The N2 Company: Rethinking Sales in 2020 (and Beyond)

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N2 offers local marketing solutions for great businesses to connect with their ideal clients. And we’ve been doing it for a good while. We launched our flagship product, monthly publications for affluent neighborhoods, in 2004, and have since expanded our portfolio of media brands to serve the following communities in hundreds of markets: real estate, medical, and the new mover demographics. In the nearly two decades we’ve been in business, we earned a spot on Inc.’s fastest-growing private U.S. companies list (Inc. 5000) eight years in a row, thanks to an impressive stint of triple-digit growth. N2 has also won awards for stellar company culture from Fortune, Entrepreneur, Inc., Glassdoor, and more. 

We employ around 250 team members in our Home Office, and work with 600+ salespeople across the country who run point on our publications. We are extremely proud of the high-quality products we produce, but our true passion lies in our charitable giving effort, N2GIVES, which has donated more than $13 million to nonprofits on the front lines fighting to end modern-day slavery.

That’s our history in a little nutshell.

Our salespeople (known as Area Directors) meet with local business owners who wish to reach new customers through our magazines. And until March of 2020, every such meeting took place in person using the presentation that’s been perfected over 17 years. Seventeen. That’s almost two decades of learning, tweaking, and fine-tuning everything client relations.

 

Then COVID happened. 

Bam. No more in-person meetings. Area Directors are commission-based, so no partnerships means no personal income growth – and this didn’t sit well with us. 

As our Director of Training put it, ”crap hit the fan” around March 16. And by that very afternoon, our Training team delivered fully revised phone scripts. By the week’s end, we had an overhauled sales presentation built with Zoom delivery in mind. Speaking of, we had training videos uploaded to our internal learning platform, N2 University, on how to even use Zoom and Docusign.

Pre-COVID, we would hold one weekly sales training call. But in 2020, we upped this to a training call daily. And it wasn’t simply sales-focused talks and resources we were providing to our team. It was also emotional support and stories of triumph-despite-challenges that laced our sales calls. Not to mention the one-on-one weekly (or more) conversations between Area Directors and their Performance Coach. Though our Performance Coaching program was instituted in 2019, we hit a milestone in 2020 with 88% of Area Directors opting into this optional program due to the impressive results of others.

 

Pandemic Peaks

N2 Area Directors were seeing their highest-ever sales numbers in January and February of 2020. Today, sales numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels – and growing higher by the day. 

But this wasn’t any miracle… 

This success is directly correlated to the quick and ongoing training efforts by N2’s Training team. There was a large dip in sales activity in March 2020, but from that point on, sales numbers climbed steadily.

Our trainers and coaches have guided a 600+-person sales team that had only known one way of selling their product, and successfully implemented a multi-touch approach to re-training that consisted of daily team-wide training calls, a comprehensive three-day retraining “conference,” weekly one-on-one coaching, and a new Zoom-focused sales module in N2 University. All complete with dozens of videos, print-outs, and recorded calls that can be accessed at all times. 

Better yet, it was because of the quick and effective work of our coaches and trainers that hundreds of thousands of people continue to receive their community’s custom publication each and every month. On top of that, we were still able to donate millions to the fight against human trafficking to close out 2020. 

We’re celebrating our people for pushing through during challenging circumstances – our trainers and coaches, our Area Directors, and Home Office team members.  And most importantly we’re celebrating their ability to pivot during a pandemic and create wins for the entire team.

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