We know the trend in sales management is shifting from the majority of reps being in the field to there being more inside sales reps. Sales training for field sales reps and sales training inside sales reps is, in many ways, similar. But there are some different aspects we want to discuss in this article.
A high-performing inside sales team can be a great benefit to a company for business functions such as:
- Business development
- Account management and client retention
- Closing small to medium sized transactions
- Nurturing opportunities and collaborative sales efforts
- Build morale
- Increase team collaboration
- Establish consistent processes
- Encourage your team to share stories and mentor new reps
- How they were able to close a big opportunity, by applying a certain strategy they learned from you, their peers, or from another job they had in the past.
- What they did to build customer trust, to win back a client, or to compel a client to refer a prospect your way
- When they had a lead go “sideways” and they lost an opportunity due to a mistake, a product shortcoming, or a customer bias. Leveraging these sorts of failures, or mistakes can create great opportunities for your team, and help everyone win or succeed in similar scenarios.
Product Training and Value Based Selling
Though product training in terms of features and functions is important for a rep’s confidence, and to build customer confidence, educating your team on the business and/or personal benefits of your products or services is also vital. In Business to Business (B2B) sales, understanding the value, or benefits of your offerings can help build a business case for the client to get the purchase approved, and/or differentiate your company from competitors.
Competitive Sales Tactics
Speaking of competition, helping your telesales team about competitive selling is an art in itself. Emphasize to your team not to run down your competition or focus on the other’s company’s weaknesses, but instead to accentuate the strengths your company or product has. Not only will you your tactics come across as more ethical, your sales reps also won’t have the likelihood of making an incorrect statement about what your competitor can, or can’t deliver.
Business Development and Prospecting Training
If you are a seasoned sales professional, you have no doubt heard the following lines:
“Sales is a numbers game. The more calls you make, the greater chance you’ll have to find, and close business”
“You can’t close business without cold calls. No matter what anyone tells you, the best way to find leads and get to decision makers is by calling decision makers”
Cold calling is still a necessary task if you have realistic objectives when you are cold calling, such as setting mindshare-building conversations, or inviting prospects to targeted events. If you are looking to close business in this digital age, cold e-mails, calls and similar old-fashioned tactics can often fall flat. Training your team on how to warm up prospects through social media, connecting into online communities, and leveraging customer success stories to gain prospect credibility is a much better use of their time, as opposed to going for the hard sell approach from the get-go.
Thinking On Your Feet/Improvisation Training
When you are selling over the phone, and talking to a high volume of customers, prospects and partners, you don’t have many calls which follow a script. Empowering your reps to be able to improvise when a conversation goes “off-roading” is key. The inside sales team shouldn’t be expected to be able to answer every question on a single call a customer might have, yet the ability to tactfully and gracefully be able to protect your company’s credibility, and leverage sales improvisation strategies can make or break an opportunity.
Some common areas where improvisation skills can come in handy include:
- Objection handling
- Price negotiation
- Upset customers or prospects
- Managing technical issues during presentations or product demonstrations
Inside sales training can be a great opportunity to leverage the expertise of your field sales representatives as mentors, build relationships between your marketing and sales teams, and help your product design team learn about the feedback your reps are getting from customers on the front line. Make the effort to:
- Build content based on realistic situations your inside team could run into
- Communicate company processes on what reps should do if they uncover a larger opportunity than they can close over the phone
- Create compensation plans and rules of engagement which reward collaborative or cross selling
- Provide information on who to go to should clients need additional services, technical information, or if clients require the services of other divisions of your company