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Delta Vacations - Sales Growth Achievement of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Delta Vacations, Minot, ND
Entry Submitted By: MLT Vacations
Company Description: Delta Vacations, managed by MLT Vacations, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines and one of the largest providers of vacation packages in the United States. Delta Vacations has been in the vacation business for more than 45 years. Delta Vacations, offers travelers convenient, one-stop shopping for custom-designed vacation packages to more than 300 of the world’s top leisure destinations.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Growth Achievement of the Year

Nomination Title: Delta Vacations Sales Growth

Tell the story about how your organization has improved its sales growth since the beginning of July 2016 (up to 650 words). Begin the essay with the percentage growth in revenue and/or units during that period, over the prior year. Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes: TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

Sales Growth Achievement of the Year

Driving sales to increase revenue is an integral piece of any company’s business plan.

We knew if we found the right people who were truly passionate about sales and provided them the right incentive and the best tools, we could grow our revenue. The question was, how could we accomplish this?

We began with letting people find their passion

In 2016 we moved from hiring into sales roles to hiring into service roles. Employees hired into service roles who demonstrated an aptitude for selling were then provided an opportunity to move into sales positions. The desire had to be there, as well as the demonstrated sales proficiency. In 2017 only 2.5% of our new hires earned the chance to move into a sales position.

We focus on recent sales performance to maximize efforts

We send the best sales calls to agents based on how they closed their last 100 sales calls. Simply put, best recent close rate equals more sales calls. This continual churn ensures agents do not get complacent in their performance. They stay engaged and maximize the sales opportunity on every call, rather than resting on the achievements of a previously established sales reputation.

Routing all new sales calls directly to the top-performing sales agents has resulted in our close rates steadily improving each year:

  • 2013: 14.9%
  • 2014: 16.9%
  • 2015: 23.9%
  • 2016: 26.1%
  • 2017 YTD: 28.4%

Increased close rates and increased revenue go hand-in-hand. In the financial year ending March 2017, our revenue increased by 16% compared to the financial year ending March 2016.

Personal incentives drive their commitment to the company’s growth

Our sales agents are rewarded for their sales performance with a lucrative monthly incentive plan. The plan is based on a revenue goal per month. If they achieve the goal, they receive a base incentive. Every dollar they make above that goal directly increases their payout.

New revenue goals are set each month based on a review of the previous month’s financial results and the projections for the upcoming month. These are intended to be stretch goals to drive performance. Clearly it’s working. In the last 18 months, approximately two-thirds of the sales agents reached or exceeded the month’s incentive goal, earning them a payout and increasing our company’s bottom line.

Agents are able to view real-time dashboard data to track their progress toward the monthly goal, see how their performance ranks on an individual and team basis, and measure their own performance over the last twelve months. In addition, in 2016 we removed the cap on monthly incentives, encouraging our sales people to continue to perform at their best for the entire month even after they reached their goal, as every additional dollar they made would directly impact their payout.

We also create other avenues to incentivize our agents and promote sales growth by:

  • Offering boosters or “kickers” for booking hotels and vendors identified by the leadership as key partners
  • Hosting quarterly incentives for booking key ancillary revenue

We built a better booking system

Last year we introduced a new in-house built reservations booking system, Navigator, replacing a 20+ year old DOS system. Navigator has a web-based graphical interface that users of current computer technology are more familiar with compared to the command-line driven DOS system. The new system provided enhanced tools for employees that they can use seamlessly while interacting with customers.
As of mid-year 2017, we have seen the following sales growth:

  • Sales close rate: 3.6% increase
  • Total revenue: 17% increase
  • Total bookings: 25% increase

We believe this focus on identification of sales experts, combined with the correct incentives, and providing the right sales technology is what has driven our revenue growth so dramatically and why we believe Delta Vacations should win the award for “Sales Growth Achievement of the Year.”