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“Our end of year Expert Speak comes from Mark Ridler, CFO at CPM who captures the essence of Procurement. Mark trained and qualified in paper clip counting too many years ago to remember and since then has held various CFO and FD roles in the entertainment, marketing and communication industries. Most recently he has held positions at the centre within WPP and Omnicom negotiating local, regional and global client contracts focusing on terms and conditions and remuneration models specific to the clients’ engagement requirements. Mark is currently group CFO at CPM, Omnicom’s largest and best in class field sales and contact centre business’’.
Oh yep, it’s that time of year again.
From an outsider’s perspective, the yearly assault of increasingly-glossy Christmas adverts must surely paint a picture of an industry on the rise. After all, with that many celebrities shoved into a 60-second spot, how can marketing budgets be anything but bulging?
The truth is, overspending during the festive season isn’t a bad habit reserved for overzealous gift givers. Self-indulgent clients and self-congratulatory agencies can also be tempted to sprinkle a little magic during the cold dark days of December. The problem is, what happens for the other eleven months of the year?
After 10 years of austerity, it shouldn’t be surprising that marketing directors are increasingly unwilling to cut agencies a decent slice of a dwindling pie. And without a decent slice of the pie, it also shouldn’t be surprising that agencies are struggling to meet client expectations (which incidentally, never seem to dwindle).
But before you start placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of procurement, think again. A multitude of factors are at play here, and there are as many victims of budget decimation as there are villains. Every shareholder, CEO, CFO, consultant, and creditor has had a say in the matter. Add that to a volatile macroeconomic environment straining under the weight of red tape and legislation, and it soon becomes obvious that absolutely nobody has escaped unharmed, and that absolutely everybody is trying to do more for less.
Given the fact we’ve had over a decade to improve the situation, you’d think some progress would have been made. But in fact, the client-agency relationship seems to have remained paralysed, despite the clear paradigm shifts taking place in the background. Digital marketing has subsumed traditional advertising, fintech companies have broken apart established services industries, and big data has finally proved its capability to provide real-time, intelligent and predictive insights.
Yet these profound changes in the economic, commercial and product landscape seem to have had a disproportionately low effect on our business model. Agencies are not doing more for less, nor are they appearing ‘smarter’ to their clients. Relationships have not been forged based on trust and mutuality, interactions have failed to be open and transparent, and agencies have yet to become an indispensable part of the client DNA.
So how can we overcome this persisting desire to hold the agency relationship at arm’s length, and how can we start more effectively meeting client expectations?
Payment by Results seemed like a possibility, but to date it has failed to yield dividends for either party. And why would it? As a client, you want to see real value for what you pay for. That means if you pay a colossal day rate for a £500k creative director, you don’t expect to pay an additional bonus if he or she achieves the results their substantial salary would predict. As an agency, you don’t want to take the chance of achieving the same results with a far less experienced and inexpensive hire, since you can’t risk anything beyond the margin. Basically, everyone’s hands are tied, and neither party wants to stomach the unpredictability of the outcome. In summary: nice idea, but it’s never going to happen.
So what could happen?
Firstly, agencies could stop pining for that illusive 20% they are sure clients are hiding up their sleeves, and start acknowledging the reality of the situation. CFOs hand down budgets based on predicted business performance, and smart agencies should concentrate on ensuring that procurement doesn’t reduce that figure further. Basic logic.
Secondly, agencies could stop pretending they are experts at everything, and start collaborating with partners or appropriate third parties when the project requires it. A little bravery and honesty can go a long way here: the goal of the channel neutral agency is not to constantly showcase their excellence in all areas, but to help the marketing team achieve high quality and cost-effectiveness across the full scope of work. A win-win.
Thirdly, agencies could add in some nice to haves. Clients may not be hiding an extra 20% up their sleeves, but it never hurts to show them a few tempting possibilities that a more generous budget would allow. Worse-case scenario, these go straight into the procurement bin. A more optimistic scenario is that they decide to include some of these elements, but here comes the golden rule: if you add something in, don’t take something out that you’ll end up having to deliver for free anyway. Admittedly, this can be a hard conversation to engineer, but if you’re not brave and honest enough to have it, be prepared to wave goodbye to that agency margin.
Fourthly, agencies could spend far more time planning and preparing the ‘agreed’ scope of work and the inevitable procurement conversation. After all, a little work now can avoid a whole lot of pain later on. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that each and every line won’t be scrutinised by procurement: if you don’t have detailed and justified answers to their queries, that’s trust and transparency straight out the door. Put yourself in their shoes and crunch the figures – just how many hours, days or third party costs are truly needed to deliver the project? Why are there 30 days of account manager time down rather than 26 or 27? Be ready and willing to explain exactly what elements of the delivery will suffer if they cut out a cost: if they know the consequences, then they also must assume the risk.
Lastly, agencies could act savvier when it comes to ‘free’ work. It’s an unescapable part of the model, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shared and celebrated. Create precise logs of what the client has received in the past, and what they can expect to receive moving forward. It’s a safe bet that the value of these complimentary services far exceeds that magical 20% both parties have been searching for. Now that’s a good measure for a good relationship.
Our latest Expert Speak comes from Lorraine Butler, MD at CPM Ireland on ‘Outsource Employee Benefits – Opportunity Cost or Loss?
Why do brands outsource their sales functions? For sure a significant reason is the flexibility, scalability, agility & expertise that outsource companies such as CPM can offer. However, for many brands, cost savings is also a significant driver and often the primary reason organisations look to outsource their sales functions. ‘Sales outsourcing is expected to be cheaper than the fully loaded cost of employing salespeople’ – Wikipedia’s opening answer as to Why Organisations outsource their Sales functions. In many client driven commercial models, costs associated with employee benefits such as health care, pension, maternity leave are often minimised or eliminated. With economic prosperity experienced by most markets across the developed world, comes a war for talent which gets tougher each quarter. Brands partnering with outsource agencies have a decision to make – is the cost of minimising employee benefits costing brand growth in the longer term?
Organisations today have an understandable focus on diversity in the workplace; gender, demographic & ethnic balance. Such movements are admirable and, in many cases, very much needed to create an enriched workplace and a platform for sustainable organisational growth. However, such movements also come with a price – literally. Gender quota’s see a strive for increased levels of females in certain disciplines. Salary levels and often more importantly benefit packages determine the levels of female interest in roles. Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trend Survey shows that the No. 1 influencing factor in females applying for roles is the level of family related benefits included in the package. Family benefits such as maternity leave & healthcare are seen as ‘a given’ in an employee market place, yet many organisations haven’t recognised or allowed for the costs of such benefits in outsource budgets. Unless this changes, making progress with gender balance in the workplace will not happen as quickly as the general market expects. And outsource partnerships risk becoming tactical in nature with a vicious talent cycle hindering brand growth.
Competition amongst outsource agencies, coupled with procurement teams expertly focusing on costs doesn’t help this cause. However, outsourcing leaders need to take steps in changing the conversation with customers. Unless it is accepted that there is joint commercial accountability to drive diversity & calibre in the workplace by both brands and outsourcers, brands will never realise the value of a diverse workplace that they could and should. And Wikipedia’s answer to why organisations outsource will never move from Cost to Growth.
CPM collaborated bringing its expertise on ‘Delivering Enterprise Agility in the experience economy’. Fiona Whelan, Managing Director of CPM International Contact Centres, discusses the importance of harnessing digital and human contact strategies to deliver multi-lingual, omni-channel solutions. Particularly, as increasingly hyper-connected consumers are demanding both seamless experiences and greater intimacy with brands.
Check out the infographic below for some fast facts on CPM and our Customer Experience expertise.
For more details, you can read the full report here: https://www.cpm-int.com/icc/cpm-enterprise-agility-report
How to “WOW” the best Sales Talent?
We’re facing challenging times with an expanding economy resulting in a very tight labour market. The number of vacancies is growing in all sectors and recruiters in the Netherlands indicate that 46% of those vacancies are difficult to fill.
The increasing pressure in the labour market demands a different attitude from employers. Whereas in the past candidates had to promote themselves, now, it’s us as employers that must present ourselves as attractively as possible. Candidates have many options to choose from so how can we seduce them to CPM?
We cannot linger in the past; we must be creative in finding new ways of recruiting and work hard on our Employer Branding. Starting with our recruitment model; we have not only doubled the number of FTEs; we have drastically changed our approach. Placing a job vacancy on a job board, leaning back and waiting is no longer enough.
Attract the very best sales talent
We want to be known in the market as the employer where you can embark on a great sales career. As part of our recruitment strategy we have a very clear mission within our Employer Branding strategy:
Creating the WOW-factor to attract the very best sales talent. We now think from the candidate’s perspective and centralise the process around them.
SEE: Introduce them to CPM
This already starts when people have never even heard of CPM. We use social targeting to increase our brand awareness. We have differentiated this for 4 different target groups, all with its own personality. In this way we can approach different target groups in their own tone of voice and with various visuals, thoughtfully selected for each specified group.
With this approach we create different contact moments in the candidate journey, so talent is already unconsciously introduced to CPM, even before they actively start looking for a new challenge.
THINK: Potential talent is considering a career at CPM
The next step is seducing potential employees to click on our vacancies and encourage them to apply. This means we need to follow future talent online and create various touch-points within the candidate’s journey by re-targeting. Collecting data and acting on it, is key in this process. In this stage the communication is more specified on what we have to offer: our vacancies and the brands we work for.
DO: Conversion to application
When potential candidates apply for a vacancy our recruitment team oversees this WOW-experience. We make sure candidates are getting the most personal and friendly application process possible. We surprise them with extra tips & tricks, calls and personalised messages to keep them involved.
During the job interview they will experience a slightly different approach than the old school interview. For example: speed dates with the client. They are always shown around our creative office to feed the WOW-factor and inspire them. During the whole application process, we make sure we always follow-up, even if a candidate is rejected.
CARE: Challenge & Inspire
When a new talent becomes an employee, we invest in building exceptional long-lasting relationships. We must challenge them, create an environment where they can develop themselves and where they can grow their careers. We deliver what we have promised, being authentic and creating fun moments. When employees are genuinely satisfied with their jobs they will share their experiences with friends & family. We do everything we can to retain our employees offering on-going training, development and support and encouraging employees to apply for new opportunities within our organisation.
When employees eventually leave CPM, we are incredibly proud that we have helped them grow and developed new skills, so they are ready for the next step in their career.
Every step in the candidate and employer journey is equally important for our Employer Branding. We must follow our mission to continuously create the WOW-factor in order to attract the very best sales talent and retain them.
Contact us for more information on our services or joining the CPM team
I was fortunate to be at the Omnicom University last month in Boston. It was my fourth time there and like every-time it has left me with some thought provoking lessons that will go a long way in my personal and professional life.
I always transcript my key learnings in simple one liners and keep referring to them often. I will share some with you today but before I do that I am going to share the most important learning that I saw and observed during this visit.
On the inaugural day of our program we were welcomed by Janet Riccio, the Dean of Omnicom University. I don’t know her very well but have met her in my earlier visits. I was surprised to see that she arrived in the class in a small scooter and looked very frail. I learnt was that last year she was detected with ALS and has been fighting her battle. She made fun about it while delivering her inaugural address and took her seat in the back of the class. She was there everyday, filling the class with her sunshine like energy and in-fact closed the class with an inspiring note. The class gave her a standing ovation thanked her for what she was doing for the Omnicom University.
One week after I returned we got the news that she passed away. It was a news which was difficult for lot of us to believe as it was only a week ago that she was driving around at Babson on her bright yellow scooter – holding court in the courtyard and in the classroom – engaged, vibrant, funny and charismatic as ever.
I have always been amazed at the zeal in people to make anything possible but this is the closest example in recent times. In spite of her diagnosis last year, she kept her sense of humour, her passion for life and her endless support to the Omnicom University.
Her light, her kindness, her wisdom, wit and grace, will stay with us always.
As a tribute to her I would like to leave you all with some key takeaways of mine from the Omnicom University this year. Hope we are able to imbibe some of them and honour her memory.
August, 20th 2019 – Barcelona
CPM Barcelona shortlisted for 4 ECCCSA
CPM is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in four categories of the 19th European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA); recognising industry leaders and innovators in the fields of Customer Experience and Contact Centres.
Under the Operational Effectiveness category; CPM has been shortlisted for Best Outsource Partnership with our partner, Agilent Technologies and Most Effective Improvement Programme in partnership with Airbnb.
In addition, our Airbnb Quality Management Team have been selected as finalists for Best Quality Team and CPM’s inhouse Talent and Development Team are finalists under Best Contact Centre Support Team category.
“CPM is thrilled be to be shortlisted for 4 awards at the ECCCSA 2019; recognising our continued commitment to deliver operational excellence and innovation in CX and Sales. We are extremely proud of our strategic client partnerships and are excited to be have reached finalist stage with our clients, Agilent Technologies and Airbnb. I would like to wish all teams the very best of luck for the finalist stage,” says Fiona Whelan, Managing Director.
Winners will be announced on Tuesday 26th November 2019 at the ceremony taking place at Evolution venue at Battersea Park in London. Fiona Bruce, journalist and TV presenter, will be holding the evening that will host the most CX talented professionals.
Original finalist shortlist available here.
About the ECCCSA
As the longest running and largest awards programme in the customer contact industry, the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSAs) recognise organisations across Europe that are leading the way in delivering exceptional service to customers.
Highly regarded for its robust judging process, the ECCCSAs award organisations that value their people, continually innovate to improve the customer experience, and operate efficiently and effectively.
Being an ECCCSA winner is a prestigious accolade that has proven to raise the profile of the contact centre operation, its capabilities and its stars.
Now in their 19th year, the programme is seeing incredible growth with 19 countries participating in 2018 and over 1,200 people attended the awards evening representing the most senior customer experience professionals in Europe, as well as key industry influencers on customer contact.
About CPM International Contact Centre – Barcelona
CPM Barcelona, as part of CPM Group and a member of the Omnicom Group, is an international contact centre delivering outsourced customer experience and sales solutions on an EMEA-wide basis. CPM specialises in the delivery of omnichannel customer engagement solutions for global clients spanning High Tech, Consumer Electronics, FMCG, Retail and Travel industries and currently covers 22+ languages across 65 markets.
For further information, contact:
Rachel Doyle | M: +34 638 140 620 | E: Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org |W: http://www.cpm-int.com/icc/
This months Expert Speak from Pierpaolo Bertocco, Managing Director of CPM Italy
The Agile Business Model and the Support of Sales Outsourcing
According to the English Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Agile is “able to think and understand quickly” or “relating to or denoting a method of project management, (…) that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.” Contrasted with waterfall (adjective)
Today the business community recognise the complexity needs different business models to be adopted for success in business.
Disruptive trends are difficult to predict, along with quickly evolving environments, new technologies and digitalisation are turning the heads of industries and agencies who frequently have to deal with the unknown.
Responding to this level of complexity with one to one relationships, or traditional waterfall processes might be improper at best, and may have a detrimental impact to the success of the project.
“Flexibility” and “agility” are the keywords, and collaboration is the way to make things happen.
How does this match with the outsourcing model?
Today the most common approach to outsourcing is the ‘waterfall’ approach: the client “through a project over the river” shares all their needs and expectations and the supplier will execute at best, giving feedback at defined moments often through traditional reporting. Which works, but the result is just a sum of energies.
Faced with a challenging target often equates to multiplying resources, but to have exponential results can only be achieved using an agile way of working. This relies on having a one team approach, blending both in-house and client teams collaborating side by side to achieve their goals working in a true partnership approach.
Some companies are born agile, others aspire to be, whilst others are forced to become agile. Most companies are able to face market challenges very quickly by innovating products, services and, last but not least, their operational models. In these companies most of their functions, including sales, are outsourced.
Outsourcing can have many meanings, but the real aim should be intended as ‘one is in the shoes of the other’. Sharing this perspective makes a huge difference in achieving optimum results creating a win win for both client and sales agency.
Since 2012, CPM have had up to 14 people working in the office of Cheil which is within the Samsung building to blend the culture and expertise of Cheil. Cheil is the internal communications agency which is owned by Samsung and has the field operation expertise of CPM.
Initally the relationship was based on a waterfall model, where Samsung would brief Cheil, then Cheil would instruct CPM and vice versa. However, due to the complexity and dynamics of the industry the waterfall model hindered performance. This way of working impacted our speed of response, it took too long to react, make informed decisions and execute, it was too difficult to change direction quickly when needed. By implementing an agile model we were able to work in a true partnership approach, all striving to achieve the same goals with fluidity, it changed the direction and performance and the had an almost immediate positive impact on the results. Working in collaboration empowered members of the team and had a positive impact on their morale. The agility model is at the heart of the project with our people.
“As Cheil we share the same values of Samsung. Speed and quality are key success factor as per the brands as per the agencies, not only on deployment but also on catching quickly new opportunities of innovative solutions to grow the business together – adapting to the current context. This is the DNA of true collaboration and it’s up to us to push on it. Working all together in the same space with our different skills allowed us to reach all these goals ” says Isabelle Di Raco, Retail Director of Cheil Italy primary counterpart of Samsung in the Field Force project since 2014.
Improved results were almost instant: improved speed of response, from 2 days to an average of 4 hours, communication improved eliminating any misunderstanding or ambiguity and the knowledge of CPM on the fundamentals of Samsung Operations and culture delivered results never achieved before.
The lesson we all learnt from this process is despite it being tiring, sometimes difficult and restless at the beginning, the agile approach and outsourcing model is worth the investment as it’s often the best solution to the looming complexity companies are facing today.Working in true partnership with an outsourced sales agency will empower both client and agency teams, it not only encourages collaboration but transparency and creative thinking to deliver the best solution to drive sales for our clients.
Welcome to our latest edition of Expert Speak,” How does the access to data impact the Sales Force Teams ” which comes from Véronique Motte, President CPM Group of Companies in France.
How does the access to data impact the Sales Force Teams ?
A few weeks ago, CPM France organised a conference in Paris to explore the impact of accessing data on the sales force team’s performance. For the occasion, CPM France teamed up with its partner, Data Impact, a leading analytics and monitoring e-commerce company.
The purpose of the conference was not to put forward solutions, but to create thought provoking discussions and share opinions or beliefs with the thirty sales directors and e-commerce managers present.
The world of retail is changing, making the sales force teams role more complex
In France, consumers are visiting multiple stores for their groceries (7.8 versus 7.1 in 2010) and are increasingly becoming more specific and demanding when it comes to the source and the quality of products, but they still want a good price and a promotion. Faced with a decline in consumption, especially in hypermarkets, the retail industry is seeking to reinvent itself by digitalising stores and focusing more on small traders, new players and e-commerce. On the manufacturers side, sales forces are not immune to these upheavals. The professions are becoming more and more specialised while their attractiveness decreases.
Today, the use of data by the sales teams is not fully optimised
Following a trend to specialise professions in the past 10 years, today we are seeing a change to versatility for reasons of efficiency. The Area Manager is becoming a Store Key Account Manager with different tasks: numerical distribution, promotion, place, price, but also management of resources.
However, the job could be reinvented thanks to a better use of data. Salespeople could regain interest in their business through a cap on the data. It would facilitate certain tasks and reduce the time required to complete them. A better use of the data would reduce the preparation time, the store audit (automatic check availability, price records…), even transport, by removing unnecessary sales calls. Consequently: using data, the time of a visit could be optimised by about 10% to 30%.
How can data help in execution?
Today, visiting a store is still the main way of collecting data for the offline sales team. Tomorrow, the availability of data will optimise the sales team’s actions on three levels without having to make a second call:
CPM France are proud to announce that one of our clients has accepted to test this data approach on its sales force team. It will be a good start and a good reference on the use of optimising data. We will keep you informed of the progress…
President CPM Group of Companies in France