While prolonginator is not a real word, it should be because we all know people like this! If one is in your sales or support team your business has a big problem.
High levels of responsiveness are absolutely essential in both B2C and B2B worlds. Consider a car buyer who has researched dozens of models, made meticulous comparisons, and finally made the decision to buy. The prospect visits a dealer's website, completes the Buy Now form, and excitedly waits for a response. True to form, the sales prolonginator calls the prospect the following day and discovers they have purchased the same car from another dealer!
Prolonginators also kill support! Your resident prolonginator will create huge customer anxiety by failing to quickly assign an incoming ticket to a specialist responder. Of course, if your responder is also a prolonginator then the problem is doubled. The responder could also be another dangerous type, the serial emailer. This is someone who successfully thwarts the customer in several clever ways:
- Never engages in a voice conversation
- Always responds by email
- Always asks one question per email
- Ignores urgency
The obvious solution is to move the recidivist prolonginator to another position (in another company?) where their offending does less damage. There are also technical alternatives that help reform their behavior - and these come in the form of workflow automation.
Workflow is one or more conditions that make one action execute another. They can motivate a prolonginator by generating reminders and, by using time-based workflow, force them into a strict process that requires task completion within specific time periods. The "penalty" for failure is usually an automatic escalation of the task to a supervisor.
Of course, you need a system that can implement workflow!
Let's consider Salesforce as it has great workflow and both Salesforce Sales and Services Cloud can accept data from web form submissions. Depending on the requirement, a Salesforce lead or case is created and populated with form data. At that moment, when the data appears in Salesforce, the clock starts ticking.
In Salesforce there are several ways to execute automation:
- Salesforce Workflow
- Process Builder
- Flow Builder
Salesforce Workflow is particularly effective at executing time-based rules.
Prolonginators can be motivated using custom workflows and other techniques to push them along:
- Create a task or send an email alert to the prolonginator when a new lead/case is created
- If the lead status is not changed within 2 hours, send reminder emails to both the prolonginator and the supervisor
- Generate a reminder that the lead is 24 hours old and not yet attained the desirable status
- Generate a reminder that the lead has returned to the website and now is a good time to make direct contact
- Use a third-party tracker like Softsquare's Response Time Tracker
- Create Salesforce usage reports. People work harder when they know their performance is being monitored. An example report is tracking how many leads have been contacted this month, the number of conversations and resulting conversions
Some more examples can be found in the TrailBlazer community. They can be tailored to your particular requirements. Thankfully workflow can be adjusted to the idiosyncrasies of one sales rep and does not need to be rolled out across the entire sales team.
A number of reviews have concluded that well defined and automated workflows make sales teams far more effective. It's also obvious that slow response times kill businesses. Is it time to place some process around your prolonginators?
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