BBN Planet and
TeleSales, Inc. has been a partner through the whole thing, building the strategy and process with us, explains Karen Pinsky, Director of Teleprofessional Services at BBN Planet. We never could have launched our organization without them.
BBN Planetthe commercial Internet service unit of BBNhas been formed during the last two years by the merger and acquisition of a number of regional Internet service providers. Offering Internet access, Web hosting, electronic commerce, Internet security, dial-up service, and Web-based business applications, the groups mission is to be the leading end-to-end supplier of Internet working services to businesses and organizations. With clients like AT&T, Paramount Pictures, the Boston Globe, and the State of Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles, there is no doubt that BBN Planet is at the forefront of Internet services and technology.
The Outsourcing Alternative
Building the BBN Planet sales organization by consolidating the recently merged regional providers offered a unique challenge.This is a very fast-paced industry, which makes keeping and maintaining a competitive edge very difficult, explains Pinsky. We are constantly updating our strategies. We knew we needed to centralize our efforts and building a core group of telemarketing and telesales professionals offered an attractive solution.
We made the decision to outsource the effort and we began evaluating firms in September or October of 1995, continues Pinsky. BBN Planet had tried to build the group internally, but without much success. Two or three people had been assigned to the sales desk, with another two people making outbound calls to areas not covered by Sales Representatives from the various regional providers. We learned a lot, but we werent very successful at it, admits Pinsky. The timing, evolution of the industry, and development of our marketing organization were some of the many factors that complicated our efforts.
After evaluating a number of telemarketing firms, BBN Planet narrowed the choice to TeleSales, Inc. The others were not what we were looking for, recalls Pinsky. They didnt have the caliber of employees like TeleSalesthey were less professional, with less expertise. Many outsourcing vendors fall into that category. Once we met with TeleSales, Inc., we felt they were the only firm that could help us be successful in the launching of a telesales organization.
Jumping in with Both Feet
BBN Planet launched two organizations simultaneously with TeleSales, Inc. in February of 1996telemarketing and telesales.
Telemarketing with a Mission
Headed by Karen Pinsky, the Telemarketing Group is comprised of Business Development Representatives (BDRs) whose mission is to qualify and nurture all inquires of BBN Planet services and solutions in a manner that will increase mind share, market share, and revenue. This involves qualifying inquiries, cultivating and nurturing them, and distributing them to the appropriate Sales Representatives. The project started with five BDRs, all located at TeleSales, Inc.s Wilmington, Massachusetts facility.
Pinsky and BBN Planet based the initial decision to outsource on the fact that the ramp-up would be quicker, more cost-effective, and more successful. TeleSales, Inc. has the expertise, the space, the connections for recruitment and networking to hire the right staff, says Pinsky. They have people with experience in launching an organization of this magnitude. From the beginning, everything was very smooth. Its working, and its still more cost-effective to continue to outsource.
Telesales and the BBN Sales Model
Mike Duffy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BBN Planet, has overseen the development of the Telesales Group, which has always been charged with generating revenue and closing business over the phone. Currently comprised of nine Corporate Sales Representatives (CSRs) located at TeleSales Wilmington facility, this group provides a ratio of approximately one CSR to every two Sales Representatives. Duffy reports that, even from the outset, the TeleSales, Inc. project worked with maximum efficiency. The group of CSRs was hired, trained, and ramped within three months, was on plan starting in month two, and has consistently met or exceeded goals every month since.
As fast as the industry is evolving, weve had to evolve our sales model, reflects Duffy. Im amazed at the ability of TeleSales, Inc. to understand and quickly react to our needs. Weve made the changes necessary to keep an eye toward maximizing every sales opportunity while still efficiently addressing the smaller ones.
Calling on TeleSales Tactical Programs
In addition to working with TeleSales Strategic Partners Unit to implement the long-term teleprofessional organizations, Pinsky has had the opportunity to try out the Tactical Programs Group for support in handling a major seminar effort. In March of 1996, concurrent to the launch of the telemarketing and telesales operations, BBN Planet began a 20-city seminar series. In addition to handling all the seminar registrations, explains Pinsky, we chose TeleSales Tactical Programs Group to do follow-up on the leads that werent turned over to the Business Development or Corporate Sales Reps. We didnt have the resources in-house at the time to field the more than 6,400 inquiries that came in the first month. Before this, we had probably never handled more than 1,500 per month. Pinsky is comfortable relying on TeleSales Tactical Programs Group and continues to use them on an ad hoc telemarketing basis. Whenever we have a tactical need that doesnt fit into our Telemarketing Groups specific mission, she says, we use the Tactical Programs Group.
Tallying Up the Results
Weve had great numbers, overall, since launching with TeleSales, Inc. in March of 1996, summarizes Pinsky. From March through November, BBN Planets Telemarketing Group has processed more than 24,000 new inquiries, with the percentage of A leads climbing from 1% to 10%, thanks to better qualification techniques and feedback to the Marketing Department. The Telemarketing Group has recently been increased from five to eight BDRs to support the expanded marketing programs that are a part of BBNs current growth strategy.
On the Telesales side, Mike Duffy is pleased to report outstanding results in the sales program. In several $100,000+ deals, he explains, our TeleSales, Inc. Rep has taken the lead and driven the business. As a whole, weve been extremely pleased with TeleSales, Inc.s level of talent and extremely pleased with the result.