Let me share some helpful tips with you on how to get an inside view on sales teams who are office based. Inside sales are now the primary sales channel to handle inbound leads and the engine that drives social selling. These sales reps have more responsibility and power in the selling process than ever before.
So ask yourself, ‘is my company’s inside sales team being utilized to their full potential?’ If not, listen up because whether they are on the phones, sending emails or relationship building through social media, following these tips will help you tactfully and strategically increase the impact, effectiveness, success of your inside sales organization.
Tip 1 – Get the right tools
If your inside sales teams are tasked with making outbound calls, ask yourself ‘how long did it take them to source this data?’ Does it take up most of their time and energy just identifying relevant prospects? This process is often tedious and less productive in terms of selling.
Software and tools that exist today can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your sales team. With automated lead generation software/tools, the rough work is done for you. It tailors its prospect generation to your specific criteria and provides you with a continuous flow of your most relevant and influential leads with detailed information. Automated lead generation significantly reduces the time you spend simply identifying prospects because this technology produces a continuous supply of custom profiles and contact information based on social data. It makes converting leads faster and easier than ever before. This means you can maximize the inside sales teams time by getting them to focus their energy on outbound calling and social selling.
Tip 2 – Respond immediately
The most effective way of getting a prospect to engage with your business is if your sales people contact them immediately after their web submission. Research has revealed that a lead that is contacted within five minutes is 100x more likely to answer than if a sales rep were to respond after a half hour. As well as that, the qualification rate is 21x greater if a prospect is called back immediately. Interestingly enough, waiting 30 minutes or more will drastically decrease these chances of getting a qualified lead to answer a phone call, or any lead for that matter. So sales teams must act fast and contact those leads immediately.
Tip 3 – Know your ratios
Playing the ratio game implies driving a higher rate of success with the lists, offers and context in which you sell. A smart selling strategy involves taking note of how many calls it takes to have a conversation with a prospect, and monitor how many conversations it takes to arrange an appointment or even make a sale. They are aware of which day and time of day is best to call. They track which industries have the highest success rates. Knowing your ratios gives inside sales reps meaningful insight, ultimately improving their consistency of production.
- Collect useful information from every call
Making the most of each phone conversations by asking leads when the most convenient time to contact them is can save sales reps a lot of wasted time.
- What time of day is best?
This may seem obvious but it’s important to know that calling at certain times of day can generally improve your contact rates. Contacting a lead between 8:00 and 9:00am or 4:00 and 5:00pm has proved to be the best time to reach them. Lunch time is the worst time to make contact. Make sure your sales team takes into account the different time zones for each lead they contact.
- Which days of the week to call?
Just as significant as the time of day, the day of the week also plays a role in contact ratios. Getting a hold of prospects can be difficult but Wednesdays and Thursdays proved to be the best days for contacting sales leads. Unsurprisingly, Mondays are not great. Tuesdays happen to be the worst.
Tip 4 – Know when to stop calling
As well as the ratio game, inside sales is also a numbers game. Results are driven by volume. But the top inside sales reps understand that ringing 100 leads 10 times each will be more successful than ringing 20 leads 50 times each. They play the volume game but they play it intelligently. They know when to stop ringing.
Once they know their ratios, sales reps are able to pinpoint that sweet spot where they have the highest chance of closing a deal or arranging an appointment. Once that range is discovered, they can manage their database around it. When 20 leads accept or reject a sales proposal, they are quickly replaced with a new batch of 20 leads so they can get more prospects through the cycle.
Tip 5 – Creates a sense of urgency
You can be sure that within every sales interaction, prospects will ask themselves ‘what’s in it for me?’ As a sales manager, you don’t want your reps to make a call only to ask for something. When they engage with prospects, whether it be over the phone, through email, or in a social networking group, they need to be offered something of value. Something that creates a sense of urgency in the buyers mind. Something that solves an issue. Something that enlightens them. For free. No strings attached. This is a tactful way of ‘breaking the ice’ with each lead they interact with and also establishes inside sales reps as credible and likable figures to do business with.
A focused Inside sales rep always makes sure that the solutions they are describing are relevant to challenges the prospect is currently facing. When presenting prospects with a solution to their business problems, a successful inside sales rep always makes sure to stress how their product/service has helped many others within the prospect’s industry to overcome these issues. This cleverly increases the prospects interest or desire by giving their product/service credibility, while also decreasing their sales reluctance.
Tip 6 – Don’t sound like a salesperson
Your leads hear sales pitches constantly. They get phone calls all day every day from different companies trying to sell them something. Make sure your inside sales team keep this in mind every time they dial their number and modify their approach accordingly.
Receiving repetitive calls from sales reps can leave buyers reluctant to answer, making it difficult to get a hold of prospects in the first place. In fact, it is costly in terms of wasting time. Knowing that they are on the phone with a salesperson often makes prospects a little defensive and guarded.
The only way to resolve this issue is if your callers don’t sound like a sales person. They want to approach the conversation like two business people having a conversation as oppose to a sales rep rallying out a speech. As tough as this may sound, the way a sales person approaches the conversation can mean the difference between closing a deal and a lead anxiously trying to hang up the phone. So make sure each seller does a little research into who their prospect is before they call, discover their interests, the company they work for, etc. This snippets of information can be used as an ice breaker to get the conversation flowing. It makes your sellers seem more relatable, trustworthy and worth listening to.
Tip 7 – Know how to respond to objections
This inside sales tip can create an immediate improvement in your sales teams confidence on the phones and selling success. Sales reps must train themselves to respond strategically to objections. Your sales team are inevitably going to face objections to their offers more often than not. This rejection is the part of sales that cold callers dread most. Over and over, they will hear:
‘Now is just not a good time’
‘I’m not interested in buying anything’
‘Why are you calling me?’
‘Just send me your information and I’ll get back to you.’
In order to improve their chances of making a sale, as well as make cold calling a lot easier, tell them to make a list of all possible objections they can think of. Then, tell them to prepare the perfect response for each objection to turn the conversation around.
A successful inside sales rep contemplates over why a prospect would accept an offer or arrange a meeting and analyzes why prospects would reject their offer. Like tracking ratios, it is important to track these trends. By understanding what buyers need and what buyers are put off by, sales reps can adjust their selling strategy by highlighting the how their product/service will benefit buyers, and prepare strategic answers to overcome objections to their offer. Clever sales reps will analyze weakness in each response, and overcome any holes in their position.
So there are my 7 useful tips that every inside sales rep can benefit from. Granted, embracing these few ideas involves some sales training for your inside sales team, but they are ideas worth investing your time and energy in. You won’t increase your sales revenue by having your sales team work harder, they just need to work smarter.