The success of outside sales depends heavily on the sales rep's ability to build and maintain customer relationships. To create customer relationships, a typical outside salesperson spends most of his time out of the office and constantly travels to meet clients and new prospects in person. The idea of outside sales started to decline with the restrictive effects of the pandemic and the increasing digitization of sales processes. Inside sales has become the new normal, and sales reps everywhere are beginning to rethink their strategies and gear up for this unique selling landscape. Let’s explore what inside sales is all about.
What Is Inside Sales?
Unlike outside sales, inside sales has no face-to-face interaction between the lead and the sales rep. Sales is handled remotely-- via phone, email, and other digital channels. In this landscape, technology is everything. The evolution of technology makes it possible for sales reps to conduct meetings, presentations, and product demos in the exact same way they do in the field or sometimes even better. More and more buyers are becoming increasingly comfortable with this remote approach in selling.
Benefits of Inside Sales
1. Better Scalability
Scaling an outside sales team can be tricky because it is location-specific and requires switching territories. You can quickly scale up your inside sales teams without incurring additional expenses or relocation trouble.
Hiring additional inside sales reps will cost you less than hiring an outside sales rep. Since your sales team does sales remotely, all you need is to provide them with a computer and good CRM software to help them keep track of their leads.
2. Cost-Effective Approach
There is no doubt that a sales call done by sales reps remotely will cost you far less than when they do a field sales call. Think about the transport and entertainment costs they incur to build customer relationships. Your inside sales reps can send more emails and make more phone calls than meeting with every lead on their list, creating more sales opportunities in a day.
Based on a Harvard Business Review research, doing inside sales reduced sales costs by 40 to 90%.
3. Faster Lead Response Time
Going to a lead’s location to answer their queries in person will slow down your lead response time. Slow response time can lead to loss of sales opportunities because most customers don’t want to wait.
An inside sales team can respond to queries quickly over email, a phone call, or messaging apps. A quick response time creates a better experience for your prospects.
4. Improved Productivity
Inside sales can save much time for your sales teams to do other essential activities such as closing current deals, following up on leads, and creating more leads.
According to Salesforce data, inside sales reps spend 35% of their week selling, compared to 22% for outside sales reps. This data is because inside sales reps don't need to do non-productive activities such as meeting leads and prospects in person.
5. Better Customer Experience
The inside sales approach and evolving technology considerably transform the customers’ buying journey and behavior. Key decision makers now prefer doing sales transactions remotely or online with the sales team instead of face-to-face, which they consider intrusive and time-consuming. Because the internet makes loads of information available online, customers only get in touch with the sales teams as needed and avoid salespeople connecting with them to discuss their products in detail.
Critical Success Factors of Inside Sales
For inside sales to succeed, you should instill discipline, focus, and rigor. If implemented well, it will run like a well-oiled machine.
1. Establish Your Buyer Personas and Do Research
Your inside sales team will have a more challenging time building rapport with leads virtually as field sales can in person. Thus, inside sales reps must take the initiative to research the lead before jumping into a call. When they know your target buyer personas, it’s easier to screen their leads to match them.
They need to find out the company, size, and industry and understand their most significant pain points. What is your lead’s primary objective? And who is the key decision maker in closing the sale? Doing this equips your team to deliver your marketing message more effectively.
2. Align with Your Marketing Team
It happens most of the time--a significant disconnect between the leads generated by marketing and what sales want. You need to put everyone on the same page by educating and embracing your marketing team. Ensure all processes are clear and well-documented between inside sales and marketing.
The collaborative efforts between your sales and marketing teams are essential to targeting the right people.
3. Capitalize on the Right Technology and Tools
As mentioned earlier, technology is everything to make inside sales operate effectively. The right technology and tools simplify the connectivity and communication with the prospects.
A great CRM software is a good first tool in your inside sales toolkit. It offers a range of features that can help your sales team optimize your sales processes. It provides real-time updates, assists in lead scoring, and can automate routine tasks for improved productivity.
Another tool that you must consider is a sound telephony system, which tracks phone performance and sales activities using data stored in call logs. Some also have multi-device support that allows you to make calls on your mobile phone, computer, and other devices.
4. Determine the Right Metrics to Measure Performance
Identify the key metrics, goals, and best practices that your inside sales team should follow. Figure out why some sales reps can close more sales than others. Knowing the reasons can help you establish the right quotas for your team.
It is also essential to seek the team’s commitment to the metrics for qualified opportunities; sales closed, upsells, etc.
Publish leading metrics like key sales won and quota made on a visible dashboard to encourage healthy competition within your team.
The idea of inside sales is compelling because of the benefits it brings. Most companies are diving into inside sales; some succeed, yet some fail. The key is knowing the what, why, and how of transforming your sales team into an inside sales team.