Recycling Services (RSI) develops, implements and services office paper recycling programs in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Capitalized with $10,000 in 1984, David Levinson and Michael Finn formed the company to respond to the growing solid waste problem in Illinois by making recycling services available to businesses and the general public. Now in its 25th year, Recycling Services operates a 40,000 square-foot recycling plant located on the southwest side of Chicago, where it processes over 9,000 tons of secondary fiber per month. The company employs 50 people.
Since opening RSI in 1984, Levinson and Finn grew their company organically and through strategic alliances. This ‘organic’ growth created a complex and oftentimes, overlapping web of sales responsibilities. Although RSI was seeing results from its sales efforts over the years, the owners wanted to untangle the historical process and develop a more focused and integrated approach to acquiring new business. “We needed to set up a good, repeatable process that would take us from the beginning of a project all the way to completion,” said David Levinson, co-owner of RSI.
In addition, the two company owners had overlapping responsibilities, which delayed important decisions and sent conflicting messages to the staff. “Michael and I had a good relationship, but there were several ‘muddy’ areas,” Levinson said. “We had to delineate our responsibilities so we would stop stepping into each other’s territories all the time.”
A team from Anchor Advisors started working with Levinson and Finn on establishing a sales process. One of the first tasks was defining the three distinct markets that RSI serves and then evaluating how each one should be approached from a sales standpoint. Each required slightly different sales strategies and personnel. From there, members of the RSI sales staff were matched to specific markets based on their skills and strengths. Then, the Anchor Advisors team helped equip the sales staff with the tools they needed to do their job, including a sales script and a simplified, rewritten proposal template.
A number of the sales reps were younger or new to their roles. In order to build their confidence and skills, Stacy Reynolds worked with them one-to-one on time management, communication and sales tools. Stacy continues to coach and train the sales staff on an as-needed basis. “Stacy has been available to our team members who need mentoring,” Levinson said. “She helps them overcome their challenges and keeps them focused. It’s been very successful.”
Once the three sales channels were well defined, Finn and Levinson felt the need to try to unify some of the marketing materials and messages. Brigitte Ozzello was brought in to assist the team in thinking through its marketing efforts. She has helped to streamline the proposal process and clarify their sales and marketing messages.
With Anchor Advisors’ assistance, the company now has a repeatable sales process in place, which has made the sales operations run smoother. They have an active sales management process and are starting to see improved results.
Although Anchor Advisors initially was asked to address the issues within RSI’s sales department, the benefits of their working relationship have extended to other aspects of the business, Levinson said. For instance, once Levinson and Finn defined their job responsibilities, Levinson had direct reports, which he had never had before. Anchor Advisors assisted Levinson in his new role as a manager of direct reports. “Working with Anchor Advisors has given me a lot of strength as a leader,” Levinson said. “I’ve learned how to make sure that the people who report to me are held accountable.”