Sales Teams Turn to Virtual Assistants to Boost Capacity
That's how much time most salespeople spend selling, according to the Center for Sales Strategy.
"Sales reps are only spending one-third of their time selling," InsideSales.com founder Ken Krogue said. "Administrative tasks dominate sales reps' time. That just can't happen."
That was the situation Rob Graham, VP of Enterprise Solutions at fintech company Ascendant, found. The amount of admin work hindered Ascendant's sales team—prospecting, email outreach, scheduling meetings, and reporting were eating up reps' time.
"There are only so many hours in a day, and our sales team needs as much time as possible to seek opportunities," Rob said. "Administrative tasks are an important part of the sales process but can be tedious and time-consuming."
Ascendant turned to Prialto to provide a team of virtual assistants to support the sales team in offloading administrative work so reps could spend more time selling. Prialto assistants help Ascendant's sales team with prospecting, list building, CRM data entry and management, lead follow-up, and appointment setting. "The Prialto assistants allow our sales executives to focus on growth," Rob said.
After piloting the service, Ascendant expanded virtual assistants to support 13 executives. "We started with a few assistants. After seeing the value, the relationship expanded to assign one to every salesperson, and they love the service," Rob said. "Best of all, they don't require any handholding by me or anyone else. We tell them what we need, and they get it done."
Support Without Management
Companies turn to managed virtual assistant services like Prialto because they lack the internal resources to recruit, hire, train, and manage executive assistants.
The publicly traded healthcare software company Castlight Health was in growth mode. Its regional sales VPs (RVPs) managed teams of reps and were saddled with administrative tasks like scheduling, expense reports, booking travel, and updating their CRM.
The head of sales operations saw the RVPs' pain but knew that Castlight lacked the time, expertise, and resources to build an administrative team for them. Castlight tapped Prialto to provide trained virtual assistants to support 13 regional VPs in four areas:
Calendar management: scheduling was a tedious task and a considerable time sink. Castlight worked with Prialto to implement a scheduling process that maximized each executive's time.
Travel planning: planning travel was tedious and time-consuming for executives. The Prialto assistants learned the travel preferences of each RVP, such as preferred airports, airlines, travel times, and hotels.
Expense reports: RVPs struggled to send accurate expenses by their deadlines. Prialto assistants ensure that reports are accurate and filed on time to provide timely reimbursement and peace of mind.
CRM data hygiene: Castlight's CRM is crucial to the team's success. Prialto assistants ensure all information and data are accurate and up to date for the team and management.
CRM Sales Assistants
Woodruff-Sawyer is an insurance brokerage serving more than 4,000 companies from 15 offices across the United States. Its producers wanted to spend more time with clients and prospects and less on administrative tasks –without adding full-time support or in-house staff.
In addition to managing calendars, travel, and expenses, Prialto assistants provide in-depth sales support. Assistants drive research, list building, email campaigns, Salesforce data management, and reporting. They ensure that data is up to date, clean up inaccuracies, create new contacts and opportunities, and provide event and relationship management.
"We rely on our Prialto assistants' expertise in Salesforce," said Jeff Fenigstein, head of marketing and sales operations. "We're confident that they know what they're doing, and it takes the burden off the sales team." Fenigstein credits Prialto with helping them maximize their investment in Salesforce.
Fellow insurer Graham Company found itself in the same situation as Woodruff Sawyer. Graham wanted their producers to spend more time building relationships and developing new business without adding full-time office staff.
Graham VP and Managing Director Carl Bloomfield engaged Prialto to staff executive assistants for the company's top producers, with prospecting and account research, document prep, and CRM support.
"The Prialto team streamlined our processes and increased efficiencies, allowing us to integrate our Prialto assistants into our day-to-day lives," Bloomfield said. "The data in our CRM is much more accurate, which also has improved the efficiency of my team. By offloading our admin tasks, our producers can now spend more time in the field with prospects and clients."
The Managed Service Difference
Companies like Ascendant, Castlight Health, Woodruff Sawyer, and Graham Company turn to Prialto for turnkey sakes support that delivers professional, trained remote executive assistants without adding HR or management overhead. Prialto hires, trains, and supervises its assistants and builds teams around each company's tools and processes.
As Ascendant's Rob Graham pointed out, no handholding is required.
"I initially expected the service to take significant upfront time from me to get working," said Castlight's Seth Gordon. "But Prialto's services process made it impressively turnkey."
McKinsey researched top-performing sales teams and found that those with one support staff for every two reps got a 200 percent return on the cost of that support. "We found that what matters most are the levels of operations and administrative support," McKinsey said. For teams with adequate administrative support, “win rates rose 10 percent, the sales cycle decreased by 40 percent, and sales ops costs dropped.”
When salespeople are adequately supported, growth happens. With a managed virtual assistant service, you can give your sales team the time people need to drive revenue growth and capture the ROI of that investment.
About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.