What is B2B inside sales?
“Inside sales” refers to any sales approach that is performed remotely. In the B2B context, inside sales has become a top sales model for selling SaaS solutions, digital products, and other technological assets. B2B inside sales reps have to be highly skilled as they handle the majority of the sales process through emails and phone communication. Some other significant responsibilities of B2B inside sales reps include conducting product demo sessions, relationship building, and providing presentations, along with regular sales activities.
What does B2B inside sales signify in 2022?
Traditionally, inside sales and field sales were two completely different sales approaches. However, with the pandemic induced lockdowns,and the subsequent shift to a work from anywhere environment, inside sales has become the most dominant mode of selling and all sales operations are being conducted remotely. This transition has been made easier because of the availability of advanced tools - CRMs, call analytics software, sales enablement solutions, and others.
The anatomy of a B2B inside sales deal
B2B inside sales is often complex and a lengthy process. Your inside sales team should be well versed in the structure of a B2B inside sales deal to win more customers. Here’s a sneak peek into the B2B inside sales system:
Part 1: Targeting the buyers
The very first step of B2B inside sales is to identify your target buyer profiles. Apart from in-depth research, inside sales teams should know the following about their buyers to determine if they are the right fit or not:The general trends - scope, future earnings, trends - to which the customers belong
- The major concern faced by the prospect
- Their main competitors and how they are differentiating their product
- How will your product or offering be able to solve the issues faced by them?
- How can your product improve their topline/ bottom line?
Part 2: Effective lead generation
Depending upon your organization and its offerings, the lead generation process may vary in B2B inside sales. However, the sales reps must remember that the common goal of any B2B inside sales process is lead generation.
Now, note that a lead and a prospect are not the same. A prospect matches your buyer persona but is still not aware of your brand. Alternatively, a lead expresses interest in your business, usually by filling out a form on your website but is not necessarily someone that fits the buyer persona.
Your inside sales team must be fully aware of this difference and work with the marketing team to generate more prospects who are a perfect product-fit for your organization. Converting the qualified prospects into leads should be the #1 goal of inside sales teams.
Part 3: Outreach campaigns
A crucial part of B2B inside sales is outreach campaigns. In this stage of the inside sales process, B2B sales reps reach out to prospects, build the prospects’ interest and increase their awareness of your offerings.
There are different types of channels for outreach campaigns like cold emails, social media outreach, cold calling, etc. The focal point of any outreach campaign should be to understand the challenges a lead faces and where your product fits in.
Depending on the effectiveness of your outreach campaign, you can get any of the following responses:
- A positive response from the lead: This means the lead will slide down to the next stage of the B2B sales funnel.
- A negative response or objection from the lead: Here, the B2B sales reps need to handle the objections tactfully.
- No response from the prospect: Since being pushy with the potential customers is not an option, sales reps can simply wait or maybe follow up once.
Part 4: The demo session
This stage in the B2B inside sales process is when the sales rep presents the product to the lead.
When in a demo call, make sure that you don’t only explain the product and its features to the lead in isolation. Instead, ask them about their problems and explain how your product fixes them. You can also give the leads limited access to your solution so they can play around a little with the product and understand its benefits.
By the end of this stage, your leads are well aware of the product and its critical features and are in a position to decide whether to buy the product or not.
Part 5: Sending the proposal
This is the final stage of B2B inside sales. In this stage, the sales reps can again discuss the offerings, validate the discussed pricing, and freeze the deal.
Now, it's time for the customer success teams to take over and onboard the customer.
B2B inside sales vs. outside sales - what are the differences?
In outside sales, sales professionals meet prospective customers, set up appointments, show product demos, and convert leads into sales
There are some clear differences between inside sales and outside sales, in the business-to-business context. Let us differentiate these two sales approaches based on four factors: cost-effectiveness, customer-centricity, collaboration potential and productivity.
On average, outside sales calls are six times more expensive than inside sales calls. B2B inside sales reps leverage the power of technology to connect with many leads and B2B decision-makers, as compared to outside sales reps.
With changing market and technological trends, customers’ mindsets have also changed. In fact, 70% of customers prefer virtual meetings over in-person meetings. Virtual meetings are an excellent time-saver and include sufficient room for discussion and understanding of the product.
3. Collaboration potential
B2B sales deals involve multiple touchpoints. As a result, these sales deals tend to take more time to convert. However, things become easier for the sales reps if they have sufficient collaboration opportunities.
For example, as a sales rep, you cannot connect with all decision-makers in your prospects’ team. You need help from the sales team to connect with marketers, managers, and other stakeholders to nurture a lead. For inside sales, collaboration is simpler with advanced CRM tools, video conferencing tools, speech analytics software and so on.
Alternatively, an field sales team is focused on in-person interaction with the prospects. Hence, it becomes an obstacle for them to collaborate with different sales team members at the same time and approach the prospects as a team.
Inside sales teams have a lot of sales acceleration tools to support them. For instance, Salesken helps B2B inside sales reps with:
- Real-time assistance to understand prospects’ intent and handle their objections
- In-depth call analysis and actionable insights on customers’ needs
- Identifying major talking points and creating a personalised sales pitch
AI-powered tools make the job of the inside sales reps a lot easier. They work as an instant productivity booster for the sales reps and motivate them to leverage customer data better.
On the contrary, the outside sales approach has limited technical support as the reps need to initiate physical meetings with the prospects. This could mean declining productivity and fast burn-out for the sales reps.
If you’re trying to master the art of B2B inside sales, book a demo with Salesken and find out how it can support you throughout.
What are the benefits of B2B inside sales?
Inside sales is more flexible, affordable and scalable than outside sales.
Inside sales reps manage the entire sales process remotely. The resulting location flexibility is a critical advantage. For instance, your sales team based out of Japan can close a deal with a US-based client without any excess costs.
Inside sales reps save on time spent commuting. They are 100% invested in sales activities, which helps with productivity. Overall costs are lower than outside sales, resource allocation is more optimal and the scope of conversion is higher.
As inside sales broadens the opportunities to work with a world-class sales team, scalability is a major advantage.
Shorter Sales Funnel
B2B sales funnels are already long, and you don’t want to lengthen it further with other obstacles like an onsite meeting. The post-pandemic world has become eunpredictable. There is no point in promising in-person meeting with the prospects that sales reps cannot fulfil. Alternatively, with inside sales, every funnel stage is obstacle-free, and the prospects can slide across different stages independently.
What are the disadvantages of B2B inside sales?
Inside sales is not all hunky-dory. If you look closely, there are some disadvantages too. Here are a few disadvantages that you should be aware of:
Lack of Face-To-Face Interaction
Inside sales is completely dependent on virtual interactions. Hence, many a time, sales reps can feel that the emotional touch is missing from their sales pitches. This may result in lesser trust dependency and can become a barrier in the path of closing a deal.
Frequent Tech Support
Inside sales may have less travel and logistics costs, but the cost of technological maintenance is much higher. For SMBs, inside sales can become pretty expensive.
What does the future of B2B inside sales look like?
It is difficult to depict the future of business-to-business inside sales in one sentence. The post-pandemic world is full of uncertainties, and more changes are inevitable in the global B2B sales landscape. However, you can’t ignore the fact that the pandemic has made most of us feel comfortable working remotely. This certainly opens up new doors of opportunities for the inside sales teams.
The growth of inside sales activities is further influenced by the growth in technology and tools. Sales teams worldwide are adopting different types of sales tools like customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, social selling, sales automation, and more. Hence, in the upcoming days, we can expect to see organizations adopting inside sales platforms that will help teams improve their productivity.
B2B inside sales has always been there, but the pandemic has increased its importance. As the global business landscape evolves, with hybrid work environments becoming the norm, inside sales will continue to be the dominant mode of selling. And teams need to adopt better tools and processes to thrive in this changed world.