At Bandalier, we believe in helping our team reach their goals - whether those are personal, professional, or anywhere in between! Since we love to work with driven young professionals, many of our team members have a business on the side. For our newest blog series, we’ll be taking the time to interview each of our entrepreneurs. To kick things off, we wanted to introduce each team member and their business. Here’s a selection of the entrepreneurs on our team and what they have to offer!
Colin Meagley, Hustle Bean Coffee | Coffee for Entrepreneurs
“We're like you. We're entrepreneurs. We're "hustlers". We understand what it's like to grind. We understand what it's like to give every day everything you got in hopes of building a better life. That's why we're here. We rely on coffee to keep us going, day in and day out. We've spent many long days, and many all nighters, fueled by this stuff. So we decided to make our own. Nobody was making coffee for us. Nobody was making coffee with the understanding of how influential it can be when starting and running a business. That's where Hustle Bean Coffee comes in. High-quality coffee made to fuel each and every one of your entrepreneurial ventures.”
Connor Riley, Two Mulligans
“I started Two Mulligans four years ago as a one-man operation. Trying to build my own set turned into an entire basement room filled with clubs, bags, and accessories to sell and re-sell. We have everything from full sets, individual drivers, woods, irons, wedges, and putters to apparel, and we also offer club refurbishment/regripping for local customers. Our goal is to transition to a physical location while keeping our online presence strong. We ultimately want to create the best Golf Oasis, with indoor simulators, brand new gear, fittings, refurbishing/refinishing and more!”
Alex Boucard - Alex_Hussles
“I started my channel earlier this year to document my journey to financial independence. I want to create a blueprint for success that other people can follow. If you’re interested in learning about personal finance, business, real estate or you just want to watch someone document their journey to success, then you should definitely subscribe.”
Dylan Smith - Apex Combat Sports
“Apex Combat Sports is Binghamton's premier Mixed Martial Arts academy. Whether you are looking to learn a new skill, improve your health, or compete our programs will provide you with the framework to succeed both on and off the mats. Our talented coaches will deliver expert instruction every class to ensure you understand the movements, then our community will provide you with the support and inspiration to crush your goals!”
Jake Zall - Pop-Corn Heist: Movies, TV, Pop-Culture and More!
“At Pop-Corn Heist we aim to build an interactive community of TV & movie lovers, and bring pop-culture content to life in ways you've never seen before. From articles to rankings to podcasts to social media we cover all the action in every format possible. In turn, we hope to amplify the voices of fans everywhere. Whether it be a hot take or conventional praise of a beloved film, you can find it here. #JoinTheHeist and never miss a scene.”
Jarrod Pine - Vectorapparel
“Vector Apparel is a high-quality athletic apparel company. We are a brand new startup business and an avid supporter of small businesses. We are headquartered in Long Beach, NY but ship throughout the US. Our apparel company provides you with clothing that enables you to push your limits and look good doing it. We can design and produce apparel for company functions, businesses, schools, and any other organization as needed.”
Teddy Boucard - Read Rose Books
“Read Rose Books houses a diverse collection of used, vintage, and first editions books. The name Read Rose Books was chosen in honor of Lancaster, the Red Rose city, and for all of the books that will be read. There is a book for everyone from Russian literature to poetry to historic fiction. We are always happy to lend a hand and help you find your next great read. Local artists are a prominent feature at the store. From the moment you walk in you will be able to see the large acrylic paintings of Josh Manny and clay earrings/ watercolors from Morgan Popson. Also included in the store is a selection of fair trade items handmade in Peru.”
Zach Keck - ZAG Labs’ Edge Spray
“Edge started as a passion project to tackle a serious problem for indoor athletes - traction. After seeing basketball players lick their hands and wipe their shoe soles to get more grip on the court, we spent the last 2 years in the lab perfecting a safe, more effective alternative. Edge dries in seconds, softening rubber shoe soles and drastically increasing friction for the rest of the game. The goal is to fully launch Edge when COVID allows for indoor sports to resume (Hopefully Q1 2021) and then focus on our next product line. With Edge, just #SprayToPlay.”
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
One feature of Bandalier’s kaizen culture is that our team members are constantly looking for little tweaks that can make them more efficient.
Each week, every Bandalier team member - including folks on our outsourced inside sales teams and our operations teams - is asked to come up with one test or ‘kaizen’ that will help them generate more results from a fixed number of hours. At the end of the week, we review as a team and discuss some of the learnings from the different tests that were run.
One recent kaizen initiative that has proved especially effective is the use of the ‘pomodoro technique’ to structure our outreach. Developed by a university student in the late 1980’s, the technique calls for users to structure activities (for instance, making calls or completing a presentation) in uninterrupted 25 minute blocks. When the 25 minutes are up, a five minute break can be taken before another 25 minute ‘pomodoro’ starts. After four pomodoro cycles like this, a longer break (15 - 30 minutes) is taken before the set restarts.
Our teams have found this approach to be hugely effective in eliminating distractions and improving activities levels. By turning off e-mail, Slack, texts, and other peripherals and focusing exclusively on one activity, our teams are able to devote their entire attention to the task at hand - whether that’s making outbound calls or preparing for a client meeting. “It seems to be working very well,” reports one Associate Sales Manager in Bandalier’s end of week review forms. Like several others at Bandalier, his team has been experimenting with pomodoro as part of their kaizen initiative over the last few weeks. “I think it could be a huge benefit to a lot of employees here.”
Now that our new leaders have had the chance to settle into their role, we wanted to ask them about their experiences! Over the last few months, each of them has grown into their style of leading a team. We had previously written about their unique personalities, but wanted to give them an opportunity to share their thoughts on leadership directly.
Nick Viviano has been hard at work keeping his team at peak performance. He’s helped them increase their activity level every month since he stepped into his role, and as a result, his team members have been able to keep delivering better results for their clients! Not only that, but he’s been able to build strong bonds with his team members by finding common ground. Popular topics include their experiences on the golf course and recent football games!
Here’s what Nick had to say when we asked about his favorite part of leading a team at Bandalier:
I would say that my favorite part of being on the leadership team is helping my reps become better salespeople, through coaching and training. As well as helping the Client Delivery team manage the client relationship.
Zach Keck has driven his team to find new, creative ways to keep delivering great results. Zach works with a lot of part-time reps, so he’s learned how to keep a flexible calendar! Thanks to his guidance, his team has been able to quickly shift gears to meet their clients’ changing needs.
Since Zach had stepped into an informal leadership role shortly before his official promotion, we asked him what surprises the position had in store for him. He said:
I think the most surprising part of leadership was just how much behind the scenes coordination goes on. I always knew management did a lot of communicating and organization, but it was surprising how much time is spent outside of the day-to-day clients, such as helping coordinate staffing/strategize for other programs.
Lydia Stewart has been coaching her team on new and changing programs! With her guidance, her team has been able to adapt to their clients’ needs with ease and improve results by improving their skill base. Lydia prefers to keep the team’s Zoom meetings short, and often catches up with her team members by trading message over Slack! She’s always quick to reply when her team members need help.
We asked Lydia about her favorite experiences on the leadership team, and here’s what she had to say:
I like being challenged and learning new skills. And it’s exciting to see the results of my effort when things are going well!
Mia Horwath has continued to work hard behind the scenes to make sure that our inside sales reps have the resources that they need to keep reaching for new targets! Whether you have a question about your list of leads or just need help with a new bug that you found, Mia will always step in to help if she can - and if she can’t, she’ll tell you what you can do to fix it yourself.
We asked Mia what the most important thing she had learned since stepping into her role as our Sales Ops Team Lead, and here’s what she had to say:
I would say the most important thing I've learned is how to be flexible. Since I am a full time student and so are most of my team members, it gets a little tricky as we all work different hours and sometimes those hours change on short notice. Being able to be flexible with them, cover for them and communicate has been challenging but something very important I needed to learn as a team lead.
Desirée Deninis has been hard at work training her team for success! She loves to see the entire team succeed, and is always happy to give tips on how you can make it through a tough call - or a tough day. With her reputation for reaching decision-makers, she’s one of the best people to ask for tips on difficult programs, and she’s always happy to help her colleagues.
Desirée is one of the more experienced members of our team, so we asked her what she was surprised to learn in her new role. Here’s her response:
What has surprised me most is the misconception that management is easy. It's perceived as a position that you can finally "rest" in. That is not the case at all if you want your team to be successful. There are tons of moving parts and you cannot just sit back and watch your team pull in results - it's a lot of coaching, training, and constant work and attention that is put into the team. I never believed in the whole "your team's success is your success," as I was always more of a believer that the team's success is a result of the talent and skill of each individual rep. But as a manager, I'm starting to realize that your team's success is your success, as well as a reflection on you, and the work you put in.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
If you’ve been following our blog, you probably remember our past post about one of our ‘behind the scenes’ leaders, Dr. Caroline Millen. As she wrapped up her doctoral dissertation, she was wrapping up another big project: a major update to our Talent as a Service portal.
We first launched our Talent as a Service offering in late May, primarily featuring profiles of current employees. As we received more applications from highly-qualified candidates, the workload to add them to the portal slowly increased. In the spirit of kaizen, Dr. Millen has been working closely with our sales ops team to make the portal operate more efficiently - both for our candidates and potential clients.
At launch, our Talent as a Service profiles took a lot of time and manual labor to build out. Caroline met with candidates multiple times after the interview process to interview them, record their introductory videos, and help detail their written profiles; after recording, our data team edited the videos before uploading them to the portal.
Now that we have a few months of practice, we’ve streamlined the process so that candidates don’t have to spend so much time on camera. After they finish our interview process, they can choose from one of many prompts and make their own video, on their own time. We’ve also given our candidates more control over their profiles, with options to present unique examples of their experience, as well as the option to feature quotes on their profile that they feel best demonstrate their skill set.
We’ve also improved the experience for clients who are ready to build their outsourced inside sales team. Each candidate’s expertise is clearly outlined, and it’s easy to see their experience without needing to delve into their resume. Once it’s time for the client and candidate to meet, they can schedule time independently, using our new scheduling options!
Our new Talent as a Service update promises even easier access to top talent for clients, and unique opportunities for our candidates. We’re excited to keep growing and to give talent across the country the opportunity to connect with a role that’s perfect for them!
If you’re ready to build a stellar sales team overnight, you can visit our website and schedule a call to learn more about our Talent as a Service offering. If you want to be part of our team and find the perfect role with a growing company, we’d love to hear from you!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
Throughout our history as a company, part-timers and interns have been a huge aspect of our growth and culture here at Bandalier. A vast mix of inside sales associates, sales operations associates, and human resource representatives have the ability to gain quality professional experience - while designing their own part time schedule in order to fit their work around classes or other extracurricular activities. One of the most impressive interns we've had the privilege of employing has been sales operations associate Dylan Davidson.
Dylan was first introduced to Bandalier through Community Options "School To Employment Program" (S.T.E.P.). He began his tenure here as a sales operations intern, and since then has proven to be a significant asset on a number of our client accounts. In addition, he has stepped in on various special projects - including collecting large amounts of campaign data that help our leadership team strategize on a higher level, as well as collaborating with one of our advisors to audit previous account data to make sure it's fit to analyze.
Thought he started on a temporary program through Community Options, Dylan has since been hired directly, and continues to do great work for us on a day to day basis. For more information on how to apply for a part-time role or internship here at Bandalier, go check out our careers page!
James Boedicker - Client Delivery Associate at Bandalier
We wanted to take a moment to celebrate someone who usually works behind the scenes at Bandalier - we’re pleased to introduce our Director of People, Dr. Caroline Millen!
Caroline joined our team at the beginning of 2020. We spent months looking for the perfect person to help direct our team as it grew, and Caroline was a perfect fit! After beginning her professional career in higher education, she was ready to make a change. She wanted to engage with her community in new ways, and knew that she could do so with Bandalier.
She made a big splash within Bandalier the moment she started. If you read our recent post on personality types, you’ll know that we all took the MBTI survey earlier this year - Caroline spearheaded that project in order to understand our team more thoroughly. Once she understood the composition of our existing team, she started looking for ways to keep improving our talent pool. As part of that project, she updated and streamlined our interview and hiring process to improve the experience both for our prospective employees and the leaders who were interviewing them.
Caroline’s greatest achievement is undoubtedly her work on our Talent as a Service program. In early March, while juggling the move to remote work and the needs of our team, Caroline was working on this initiative with a tiny team. With Talent as a Service, candidates can choose to be featured on our portal to be matched with new clients. This way, new programs can be up and running in as little as two weeks!
“It was born at the perfect time: we had an abundance of talented candidates looking for work as the pandemic began, and as new clients joined and existing clients expanded, we had plenty of excellent choices.”
Not only was she helping us improve by launching TaaS, but she had another, more personal project in the works: her doctoral dissertation. Caroline examined resilience and teaching essential leadership skills via virtual instruction, leveraging her past experience in higher education.
“As a special educator, I’m especially passionate about accessibility. Whether that’s ensuring all students have access to high quality education or ensuring all talented individuals have access to exciting job opportunities, that’s where I tend to focus my work. The Talent as a Service portal does just that: current students, recent graduates, entry-level professionals and experienced salespeople can highlight their unique and diverse abilities and match with exciting entrepreneurs and startup companies.”
We couldn’t be more proud to have Dr. Millen as our Director of People! If you’d like to learn more from her, you can connect with her on Instagram @carolinedmillen, or on LinkedIn @carolinedmillen. If you’re interested in joining our team, please visit our website and apply today!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
If you follow our blog, you know that we love to collect data as we test new techniques during our outreach. As part of our company’s commitment to kaizen, each of our team members runs a monthly A/B test as they work to improve their call techniques. This week, we wanted to highlight a particularly successful A/B test from one of our new outsourced sales team members!
Romilly Robertson joined our team at the start of the summer. Once they had finished their Bandalier Bootcamp, they hit the phones hard. Unfortunately, they weren’t successful at the start - it was nearly impossible to reach decision makers. After their first few weeks of outreach, Romilly and their team started to re-examine their script. While the team was looking for areas to improve, Romilly decided to start from the top.
We’ve written about the importance of asking better questions in the past. Romilly took that advice and ran with it! Throughout the month of August, they alternated between two different opening questions while speaking with gate-keepers. One was generally related to the client’s offerings (option A), while the other was highly specific (option B). Over time, it became clear that the more specific question delivered better results. When asking their general question, they reached a decision-maker on less than 25% of calls, and had gate-keepers end the call on nearly 25% of their attempts. Once they started asking their specific question, Romilly reached a decision-maker on more than 50% of their calls! As a result, they were able to schedule more meetings for their client.
Not only did the results of Romilly’s outreach improve, but their team’s efficiency did, too! By asking a better opening question, Romilly was able to reach decision makers more quickly, as were their teammates!
“I was able to save a minute or two one each call, depending on how much the gate-keeper had to say. Even though I was the only one testing these questions, it helped the whole team save time, since they were able to ask better, more specific questions during their calls after I shared my results.”
While a minute per call doesn’t sound like much time, it adds up over the course of the week. Romilly saves nearly an hour each day by asking better questions; over the course of the week, that’s almost five hours saved! The number only goes up once you consider the impacts for Romilly’s teammates.
Romily’s A/B test is a perfect example of how our team always looks for opportunities to meaningfully improve their outreach. In addition, these tests tend to provide valuable insights to our client’s overall b2b sales outsourcing efforts. If you’d like to hear more about Romilly’s work in particular, you can connect with them on LinkedIn. For more information about Bandalier and how you can work with our team of stellar sales reps, head on over to our website!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
Now that our New Leaders have had some time to grow into their roles, we wanted to take some time to reflect on their experiences with Bandalier. As a company, we’ve recently been discussing what factors make our team members so successful. For a simple indicator, everyone took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) quiz! With this quiz, your responses are scaled based on four key personality indicators:
There are a total of 16 different results that you can get from the quiz! While most folks assume that you have to be extroverted to work in sales, that isn’t truly the case. It’s true that the majority of our team are extroverts, but nearly one-third of us are introverts! We decided to follow up with our newest leaders, to ask how they feel their personality types influenced their success at Bandalier.
Desirée Deninis - ESFJ
If you read our feature on Desiree, you’ll remember that she’s one of our toughest sales reps. As a sensitive extrovert, Des has a sixth sense for steering conversations in the direction she needs them to go, and she won’t hesitate to assert herself during calls. She’s always happy to help when you need it, but she’ll be honest when you’ve made mistakes, too. Her success and determination spreads throughout the team, even while we’re working remotely!
“I’m a huge people person - I love building relationships, inside and outside of work. It helps tremendously, from building rapport with prospects to building relationships with our clients. Likeability also plays a huge role in sales, so my upbeat and energetic personality can help people gravitate towards me. But I never pretend to be someone that I’m not, and that’s definitely helped me succeed.”
Zach Keck - ENFP
An intuitive extrovert, Zach loves to talk with new people! But he can also sense when something is left unsaid. He’s one of the first team members to ask questions, and he knows how to direct those questions to reach the heart of the matter at hand. When we asked Zach how his personality type influenced his work, here’s what he had to say:
“Being an extrovert definitely helps with sales and client relationships. A lot of my job is asking clients good questions, understanding what their goals are and how we can help them. Some people think that you have to talk to make a sale, but listening actually helps close more deals.”
Lydia Stewart - ISFJ
Lydia is one of our legendary introverts! Her listening skills make her easy to talk to, and most folks don’t realize how much they’ve said until she starts asking them questions. Lydia loves to pair people with products that will work for them. Whether it’s a caller looking for software or a colleague looking for advice, she’ll be there to listen and make suggestions!
“My personality type is empathetic with good listening skills. During calls, that means that my prospects get a chance to speak and I get a chance to listen. As a manager, it makes me warm and approachable, which makes it easier for my team to talk to me. I also like working behind the scenes, making sure things are running smoothly and that my team has all of the tools that they need to succeed.”
Nick Viviano - ENTP
Like Zach, Nick is an intuitive extrovert. As is true for many of our team members, he’s always been a people person and loves meeting new folks as part of his daily routine. Nick is always thinking about the next question he can ask, and how it will help direct the conversation. Whether he’s chatting with a client or coaching one of his team members, Nick will always have a clarifying question to make sure everyone is on the same page. We asked Nick how his personality influenced his leadership style, and here’s what he said:
“I can talk to anyone and keep the conversation going, which is especially helpful with cold-calling. It also translates into my role, since I can talk to my reps and help coach them regardless of their personality. It’s a huge part of what’s made me successful here.”
Mia Horwath - ESTJ
While stereotypes may suggest that everyone who works with data is an introvert, Mia proves that it isn’t true! She initially joined our team as a sales rep, but quickly realized that she wanted to improve a different skill set. With her experience on calls, Mia has a personal understanding of what reps want and need from her team of sales ops associates. She always delivers results for her reps, and she’s unflinchingly honest about the time and effort it will take to do so.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
When you work with early-stage companies, you learn quickly that flexibility is key. Ideal customer profiles, pitches, and even overall company strategy changes quickly - and vendors need to, also. Though our primary focus on most campaigns is appointment setting / top-of-funnel SDR work, we’ve had to adjust our focus for several clients. Fortunately, our kaizen culture, which prioritizes autonomy and creativity, helps us adapt quickly when necessary.
In that vein, lots of prospective clients want to know just how flexible our outsourced inside sales teams can be: put another way, are we just cold calling robots, or can our team members adjust to different needs as they pop up? Below are three examples of how our teams have adapted.
Outbound e-mail is a critical part of our inside sales strategy, comprising nearly 50% of outbound activities (calls, e-mail, social media touches) across Bandalier’s outsourced inside sales teams. One core element of any outbound e-mail playbook is deliverability: that is, ensuring that e-mails to prospects actually land in their inbox.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) spend a tremendous amount of time building algorithms that differentiate transactional e-mails (that is, e-mails you might send to friends or colleagues) from what they define as spam (unwanted e-mail that doesn’t belong in inboxes). So if you’re going to send out a lot of e-mails to prospects as part of a B2B inside sales effort, it’s worth taking the time to ensure that your e-mails get treated properly by recipient servers and don’t wind up in a spam folder. Open rates on sales and marketing e-mails vary from 10% to as high as 80% or more - that variance leads to some very different conversion funnels.
Bandalier routinely runs outbound e-mail campaigns on our own behalf that achieve 60%+ open rates, and clients often want to know how. Below are some of the methods we use.
1) Plain text, short and to the point. E-mails that look like marketing will get treated by recipient servers as promotions or spam. All of our outbound e-mails use a plain text approach that mirrors that kind of e-mail you might send to an acquaintance. Sending e-mails with pictures or marketing content built in may seem creative, but it is a surefire way to decrease open rates right off the bat.
2) Subject line optimization. We see variance of 10-20% in open rates based purely on the e-mail subject line used. One of our favorites for our own outreach is also the simplest: <<Prospect Company Name>> // Bandalier. But effective subject lines vary widely based on the personas, industries, and geographies you’re targeting, so it’s critical to continually test new subject lines and see what’s working best. There are tons of tools that can help you do this - here are a few to choose from.
3) Good prospect lists. Sending e-mails to old or incorrect e-mails will increase your ‘bounce rate’, which is one number recipient servers use to evaluate whether your e-mails are spam. Tools like Zerobounce can help you ensure the list you’re using is clean.
4) Using subdomains or alternative domains. It’s usually not a great idea to send very large volumes of outbound sales e-mails from a primary domain (for example, ‘bandalier.co'), because you run the risk of spoiling it both for future campaigns and even for your regular transactional e-mails (imagine having your regular correspondence with customers sent to spam, for instance). Subdomains and alternative domains are two mechanisms we use to improve deliverability on our outbound sales e-mails and mitigate any harm that might be done to our primary domain (bandalier.co). A sub-domain is something like sales.bandalier.co: it is connected to the primary domain, but includes an extra marker to differentiate it. The advantage of using subdomains is that they benefit from the reputation of their parent domains, but cannot impact them.
Here’s an example: let’s say we’ve been using bandalier.co for two years to send routine e-mails to clients and co-workers, and now want to launch a outbound sales campaign. By setting up a domain like sales.bandalier.co, we benefit from the e-mail reputation of our primary bandalier.co domain, but if folks start marking our new outbound sales e-mails as ‘spam’, we do not risk our transactional e-mails (that is, those routine e-mails we’ve been sending all along) also going to spam.
An alternative domain is something like bandaliersales.co that has no connection to our primary domain. The advantage of a domain like this is that if the primary domain is not performing well (maybe someone on your team sent a bunch of e-mails that bounced, or you’ve spoiled the domain through mass outreach in the past), you have the opportunity to start over with no further impact to the primary domain. However, if you go this route, it’s important to take some time to ‘warm up’ the domain.
5) Following other e-mail best practices. E-mail deliverability is a bit of a black box, but there are a few other widely accepted practices you can follow to maximize your ‘reputation’ to recipient servers. Increment your e-mail sending volume gradually - don’t go from sending 50 emails in one week to 1500 the next. Try to space your email sends (that is, don’t send 1500 outbound sales emails in the same minute on Friday afternoon). Finally, make sure your SPF and DKIM settings are properly established.