medications. Um, you’re saving time, usually for an older demographic where they don’t have to go to multiple pharmacies. It also possibly saves money for them. And also it helps them manage their health and essence.
[00:11:53] So it’s like, to me, it’s like, we’re helping, helping. So then it’s just, how do we make sure that when our, an employee, whether it’s internally or with a BPO, doesn’t matter who it is when they’re talking to a prospect, how do we make sure that they are sharing how they’re going to help? So that goes back to kind of the people process and technology, and just really making sure you have that set up.
[00:12:14] So do you have the right tools in place to make sure that. I look at it more of like, there’s nothing getting in the way. Is it easy to document what happened to the, is it easy to look at reporting? Is it easy to, for a coach to listen in live, listen, and then quickly kind of provide some guidance or some corrections, and then is it, do you have the right process around like, uh, are you have the right rebuttals?
[00:12:38] Are you have the right, um, kind of intro around that and do wrap it up right while you’re describing the product. Right. Kind of set up the right way to really, again, make sure they understand how this is going to solve their problem. And then of course, how the right people, whether it’s with the BPO or internal, are you, what are the right job skills?
[00:12:55] Do you have the right hiring profile? And then do you have the right methods to, uh, assess them, interview them and bring them on board and train them. So it’s kind of, again, it’s more of just, what are we trying to do and then work backwards and make sure we have all those steps on that. And I think that’s critical regardless if it’s an internal or a what’s the BPO.
[00:13:15] Got it. And I think that’s great because when I’m listening to you talk, it’s just reminding me of all the steps that go into building that skill. So many. Yeah. Which has makes us industry overall fascinating. There’s just so many pieces. It’s just, it’s always interesting. And it’s always evolving.
[00:13:34] Products and service change. Consumers change. Our world has changed as we’ve talked about in the past few months where everything is always changing. And that’s probably why I’ve always loved this industry because it’s very complex and there’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not just set it up and it’s going to be the same forever.
[00:13:50] Like you can’t just set up a script and have people dial on it and have the right results. Eventually those results fall. Slowly change over time. So there’s a lot of pieces to it, which you’re well aware of because I know how much you’ve gone done with consulting and sales. Yeah. And, and I can imagine the challenge that you have.
[00:14:09] All right. Mine’s a little different one is consulting. Cause I’m going to fill in those gaps and build them. But from your perspective, when you’re dealing with a potential client with a brand, somebody who wants your help and they’re missing those things, right? Like the list you just gave, which is a great start to the list of what it takes to be successful internally or externally with a sales operation, like having goals and having, you know, training and having recruiting and you know, things that sound basic.
[00:14:36] When we talk about. But so many companies don’t have those things. Right? I mean, I can imagine the difficulty when you reach out or someone reaches out to you and they’re like, yeah, we want you to, you know, help expand our sales operations. You’re like, what are your goals? Well, we just want them to sell as much as they can.
[00:14:52] It’s like, I mean, how often does it happen, where you meet a company and maybe you guys don’t play in that space anymore. If the companies that are, are not structured enough. Um, but does that happen where somebody is just like, there’s a lot of, no, it, it happens. It happens all the time. Jason, so including my years of BP, yo sales, like I, I’ve been very fortunate where I had, I did have a stint about a year, um, with a six Sigma process improvement company and they consulted, uh, organizations all the time.
[00:15:22] So I walked away with that with a pretty strong understanding of. Kind of all those things that go into it. So when I, when I talked to organization, of course, I’m kind of going after goals. It’s like, why, why are you even doing this? Why are you even looking? And or what, you know, what are your traditional problems and pain points.
[00:15:41] And then as you kind of work backwards and I have this pretty intensive discovery document that goes through again, the people process, the technologists kind of understand what they have in place. It’s interesting how many things are missing. I’m like, okay. How do you know, what is your hiring profile look like?
[00:15:57] Oh, we don’t have one. Or the most common one is oftentimes training is often overlooked. So it’s either, um, you know, just a bunch of pieces of paper that you know, is a little bit on product is a little bit on the system and in this, how you do it. So like often. These gaps in it. And to be honest, it happens at all levels of organizations.
[00:16:18] Sometimes certain areas are just overlooked or haven’t been looked at for a while and then the rest of the company is evolving. And there’s a little piece of it that it’s just been kind of sitting there and can get more and more archaic or no one’s ever noticed that we don’t have anything in this little bucket for how to do that.
[00:16:32] So it’s always a supply now, granted, it’s just a couple of organizations when you talk to them, they’re just exceptionally from front to back, they got everything, you know, Yeah and nailed down. Um, but oftentimes, yeah, it’s just, and it’s, and it’s not, uh, a lack of effort or anything like that. It’s just businesses busy, you know, and everybody’s busy doing things and sometimes things get overlooked and it’s not as much of a priority as they may think it is.
[00:16:57] Yeah. And in my experience too, like this one area will be important, right? If there’s all these categories that go into a successful sales operation, one part is important. That’s built. And then this is like training is built and then this is built and then this is built and then everything increases and the company scales and gets bigger.
[00:17:13] And then all of a sudden they go back to train and go, weight training is no longer enough. Like that was cool when it was 10 people. Now we need to get to a hundred. Right. And it’s just like these steps that happen. Uh, and I deal with that a lot with companies where. They never thought of that, or it’s old, it’s outdated, but it was good at one size, but not anymore.
[00:17:32] Sales is notable for promising. They can do things that then ours has to deal with. Right. And I know that you guys handle things a little differently because I cannot imagine that happening there. Uh, but most origins, you know, sales writes checks that, uh, ops has to cash. How do you ensure the success? So that doesn’t happen just in jail.
[00:17:53] I think that this kind of goes back again to my experience, to the, you know, doing a little bit of the consulting, working kind of getting under the hood, but also ultimately the reason I do this still, and I’ve been doing it for a long time is I, I ultimately like to help people. I love. Probably my favorite thing still is to provide jobs, not as the end of the day.
[00:18:13] Like I said it twice, right? I hope people get jobs and that’s incredibly satisfying that you, you know, where, you know, my hometown Fort Collins, Colorado in the past to believe the Philippines, it’s incredibly rewarding. I know you do that, but also you’re helping, um, I love helping businesses and the people that you get to know, there’s a lot of great people out there and you’re helping them solve that problem.
[00:18:37] I really don’t like the idea of making a false promise and then having this awkward, where we’re just to get the sale, we’re ultimately not solving the problem. So I do like to be very kind of, that’s why I do love our company name, transparent BPO, because I love being incredibly transparent during the sales process as well.
[00:18:54] Historically, and today, I, I typically don’t have that challenge, but as part of the, kind of that discovery of really getting to know their challenges and their goals and making sure I understand technology and their hiring profile, you take all that information. And that should be a very smooth transition to the operations team.
[00:19:11] So they, they understand everything that I understand from desired, uh, geography to their pain point to. What their desired ramp is. And when, when the most calls come in during the day and their seasonal time and, and, you know, tell us the worst time you ever had in the last year, just to kind of know what those problems are.
[00:19:28] It helps so much in the long run because the operations team is totally onboard as well. Like, this is exactly how they’re going to help. And they’re thinking ahead of like, you know what? We have the app. Best operations manager. They’ve dealt exactly what this type of client in the past, or there we have a team lead, we’re going to make sure they should absolutely, uh, apply for this because they’re great at rebuttals with home product sales, you know, like, so then everybody’s kind of bored cause you really want to have that success of the implementation and those first 90 days, and then from a year from now.
[00:20:00] So I, I think that, you know, making sure that. Uh, going for the smoothest and best result for your prospective client. I, I think it makes it a lot easier to involve operations and your client services at the right time and fairly early on to make sure that everybody really understands this is how we can best help solve the problems that this prospect.
[00:20:21] Hey, it’s Jason here. We’ll be right back to the podcast in a moment, but first, are you ready to help your inside sales team close more deals? In my experience, there’s a certain percentage of your team that acts more like order takers than sales professionals. The first step to creating a scalable sales team is to equip your reps with the right mind.
[00:20:38] And proven strategies to transform them into quota breakers, to build a team of authentic persuaders that will crush their goals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.Cutterconsultinggroup.com. So I’m just going to say this for anybody that’s listening to this. That’s in charge of an organization.
[00:20:58] What you just shared. I want people to hear that maybe even go back and listen. You as a salesperson because that’s what you are, right? VP of business development, but you’re selling and you are so focused on the end, result success for the client, but also internally for the employees, which in my experience is the difference maker of a salesperson who’s successful long-term and produces good clients for a company.
[00:21:27] Versus salespeople who sell today, don’t care, what happens, take their money and run, and then potentially produce bad clients for any company. And I’ve seen lots of different companies in different verticals. So it applies to everybody. Uh, and I appreciate what you said, where you’re looking at jobs and then like essentially your worst nightmare, right?
[00:21:48] It would be devastating for you. If you set up the wrong campaign, people got hired and then people got fired because. It wasn’t done. Right, right. Exactly. Aspect. Um, so for people listening to that leaders, like that’s what you want to create internally is that kind of culture, which I know that’s, you know, what Scott Newman, uh, your CEO has, uh, has done with transparent because I know many people there.
[00:22:11] So I appreciate that. You know, doing the right thing from a sales perspective. Thank you. Yeah. And of course, there’s so many things up front that, and you know, doing this for 17 years, I have a closet full of mistakes here and there, wherever, and you go back to like, well, I should have said that, you know, a little bit differently.
[00:22:28] And, and I think I was very fortunate going back historically, where I think I’ve been very lucky where I actually started out. And inside sales, you know, and that’s probably, that’s a tough way to learn the business cause you just have to make a lot of calls and quickly, I always talk about that first 30 seconds.
[00:22:48] Maybe it’s 15 seconds to get the 30 seconds to get the minute to then eventually get those outstanding 30 minute discovery calls and whatnot. But it’s a really good at honed in. It’s very challenging to get to the point and borrow a little bit of time. And most of these people. So many emails and call.
[00:23:07] So to cut through that without being too pushy as always very challenging. So I feel like I’ve been very blessed where I was able to kind of work my way through kind of the hard way and get a sense of really, you know, how to engage with someone and then build a bit of a relationship later on where you’re trusted on both ways, where I’m able to provide something valuable to them.
[00:23:28] So let’s take a little detour since you mentioned it. And let’s talk about Jason Stearns, the salesperson, those, those early years you were talking about, what did you find that helped you succeed? In turning that 15 seconds into 30 seconds into a minute. Like, what was it that you found worked for you or that you did just so people, you know, in sales, listening to this might I, I have a few philosophies.
[00:23:52] So one, I don’t like too much verbiage or buzzwords. I’m more of a, I’d like to figure out something that translates. And I’m a number like we re we help company X increase sales, conversion rates by X percent. That’s just a universal language for, at least are thinking well, I’m in the cable industry and you’re talking about pharmacy.
[00:24:13] If you can increase it by 20%, even if you give us 5%, you know, lift, that’s pretty good. So like that universal language where, okay, they increased. Um, you know, that’s always very helpful. Um, uh, for me, uh, the other thing is just more of, I just don’t think that we’re very busy people and I even personally, when I, you know, I always take sales calls, semis curious how they do that.
[00:24:36] I’m a big question fan. If they’re kind of asking, question always goes a long way where you’re learning a little bit. Instead of just instantly trying to spit out the history of, um, the organization and how long they’ve been in business and whatnot. There’s some things that just are not that important.
[00:24:54] Um, and then also you had to be very exceptionally adaptable. I know you’ve had a long history in sales as well, where, um, just every person’s different. So you kind of have to be able to kind of quickly ascertain of their temperature or how they’re, how receptive to you are. Change it a little bit, which is kind of hard to say, I don’t know how someone listening to that.
[00:25:15] Like, well, which way do I change that? It’s hard to do that, but to attempt to try to change that, um, usually it goes a long way as well. And then, you know, I hate to say this, but it is still a numbers game. You can’t. You know, I used to make sports analogy or training methodology, but like, you can’t run a marathon.
[00:25:32] If you don’t train a little bit, you gotta get up every day. You gotta run a little bit and you gotta run a little bit harder and it’s, it’s amazing. 17 years later, we’re still as a numbers game, you will not get anywhere. Pick up the phone or send some emails and, or go to a conference and, and get out of your hotel room and just network with a little bit with people and, and sometimes be comfortable with just learning.
[00:25:57] You don’t always have to get a sale on every networking pitch he makes. Sometimes it’s just making those relationships. So it’s still very much a numbers game where you have to be, you have to put a lot into it to get anything out of it. Yeah. And I think the second to the last point that you made about being adaptable, there’s always that balance, right.
[00:26:14] Which is the authenticity piece. You want to be who you are, but then you also got to adapt to who you’re talking to and flow that conversation, especially in the beginning. Right. Especially if you’re turning that 15 seconds into 30 seconds. So yeah, exactly. I love that list. Now, how many people do you have on your team?
[00:26:32] On the business side. So it’s changed quite a bit. Um, so, uh, for a long time, it was a very small team. We had a, uh, a marketing manager and me as a VP of sales and I reported directly up to Scott Newman, our CEO, we have adapted a little bit where he’s kind of. Moved him more into the head of the sales team.
[00:26:51] There’s another VP of sales and marketing along with me that a long time veteran, uh, very strong veteran in the industry. Uh, that’s you know, has a lot of relationships in an industry like me. Uh, we have a new, um, Digital marketing manager with a lot of experience and dealing with media and digital campaigns and email campaigns and work in that B2B space.
[00:27:15] And then we’ve also added kind of insight. I’ll call them inside sales to do those 32nd conversations and then kind of a new role that we added as, um, we’re kind of call it like sales analytics, but trying to find. People and the right. Um, whether it’s an industry or maybe someone that’s dealing with the pain point.
[00:27:35] So going back to, uh, who might be dealing with us attrition. So what companies might like might likely be in that, and then what, um, possible decision-makers fall under that? Or maybe it’s like a seasonal ramp, like right now, summer seasonal, we have a big. They’re dealing with a lot. We need to hire a lot of people probably don’t want that pain point of having a hard time hiring, but like your lawn mowing companies and in grill manufacturer, whatnot.
[00:27:59] So again, like kind of like this analytics of like, who’s likely in a, in a need of the services at the time and reaching out. So this team has changed quite a bit and the company has grown quite a bit where we used to be. Uh, two centers and beliefs moved up to three. We moved into a new region of, uh, beliefs in Belmont pan and addition to the belief city locations, uh, the Philippines operations.
[00:28:22] And as I mentioned before, previous to the podcast for looking at other near shore locations, so to deal with that growth, like let’s kind of building a more mature and scalable sales team for other sales leaders out there, or just business leaders who are listening. What have you found works well with them?
[00:28:41] Like diverse team. It’s not just a sales manager and a bunch of salespeople on the phone. You’ve got essentially call it five people doing five different roles that all have to be rowing the same direction. What have you guys found? What is what’s some best practices internally for that team? I’m going to borrow what you just said best practices.
[00:29:01] And I think that I, you know, I, I like to point out my faults. Um, mightily, I I’ve, I’ve usually been in very small teams or a solo salesperson serve very much a generalist, which is great. Cause I’m going back to adaptable. I’ve worked in a lot of different industries and, but also because I’ve been working pretty much across every industry possible.
[00:29:23] Possible touch point from tech support to sales calls, um, general since sometimes you’re just not a, an expert in these small areas. So I’m not an expert on digital marketing and I’m not an expert on HubSpot management and the tools and everything like that. So I think we’re really kind of filling these gaps of like, There’s enough gaps here that we need to fill it in with someone who’s very strong in either HubSpot or, uh, managing email campaigns or find the research and, and kind of fill in those gaps where, uh, you know, we’ve identified enough, uh, enough of them that Hey to correct these gaps, let’s find someone that’s really good at it is the best way to describe it.
[00:30:03] Got it. And, and I love that self-awareness of that. You said that you’re more of a general yeah. You’re not super great in these specific things, especially the digital marketing and then just, you know, having the team, communication’s always good that self-awareness though is the key. Some people just assume they know everything about everything and then it can get in the way, you know, they don’t realize who they, who they really need help with to fill in, you know, the spots.
[00:30:29] Absolutely. I mean, I joke where I sometimes. You know my kids’ names. Um, but like, if so, how could I keep track of like everything going on in the banking industry and in compliance, there’s just, it’s such a huge practice and it’s impossible for one person to do that. Yeah. I love it. Okay. So let’s shift a little bit longer to talking about the operations for transparent internally.
[00:30:51] What was going on? I know that there was a lot of success in getting people stood up, getting through all this. What have been some of the biggest challenges. That transparent is faced on the team side, right. In, in servicing clients or staffing, or, you know, all of those challenges this year. Um, and then what we’ll do is we’ll talk about, or if you want to just continue on like what you project into 2022 for yourself and just, you know, call centers.
[00:31:19] There’s been a couple of challenges and I think some of them would apply to kind of a 2020 challenge with, and I’m sure every industry has dealt with us tonight. We touched on it earlier where this transition to a work from home model. So, um, COVID had everywhere and including beliefs, which is our, where our brick and mortar locations for operating our Philippines operations has always been worked from home.
[00:31:41] So the focus was really on beliefs at when it kind of rolled. Everything was rolling. We’re like, Hey, it’s going to hit bullies. We were fortunate to be honest, Jason, where we saw the impact that had in Europe and the us. So we had a little bit of runway, but we still had to move very quickly. And again, those physical things of getting laptops and in agent’s hands was relative.
[00:32:02] And the it team will kill me when I hear this relatively easy, you know, but still it’s a ton of work. But then to the, you know, as I mentioned before, like what happens next? And it was a lot of things, as I mentioned, like the hiring and the coaching and whatnot, but it was really interesting about transparent BPO.
[00:32:17] And I will throw a little bit of sales in here and cut me off if I go too far. But I think what was, what was fascinating is a quick recognition of. Okay, we’re doing this, but we’re uncomfortable with several things. And I really think everybody else is going to be uncomfortable with this as well. And we developed kind of a, we would call it a work secure suite.
[00:32:38] It is in a technology application for a work from home operations, but it’s really tackling a few things that everybody should very worried about, including us is, uh, the background noise. You know, what do you deal with, with kids in the background and people working from their home? That’s a concern, the.
[00:32:56] Kind of security and compliance around that. Like how do you maintain information security and then, uh, how do you kind of make sure it’s we’re up, you know, I’ve dealt with it often, not with your home internet service provider a little up and down where like, what are we going to do when that happens?
[00:33:11] So we develop a work security suite that in essence tackles all of that. So we have AI to, uh, help with the noise reduction. Just so, you know, I have some pretty intensive construction in my house and the upper level removing all the carpet and there doing the hardwood floors. So out a survey, you shouldn’t be hearing any of that background noise.
[00:33:29] Yeah. The compliance, uh, the uptime we’re monitoring that constantly and kind of a scaled approach to it where it could be just a team leader saying, Hey, you have any problems with it to tech support to, Hey, you obviously your home internet service provider is not working. You need to come back to the call center.
[00:33:46] And then the one I’m most interested in is that security piece. So, and we, we, um, actually have. Cameras that are monitoring who’s in front of a desktop, as well as maintain that clean desktop environment. Cause that’s something that I can never get my head around. If you’re PCI compliant, how are you going to make sure there’s no paper?
[00:34:06] How do you make sure there’s not a cell phone taking a picture of anything and then if you. Live in a shared space. You have roommates. Do you have children? Do you have spouses that are walking around and how do you maintain that safe environment? So that’s something that how we adapt it to, uh, to make sure we deal with it.
[00:34:22] And it’s constantly evolving to be honest, Jason, uh, as we’ve grown global, how do we. Share, like for example, agent engagement across believes the U S as well as the Philippines. And that’s some adaptation to that around how do we find the best way to engage them across, uh, that, and that was something interesting.
[00:34:39] We did. We always used to have a family day and beliefs was exceptionally popular, but we had a virtual family day, including a talent show. So transparent BPO has talent. People are singing there’s musical acts, and it was a really. Quick responsive way to try to build some engagement and build some community with that, even though everybody’s working, I love it.
[00:35:00] And the innovation you talked about, it’s so interesting because it’s things like I haven’t even faced or thought of that PCI compliance. Right. And what do you do? Like somebody’s at home and they’re dealing with, you know, sensitive, personal information for whatever, and then you don’t even think about like, okay, they’re not like if they were in the office, they wouldn’t have paper, they wouldn’t have their cell phone.
[00:35:21] They wouldn’t have these things. Because they’re, you know, compliance to the requirements. And you’ve been in many, you’ve been in many contexts on this, Jason, and just think about like her traditional call center, where you go to the main desk and security lets you in, you sign in and you get a picture of your face there.
[00:35:38] Then you, you know, if you’re an agent, you have a locker to put it in, you have a badge access, all the security around, make maintaining information security. How do you do that in a work from home? Yeah. So it’s amazing that you guys have done that. And I think that’s one of the interesting things is what you just said, which is this pandemic has exposed that or shown, you know, if you’re going to scale, if you’re going to go remote and then do it safely, smartly profitably, then you have to keep in mind all these things that we all took for granted when it was physical.
[00:36:12] In person, right? Like I’ve been to your office, uh, you know, the center, one of the buildings in Billy’s and I know what your exact we talking about. I know the lockers, I can visualize all of them. And then to then just, you know, take that assumption of how easy things are in person to go remote. Uh, obviously it’s a huge step that everybody had to deal with, but it’s interesting wrapping up here.
[00:36:37] What advice do you have right now and, or moving forward? Right? Let’s say 21, 22, for other people on the business development, sales side, from your experience, what you’re doing now, whether it’s call center related or not, like, what are you finding is working with clients? What advice, what best practices for other, you know, is that.
[00:37:00] I think just much like a, the organization that brands are dealing with themselves. Like we were put in a discomfort as well. Like, you know, I always used to traveling a lot and going to conferences and I’m more of a face to face guy and my hands are moving and I like eye contact and reading faces. So they all went to calls.
[00:37:20] And then when we do have a meeting, And you’re getting that comfort level of showing my slide deck, but also making sure I’m looking at faces and also all it’s, we’ve all become a little bit more uncomfortable with that. And I think that we, as a business develop professional, you have to challenge yourself and challenge yourself.
[00:37:38] Maybe just become comfortable with being uncomfortable. And being okay with changing things up, I kind of opened, I had some kind of some people that I always listen to. Like Jill Konrath is one of my favorite still with like her sales process in my life. I’ve read every one of her books, but I’m like, you know what, I’m going to open it up and read a few more.
[00:37:55] So it was a little bit more podcasts. It was a little bit more, you know, grabbing a couple of books to someone I haven’t read before just to get some more ideas of what’s out there, you know? Contact center industry is a close knit group, but you have to work a little bit harder if it’s all virtual. So reaching out to some more folks and just think, how is it?
[00:38:14] You know, it’s almost like this wellness checks, like, how are you doing? And what’s going on and not laying on the sales is how are you doing it? How is your family doing it? Just kind of getting a sense of what’s going on. And then they, they, they do start sharing some, some challenges they have. So it was a lot more, uh, wellness checks, but really, I think probably the ultimate thing was just.
[00:38:33] Changing how you do things a little bit, but as always, I’ll go back to that numbers game. You know, when I finally 2020, it was a little tough because I think that people are a little bit frozen. Like how. Almost like let’s write it out. And some people end up writing it out all year before they made a change.
[00:38:50] Um, but this year has been trying to be as responsive and, and reaching as many people as he can. Um, it’s, there’s a lot of options out there and a lot of people are still overwhelmed. It. They don’t have as many resources internally, so it’s not easy for them. Like, oh, let’s now let’s start a sourcing project and let’s go look at 500 companies and whittled down to 100 and then send an RFP.
[00:39:13] They don’t have time for that. So to provide this information quickly and succinctly, so they kind of understand like, oh, you’re in this bucket, you’re a fit. Or, and sometimes it does happen where you’re in this bucket. You’re not a fit. That’s okay. Bet. Leisha the LA Sierra, where, where you going and what bucket is, I think is really important to be as quick and responsive as you can.
[00:39:34] Cause I think there is a lot, a lot of organizations out there that are dealing with a lot more challenges than they have in the past. And it’s kind of a scary thing to like, where do we even start? So business development professionals can really be some great advocates and help a lot of these people out with figuring out how to solve that.
[00:39:52] I love that list. Just like all the other lists for anybody listening to this or watching this, they will definitely be in the show notes because you’ve given some really coolest. And that last part that you mentioned, the biggest word that jumps out to me is empathy. And always assuming the best in people.
[00:40:11] And keeping in mind, like what you said is dealing with those potential buyers of whatever it is that you’re selling and how overwhelmed they are. So somebody just got tasked with a new project and they’re already overwhelmed. Maybe they’ve been working at home. Maybe they have kids. Maybe they have all these other things going on and distractions, and then now your calling them and emailing them.
[00:40:31] And they’re already overwhelmed and busy. And so keeping in mind, Like what I remind myself and I work with teams on all the time is remind myself and others, like maybe they’re not responding. Not because they don’t want to talk to you or they don’t like you or the answer is no. And they’re afraid.
[00:40:46] Maybe they’re just. Sorry, always follow up in an empathetic way. Don’t do what I get a lot, which is two calls a day in an email a day, wondering to follow up because that’s just gross. Like you’ve got to give people time, you’ve got to find the right balance, but you also just understand people are busy.
[00:41:04] I just even had that today where I’ve been waiting for someone to make a decision. I sent another follow-up, you know, to just to get some food. And they’re like, we’re dealing with a whole bunch of things. Well, we’ll decide in two weeks and it’s like, perfect. And I just assumed, like, I know when they’re ready, we’ll move forward.
[00:41:20] I would say that any of you had an earlier question, I think almost every timeline. They always slip a little bit, but I think the slipping is happening a lot more where, you know, you get that initial, like we’re going to review, you know, this thing like that, there is immediate excitement. Let’s do this and it’s a lot more, you know, the other thing I think will be interesting and that’s not at the answer, but I think is probably the future where I think all, all the brands it’s unknown, how the consumers are going to change.
[00:41:48] I think we’re on this. To be determined. How are consumers habits are going to be what they’re going to buy, what industry they’re going to buy in. I think there’s an incredible amount of unknown out there as well. And I think that’s going to be pretty interesting. Like how do you support brands when they’re not quite sure where they’re going to be in 20, 22 and 2023 and where that’s going to be?
[00:42:09] I think there’s going to be a lot of I’m excited. Um, and really interesting, uh, changes in the future. Um, as we, everything is everything kind of settles and if they do settle and, um, it’ll be really interesting. Um, I think this is just the start of this year of what the future is going to look like. And that’s a great reminder for both companies, but then also individual salespeople is if you’re selling in essentially what you’re doing, which is a B to B to C, right.
[00:42:37] You’re selling a company and then you’re helping them with the consumer side. You have to know both. You can’t be like, Hey, I’m going to talk this marketing manager and to hire me, you have to understand what are they dealing with? What is their market doing? What are their customers doing? And how does that affect it?
[00:42:53] Short and long term. It’s a good reminder. Perfect. Love it. So many good lists, so many good things. So for people who want to follow up with you, I know that the best thing is transparent BPM. so.com is the website for the company. If they want to get more information, I also know that you are really active on LinkedIn.
[00:43:11] So if people want to look you up, Jason stern. On LinkedIn, I’m going to guess. You’re probably one of the only ones on there. I didn’t check. No you’re. Yeah. And I am, and that is my, uh, my signature as well. So easy to find. I would also our website, we have always been very good at sharing what’s going on in industry, you know, whether it’s trends or how to deal with, uh, you know, rapport or rebuttals or wherever it is.
[00:43:36] So I think it’s a great resource for her regardless as well. So I would highly recommend visiting. I love it. I appreciate it just popped in my head from one sales, Jason to another one. I appreciate you coming on the show and be here and sharing all this stuff and lots of lists again, make sure anyone listening, watching, check out the show notes.
[00:43:54] Uh, get the information on there. Some of the lists again, Jason, thanks for, uh, taking some time and sharing all this stuff with, uh, the audience on the show. Yeah, I appreciate it.