Over the last four years, Levitt Safety (Canada’s largest specialist safety and fire-protection company) has reduced the size of its field force and scaled-up its inside sales and customer service teams.
In this interview Bruce Levitt and Fraser Gibson share insights into their four-year journey (thus far) with SPE and talk about the challenges and the triumphs.
The good news is that they have been able to make the radical changes above with no initial drop in sales, predictable growth ever since and a significant improvement in customer service quality, almost from the get-go.
Over this period, Levitt has built all the elements of what we call the Standard SPE Model. This model consists of:
- A robust customer service team (who obsess over on-time case completion)
- An inside sales and promotions team (who work together to ensure that salespeople each have 30 meaningful selling interactions a day)
- Field specialists (who handle discrete tasks, pushed to them by inside sales or customer service)
- An enterprise sales team (featuring a BDM paired with a BDC: ensuring the former can maximize their face-to-face time)
This interview will appeal to serious practitioners of SPE. It’s a detailed analysis of Levitt’s journey thus far (not a breathless testimonial.) But, there are many gems.
Like, for example:
- When Bruce relates that customer service tasks that might have been open for weeks in the past would now cause a panic if open for more than a day or so
- The critical nature of an inside sales supervisor (and how this role differs from that of a traditional sales manager)
- The importance of protected calling times, y-jacking and role playing
- When Fraser describes the (necessary) complexity of the promotional process
Levitt Safety’s a large company so I would never be able to convince them to disclose the financial implications of their SPE journey, but there’s a tell right at the end of the interview when Bruce predicts that in the next 3-10 years, there’ll be no increase in headcount in the field and that Levitt’s growth will be driven entirely from inside.
His justification is that, the inside sales team (relative to field sales):
- Is at least as effective
- Provides management with significantly more control
- Is slightly less expensive