US online seller proud of Manila hub

(Published June 8, 2010)

They are transparent about selling online from Manila, and candid, too, in telling US clients they’re rendering a good night’ s work because of time zones. In essence, they say: “Yes, I’m Filipino. How may I help you?” sales people, who belong to the highest paid online sales group from Manila, have no qualms letting the world know from where and what time they work. They speak the best English they could but don’t have to mimic the American accent. After all, their clients are the ones who choose to do business with, the world’s largest online seller of low-priced quality promotional products.

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Edward Carey, Branders sales representative, shares that, in fact, they present with pride these information.

The Filipino sales team, along with all Filipino employees of, is a cherished lot, proven by the compensation and benefits package they receive, free catered food daily, spa days, great office parties, Facebook stations, two-day weekend off, and other delights from a company that is all set to show what the practice of “putting employees first” means.

In 2005, Branders was a Silicon Valley-based e-commerce company gearing up to pull away from the pack. Deciding to look beyond the United States for talent was key to the company’s growth, according to Branders founding president Jerry McLaughlin.

The search brought Branders to the Philippines. “We looked all over the world for that pool of talent to propel the company’s growth and since we came to the Philippines, we have been constantly affirmed of our decision to set up the base of our operations here,” says McLaughlin.

The company’s Manila office is now the hub for account management, finance, marketing and design, engineering and IT servicing. Its other offices are in the US and Mexico.

Filipinos make up the majority of its 145 strong team. Its frontline people, the sales professionals deal with decision-makers of top US companies on a regular basis.

“In our emails, we put that we have an office in Manila and an office in the US. If clients ask us, we answer them correctly: yes, we’re in Manila. It’s night time here but don’t worry; we’re working for you. Most customers don’t mind. We’re a business to business operation. We have no reason to hide,” says Carey.

With annual sales reaching at least, $18.1 billion, the promotional products business is a competitive industry to be in. Branders has consistently trumped competitors through unmatched low prices, speedy service, high-quality products and excellent customer relations.

By ordering online, companies also benefit from accurate item previews, up-to-the-minute order statuses and 24/7 support. Promotional products include wearable items such as custom t-shirts, cap or writing instruments, mugs with a company’s name, logo or message printed on it.

With over 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies and the White House in its roster of clients, Branders is a success because its employees are happy.

“We believe in two things: making sure our customers are happy and compensating our employees well. Great people make up a great company. Having the best people working for your company is at the core of being an industry leader,” McLaughlin adds.

According to an industry survey by Watson Wyatt, Branders pays 20 percent higher than average for Philippine BPO workers. Though jobs at Branders aren’t products of outsourcing, the company was benchmarked with BPOs which provide service using ICT systems and tools and which generally perform jobs on the night shift in sync with US office hours.

Branders’ online business is anchored on a state of the art website using the patented “See before you buy” technology.

Its pool of IT engineers constantly update on software innovations to ensure that its website is most customer-friendly and has the best features for lead and sales generation, order tracking and monitoring. The IT team leads with presentation of visuals and features that further enhance its “See before you buy” tag.

Redefining corporate culture

Branders emphasizes on performance and compensation. The company believes that work satisfaction and a dynamic work environment is important. Branders doesn’t just want to attract the best talent, it wants talent to stay. “Corporate culture can make or break a company. If you’re not motivated, it affects your performance. I’m proud to say that I’m part of a company that puts its employees first,” shares Carey.

The company continuously encourages its team to outdo themselves in work performance. And when successful, which is often the case, their take home pay immediately zooms to triple, even quadruple.

“Big bonuses are always within reach at Branders. We always want to work harder to reach a particular sales quota. And these goals aren’t impossible. In fact, most of the sales representatives here enjoy the sales bonuses quite often,” states Carey.

The Branders sales team also holds a weekly meeting on customer handling called “Good morning Manila!” which is led by their sales director. During the session, customer preferences, changing trends and inputs from other departments are discussed as well.
Branders offers a a month long training for new recruits. “In sales, we are trained to handle customers and become familiar with the system. They have to learn how to do the inventory as well as the pricing. We don’t leave our new recruits out in the cold,” he says.

Carey, who has been with the Branders sales team for five years said that the company understands that working nights can become stressful. “At Branders we have free catered food daily, movie nights, “Facebook” stations and quarterly office parties. These aren’t your usual corporate perks. We even have company-sponsored sports teams and spa days,” Carey enthuses.

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The business to business set up at Branders is also an advantage for its employees.

“Compared to others in the customer service sector, we don’t handle so many irate customers. The people we’re talking to are business people. They’re not disgruntled customers sitting at home. They don’t scream at us, let out steam unprofessionally or just hang up,” relates Carey. Branders employees also enjoy permanent weekends off.

Companies like Branders are showing the world that an employee-centered corporate culture reaps outstanding results. “We are part of the good reasons why our company stays on top. Actually, we, the employees, are at the top of the game plan,” Carey beams.

Source: Newsbytes Philippines

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