What to do with our salesforce after Corona? (A recent UNEX project)
It was in late 2021 that a former client from the travel industry approached us to ask: “What should we do with our remaining salesforce? They have not been visiting travel agencies for months. Some have already left the company during the crisis.” The key question was how to gain the biggest impact once Corona related restrictions are gone? Should we resize our salesforce? Or should we shut it down altogether?
The key challenge was that travel agencies themselves were having a hard time during the pandemic. And they still have. While the key task of the sales force used to be promoting the product, these agents were now fighting for survival. They were mostly interested in rebooking and refunds – not new product features. “Calling a travel agent these days is a nightmare!” one sales rep told us. So, what to do with the salesforce now? What is its ideal size? And what should they talk about at all?
What we did was look more deeply into the booking data. And what we found was that some agencies sold far more than others. Also, a certain group even managed to achieve record sales for top category products. We further found some patterns within the huge customer base that gave us an idea which agencies should also be able to sell and up-sell more. As a result the salesforce now had the knowledge which agencies had a solid potential to perform better and what to sell. Sales reps started visiting these agencies to share their insights on what similar agencies where already selling again.
This way they managed to shift the focus from refunds to opportunities. We also measured the revenue outcome of these initiatives and compared them to non visited agencies. The difference was overwhelming and provided the answer on the optimal size of that salesforce. Consequently, the discussion about the need of a salesforce at all was off the table.
This project was delivered within a four week period using the UNEX data model on sales effectiveness that is based on Microsoft Power BI. The clue was to combine multiple databases that were not connected in the past to gain new insights into booking behavior before and during the pandemic. Power BI connects to existing databases, excel spreadsheets, txt documents, internet data tables and many other data sources. This produced new angles on how to look at the data which our client converted into sales opportunities. Furthermore, and other than the existing Excel based spreadsheets, the Power BI data model was set to refreshes automatically overnight. The benefit of this is up to date information and a KPI dashboard to measure success.