What is Inside Sales and How it Can Benefit Your Business?
What comes to your mind if I ask you to picture a salesperson? Probably the image of this shady looking man in a crisp suit, holding a briefcase and trying to scam you into buying what they are selling. At least, that was what I pictured before I got into the job of marketing and selling myself. Selling in real life is totally different, and it’s not just your suited gentlemen who sell. There is another whole army: your inside sales teams.
They are your unsung heroes who work hard to sell your business from a remote location. In fact, I’d take the liberty to say that insides sales have a tougher job than field sales. In this article, I will try to decode inside sales and it’s intricacies to help you build a perfect inside sales team.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales can be defined as the process of establishing remote contact, with the intention to sell a product/ service to the recipient. Since this method of selling does not necessitate the salesperson to meet with the client face to face, the most common method of inside selling is through the internet, email or over the phone.
Selling remotely is not something new. People have been receiving marketing calls for a long time now. However, the way inside sales is done has changed a lot over the years. No more picking up the phone and just calling random numbers. Now the process is more refined and more targeted making it a much more cost-effective and efficient method of selling.
The Inside Sales Process:
Did you know that an outside sales call costs 308$, whereas an inside sales call costs just 50$ (Source: Heinz Marketing). That in itself is one main reason why you should be investing in an inside sales team. But, then how do you set it up to work properly? Having an inside sales team without having a process in place will give you no better results than setting out to blindly sell in the field. So, let me help you understand exactly how you can set this up and the various stages within the inside sales process.
Now, for your inside sales process to work without a glitch, you need to have some essential components. This includes:
- A smart inside sales team
- A good sales calling tool
- An intelligent CRM tool
- An integrated analytics tool
Much like following a recipe, the above list can be considered as your ingredients that you need to prepare before you start your actual cooking. You have your components ready, now let’s start cooking!
For your inside sales team to work and show results, they need to first have leads to reach out to. Previously, tele calling teams used to reach out to random people and try to sell their products. Not only is this counterproductive, but it can also irritate your audience and have them blacklisting you.
Which is why the first step in this process is to identify your target audience and where this target audience is present. Then, you can define your lead sources accordingly and start running campaigns for them. Your CRM tool will be a huge help in capturing your leads that come from these different sources. It will also curate all your leads according to the sources so that it is easy for you to identify your best lead source.
I would say this is probably the most important step in the whole process. I have heard of businesses where all the leads land in an excel sheet. The sheet is open to access to all the sales folks and they can pick whichever one they want and start working on it. This is just a recipe for disaster. Humans, given a choice, will pick the best of the lot, always.
Which is why, an automated system that would distribute the leads uniformly based on preset criteria, will make your system more fair and transparent.
It does not stop with just distributing leads. Your inside sales team needs to also know how to qualify and prioritize leads. Not all the leads that make contact with your business will buy from you. Some may just be curious, or some are just random leads that came in by mistake. Your inside salesperson cannot be calling all of them and wasting their time when they can be chasing after more important leads.
Have a tool, that will help them to know at a glance which leads are more likely to convert. This could be done by assigning scores to them based on their activities, requirements or even demography.
This is where your tele-calling tool comes into the picture. They should be able to make calls to the list of leads assigned to them easily. But more importantly, it is necessary that these calls are being tracked in your CRM tool so that you know what is happening with your leads.
By keeping a track of when the calls are being made the sales manager will have a track on how efficient the sales team is. Some CRMs even go a step further to record the conversations that is happening. This is helpful for both the manager as well as the salesman. The manager can review the inside sales guy’s pitch and modify and refine it, if necessary. Similarly, the salesman can listen to the previous conversation to do a quick recap before contacting the lead again.
What a blissful world it will be when we call the lead and they agree to purchase immediately. But alas, real life ain’t so simple! Did you know that 50% of sales happen after the 5th followup (source)? Which is why you should follow-up diligently with your sales lead until they convert. But that does not mean badger the poor guy until he buys. But even a simple phone call asking them how they’ve been can tip the scales in your favor.
Use your CRM tool to set up automated reminders for your followups, so that you don’t forget. Or if emails are your mode of communication, then set up followup sequences for your leads over emails. This should be doable with a simple automation workflow on your CRM.
This is the icing on the cake, the goal that you have been working towards. Getting your leads to cough up their money in return for your product or service. Okay, that sounds crude, but you get what I mean? Closing a deal is the sweet spot for any salesperson, and this should be the final step for an inside salesperson before he hands it on to the customer success team.
Benefits of Inside Sales Process:
But, if you are one who focuses more on the benefits before adopting a process, then let me spell it out for you. Inside sales comes with a lot of tangible positive effects on both your sales process as well as your business revenue. Here are just some of the many benefits you will enjoy:
1. Increased flexibility:
Simply put, inside sales is most cost-effective than field sales. Imagine having to travel to every lead’s office trying to have conversations about your product. Even more, there is a probability that you may get turned away and may end up traveling all that way for nothing. The sales person would be spending time and money trying to sell.
However, with inside sales, they can sell in the convenience of their desks and if a lead is not available to talk, then all that is lost is a couple of minutes.
2. More transparent:
An inside sales process in many cases is automated completely using a CRM tool, which means that most of it would be completely visible to everyone within the team. There should be no instances where people complain of not being dealt a fair hand, which can be a common complaint among sales teams. Also, it becomes difficult for your sales teams to slack off, as constant updates are sent to their bosses 😉
3. Accurate tracking:
There is a record of every lead that has been assigned to each salesperson and where they came from. Also, all the interactions, if any, that the rep makes with the lead is also tracked. There is no excuse for them missing out on a lead, as every single thing has a record. Constant sales reports are being made of the amount of revenue that each salesperson is bringing to the table.
4. Assisted selling model:
Your inside sales team will be able to guide your lead along the sales cycle much better. They can give demos, online consultation, and detailed emails anytime they want. This sort of helpful selling where the benefits are highlighted more than the features offered, helps you sell more.
5. Improved customer experience
Most customers prefer to have conversations over the phone or email, rather than a face to face conversation. Unless you are selling a high ticket product such as software or real estate, customers prefer to have remote conversations. And being available over the phone and email at any time, just makes it more convenient for them in the long run.
6. Easier to manage:
This is a huge benefit for sales managers. Mostly field sales teams are spread across locations, either nationally or internationally. This makes it a little difficult for you to keep a check on them. But, an inside sales team can all sit in the same location, and just makes your work easier for you.
But what about field sales?
Remember, inside sales is not a replacement for field sales. Instead, it is a compliment to it. Some businesses can make do with remote selling alone and can close deals easily. But, for some businesses, a need for physical representation occurs. So, do you implement inside sales there? Yes, you do.
Instead of using inside sales to close deals, you can instead use them to qualify and nurture your leads. They can follow up and educate leads on the benefits that you are providing them. And, when they seem ready to make a purchase, then the field salesman can take over and visit them and convince them to make the final purchase.
And that’s all folks! You know how to set up an inside sales process and what benefits you can reap from the same. But wait, the most important ingredient in setting it up is a CRM tool. And LeadSquared can help you in every aspect! Why don’t you try it for free?