Blog Post

Observations from the Apex HCM Selling Skills Summit

Guest Author Robert Digby, Chief Executive Officer for Apex HCM

Last week Apex held a first time event, the Selling Skills Summit, S3 for short.  I enjoyed the opportunity to spend two days with nearly 70 Apex clients.  Our clients found S3 to be of tremendous value toward improving their sales effectiveness.  I similarly found S3 to be an insightful networking and feedback event.  Specially, I gained greater insight to our customer’s challenges and realizing ways Apex can help them grow their service bureaus.  Let me share some of my observations about growing a payroll service bureau today.


  1. Referrals Are Key – Whether the bureau serves 50 clients or 2,050 clients, all spoke of the critical nature of building a referral network to drive new business. CPAs, insurance brokers, HR firms, client referrals all provide the lifeblood of new business activity for most payroll businesses.


  1. Referrals Don’t Replace a Sales Plan – Without a sales plan for growth the probability of rapidly growing your service bureau is low. A service bureau no matter what size you have has to have a strategy to grow your business, that strategy needs to be reviewed weekly to ensure you are tracking against the business growth milestones that you have set. Your revenue growth plans needs to incorporate 4 elements – new clients growth, base selling, retention selling (reducing your churn rate), and adding new products and developing an annual price increase strategy. .


  1. Sales Process Matters – Many clients commented to me that they had no idea about sales “process” and how to approach sales in a disciplined and precise manner. Concepts like developing a “cadence prospecting strategy” are new innovative approaches.   to accelerate growth and get you in front of more buyers


  1. Ignoring the Base Can Cost You – People immediately think sales means new client acquisition. New clients are certainly a major component but most of our customers failed to realize the tremendous sales potential within their existing base of clients.  HR services such as Hire on the Go, Onboarding, ACA, Workers Comp, HR Compliance all provide immediate revenue when adopted by existing customers.   Selling to the base requires far less work than finding and signing new clients.


We surveyed our Selling Skills Summit attendees and 83% reported that S3 was the only sales training event their company ever supported.   I am honored our clients put such trust in Apex HCM to attend a first time event simply because we recommended it would benefit their business.   After attending the S3 conference 93% of the attendees rated the summit beneficial to building a sales engine. Additionally, I am proud of my Apex HCM team for creating content, and an event, that delivered on our promise.  Next year, I look forward to S3 2019 and hearing the sales success stories from our 2018 alumni.


Robert Digby is the Chief Executive Officer for Apex HCM located in Roswell, GA.  Robert has held executive leadership roles in the payroll software industry for nearly 25 years.