local media insider
Case study

Managing digital hunters at LocalEdge

Ten top tactics for teams across 117 markets

Alisa Cromer

LocalEdge sells 15 core products in 94 total bundling variations, with pricing as low as $395.  With hundred of reps in 117 total markets, Greg Walls,  Vice President of the reseller channel at LocalEdge, gave best practices for managing digital hunter teams at the 2013 Digital Agency summit.  

1. Hiring blitzes take place several times a year. 

See this report for best practices for recruiting digital hunters. The expectation for success of new hunters is 50% first year, so the next recruitment drive begins after a new team of recruits is trained and launched.

2. Ongoing training is on a schedule  and self-improving. 

At LocalEdge the initial training is two weeks long, one week to train on product, including Google Cerification and process, and one week on sales in the field.

Weeks three and four are devoted to discussions of in-field issues and overcoming objections. 

In addition there are three to four weeks of GAP training  gap analysis identifies and trains on skills that are lacking in an employee during their regular activity). 

Training for the legacy core team is shorter -  three 1/2 day sessions on product and process, followed by ride alongs.

3. Ride along training is key - with ride reports stored in a central location.  

Managers at LocalEdge are asked to spend three days in the field with reps. They fill-out detailed reports on training gaps and other issues, and file them in a central location so that another manager can pick them up when they go out with the same rep to track progress. Managers also demo some of the calls for reps. 

4. Standards of performance are clear.

LocalEdge standards include a focus on the top 25 calls, with 10 stop-ins , 3 confirmed appointments a day, and daily CRM updates. 

5. Each rep has a development plan.

Development plans add up the numbers of calls, appointments, closes etc. expected over a period of time on an excel spread sheet. A second spread sheet can look at years two and three. 

6. Get a referral from every presentation. 

Appointments ratios for referrals are 33% and the closing ratio is 67%, Walls said. At LocalEdge reps are expected to bring areferral from every presentation. 

7. Reps stay in the field four days, with one team day in the office. 

Production-based digital hunters need to spend most of the time in the field backed up by inside account mangers. Set up expectations to segment the week into four days out, one day inside.

8. The inside day is structured for maximum impact.

The inside day for reps at LocalEdge is a structured schedule of all training, reviews and call blitzes, including: 

• Appointment setting blitzes. These share scripts, mini-contests for appointments set today, most appointments, etc.

• Group meetings to review overall sales performance and share successes. Sharing is educational and reps are encouraged to "tell the  whole story," starting with where the lead came from, what was the challenge, and so on.

• Contests and awards are reviewed.

• One-on-one meetings review the plan for the current upcoming week, including the pipeline and forecast of results.

9. Reps take credit cards as payment.

There are a number of reasons why credit cards are mandatory for digital service sales: Businesses are smaller and more fragile, margins and size of accounts are also smaller, so there is no room for large receivables. Finally, the results are often one to three months before "showing up," so baking in the long term payment helps. 

10. Stated and tracked retention goals.

The number one reason accounts drop-off, according to Walls is lack of rep follow-through. So the inside team responsible for following up after the sale is important. The best teams at LocalEdge have a retention ratio of 97%.

11.  The inside team has a schedule of pro-active customer contacts.

The inside team place an onboarding call 3 to 5 days of go live. Subsequent follow-ups help reset or re-align expectations, and reports are reviewed monthly or quarterly.  
"The touch point never ends," Walls said. 

12. Use join.me's free screen sharing service.

A tool that inside reps use often (as does Google support) is Join.me, which provides instant free screen-sharing so that inside reps can demo reports and tools to merchants. 

Many thanks to Gregg Walls, VP of the reseller channel at LocalEdge for sharing these best practices. See also his ten tips for recruiting a team of hunters. 

Other useful Articles, and links for assembling and optimizing the performance of your digital sales team:

Shift Sales into High Velocity worksheet 

Ten Best Resources to Find Digital Hunters

No Pipeline in Your CRM? Use this worksheet

Managing a Dream Team of Digital Hunters

Sales Development Plan for First Year Rep

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.