Many professionals get confused when they came across the question – “what is inside sales?” and if you’re one of them, read this post in which we’re going to explain the inside sales in detail along with its various strategies.
Technology has changed a lot of things in the past two decades. It has changed the way we see things, it has changed our expectations about the future. And it certainly has changed the way our business works.
Businesses have taken their tents and found a new place called the internet. Just like every important element of our lives, technology has changed the face of sales.
Both – Businesses and customers have grown comfortable with sales inside an office. Companies have started to build a workforce that finds prospects inside four walls. And customers are pretty much comfortable with that too!
With inside sales, businesses are putting more effort than just selling their products. They want to actually make the customers happy by understanding their problems and needs.
The same time when inside sales kicked its way up, the importance of customer support also grew humongous. And of course, as the technology will change, the face of sales will also change.
So what exactly is inside sales? And what is the difference between inside and outside sales? Keep your eyes on the following pages to know every important thing about inside sales. We’ll also discuss some tips and techniques that’ll help you improve your inside sales team.
What is inside sales?
Inside sales is the process of connecting with prospects or customers via calls, emails, or other online channels, rather than meeting them physically like old times. In inside sales, technology and the medium of connection play an important role.
Inside sales teams are the first members who connect with prospects, understand their needs, answer their questions, and qualify them as a lead.
Inside sales team takes the leads forward from the marketing team and makes sure the prospects fit with their product.
Inside sales vs outside sales
The difference between inside and outside sales is pretty much evident.
In outside sales, you have to travel places to meet prospects/customers. This clearly adds travel, hotel, and food expenses.
While inside salespersons work remotely or inside the office environment to deal with prospects/customers via calls, emails, or other mediums.
This method of sales clearly saves a lot of expenses for a business. According to Harvard Business Review, inside sales reduce the cost-of-sales by 40-90% compared to outside sales.
What are the challenges faced by Inside Sales Reps?
Inside sales, undoubtedly, is challenging. However, once you get a hang of it, you understand that almost every sales rep faces the same challenges and ultimately overcome them. In day-to-day sales, there are several forces that act as obstacles for the inside sales reps that make it difficult for them to meet their quotas.
But, where there’s a will, there’s a way! There’s absolutely no challenge that you, an inside sales representative cannot get ahead of. We have listed some of these challenges that you may face in your inside sales career and how you can overcome them with just a little perseverance.
1. Overcoming an increasing number of competitions
These days, it’s really easy to start a business. And with an increasing number of businesses coming up, there’s also an increase in the competition.
With this shift in the working environment, inside sales reps find it difficult to find new clients and retain them, especially when everyone out in the market has something better to offer.
How to overcome this challenge: Study your competitors and understand what are they using as their competitive advantage. Then assess your own USPs and present them the best way in front of your prospects to get their attention.
2. Not having enough time to get it all done
One thing that every sales rep is heard saying is that they don’t have enough time.
While nurturing leads, taking follow-ups with the prospects, making cold calls, scheduling meetings, and entering data into the system, inside sales reps lose a lot of their time throughout the day.
How to overcome this challenge: Businesses should invest in a CRM for their sales team so that their manual labor is reduced with the help of automation and other essential productivity tools.
Also, sales reps should make sure they are not distracted by the exterior factors like in-office noises and social media notifications on their phones.
3. Ensuring that they get high-quality leads
It’s no wonder that sales reps get across a number of leads every day. However, not every lead that the marketing team shares is the right one. Prospecting the right leads is one of the most tedious tasks for any sales reps, and sometimes it becomes quite an obstacle towards closing deals.
How to overcome this challenge: Good communication between the sales and marketing team is the key towards getting quality leads. Ask your management to set up meetings between the two departments and share your concerns with them, try to make them understand your requirement and work along.
4. Staying motivated in an indoor environment
Unlike outside sales, which generally consists of a change of scenery and work environment very often, inside sales job can be a bit monotonous, since you have to work in the same office, with the same people every day.
In such a situation, it often happens that inside sales reps may lose motivation and get distracted by certain factors mentioned in the second point.
How to overcome this challenge: With the repetitive tasks along the way, and a predictable surrounding, it becomes essential for the sales reps to see each client interaction as a unique opportunity, and focus on what they can do to make their client’s experience better. This way, you will have something new to do every day and can adapt accordingly.
5. Coming up with innovative outreach ideas
Okay, accept that the clients have already become immune to the ordinary, so-called personalized emails, that only include their first names for the personalization.
Many inside sales reps fail to come up with new ideas to implement personalization in their client interactions.
How to overcome this challenge: Get automation to your aid and optimize your emails and texts. Use templates to include more than just the client’s name, and show them how much you have studied them and their business before you make a sale.
Important mediums of inside sales
There are three main mediums for inside sales agents.
- Virtual meetings
Let’s understand the importance of these three mediums in present sales:
From marketing to support, email has been an enormous tool. The marketing team drives various campaigns to find possible customers, and the inside sales team connects with them to make sure they fit their product. Rather, their product fits these prospects.
About 73% of 18-24-year-olds use their phones to check email.
In outside sales, customers prefer to meet in office hours only. While emails have no boundaries. Inside sales professionals can reach prospects at any time. Now that emails are on mobile too, it has become extremely convenient to reach prospects.
Calling has seen a unique growth in the past two decades.
I mean, back then, people used to cold call to ask if prospects are available in the office so then can chat face-to-face. Now, it’s all about selling your products, right from calls.
Isn’t that a huge change?
That’s not it. Ever since business VoIPs are introduced, businesses are becoming global without leaving their offices. You can make business calls from native to any country you like by simply having virtual phone numbers.
Virtual phone systems offer great comfort to businesses to reach overseas customers and expand their business. According to CBS, CEOs spend 25% of their time on calls every day!
With CRM like Salesmate, you can have an entire virtual phone system built-into your system. That means you don’t have to jump back and forth from systems to make calls and manage data.
You can simply click and make calls!
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Calls and emails are certainly missing an important element – visuals. In the last few years, video conferencing has become an enormous hit.
As I said, businesses have grown to be global, the tools have also been modernized. For inside sales representatives, video conferencing tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Adobe Connect have been a great help.
Reps can virtually give demos to their prospects and explain how their product works with screen sharing. This is the easiest way to make sure your prospects understand the products thoroughly.
10 Successful inside sales strategies & tips
Now that we have understood the basics of inside sales, it’s time to step into the well of strategies. If you’re an inside sales representative or leading a team, here are some good inside sales strategies & tips:
1. Understand your products thoroughly
You can’t teach someone if you haven’t understood. – Unknown
Before taking those phone client calls, you MUST make sure you know the product very well. You might things what’s on the stake – you might not be able to answer a few questions. Big deal!
There’s much more at stake than you know – Brand reputation.
The prospect is not going to come back to understand your product again. He’ll find a different solution. He will definitely not care if you’re new to your job.
To save yourself from this massacre, you must take a solid training. Use every single feature of your system to understand how everything works. Ask questions to your superior about various scenarios and how your product can help.
This is one of the best inside sales techniques you’ll ever come across.
2. Create buyer personas
Creating buyer personas is the easiest way to deal with multiple demos at the same time.
By simply designing personas, you can assign prospects with an imaginary figure. You must understand these personas before you assign them to real prospects.
Personas are imaginary customers with a specific set of problems. And your product features must be able to solve these problems. Below is an example of how a buyer persona looks like.
The biggest benefit of creating such personas is to help yourself pitch the right features. For example, Salesmate offers a lot of cool features to small businesses.
In some cases, businesses are in need of a phone system and want to manage their customer data. Once we identify that, our prime focus is to show them how they can use built-in calling and manage data inside the same system.
In other cases, businesses want to manage multiple pipelines, or manage contacts, or use email sequences.
We have made a set of personas for ourselves that help us showcase the right set of features and help them pick the right plan.
With personas, you can help your prospects solve their problems and save money at the same time!
3. Use templates
This is one of the finest inside sales tips.
Let’s admit. As an inside sales agent, you’re going to deal with a lot of new inquiries every day.
You clearly don’t want to waste time typing the same email over and over again. The better approach is to create templates that can be used multiple times.
Although, you do not want to sound too generic.
The idea is to create personalized templates for the initial conversation to save time and energy. Besides just names, give some time in designing a catchy subject line and meaningful content.
You might want to check out this short guide on the best sales email templates.
4. Use your time wisely
Rather than feeding data manually in CRM, use smart integrations that bring your data to the system.
- Sync emails to your CRM.
- Bring your demo details with Calendar sync.
- Sync all your Google apps with CRM be more centralized.
- Bring all the accounting information to your CRM.
- Connect your communication apps like Slack with CRM.
By simply integrating your CRM with these apps, you don’t have to jump back and forth to get information. This will save you a lot of time and you can focus on the right things.
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5. Call on the right time
Recently, Salesmate conducted a study on the best day and time to make a sales call. We found that Wednesday is the best day to pick up your phone and get the best results. While 4-5 pm would be the best time to ring.
Check out the entire study on classy infographics here.
We understand that there’s no way you would work on only a few days to make inside sales calls. But you can use the data wisely, and sort the most important deals for the best days.
6. Drop a voicemail
Most inside sales reps forget to leave the voicemail when the prospect is busy. And that clearly gives you a lesser advantage than your competitors.
Always keep a habit of dropping a voicemail, so when your prospect is available again, there’s a chance he can reach back to you.
Keep the voicemail simple: Mention your company, your name, and why did you call.
Here’s a useful voicemail template:
Hello Mr. Parson. My name is Katy from ABC. I called you regarding a possible partnership between our businesses. Please let me know when you’ll be available for a 5-minute call. Have a great day!
7. Don’t try to sell on the first call
I get it. Your entire job is about selling. You will be evaluated based on how much sales you have made.
But, is it really okay to sell on the very first call?
I hardly think so. On the very first call, try to build a rapport with the prospect. Understand their business pain points and identify if your product can really solve their problems or not.
When you try to sell something, the conversation becomes all about you. When you try to help someone, it becomes prospect-centric. We should never forget that your primary goal is to help customers.
8. Dig a little
Doing a little bit of research on your prospect can give an edge over other competitors. Not much, just the basic idea of their business and industry they belong to.
When you start the conversation for the first time, this research will help you understand their problems. You can also propose to share case studies from the same domain.
At the time of sales negotiation, you can mention other companies from the same industry that are using your product.
9. Maintain connections
In so many cases when you try to reach the decision-maker, you end up connecting with managers or second-level executives.
They might not have the authority to purchase your product for the entire company. But they surely have an influence over the decision-makers.
At such times, don’t hang up the call thinking they’re not the right person to talk to. Instead, try to make a connection. Try to connect with them on social channels like LinkedIn.
Once they’re in desperate need of a product like yours, the first name will come up in their minds is yours.
You can use this connection to reach the prospect in the future for sure.
10. Understand that selling is a struggle
Let’s admit, inside sales is a tough nut to crack. You contact 100 prospects a day, and you might not convert a single customer.
That’s the hardest reality. And this reality is so scary that many freshers are frightened to enter into this field because of this fear!
But, if you look closely, inside molds you from every corner. You learn how to talk, you learn the importance of effective words, you experience negotiation from the very core.
All you need is a mindful attitude.
At the beginning of the inside sales career, every rep will face an abundance of trouble. But they learn to carve their way. Once you get an understanding of your product and the market, you will be unstoppable.
It’s like; you’ve learned 1000 ways of how to not make a light bulb. Once you pick your pace, the bulb will light up and glow!
5 Best inside sales channels
As an inside sales representative or manager, you need a strong set of tools.
Tools that can help you maintain data and increase your overall productivity.
We’re mentioning some of the best inside sales channels for your reference. The idea is to suggest areas where tools can improve your performance. Like; for Analytics, you can use 6sense. But you can also pick a better alternative.
1. Customer relationship management (CRM)
This is an obvious tool because, without a CRM, managing prospect data becomes hideous.
A string CRM helps with contact management, pipeline management, and deal management. The tool can assist you in identifying where do prospects lie in the process.
It simply shows where you can put your best effort to win more deals.
There are tons of options out in the market, depending on your business needs. But, if you’re in an SMB or a startup, Salesmate is the finest option.
With features like built-in calling, pipeline management, deal management, and handy integrations, Salesmate clearly becomes the best CRM for small businesses & startups.
CRM that fits like a Lego!
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2. LinkedIn outreach automation
LinkedIn is a solid source for fresh leads. It is responsible for 80% of B2B leads from social media.
You might want to adopt a LinkedIn outreach automation tool that can bring fresh leads from Linkedin to your CRM. Lead Connect, Zopto, and Alfred are some solid options.
3. Video conferencing
As an inside sales representative, one of the most important tasks you have is to explain your product to prospects. Video conferencing tool is the right way to do it.
Video conferencing tools enable you to share screens, make calls, and chat with prospects to explain your product. Zoom, join.me, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans are some of the finest conferencing tools out there.
4. Business proposal
When deals are at a stage where prospects are almost convinced with your offerings, you need to send out a proposal.
This is the space where a business proposal tool can be of great help. Tools like Proposify, PandaDoc, or Bidsketch are among the top choices for sending proposals.
You can keep track of your proposals, tailor pricing, design beautiful templates, and definitely save yourself from manual entries.
5. Appointment scheduling
It creates a bad impression of the brand when you forget to call your customers. To save yourself from such horrible events, you can take the help of appointment scheduling tools.
Tools like Calendly, Doodle, and SetMore give you notifications so you never miss an important meeting. These tools take care of time zones as well, so both parties get a notification at the right time.
Inside sales is a deep-sea consisting of a lot of tips & techniques. The learning in this field is endless. All you have to do is observe your actions and reactions very closely. Once you find your pace, there are endless opportunities waiting for you.
Still, I hope these inside sales tips, strategies, techniques, and tools will provide great value to your business. There are some tools that can solve provide multiple sales problems.
For example; Salesmate is a CRM that can help with contact management, email campaigns, sales goals, and insightful reports. You can try Salesmate completely free with our 15 days free trial.