No matter what size or type of company you work for, chances are they have an inside sales team. Inside sales has evolved over the decades, becoming a more efficient and economical way to sell products and to compete in a global economy. Companies that would never have the opportunity to ring your doorbell are now just a click or a phone call away. If your enterprise doesn’t have an inside sales team, read on to learn why you might consider forming one, and how to start a stellar inside sales team.
What Are Inside Sales?
If you’ve ever purchased a car or any retail item, you understand what outside sales is. Rather than pounding the pavement, the inside salesperson grabs a doughnut and heads for his cubicle to spend the day hammering the phone, to sell remotely. The inside salesperson is less visible than the outside salesman; he must take advantage of every way to make himself visible. Going from virtual to visible is one of the main challenges of inside sales. A sales team not only uses calling clients, but also social media, and conferencing with customers through Webex and GoToMeeting by Citrix, as well as through other platforms. Inside sales is a newer job market, and it is slowly taking over some sectors of outside sales, especially as workers find generating leads and creating sales more efficient from an office than out of a car.
Sometimes associated with telemarketing, inside sales differentiates itself from the former by the relationships that inside sales representatives create over time with customers, rather than the following a script, looking for a yes or no, hanging up, and repeating.
Who Uses Inside Sales?
Inside sales is most often used in selling large purchases, technology, in businesses selling to businesses, (B2B), and in business selling to consumer (B2C).
Inside sales help business sell their products and compete in global markets, reaching clients that outside sales never would. Inside sales representatives need to be as tenacious as outside sales, but with more technical skills, and an unparalleled commitment to customer service: with more choices, clients are an even more precious commodity.
Ways in Which Inside Sales Can Help Your Business
If you are using outside sales, inside sales can help your business run more efficiently and save money. Your company will save money by conducting online meetings and conference calls rather than sending a representative on an overnight trip. By using inside sales, rather than field sales, it’s possible to have a smaller staff. Because inside salespeople do not travel, customers won’t have to wait for answers to questions.
Inside sales reach more leads than outside sales; it’s much faster to connect with leads over the telephone than it is to try to meet with each one individually. Often, buyers are more comfortable making purchases without having a face-to-face interaction, preferring asking questions via email or social media.
The inside sales process moves more quickly, with sales reps able to collaborate and help each other. By sending emails, and connecting via social media, inside sales have more ways to connect with leads and clients other than by phone.
With inside sales working and learning together, there is a consistency in the protocol and what customers can expect. Your inside sales team will build rapport and collaborate on deals, which will become more profitable for the company and their commissions.
4 Tips for Making Your Inside Sales Team Great
Your sales will be as strong as your team, and to maximize productivity and your Return on Investment (ROI), it’s important to hire the right people the first time. Making hiring decisions can be hard; make sure you aren’t hiring out of desperation to fill a position and that you are thoroughly interviewing candidates. Think about how a potential candidate would fit in with the company’s culture as well as the other sales team members. No sales team would be complete without a leader. While outstanding sales representatives can be good managers, they often don’t have the needed training to manage people and communicate effectively with other departments. Consider hiring a manager with prior supervisory experience.
Once your team is in place, you need to decide what part of the team will generate leads and who will call on established clients, or if all of the team will do both. Equally important is for all representatives to understand and follow the same protocol: (e.g., set up an appointment to speak with a lead, qualify her, and then work to close the deal).
Your team will come against one word more than any other: no. They need to know how to overcome objections and be powerful negotiators, who can also show tact and empathy. Projecting all of these over the phone can only be achieved with proper training and practice. Much of an inside salesperson’s day involves leaving voice mail messages. Train your team so that their hundredth voicemail message of the day sounds as good as the first. Recording calls can be a valuable training tool so that the team can get feedback on what clients hear and ways to improve.
Role-playing is also an excellent way for inside sales to learn to negotiate and handle customer’s concerns thoughtfully. The more situational training reps undergo, the more their responses on the phone will come naturally.
Know the Product
Train on the product. You might have knowledgeable staff, but it they don’t know the company’s products, they won’t be able to answer their customers’ questions, nor will they be able to anticipate their needs.
By starting or solidifying your inside sales team, your company can become more profitable, save time, and increase your leads far more than with outside sales. The right team can cover more territory in less time, on a smaller budget than a robust outside sales team. If your company is in the process of creating or implementing an inside sales team, or you have tips to share, we would love to hear from you.
Images from depositphotos.com.