Hello AG blog readers...I'm back! I saw many changes in 2013, one of which was my transition to Manager of Client Operations here at AG. Because I have been able to get my feet wet in this new role for the last few months, I thought I would take this opportunity to rejoin the AG blogging community and share the insights I have gained thus far.
Prior to my role as MCO, I was a Business Development Rep just like the majority of employees here at AG. I worked on almost a dozen clients over the course of two and a half years. From the combined experience of working on our clients from a BDR perspective and now from an MCO perspective, I wanted to share what I feel are my top contributors to successful client engagement.
1.) The first step has to be a smooth ramp process with set and clearly communicated expectations. At AG we have a very aggressive timeline for getting a project up and running and ensuring that a BDR is ready to hit the phones. Given this timeline the AG sales team needs to properly prepare the client for what to expect during ramp week. Ideally, a client enters ramp week with implementation documents ready to go and a thorough understanding of what kind of data they want to leverage in the initial calling efforts.
2.) The second crucial factor to success is a seamless handoff process of qualified leads between AG’s BDR and the client’s sales rep. For clarity, this process should be discussed during ramp week. There are three main questions that I like to address prior to calling:
- Who will be accepting the leads when they are passed over? Are they account execs, sales engineers, inside sales reps? Do they have designated territories we need to be conscious of? The more educated we are around the client’s organizational setup, job titles and responsibilities of all who are included in the sales and marketing process, the better.
- Has the sales team who AG will be collaborating and partnering with been made aware of our process, and how we will contribute to their overall demand generation? I recommend an "AG Sales Kick Off" meeting be held with every client, where all of the BDRs on our team are introduced to client’s sales team. This has been successful in establishing validation that we really are an extension of their team and get them excited about the program.
- Will the AG BDRs or the client’s sales reps be responsible for sending meeting invites to qualified prospects? As an AG best practice, we like to be accountable for setting up these meetings. However, we acknowledge every client is different and if the client wants their inside sales reps sending meeting invites it is critical that not only is that communicated to our team at the beginning but that it is followed by every member of their sales team that will be fielding leads to avoid confusion.
3.) The third question I like to discuss with the client is, Are they able to adhere to our process of obtaining feedback from the sales rep's initial calls with our prospects? We would like to know that the calls we schedule are going to the next step in the sales process. If the sales reps do not keep our BDRs in the loop in regards to these calls the AG operations team ends up with a lot of overdue feedback which makes it difficult for us to accurately manage the process to obtain the most value for our client.
All of these factors tie in to maintaining clear and open communication between AG and the client. And overall, I’ve found that the tone for a positive client engagement is set in those first two weeks. How do you kick off a positive and valuable partnership with your clients? What works well for you and your company?