11 Inside Sales Representative Skills to Master in 2023!

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Mastering the Essential Inside Sales Representative Skills - 2023

The landscape of sales in 2023 is drastically shifted from traditional sales methods to varied methods of sales that directly impacts organizations.

Today, owing to a decline in profit margins, market trends, and cut throat competition, businesses are perceiving at sales and marketing models that are less cost-prohibitive and own higher closing rates as compared to traditional sales methods.

Naturally, organizations are now adopting inside sales or digital sales to reduce their costs while engaging their customers to build better relationships with interactive technology.

And thus, the demand for inside sales representative is on the rise, indicating a massive opportunity to learn.

An MIT Lead Management Study found that inside sales hiring is fast outpacing traditional outside sales hiring by a ratio of 15:1.

So, what is inside sales and why must sales representatives learn the secret of the trade?

In this blog, you'll learn about -

  1. What is inside sales?
  2. 12 must-have inside sales representative skills for every sales team
  3. Inside sales vs outside sales
  4. 4 tips to improve inside sales representative skills

Let's dive in.

What is Inside Sales?

The growth of technology, and improvements in communication has reduced the need for salespersons to meet the leads face-to-face and inside sales (or selling remotely) is slowly becoming the most dominant mode of selling.

Inside sales is the act of selling things in a remote environment, without actually meeting the customer in person or at their premises.

Here, communication is done primarily via phone, emails or social media and other digital channels.

Inside Sales is cost-effective, and it  allows the teams to personalize the buying journey of the customers at scale.

Understanding the Value of Inside Sales

Today, an increasing number of organizations are adapting inside sales strategy to ensure that they are accessing the maximum potential of their inside sales teams.

Did you know that Astra Zeneca exchanged a field sales team for a 300-person inside sales team and IBM accelerated their inbound lead rate by investing in inside sales?

The upsurge around the activities of inside sales is a direct result of the converging influence of competition, schedules, budgets, advancements in social selling, and other sales and marketing automation tools.

These efficiencies around inside sales help sales people to reach out to customers in a cost-effective way.

What does an Inside Sales Representative Do?

An inside sales representative is a type of salesperson that works remotely or within an office to assist potential clients find what they are actively looking for.

Unlike other sales reps, inside sales representatives spend most of their day on the telephone, or writing emails, or other digital channels to not only assist customers but also deploy great sales strategies to close deals.

Essential Inside Sales Skills That Can Power Up Your Sales Team

When a sales rep is hired, the expectations around their skillset varies from generating leads, creating sales pitches, hitting sales quotas, and generating revenue.

Acquiring, learning, and mastering sales skills can help you become better at your workplace and close more deals. Here are 12 most important sales skills to master -

  1. Active Listening Skills
  2. Having an Out-and-Out Product Knowledge
  3. Show Empathy
  4. Time Management
  5. Good Communication Skills
  6. Master Storytelling to Effectively Engage your Clients
  7. Relationship Building Skills
  8. Effective Usage of your CRM
  9. Research Skills
  10. Social Media Skills and Social Selling
  11. The Art of Following-Up

#1 Active Listening Skills

Sales representatives must possess strong communication skills to build better customer relationship, and this doesn't necessarily limit to just talking abilities.

Possessing active listening skills means hearing out your customers and finding out what's best for them. Regardless of in-person selling or cold calling prospects, it is absolutely vital to let your customers talk.

Most times, your buyers willingly share their pain points, if you let them.

#2 Having an Out-and-Out Product Knowledge

For an inside sales representative, having absolute product knowledge is a very important skill to have.

There's nothing worse than forgetting your core product features when on a demo with a potential customer. Or, how about when you field a product question you should know the answer to and miss an opportunity to highlight a star feature to a specific use-case?

Unimaginable, right?

Although some of these situations are inevitable in daily sales conversations and for new joiners, these type of mistakes can be solved in most cases by just understanding your product in various ways.

Thus, before finishing your sales training, it's vital you have detailed product knowledge of the features, advantages, benefits, use-cases, examples, and more.

Else, you will have immense difficulty selling your sales pitch to individual use-cases and helping prospects with the right features for their needs.

Not just that, this sales skill of having in-depth product knowledge also comes with an added benefit of establishing yourself as a product and domain expert, too.

#3 Show Empathy

Empathy enables your sales representatives to tune into verbal and non-verbal cues, and have a deep understanding of the client's emotions and feelings.

Having empathy is an important sales skill that helps salespeople to fully comprehend their customers' pain points, worries, and fears. As a result, salespeople can create enhanced emotional connections and build long-term relationships with their customers.

Prospects do not want to purchase from someone who doesn't consider their feelings and opinions. A great salesperson does not only sympathize when their customer shares their fears, but also deeply understands them beyond their pain points.

Contrary to common misconception, empathy is not a fixed skillset, it can be learned.

Develop and train your sales team with this skill by outlining the importance of empathy, how to develop this skill, and how it impacts your sales representatives' performance.

#4 Time Management

Time management is consistently reported to being the most valued resource to business owners, making this an essential sales skill not only to your benefit, but to your potential customer as well.

At the end of the day, the effectiveness of a sales rep is calculated by your sales productivity, the amount of revenue you generate, and the number of hours you worked.

If time management is a difficult area for you and sways your focus away, leverage an intuitive CRM, or a sales intelligent platform like Salesken to automate routine tasks. This helps you focus on actually selling and not spending hours together on admin tasks.

Do not forget that your prospects' time is equally important, too.

Stay respectful of the time your potential customer is giving you and personalize your conversation in a way to strike a balance between showing genuine interest by not wasting their time.

#5 Good Communication Skills

It is an ubiquitous fact that a sales representative spends most of their time during the day communicating.

Right from sending emails to holding meetings, making phone calls, and even using live chats - a sales representative leverages several channels to communicate their needs.

Possessing great communication skills is crucial for being a great salesperson. Having an effective and reliable tool to collaborate with your team and contact your prospects is a must.

Customers don't just listen to the content you say, but also observe your tone, listening skills, speed of talking, and the intimate knowledge you possess about the product.

In the world of sales and marketing, communication is the cardinal.

To polish your communication skills with your customers, ensure you are -

  1. Talking the buyer's language
  2. Reading between the lines
  3. Practicing active listening
  4. Having clarity in your voice

#6 Master Storytelling to Effectively Engage your Clients

It is a common myth that only great salespeople are born with great storytelling.

As an inside sales representative, you may come across several cold calling pitches and email templates to help you boost your closing rate.

By continually educating yourself and learning the best sales techniques from your peers, you can level and upskill yourself.

Buyers do not really want to hear about your service and good sales people are already aware of this. Learning and mastering the art of weaving a story into your sales pitch that has an arc and ends with an 'aha' moment for the customer is really what sells the product.

#7 Relationship Building Skills

The ultimate goal of relationship building is to simply build trust with your customer.

Although there's been a lot of chatter about relationship selling over the years, the ability to build relationships with your prospects will always remain as the core sales skills to master.

Simply put, relationship building is your ability to effectively engage with your sales team, and work to establish a level of connection that can last beyond just quick transactions and pitches.

More importantly, these customer relationships, when built genuinely on a foundation of providing high-value upfront without the expectation of an immediate transaction - can lead to exciting opportunities such as referrals, higher customer satisfaction, and excellent customer service.

#8 Effective Usage of your CRM

A CRM, or a customer relationship management tool can easily become one of the most powerful tool for high-performing organizations and sales leaders, if you allow it to be.

A CRM has a myriad of capabilities to assist you with everyday activities and help you close more sales. Within the context of the functionality of your sales process, are you getting the maximum out of your current CRM?

If the answer is no, it's time to revisit your process.

If a CRM can deliver automated email sequences to new leads when they enter your sales funnel, freeing up hours of routine tasks for you - this change alone can save you hours of your time in a week.

Learning how to correctly use the features of your CRM to expedite your sales process and sales activities will help you greatly improve the efficiency.

Choose a CRM that has the following features -

  1. Dynamic lead generation
  2. Automated email sequences and templates
  3. Follow-ups
  4. Build-in calling
  5. Coaching and training
  6. Automate administrative tasks

#9 Research Skills

An inside sales representative job is more than just picking up the phone to call a potential customer, or shooting emails - they also need to thoroughly understand and find out crucial details about their leads and their needs to increase the chances to closing more sales.

A good inside sales representative undertake research.

By analyzing and understanding your product in-depth, you can effectively explain every feature successfully.

With research, it is also vital to understand that inside sales representatives find out about who and why your potential customers would be interested in your pitch.

As exciting as it might be to just pick up your phone and dial that number, it is equally important to do your due diligence.

Ensure you gather enough information about your leads, how your product will be useful for them, and tailor the conversation accordingly.

Research the market, potential customers, use-cases of your product, and how you can reward your customers.

#10 Social Media Skills and Social Selling

In this day, social selling is of great significance.

As important as it is, many companies are missing the mark with social media skills.

To make a great ISR, it is crucial you have a good grasp of social media. Most information about your lead is available publicly, thus, learning how to acquire and use this information will help you in getting their attention well.

However, you should not forget that your leads are researching you, too and it's highly likely that they know a lot about you, too.

Some of the best salespeople have great social skills and leverage it to organize dinners, hold effective meetings, carry out meaningful conversations, and hit their sales goals.

#11 The Art of Following-Up

Say you have done all the job related to capturing an interest in your product from a promising lead, however, simply obtaining qualified and enthusiastic leads is not enough.

As an inside sales representative, it is important to not come across as extremely pushy, but you need to learn the art of contacting your prospects regularly in a way to improve chances of conversion.

According to Entrepreneur.com, 80% of sales are made after the fifth call, and second, that 92% of sales reps give up before that.

This is why highly successful sales reps plan their follow-up calls to close more sales over time.

Follow-up with your prospects through automated emails and calls to keep them in the loop and help them stay warm. Depending on the way they receive the follow-up, decide on a strategy to further personalize your efforts.

A good way for an inside sales representative to stay on track with following up is to set up reminders for emails and daily calls to remain on schedule and help you hit your sales goals effectively.

Inside Sales Vs Outside Sales

One of the biggest concerns most organizations have when setting up their sales team is whether to focus on inside sales vs outside sales.

With the onset of the pandemic, most salespeople are working remotely. As we have progressed forward to a world that feels more normal, which model do companies default to?

To make things simpler, inside sales refers to sales made within an office, or a remote set-up via phone, email, social media, and other digital channels.

Inside sales, also called as remote sales, is not done face-to-face.

Whereas, outside sales on the other hand, involves sales reps traveling outside their office to the prospect's location to sell a service face-to-face.

Here's a quick breakdown to help you visualize the structure of an inside sales model vs outside sales model -

Inside Sales

  • Faster sales cycle (<90 days)
  • Emphasis on acquiring leads
  • Sales reps connect with customers remotely
  • Cost-effective and more scalable

Outside Sales

  • Sales reps travel to sell a product in-person
  • Focuses on nurturing and converting leads
  • Slower sales cycle
  • Costs are higher and is less scalable

Common Challenges Faced By Inside Sales Representative Skills

Inside sales, is undoubtedly, challenging.

In day-to-day sales activities, you may face several obstacles that make it difficult to help you meet your sales quotas. 

Here are some of the challenges that you may face in your inside sales career -

Overcoming an Increasing Number of Competitors

In the modern day, a business of any niche may have several competitors.

With an increasing number of competitors arising, there's also a massive increase in competition.

Inside sales representatives find it extremely challenging to find new prospects and retain them, especially with this shift in the working environment.

Tip - Research your competitors using new tools and understand their USPs to analyze your competitive advantage.

Not Qualifying High-Quality Leads

Sales reps receive a high number of leads everyday.

However, not every lead will convert and sometimes, they may not even match your ideal profile.

Prospecting and qualifying the right leads is imperative and this can be a primary obstacle towards closing deals.

Tip - Work in tandem with the sales and marketing teams to getting high-quality leads. Jot down your ideal customer profile correctly to target the right lead and pass it on to the sales team.

Not Having Enough Time

With having to do a number of tasks everyday, sales reps usually complain they do not have enough time to do all their tasks.

Administrative tasks take about 60% of their time, unfortunately.

While nurturing leads, making cold calls, following-up, scheduling meetings, and more, inside sales representatives lose a chunk of their time throughout the day.

Tip - Invest in a good quality CRM to reduce administrative tasks as much as possible and help your inside sales representatives to focus on other essential tasks to help them close more deals.

Bottom Line

Although inside sales may seem like an ocean with a myriad of tips, techniques, and core skills to possess, the learning field is endless.

Inside sales representatives are powerful agents who leverage their time on acquiring leads, conducting research, and following supreme customer service.

Honing these 11 important inside sales representative skills will help you move seamlessly in any organization and achieve maximum success as an ISR.

If you are looking for an intuitive sales tool to help you become a successful inside sales representative by automating mundane tasks, coaching peers, tracking leads, and more, book a demo with us now!

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