VanillaSoft: Powering Inside Sales Momentum

David Hood, President & CEO, Simon Grégoire, VP-Research & Development Gone are the days when a field sales representative would knock on doors or wait for hours at a reception lounge to meet a prospective client. Today, in the era of digitalization and mobility, inside sales is outpacing the traditional outside sales model. Inside sales is not only cheaper for an organization to execute and easier to scale, but also fulfills the needs of a modern day buyer who is on the lookout for an immediate and easily accessible sales engagement process. The emergence of low cost easy-to-use SaaS tools along with new technologies such as Web meetings and VoIP further accelerates this radical shift to inside sales.

According to a recent Salesforce survey, 40 percent of large tech companies had plans to increase their inside sales headcount by 2016. No doubt driving this growth in inside sales are the proven results from inbound marketing, online lead generation, and marketing automation. “Sales methods are shifting. Organizations that deploy the right set of inside sales tools can manage sales prospects effectively, follow-up consistently, and optimize lead generation,” remarks David Hood, President & CEO of VanillaSoft. A frontrunner in lead management, appointment setting and CRM software for inside sales teams and companies doing sales by phone, VanillaSoft creates a productive and intuitive sales environment for clients. VanillaSoft’s SaaS software offers features like lead routing, progressive and preview dialing, scripting, integrated email, real-time lead distribution, live dashboards and call recording. These features help streamline operations and accelerate productivity, and enable sales teams to better leverage data for sales forecasting and process optimization.

Sales to the Power of Queue

A traditional CRM displays contacts or leads in a ‘list-based’ format where a salesperson searches through a list of prospects. VanillaSoft's core software architecture however is built from the ground up on a ‘queue-based’ technology that allows sales managers to finely control lead flow and create powerful sales momentum. At the heart of this queue-based platform is pre-defined logic that is determined in advance by the administrator and automatically serves up the next-best-lead, one lead at a time. This helps to prevent cherry picking and moves leads through the sales funnel more quickly, allowing deeper list penetration and negating the need for manual filtering.

One of VanillaSoft's clients was facing major challenges with their list based system. Productivity was low, employee turnover high, and important leads were often ignored or lost. The company had an in-house team that set high-value appointments with specialists at pre-identified companies.


No doubt driving the growth in inside sales are the proven results from inbound marketing, online lead generation, and marketing automation



“The customer was facing challenges in training sales people. Identifying priority leads and ensuring follow up was a major problem,” explains Hood. Many new employees struggled to effectively implement the rather complex sales process within a reasonable time frame, and the company witnessed a high turnover rate which limited their ability to grow. With VanillaSoft they were able to automate important parts of the sales process and lead selection, ensuring that management priorities were met while allowing salespeople to do what they do best—engage in quality conversations. In addition, VanillaSoft provided the client with other productivity-enhancing features such as predefined email templates and VoIP services including automated dialing and voicemail drop. Ultimately, the client was able to book 30 percent more appointments and new sales recruits were able to close deals within weeks, giving them confidence in their ability to succeed at the job and significantly reducing their turnover rate.

To determine the most effective technology approach for inside sales lead-management systems, VanillaSoft collaborated with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management to conduct a quantitative analysis. The main objective of the study was to identify the key enablers in the inside sales industry and to deduce which type of system architecture—list based or queue-based—is more effective. The research revealed that a queue-based system helps organizations significantly increase the initial contact speed as well as the number of contact attempts, helping to reduce lead decay and ultimately leading to accelerated sales. “A queue-based platform not only improves the number of calls per hour a user can make in comparison to a list-based system, but also ensures that leads are contacted much sooner and more frequently—helping to meet the goal of responding to a new lead within five minutes,” says Hood.

Automating Processes Not People

A distinguishing feature of the queue based platform is that it allows management to establish a predefined workflow, saving their sales people time by improving their productivity. “As soon as a sales call ends, the next lead is presented immediately which eliminates the need to micromanage, and also allows a salesperson to focus on more critical matters,” states Hood. VanillaSoft takes sales productivity to the next level as users can access information such as email history, company information and even their appointment calendar—all from a single screen. The system helps companies enforce a consistent corporate message with pre-defined email templates that automate the lead-nurturing process as well as flexible branch scripting.
"Sales methods are shifting. Organizations that deploy the right set of inside sales tools can manage sales prospects effectively, follow-up consistently, and optimize lead generation"

Managers can keep an eye on the sales teams' productivity as well as follow different lead campaigns through VanillaSoft’s customizable dashboards and other reporting tools. Moreover, features such as the ability to do electronic contracts through a DocuSign integration and the option to integrate payment gateways for direct credit card processing render the lead management software truly versatile for multiple sales efforts.

In one instance, VanillaSoft assisted prominent Florida-based engineering company National Cost. They were in search of an automated and easy to use sales CRM software which could simplify decision making by automatically routing the right leads. “The most important issue was the need for a central system, where sales personnel could access and manage over 145,000 leads while using a consistent sales process,” says Hood. The client was also facing difficulty in providing quick support for client calls, training new employees, and getting different leads in front of the right sales group. VanillaSoft’s user-friendly layout enabled the company to train new employees and get them up and running within hours. And with a centralized database in the VanillaSoft cloud, all sales representatives could now access the same information at the same time across remote locations. Ultimately the company experienced significant time and cost savings with VanillaSoft.

Nothing Less than Best-in- Class Performance

Constantly innovating, VanillaSoft will further strengthen their lead routing engine, enhance reporting capabilities, and simplify the use for multiple channels. The company continues to partner for additional research in the field, and is constantly evaluating the best tools and integrating them into their inside sales platform for maximum output and Return on Investment (ROI). “We are also focusing on data analytics. We are partnering again with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management to conduct research on how analytics can be used in small to midsized businesses to increase sales traction,” remarks Hood. “Much work has been done around big data, but the challenge is how to use the limited data generated by smaller companies to enhance their individual sales process.” Inside sales continues to gain widespread adoption from organizations of all sizes. It comes as little surprise that in the days ahead, marketing automation and inside sales will continue to outpace the outside sales or road warrior jobs. “Since a thriving sales operation takes more than just a list of leads and a phone, VanillaSoft will continue to revolutionize the world of inside sales and deliver higher contact rates and sales accountability tools like no other,” says Hood.

"With VanillaSoft's queue-based platform salespeople make 3 times more calls and average 4 times more follow-up attempts with leads, a critical factor for success in today’s sales environment"

Company
VanillaSoft

Headquarters
Plano, TX

Management
David Hood, President & CEO, Simon Grégoire, VP-Research & Development and Genie Parker, Co-founder & COO

Description
Provides a lead management software and CRM solution for phone-centric selling

VanillaSoft