Unlike outside salespeople, whom we usually imagine when we picture sales, inside salespeople conduct all their transactions and communications from inside the office. It’s a different kind of work, and it requires different skills compared to outside sales.
Still, mistakes happen, and inside salespeople are not exempt from this even though they don’t meet with clients face-to-face.
Let’s look at the five most common mistakes inside salespeople make and how they can be avoided.
1. Trying to close the sale too early
Since all their work is done remotely, inside salespeople usually feel pressure to close as many sales as possible.
Sometimes, this leads to trying to close sales prematurely, and when this happens, the whole deal tends to fall through.
A sale can be closed only when the buyer truly understands the product and has given some thought to whether they should buy. Fancy gimmicks and marketing techniques intended to rush sales cannot replace pitches that allow customers to truly understand their own needs.
Just because all communications are done remotely doesn’t mean that inside salespeople do not have to nurture their relationship with customers the same way outside salespeople do.
Inside salespeople should take their time to assess what their customers really need and give them the information necessary before moving in to close the deal.
This also fosters trust in the company and the salesperson because they will feel like their concerns were heard. Otherwise, they will feel like they’re just another target or quota to meet, which can be very alienating.
2. Keeping customers waiting for too long when they have an inquiry
Throughout the sales process, the customer will always have lots of inquiries. This allows them to gain more information that they can use to make a sales decision.
Most salespeople do not usually have deep technical knowledge of every aspect of the product they’re selling. This is especially the case with newer salespeople.
What usually happens is that inside salespeople place their customers on hold while they try and come up with answers to their question.
When this holding period is longer than the customer is willing to put up with, it usually ends with an irate customer. And we all know that it’s much harder to close a deal when the customer gets irked early on in the process.
The best way to solve this would be to set up an accessible centralized knowledge base to which inside salespeople can easily refer. This lets them address frequently asked questions with ease and professionalism. It also allows all the inside salespeople to be consistent with their responses.
For the more technical side of the products, such as questions on specific use cases, the best way to avoid the problem is to have the salespeople learn more about the product and really get to know it in and out.
3. Doing all the talking
Communication should always be a two-way street, and sales communications are no exception.
One of the most common mistakes that inside salespeople commit is doing all the talking. This usually happens when the inside salesperson is overly enthusiastic and wants to close a deal as soon as possible.
The problem is that they fail to recognize that a sales talk is all about the customer. It’s supposed to find out what the customer needs and come up with a solution to those needs, usually by providing the company’s product.
When an inside salesperson does all the talking, the customer will feel like they’re not being listened to. Instead, they will feel like the sales process is all about the salesperson, and they will very likely end up not buying the product.
In fact, the best salespeople are trained to ask targeted questions to get the customer to do most of the talking. This gives the salesperson more information, making the customer feel like they’re being treated like an actual person.
It’s a win-win situation because the customer ends up trusting the inside salesperson more, increasing the chances of closing a deal.
4. Sending cold emails that look generic
We get it; cold emailing is part of the job for inside salespeople.
There is usually a database of contacts that inside salespeople are tasked to send marketing emails to. But just because you’re sending cold emails, it doesn’t mean that the emails you have to send are all impersonal.
There are plenty of cold email software that allow you to send your emails with the client’s information. Even just their name on the email is enough, but the more personalization you can put in, the better.
Also, make sure to research your prospects. Know what they are looking for and why they are in the market before you even come up with the email.
A cold email can work wonders if you put in the time and effort to make the prospects feel understood.
5. Being unprepared for calls with customers
Outside salespeople do a lot of prep work before meeting their customers. They review the product and the customer’s information to address all the concerns during the meeting.
Just because an inside salesperson does not do face-to-face meetings, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have to put in the preparation, too.
The best way to handle a meeting, whether remote or in-person, is to come prepared. And that means reviewing past communications with the client so that it is easier to address their needs.
There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than to have to start from scratch every time they talk to an inside salesperson.
Inside sales are an essential part of any business’s sales teams, and the fact that the work is done from the office is no excuse to slack off. Put in the time and effort to listen to the customers and meet their needs, and you’re on your way to closing more sales.