Inside sales teams are becoming even more important in the world of B2B.
Before diving into our 15 sales tips, let’s touch on the growing value of inside sales. Inside sales reps sell remotely from an office (or work from home). This is compared to outside sales reps who work out in the field, meeting with prospective clients face-to-face to broker deals. Inside sales is done through connecting via email, phone, social media, or other digital platforms.
Sales teams within larger businesses used to be ruled by outside sales reps. Now, we’re starting to see the balance shift. The simple truth is that buyers are easing towards our primarily digital world. We aren’t just seeing more companies adopt a hybrid approach. We are also seeing many of them lean towards 100% remote sales teams.
Shifting the balance
It’s not surprising that this wide-reaching trend has only sped up since 2020. Businesses were forced to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing offices. This meant they were unable to arrange in-person meetings with prospects, severely limiting the success of the outside sales model.
At the same time, remote sales remained a quicker and easier way for buyers to research products and place orders. In fact, statistics show that around 80% of B2B buyers now prefer remote interactions. With only 20% saying they are hoping to return to an in-person method of sales.
Nowadays, we see plenty of overlap between inside and outside sales teams. In reality, the two are blending to meet the rising demand of buyers wanting faster ways to do business.
This blog shares 15 actionable tips to become a successful inside sales rep. These use insights and expertise from some of the best in the business, teaching you the tactics needed to help improve your results.
Let’s start by covering a shortlist of general inside sales tips. Here, our experts offer some useful guidance on your day-to-day activities. We aim to help to boost your sales power and evolve your inside sales strategies.
5 actionable inside sales tips every rep needs to hear
Tip 1 – Know what you’re selling
Without knowing what your company is selling, you’ve already missed that first step on the ladder. It may sound basic – but it’s crucial to the success of your sales activities.
Knowing everything you can about the product or service is a good first step. If you want to make a difference, make sure you research the pain points your product or service is solving. That’s the main point of contrast for your buyers. Use every resource you can to do so – from case studies to feedback and reviews.
The deeper your knowledge, the better you can sell the benefits and value to prospects. Showing a basic idea, or citing false information will only push buyers towards your rivals.
Tip 2 – Analyze your competitors
New companies will spring up in every market. In addition, your current competitors will test and evolve their sales strategies.
To stay on top, you need to carry out competitor research and judge the pros and cons of their offering. Comparing these with what you are offering will equip you with a much more detailed picture of your place in the market. This will help you find the best way to place yourself as the right solution for your prospect.
Tip 3 – Being organized and managing your time
Being organized and managing your time are two key skills for every inside sales rep.
Every day you’ll book meetings, make back-to-back calls, research your prospects, and review your sales plays. With so many tasks to juggle, it’s easy to lose track of time.
To avoid this, remove any distractions that could disrupt your workflow and hamper your productivity. Make sure all of your activities are being logged in a CRM. The best systems will include tools to help you manage your tasks.
Tip 4 – Create a Buyer Persona
Your sales strategy will change between prospects. It might be the tone of your messages, your cadence, or the channels you use.
When it comes to inside sales there is no “one size fits all” solution or template for analyzing your prospects. Create and assign a buyer personas to prospects so you can categorize them more easily. This persona will be based on both actionable data and persona-like traits. Together, they will allow you to understand their complex needs and what types of contact they respond to best.
Tip 5 – Communicate Better
You need to be concise and effective across every channel. That applies to everything; picking up the phone, writing an email, or connecting via LinkedIn.
Don’t be afraid to use tools that can help you get better results. Software like Grammarly doesn’t just make your emails sound professional, but can also improve your tone balance. Be bold but not too assertive.
Motivation is the driving force behind being a better communicator. Treat every new prospect as a unique opportunity. A challenge you can adapt to and learn from!
We’ve shared some advice on the best general inside sales practices, so let’s focus on some more specific inbound tips. As the name suggests, inbound sales are started by prospects looking to solve a problem. They have reached out to your business for a solution in the form of the products or services you sell.
5 actionable inbound sales tips to nurture quality leads
Tip 1 – Know your prospects
Having a surface knowledge of your prospect, as well as their business and industry, can open the door to sale. But, if you really want to be effective you will need to use every resource you can to find out more about their needs and pain points.
Social media is a powerful tool to learn details about decision makers. Over 70% of B2B decision makers use social media to help inform their purchases. Even if prospects don’t use LinkedIn daily, they can still leave a breadcrumb trail to a successful sales conversation.
Profiles will show their role within a company and how long they’ve been in a specific industry. By seeing who and what they engage with, you can build a list of shared interests to help craft your dialogue with them. Make sure the information is relevant without feeling like you are invading their privacy. Personalize but don’t be creepy!
Tip 2 – Always be helping
Don’t always try to close a sale on the first call. Even if your whole job revolves around the number of sales you make, put the prospect first. When you try desperately to sell something, the conversation becomes all about you.
When inbound leads come to you, they are looking for a solution to their problem. It’s almost like dating. You have to build trust and show shared value before you develop a relationship and close the deal.
Focus on providing solutions and building a rapport. You need to understand the prospect’s buyer persona and why they have come to you. Which piece of information did they access? Which asset did they download from your site? If you know this, you can have the solutions ready for them during your call. This will give you an easy, effective conversation starter.
Tip 3 – Explore your network
As we’ve already mentioned, social media can be a powerful tool to help you research single prospects.
You can also use it to gain insights into a prospect. These insights come from seeing what other contacts in your industry comment on and engage with. From this you will be able to identify pain points. The info you gain here can be vital in helping you to build authority.
Don’t limit yourself to LinkedIn. Twitter can be just as useful. In addition, another platform you may not have thought of is Clubhouse. Here, you can drop into live audio chats that often involve decision makers and their close networks.
In short, build and maintain an active presence within as many relevant networks as possible.
Tip 4 – Prepare to talk
Thorough research into your prospect is key, but it’s only half of the battle.
You may have found their issues and linked those to your gain points. But a conversation still needs to happen before a deal is struck.
Instead of info dumping, condense your notes and hit key points while still communicating in an effective way. Prepare, but don’t be laser-focused. Remember that there are other prospects in your pipeline waiting to talk.
Tip 5 – Stay engaged
Finally, it doesn’t matter if you have all the skills. You also need a patient mindset to succeed as an inside sales rep.
Be determined and prepare to chase up prospects. Commit yourself to remain on their radar even if it in the end it may lead to a rejection. The average sales rep will reach out 6 to 8 times. Use every channel and make sure you employ a multi-touch strategy.
It’s important to be consistent. But it’s just as important to realize that with each prospect there is a cut off point. This may be after 10 touches, or 20, or 30. Again, think about how to best manage your time and realize you have other prospects in the pipeline. This cut off point should come naturally to you based on their persona.
Finally, let’s dive into outbound sales. This sales process requires a different approach. Instead of receiving calls, here you will actively look to reach out and engage with prospects. Many of them may not know of your company, or what you have to offer.
5 actionable outbound sales tips to engage prospects
Tip 1 – Own the fact that you are cold calling
Accept the fact that prospects are hardened to cold calling. There’s a good chance they will have come across cold emails that pretended to be personalized, as well.
Selling can be an awkward affair. However, in being aware of this and embracing the discomfort, you can become a better sales rep.
Be creative when you sales prospect for the first time. In addition, make sure you lay out the value of what your company has to offer. Be genuine in how you personalize connections.
Tip 3 – Watch your tone
80-90% of a phone call is tone. As with any other form of communication, you need to be authentic in how you deliver your message. People can detect this through your tone of voice.
Stay neutral, but not passive; strong, but not aggressive. It can be a tough balance but it is one that you will learn through sales training. Focus on your value proposition and key selling points. Don’t hesitate, and don’t be afraid to use a script.
You also need to match tone with energy. If you are not enthusiastic, then why should anyone else be?
It’s also important to listen to your prospect even if they cut in or question your pitch. Develop your active listening skills as this is key to selling and lead generation. Learn to listen and understand. Don’t just listen to respond.
Tip 2 – Be expressive
Email continues to be one of the most powerful tools available to sales reps.
It is still the main means of contact for those in a business environment. That’s even with the rise in instant messaging and video calls. In fact, 86% of business professionals prefer email over any other form of contact.
With inboxes barraged every day, how can you stand out? Be creative! Get expressive with how you word and present your emails. In fact, Experian reports that 56% of brands who use emojis in their subject lines had a higher open rate.
Tip 4 – Perfect timing
You may have researched your prospect for ages and fine-tuned your messaging. But there is always a chance that they will miss your call, email, or InMail. Here are some useful insights that could help you be more effective in timing your outreach.
For phone calls, a Salesmate study reveals that Wednesday is the best day to make sales calls. That is, calling on Wednesday typically yields the most successful calls. It’s also not surprising that Friday is the worst day to make sales calls. As for the time of day, phoning between 4 and 5PM is best, while 10 to 11AM is also effective.
When it comes to email, Hubspot have some insights to share that can help sales reps who want to reach decision makers:
“B2B emails for the average 8-5 office employee are best sent mid-week around 10AM. However, entrepreneurs and executives open email more frequently than the average employee. So day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals, based on open and click rates, is on Saturday at 10 AM.”
Don’t take these stats as gospel. Combine this data with your buyer persona and other useful insights you’ve learned about your prospects.
Tip 5 – Go beyond InMail
Connecting via LinkedIn is a great way to engage with prospects. However, as we’ve discussed, you’ll need to connect with them first before sending out an invite. Even once they’ve accepted, there’s a chance your InMail messages will get buried with dozens of others.
If you want to stand out from other sales reps and competitors, keep on top of new ways of prospecting. Then use this to improve your sales messaging.
Try LinkedIn video. This is one way to reach out to prospects that is very underused at the moment. A LinkedIn voice or video can easily help to broaden your current touch pattern. When making a game plan, remember that video is the most attention-grabbing form of comms. This is followed by voice, then InMail.
Evolve your inside sales strategy
Whether you deal with inbound or outbound prospects, we’ve covered a wide range of useful inside sales tips in this blog. Chances are, a few of them have slipped your memory by now. In truth, there’s a vast well of tips and tricks out there. We’re only just beginning to scratch the surface!
Make sure you go back and take note of how each one can be a benefit to you and your inside sales strategies. Our experts have also talked about several helpful tools to help improve your messaging and impact. Adapt what we’ve discussed here within your own inside sales activities and get ready to see the results.
Experienced Client Delivery/Innovation Manager, Director of Operations and Purveyor of Tech-Industry Processes with a demonstrated history of working in the Computer Software and Technology Industries. Skilled in Consumer Electronics, Tech Trends and Analytics, Tech Best Practices, Six Sigma, Technical Support, Sales, Sales Management, Project Management and Team Building. Always looking for innovations to make tomorrow’s dreams possible today!