In the hallowed halls of unsung heroes, the Inside Sales Representative holds a special place.
Less celebrated than the Field Sales Executive, or the Director of Business Development, the Inside Sales guy (or gal) is the "Oracle" to the field sales "Batman". He or she can become invaluable taking care of business from the home base. Though many telesales professionals may have had experience in the field, just like Barbara Gordon did as Batgirl, they have honed a set of inside sales best practices to deliver value to customers and their colleagues.
- Keeping the senior sales rep informed of inbound opportunities
- Resolving any customer satisfaction issues
- Getting intel on the competition, or the "villians" of the sales process
- Acting as an information broker, and setting up sales appointments for their field counterparts
LIke any great sidekick, a skilled Inside Sales professional may not command the headlines, or get the glory. Yet when the Senior Sales professionals are out hunting big game and net new customer deals, there are many ways the Inside Sales team can maintain the existing client base, and harvest smaller, strategic transactions.
Here are five inside sales best practices which will help your team keep focused, motivated and working towards a common goal with their face to face sales colleagues.
1. Focus on the Right Success Metrics
"Sales is a numbers game, the more calls you make, the better chance you'll have to generate revenue!"
"If you aren't connecting with your customer on the third attempt, just try five more times! You just have to get them at the right time!"
The best inside sales team don't necessarily make a higher quantity of calls. It is more often demoralizing when you try to "smile and dial" a random set of people. Quality calls, as is often the case, trumps quantity.
Warm up cold calls by
- Researching a set of prospective clients
- Finding the right people in the organization who to talk to
- Making my goal of calling an appointment, not a hail mary closed deal
- Understanding the strategic benefits of my solution to the client, and how to position them
- Establishing and nurturing relationships and building trust, don't sell once and leave a path of wreckage
- Working with your marketing counterparts to develop reasons to call, beyond just a quick sale
Many companies are more interested in reps who are busy, instead of an inside sales team that is productive.
2. Leverage Inside Sales to Maintain Relationships
Using your inside sales team to only try and "shake the trees" for new leads can backfire. If your company sells high priced products with long sales cycles, consider assigning the responsibility of working with existing customers, business partners, or working to onboard newly signed clients who need some extra TLC in their early stages of their relationship with your company.
The proximity of the inside sales team to the operations teams within your organizations can be beneficial to get approvals,access subject matter experts, and to be as responsive as possible to inbound inquiries.
3. Ensure Co-Operation, Not Competition
If your telesales reps feel like they are competing with their fellow inside sales reps, or counterparts in the field, you are setting your company up for infighting, confusion, and potential embarrssment in front of the client. Make sure you establish:
- Clear rules of engagement on territories, deal sizes and any "named accounts" which are protected by specific sales reps
- Create incentives for collaboration between inside sales and field reps. If an inside rep uncovers a high value opportunity which closes for significant revenue, have a Sales Program Incentive Fund for celebrating the role the telesales rep played in identifying, and qualifying the lead before passing it to the field
- If there are opportunities for inside reps to go on "ride alongs" into the field on occaision to learn from their colleagues, make it happen! Ride alongs are a great mentorship opportunity for sales managers for their reps, and equally so from field sales with their inside sales colleagues,
4. Educate Your Marketing and Management Teams
A great way for your marketing team on what prospects and/or existing customers are saying when approached by your sales team is to have them listen in to customer calls Inside sales calls are a great way to
- Improve your presentation materials for webinars
- Get feedback on the effectiveness of your web presence,
- Honing your customer messaging on social media based on real client conversations
If you manage an inside sales team, you should take the time to sit in on customer calls with your reps. Not just to seek out mentoring opportunities with your reps, but also to get an understanding what customers are looking for, and to see what works and what needs improvement. If you listen in on a particularily challenging call, you can use it as a coaching scenario for your next HireVue Accelerate session.
5. Leveraging Your Calendar and CRM to their Potential
Determining the best time for your team to call clients can help them to optimize their odds of reaching a customer live. Calling a prospective client on a Thursday is often the best day to reach a person live, and in many cases calling early in the morning is the best time to reach a decision maker. Once your reps make initial contact with a high value prospect, they can schedule an appointment for a different day and time.
Since your telesales reps tend to make the highest number of calls, web chat conversations and e-mails, documenting these conversations can be a very valuable source of customer intelligence for your company. Ensuring your cloud CRM solution makes it easy to capture calls and e-mails is vital. Expanding the roster of contacts you have in your marketing list is valuable, as is understanding the org chart of your prospects and existing customers.
Adhering to inside sales best practices like these can be extremely effective to:
- Close high volume, lower revenue transactions
- Nurturing partner and customer relationships
- Improving your customer and prospective client intelligence
Recognizing the strategic value of your telesales reps, and mentoring them to retain and grow their skills can pay great dividends to your company over the long term.
Looking for more ways to make your inside sales team more effective? Register for a demo of HIreVue Accelerate, and create awesome mentoring experiences for remote or office based sales reps.