Operating within an inherently competitive environment, outsourcing providers have to offer higher quality, transparency and flexibility than competitors to satisfy their clients’ needs.
To ensure this, the management centralization of projects with one exclusive managing team for all global sites has proven a highly successful SELLBYTEL strategy for several years. This approach is also known as “Single Point of Contact” (SPOC) management.
In order to display the significance of this progressive strategy generally and to the SELLBYTEL Group specifically, the following discussion provides a detailed overview of SPOC by illustrating its value in general and the benefits of it for the SELLBYTEL clients in particular. The article introduces SELLBYTEL’s unique approach to SPOC and identifies respective challenges as well as opportunities for the outsourcing specialist.
What is SPOC management?
The term single point of contact management essentially indicates that all sites of a client project, no matter where they are located globally, have one dedicated management team, i.e. one distinct point of contact.
What are the advantages of centralizing the management of projects?
According to Philipp Grimm, SELLBYTEL Sales Manager Global Key Accounts, “the key advantage of centralizing project management includes the enhancement of efficiencies mainly as regards time, money and management”.
By having one dedicated team of managers for all project sites, you increase clarity and transparency both across the different sites and with the client.
Besides, you strengthen the proximity between sites as well as to the client. This results in faster and more direct communication and decision-making processes, as well as the ability to react quicker to market and volume fluctuations.
According to Julio Jolin, SELLBYTEL Group Operations Director Spain, that way, you also gain more direct insight and access to the client, i.e. you get a better idea of what his expectations and satisfaction levels are.
Using a SPOC approach, you can further create uniform standards internally regarding reporting (i.e. you only need one report for all project sites), employee training, and recruitment (e.g. hiring criteria). By hiring multilingual staff speaking at least two foreign languages, for instance, you enhance efficiencies especially when it comes to serving smaller, low-volume languages.
How exactly does SELLBYTEL approach SPOC management?
The SELLBYTEL Group adopts SPOC by having one exclusive Account Manager and one Operations Manager/Project Manager for each client project operated from more than one site. This practically means that a dedicated two men team takes care of one client’s business worldwide, no matter how many locations there are. The roles are distributed as follows: While the Account Manager oversees all contractual and commercial aspects, the Operations Manager takes care of the operational day to day business, most notably the supervision of the team’s performance and target achievement. On top of that, the so-called Executive Sponsor represents the last decision making instance, i.e. the ultimately responsible reference for the client. The consequences: flat hierarchies and minimization of time and management efforts, including decision-making, employee training and processes overall.
Contrarily, other businesses tend to manage their projects according to sites, hence far more contact points and thus complexity tend to be involved.
What makes SELLBYTEL’s approach to SPOC so successful?
One decisive differentiator is that SELLBYTEL offers faster service than the competition: Excellent availability and responsiveness are key here. The main added value for the client’s end customer is higher service quality.
Plus, SELLBYTEL puts great emphasis on the human aspects of its business: This means generating trust, reliability, a strong team spirit and shared goals among teams.
SELLBYTEL operates a large service project for a leading producer of IT lifestyle products out of the three locations Barcelona, Berlin and Kuala Lumpur, involving one single management team. The main challenge of this project is connected to workforce management, which requires strong seasonal ramping up and ramping down, especially during the Christmas period. So in this case, the presence of three distinct locations allows faster recruitment and greater flexibility when it comes to managing staff volumes. Besides, the quality of staff is automatically higher having three sites, since per location the highest qualified and easiest detectable workforce is hired. This can also be called “competitive recruiting” and provides the client with the best available talent.
The same approach applies to several other client projects, such as an international producer of network solutions or an international provider of internet services.
What are the main challenges of SPOC management and how does SELLBYTEL deal with them?
Most businesses manage their projects viewing their various sites as separate cost centers. Contrary to that, SELLBYTEL has one organizational profit and loss center per client, rather than per location. Consequently, there is one distinct cost center, which again means that resources (e.g. finances, people, technology) can be shared and shifted wherever and whenever needed most.
According to Julio Jolin, the main challenge of SPOC is that the responsible point of contact receives all necessary information in a timely and correct manner. The SELLBYTEL Group management offers exactly that: empowerment and transparency at all times.
What are the future prospects for SELLBYTEL’s SPOC management?
SELLBYTEL currently conducts SPOC management with a maximum of two to three locations per client project. However, Philipp Grimm comments that “in the future, we will growingly draw our resources from the most suitable sources to ensure highest quality. This strategy, which we like to call “virtualization”, is the next logical step to our current SPOC management. By this I mean the merging of even more locations and their management through one individual team. So if, for example, we perceive five locations to be ideal for a client, who wants to offer his services in ten languages, we will simply locate the best people at the most appropriate sites.”
Respectively, SELLBYTEL is currently establishing a uniform management structure, standardized training, technology and very importantly, a uniform CRM (customer relationship management) tool for a large client project.
In simple terms, SELLBYTEL’s approach will growingly consist of finding the right people for the right services. This clearly increases flexibility. Philipp Grimm ultimately notes that “we will concentrate even more on finding the highest qualified people, as these are eventually the ones making 80% of a project’s entire success”.
Please find below short profiles of Philipp Grimm and Julio Jolin.
Philipp Grimm has been with the SELLBYTEL Group since 2007. He originally started as an Account Manager for eleven clients, mainly from the IT sector. Today, he takes care of the new sales business for the SELLBYTEL Group’s international client base. His job is principally to create the right strategies and solutions for the right clients.
Julio Jolin, Operations Director SELLBYTEL Spain, joined the outsourcing specialist in 2001. His role involves the management of the entire operational business of SELLBYTEL in Spain. Before his time with SELLBYTEL, Julio completed an MBA and worked among others as a Consultant and an Operations Manager in the hotel industry.
Text: Anna-Luisa Wiefel