Online Sales Guide to Creating A Backup Plan - Because There's No Out of Office Sign for the Website

Online Sales Guide to Creating A Backup Plan - Because There's No Out of Office Sign for the Website

Aug 10, 2023 | By Amanda Martin

Online sales specialists, do you have a solid backup plan for your online sales program? 

We have officially come to the conclusion that something is in the water because MANY online sales specialists who we work with are either currently on maternity leave or are soon going on maternity leave–not to mention time off for vacations, family emergencies, and just life in general. In some cases, timelines have shifted and have left builders scrambling to figure out a plan to have their valuable leads cared for. It doesn’t matter how many marketing dollars are spent to drive leads if they are left poorly managed, so let this be your reminder to be prepared with a great backup plan for if and when it is needed.  

Sometimes this doesn’t mean the online sales specialist will be out for an extended period of time. Sometimes it just means someone can cover their days off each week. When your online sales specialist truly gets to take time off, they will come back as a better employee. Often, it is hard for online sales specialists to unplug. They can only do this if they know that a good backup plan is in place and are confident their leads are being cared for while they are out. 

There are several different scenarios when you’ll need a backup plan:

  • A solo online sales specialist working 7 days a week
  • Vacation
  • Emergency
  • Long-term leave, i.e., maternity/paternity
Online sales specialists can also quickly get burned out if they have no backup plan, and that isn’t always the best experience for your customer. Jessie and Jen on our team always say, “Overwork grinds out authentic enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm is a great characteristic to have as an online sales specialist. Be sure to let the online sales specialists recharge their batteries fully so they can be enthusiastic when speaking to, and helping, their leads. 

What does a good candidate for your backup plan look like? It’s someone who:

  • Has been trained on how to manage leads and how to use the tools necessary for the role. 
  • Can work well on a team and has had the chance to shadow your current online sales specialist. 
  • Will have the bandwidth to take this on at a moment's notice if and when that time comes. 

Ideally, this person already has all of this in place and has had the chance to manage some leads with your current online sales specialist’s guidance. If you are not hiring someone specifically for the role, here are some examples of who could be an in-house backup plan: 

  • Sales associate in training or assistant onsite sales agent
  • Sales manager
  • Marketing manager or marketing associate 
  • Front desk receptionist
  • Intern

It will be overwhelming for the backup person to be thrown into the position blind and have to train, learning the role, tools, and product, and manage leads all at once. More often than not, this will cause your leads and customer experience to suffer and you’ll likely feel that pain in your sales numbers a few months down the road. 

Here are a few logistical items to think through once you have the correct person in place as a backup:

-Phone Calls - You will need to change who calls are directed to. It’s great to have a call tracking platform like CallRail to set up call flows that can easily re-route calls as needed. 

-New E- leads - There are a couple of options here.  1. For short-term/emergency backup scenarios -  Backup does initial outreach to new e-leads and when the online sales specialist returns they start them on a follow-up process in the CRM.  *If the backup connects with the customer, they try to set an appointment. Otherwise, they should update the rating, add notes, and add a future task for the online sales specialist to complete when they return. 2. For long-term backups (for example, maternity/paternity leave), they will need their own CRM login. New leads will need to be assigned to the backup in the CRM with a follow-up process started and tasks managed. **More training will be required. 

-Responsive Email - Don’t just set up an autoresponder with “reach out to my colleague.” Instead, forward incoming emails from responsive leads to the backup person or give the backup person access to the original email inbox. You can also set up a general online sales inbox that the online sales specialist, backup, and manager all have access to. 

-Completing Activities - The backup can take over existing activities for leads. For short-term follow-up, they can log in as the online sales specialist and complete the activities. For longer-term plans, they should do this under their own login. 

-Appointments and Reporting - You want to incentivize your backup to set appointments in your absence! Most builders pay the backup an appointment bonus for any new leads they convert while they are covering. However, any other lead that is owned by the online sales specialist, and converted to appointment by the backup, would stay with the original lead owner.  Reporting would fall under the original online sales specialist's monthly numbers. It’s a good idea to make a note on the online sales tracker if the appointment was made by the backup. 

Don't wait to think through all these scenarios! Make sure you have had a practice run before the time comes for your vacation, extended leave, or emergency. The leads we get today are so valuable, and they need to be well taken care of, even if it's by your backup! If you take the time now to invest in your backup plan, your online sales program, company, and your future self will thank you later! 
Amanda Martin
Online Sales Coach

Amanda Martin

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