Inside sales is a critical part of a successful sales process, yet it can sometimes be an area that companies struggle to build.
In my tenure as a sales professional, providing outsourced inside sales services for B2B lead generation, I have had the opportunity to speak with and tour many companies that no longer employed an inside sales team, primarily because previous attempts had been unsuccessful.
These experiences support my own understanding that a solid inside sales team requires skill, management, and a dedication to this important part of the sales process.
Three Elements That Are Key to A Successful Inside Sales Team
1. Treat Inside Sales as A Core Competency
The nature of the job is to cover a lot of ground at a fairly swift pace. Inside sales teams must reach the large numbers of prospects necessary to fill the pipeline and continue to provide qualified leads to outside sales. In order to reach many people quickly, they most often use the phone to connect.
As a result, inside sales representatives need to possess a skill set that is specific to what they do. Experience is necessary; this is not an entry-level position.
Too often the job of telesales is given to inexperienced callers who are given little training or worse, a script. But when you consider that they are most likely the first communication with a prospect on your company’s behalf, using a rookie doesn’t make sense.
An inside sales rep is tasked with reaching a key decision maker and then initiating a conversation in which they can communicate, educate, and get the prospect interested enough to reveal business pains and discuss opportunities.
Complex B2B sales require applying the right mix of art and science to the conversation, and those who do it well will produce a positive return on your investment.
Perhaps most importantly, a sales rep who is reaching out over the phone must be persistent enough to make the multiple touches necessary to reach a prospect, but also understand when being persistent becomes being annoying.
This ability to read signals, know when to reach out, and when to back-off, comes from real cold calling experience.
2. Keep Teams Separate
Combining inside and outside sales may be tempting, but it is not a sustainable plan for success.
As mentioned before, the job of inside sales is to continuously reach out to prospects and qualify them so that they can be handed off as leads to an outside rep. When things get busy, it becomes almost impossible for one person to complete both tasks, and everything suffers.
Additionally, if you’ve heeded the advice from step one, your inside sales reps should possess a specific skill set and have experience with inside sales. These are different skills from that of an outside salesperson.
To build a great team, it’s important to let people do what they are good at.
3. Manage Well
As with any team, having a good manager can make the difference between success and failure.
It’s important to have systems in place to keep your team happy and motivated, to check in when numbers begin to fall, and to have a plan for when they do. A great manager will know when to step in and offer a review or advice when necessary.
Even with the prevalence of inbound marketing for businesses, inside sales is still a successful and necessary method for B2B lead generation and business development. Building an inside sales team with the experience necessary to consistently reach out and qualify leads, or outsourcing to a highly-experienced firm is a worthy investment.