This Week’s Inspiration: How Tetley Harris Went From 100 Accounts to 1,200

This Week’s Inspiration: How Tetley Harris Went From 100 Accounts to 1,200

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if your entire sales team were to pursue one big win after another, year after year after year?

You’d probably close some pretty big deals.

Given the long sales cycle that tends to precede larger corporate contracts, there’s a good chance you’d also miss out on all kinds of smaller, but potentially very valuable, opportunities.

No one knows this better than the marketing and sales teams at Tetley Harris.

Focusing on a dozen deals a year

From hotels to cafes to conference rooms, Tetley teas have graced the shelves and countertops of millions of businesses. If you’ve ever reached for a steaming mug in a hotel lobby or an iced tea at a corporate lunch, there’s a very good chance you filled your cup with one of the manufacturer’s proprietary blends.

What you probably have not stopped to consider is the chain of events that went into getting those bags and brews distributed to the facilities you were visiting—or why the business chose Tetley over other brands.

It all comes down to a small group of sales team members.

Had we been sharing Tetley Harris’ story a few years ago, it would’ve been a short one. Although the company had targeted approximately 100 potential new accounts, only a handful were being actively pursued. The ideal was to have meaningful interactions with many different prospects, but the company’s spreadsheet-based system didn’t support high-volume activity.

In a recent interview with Sugar, Regional Sales Manager Trevor McSwain described the challenge this way:

“Imagine the worst possible scenario using ‘save’ and ‘save as,’ with tab after tab of random notes. We had a pretty sorry, almost pathetic, process with 10 to 12 opportunities that would get worked throughout the year. Everybody was swinging for the home run.”

Sales cycles were slow, organizing data was difficult and a lot of high-potential prospects weren’t making the spreadsheets—simply because they didn’t fall within the $50,000 to $5 million-a-year range.

Clearly, it was time for a change.

Maximizing every opportunity 

Fast forward a few years, and members of that same Tetley Harris sales team are now working through 60, 70 and even 80 opportunities a year. 

That’s a 566% increase from the standard dozen leads-per-salesperson of just a few years ago.

How did they do it?

The short answer is that they switched from the old spreadsheet-based system to a new customer service (CX) platform. The long answer involves some additional details, the most intriguing of which is this:

The team focused on finding an easy way to build the exact system they wanted, without having to go down the road of big-budget, start-from-scratch enterprise software that’s often associated with CX technology. 

Yes, Tetley Harris had some very specific needs. But with the help of a specialized software consulting firm, they were able to quickly configure their way to a much more productive and efficient system.

Shortly after the new solution rolled out, the team opened and closed 400 opportunities—far more than they had ever worked through before. Today, the team is either targeting or engaging with an average of 1,200 accounts at a time.

“We now engage the customer and take some swings, which was not happening before,” McSwain said, noting that the team is now maximizing each and every opportunity. “We used to go for grand slams. Now we’re hitting singles as well.”

Wondering how you can start working toward your own customer experience success story? Learn how having the right CX technology can help your business move forward, faster, in the Customer Experience Buyer’s Guide.

Heather Mueller
Heather Mueller Heather Mueller is a master storyteller and content creator helping companies cultivate customers for life—one blog article at a time.

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