There are many different and often unforeseen situations that could cause yourself or a member of your team to be absent from work for a day or more. In the business world this can cause some added stress, but in the services industry it becomes critical to make the necessary adjustments to maintain contractual obligations and backfill absences.

Of course, paid time off is a regular part of the professional working world, but when we’re contracted out on a month-to-month basis, the expectation is that our clients will get output for every business day in that particular month. There are multiple paths a services-based organization can take to cover both the customer-facing aspect of this relationship as well as the expected output of the contracted employee.

At QuotaFactory, we have two sides to our business. One is the sales development software side, and the other is outsourced sales development. I’ll be using the latter to review how an organization can maintain contractual services agreements even when absences occur.

#1 – Train your floor-facing managers for customer-facing success.

At QuotaFactory, we always attach at least two managers to a new client. This enables us to keep operations running smoothly if there is period of time when one of the two will not be available. The responsibilities of the first manager will always be communicating with the client, working data for the project, and maintaining the relationship as we transition through various campaigns. The other manager will handle the training and development of the individual sales development rep(s) making dials for the client. That manager will also be involved in the client relationship from day one and have a full understanding of everything happening within the engagement.

So, although the responsibility of the latter manager is focused on the rep accomplishing their goals, they can also easily sub in for any client facing commitments when needed. This “all hands on deck” approach is cross-training that is built into our overall process and enables us to avoid any gaps in availability of management.

#2 – Adopt a “two half-time heads are better than one full-time head” approach.

Maintaining a relationship with the client from a management perspective is an easier task than making sure the outbound phone and email efforts are continued in a reps absence. The easiest solution to this comes with more than one rep being attached to the same project. It becomes a simple matter of time management and making sure that the reps that are working during their colleague’s absence step up and increase their output to compensate for lower headcount.

One way to make this work is to attach two reps to one campaign and ask that they each allocate half of their day to the project in order to complete the work of one full-time rep. Besides the benefit of having additional headcount to step in during another’s absence, the client could see more success when two reps work together to create the most successful process and messaging strategy for that particular campaign. When reps can lean on each other for support, bounce ideas off of each other, and more quickly determine what is resonating and what is not, the client will receive not only a steady flow of output, but a steady and successful flow of results.

#3 – Develop a standard on-ramp process and perfect it’s execution.

The way we structure our lead generation efforts means that each rep approaches their daily process in the same manner, regardless of the client and their campaign. This foundation allows us to quickly train a rep on a new project when dealing with any unexpected absences of the only rep attached to a particular campaign. No matter the project, an SDR at QuotaFactory uses the same call plan cadence. Also, each rep is thoroughly trained on a standard and proven qualification process that can be used for any campaign they are servicing. The only difference from project to project is the specific questions used to uncover qualifying information, but the technique is the same. Utilizing the absent reps’ materials to plug-in the different messaging into our proven formula allows us to consistently backfill a project so that we never lose any output.

If an absence is planned, use this advance notice to your client’s advantage. The leaving rep should immediately begin to train their colleagues with role plays, call shadows, and explanations of how that particular project functions. Although the previously mentioned method of plugging in new messaging into our proven qualification process functions well, taking the time to groom the replacement rep in a more specific manner obviously allows for a smoother transition and a decreased chance of lost quality.

Ensuring that there are no gaps within a client engagement is essential in the services industry. Whether it’s with the client facing managers or the rep’s putting in the work to meet contract goals, there is a need to maintain a consistent output. Having two managers fully involved from the kickoff point of a project allows them to fill in for one another in the case of an absence. With that, attaching multiple reps to one project, using the same training structure for each project, and taking the time to get direct project training (when possible) will keep the output and quality intact when a rep misses work.

How does your team step up to the plate when a member is absent?

Accountability Increases Revenue, let’s do this!