Inside sales teams are becoming even more important in the world of B2B.
In 2017, less than 10% of B2B companies utilized inside sales. Fast forward to the present day, and inside sales professionals make up around 40% of high-growth sales teams.
The simple truth is that buyers are embracing our primarily digital world. We aren’t just seeing more companies adopt a hybrid approach, we are also seeing many of them lean toward 100% remote sales teams.
Shifting the balance
The inside sales phenomenon has only sped up throughout the last decade, as digital purchasing behaviors have become second nature among buyers. COVID’s acceleration was undeniable: Businesses were forced to adapt by closing offices and prospecting remotely, severely dampening the outside sales model.
Now, the buyer’s journey has changed almost entirely. Armed with the internet at our fingertips, we have the power to browse, buy and compare like no other generation. In fact, 50-90% of the purchase is already completed before a customer interacts with a sales rep.
The “travelling salesman” is no longer anticipated by your prospects. That being said, we still 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. Here, our experts offer some useful guidance on your day-to-day activities.
5 actionable inside sales tips every rep needs to hear
Tip 1 – Know what you’re selling
Without a complete understanding of what your company is selling, you’ve already missed that first step toward hitting your quota. It may sound basic — but it’s crucial to the success of your sales activities. The top performers are always the most knowledgeable and authoritative on the sales floor.
Researching everything you can about the product or service should be a rule of thumb for any new role. To see a real, long-term difference, make sure to study the pain points your product or service is solving. This is the main value proposition for your buyers. Sell solutions, not products, and use every resource you can to do so — from case studies to reviews and more.
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 toward your competitors.
Tip 2 – Analyze your competitors
Knowing your enemy is always in your best interests. New, innovative companies spring up in every market, and current competitors will constantly test and evolve their sales strategies to boost their returns, visibility and authority.
To stay on top, we advise every brand to carry out competitive analyses, and judge the pains and gains of their offering in relation to their rivals. Comparing “product vs. product” will equip you with a much broader picture of your place in the market, enabling you to position your offering as the right solution for your prospect.
Tip 3 – Being organized and manage your time
Organization and time management 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 sales plays. With a wide range of duties to juggle, it’s easy to lose track of time.
To avoid this, it’s worth removing any distractions that could disrupt your workflow and hinder your productivity. Equally, ensure all of your activities are being logged in a CRM. The best systems will include tools to help you prioritize, manage and reassign tasks.
Tip 4 – Create a buyer persona
Buyer sentiment, intent, sales motion, tonality and messaging are interchangeable between prospects. You may be required to alter the tone of your messages, your cadence touches, or even the channels you use to truly resonate with a potential buyer.
There’s no “one size fits all” solution or pre-made template for analyzing your prospects, though it is generally best practice to create and assign buyer personas to categorize them more easily. This persona will be based on both actionable data, established behaviors, persona-like traits and intent analytics. Combined, this will enable you to understand their complex needs, and how best to engage each prospect.
Tip 5 – Communicate better
It’s critical to be concise across every channel. That applies to everything: picking up the phone, writing an email or connecting via LinkedIn. C-suite and above decision makers will not engage with excessive copy, jargon or bloat.
Don’t be afraid to use tools that can help you deliver better results. Software like Grammarly doesn’t just make your emails sound professional, but can also improve your tone balance. Be bold and confident, but not too assertive.
Motivation is the driving force behind being a successful communicator. Treat every prospect as a unique opportunity and a challenge you can adapt to.
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
A surface knowledge of your prospect, as well as their business and industry, can open the door to a sale; but to truly personalize, you need to unlock their needs and pain points.
Social media is a powerful tool to discover details about decision makers. In fact, over 70% of C-suite executives use social media to inform their purchases. Even if prospects don’t use LinkedIn daily, they can still leave a breadcrumb trail to a successful conversion.
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’re invading their privacy.
Tip 2 – Always be solving
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 pain points. It is essential to build trust and show shared value before you develop a relationship and close the deal.
Focus on solving their challenges and building 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? By understanding this in depth, 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 previously 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 information you gain here can be vital in helping you to build authority.
Tip 4 – Prepare to talk
Thorough research into your prospect is key, but it’s only half the battle. You may have found their issues are linked to your gain points, but a conversation still needs to happen before a deal is struck.
Instead of information overload, condense your notes and hit key value points while still communicating in a clear, concise way. Prepare, but don’t be laser focused. Remember that there are other prospects in your pipeline waiting to talk.
Tip 5 – Stay engaged
A patient mindset is critical to success as an inside sales rep, even if you have all the skills and resources to excel. Be determined and prepare to chase up prospects. Commit yourself to remaining on their radar even if it may lead to a rejection. The average sales rep will reach out 6 to 8 times before a conversion. Use every channel and make sure you employ a multi-touch strategy to truly resonate with your potential buyer.
Persistence is valuable, but it’s equally important to realize that with each prospect there is a cut-off point. 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 have false personalization, as well.
Selling can be an awkward affair. By being aware of this and embracing the discomfort, you can become a top performer. Be creative when you 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 2 – Be expressive
Email continues to be one of the most powerful tools available to sales reps. It’s 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, it can be a challenge to stand out. Get expressive with how you word and present your emails. Experian reports that 56% of brands that use emojis in their subject lines have a higher open rate.
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’s one that you’ll 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.
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 4 – Time things perfectly
You may have researched your prospect 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.
A Salesmate study reveals that Wednesday is the best day to make sales calls. That is, calling on a 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 5 p.m. is best, while 10 to 11 a.m. is also effective.
When it comes to email, HubSpot reveals: “B2B emails for the average 8-5 office employee are best sent mid-week around 10 a.m. However, entrepreneurs and executives open email more frequently than the average employee. So the day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals, based on open and click rates, is on Saturday at 10 a.m.”
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, though 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. A LinkedIn voice or video message can easily help to broaden your current touch pattern. When building a cadence, 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 on 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.
Anthony is an exceptionally talented Account Manager with a history of working in the computer software and technology industries, and experience at Director level. Anthony describes himself as an innovator who is always looking to make tomorrow’s dreams possible today. He specialises in sales testing and methodologies.