Today’s customers look for easy methods to purchase products and services online or through mobile apps. This makes inside sales a crucial part of the sales department. With the advent of the pandemic, integrating inside sales with marketing and outside sales strategies has helped businesses improve the sales team’s productivity and revenue.
Technological advancements, shifting buyer preferences, and digital disruption have altered the way sales departments operate in most B2B and tech organizations.
Let’s understand why businesses are adapting to inside sales, what are its benefits and how can one leverage it.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales refers to the process where sales professionals sell products or services remotely, typically through phone, email, or video conferencing. In contrast to outside sales, where salespeople visit clients in person, inside sales representatives work from an office or home office to connect with customers. Inside sales is a sales model that allows sales reps to sell products remotely using technologies like CRMs through online channels, video calls, email or phone.
B2B, SaaS, tech and many B2C companies selling high-ticket products use inside sales more often than other businesses. It helps create a comfortable purchasing experience for customers and an easy selling experience for salespeople.
The Inside Sales Process
As per HubSpot Sales Enablement Survey 2021, 64% of sales managers who opted for the inside sales model in 2020 met or achieved more than their sales goals.
This statistic is quite encouraging for you to invest in virtual sales. But before you decide to invest, having an understanding of the inside sales process is a must.
7-Step Sales Process:
- Prospecting and Lead Generation
- Lead Distribution
- Qualifying Leads
- Company Research
- Prepare an Effective Sales Pitch
- Close the Deal
- Nurture the Customers
#1. Prospecting and Lead Generation
Inside sales process starts with identifying the prospects. In the case of B2B businesses, networking on LinkedIn, attending virtual events, hosting webinars and other inbound marketing activities can help generate leads.
You can then use cold calling, emails, and social media messages as the first point of contact to start the conversation.
#2. Lead Distribution
There are organizations using excel sheets to collect leads’ data that are open to every sales rep. They are allowed to pick leads from the list. But this creates an unfair distribution of leads as most inside sales reps try to choose the best for them.
Use an automated system for distributing the leads fairly among sales reps.
#3. Qualifying Leads
Not all prospects will buy your product. Hence, it is a must for your inside sales reps to understand prospects’ needs before pitching the product. There are a number of qualifying questions you can ask during the first call:
- What problem are your prospects trying to solve?
- Why is this priority?
- What solutions have they evaluated?
- Who will make the buying decision?
- Are they in urgent need of a solution?
- Prospect’s location
- Company size
Keep the qualifying process simple to keep prospects interested.
#4. Company Research
Before you outreach, do thorough research to ensure you understand prospects. It helps sales reps with a personalized experience and improves the chances of closing the deal.
#5. Prepare an Effective Sales Pitch
If the lead shows interest to buy the product, then the salesperson needs to reach the prospects and make appointments for formal product demos.
Remember, every prospect is unique and has unique requirements. Hence, personalize the pitch accordingly. This helps inside sales reps handle the objections nicely.
#6. Close the Deal
Once the inside salesperson answers all the questions of prospects, they can start offering discounts, negotiating, etc. to close the deal.
#7. Nurture the Customers
After closing the deal, prepare for easy onboarding and customer success. This is the final step of selling the product. But the sales cycle does not end with a single sale. The customer success reps have to take care of these customers and nurture them for upselling and cross-selling.
For setting up a flawless inside sales process, you would need an inside sales team, a sales calling tool, a customer relationship management tool, and an integrated analytic tool.
Inside Sales Team Structure
The inside sales team usually includes SDRs, BDRs, account executives, an account manager, and a sales director or VP.
- Sales development representatives (SDRs)
- Business development representatives (BDRs)
- Account executive (AE)
- Account manager
Sales development representatives (SDRs)
The main responsibility of SDRs is to qualify inbound leads – people who downloaded the content, requested a demo, attended a webinar, etc. The leads categorized as “ready to purchase” are sent to account executives for closing through the CRM platform where SDRs will log the prospect's information and details.
Business development representatives (BDRs)
They focus on demand generation by calling, cold calling, emailing, and social selling. Once they qualify the lead, they hand it over to account executives.
Account executive (AE)
An account executive is a sales professional who is responsible for managing and nurturing relationships with key accounts and driving revenue growth within those accounts. In the context of an inside sales team, an account executive typically works remotely to engage with customers and prospects through phone, email, or video conferencing.
Account managers' are responsible for managing and growing existing customer accounts. The primary goal of an account manager is to build long-term relationships with customers and drive revenue growth by identifying new opportunities within their accounts.
Tools for Inside Sales Teams
Inside sales rely heavily on technology. From calls, emails, and social media to online product demos, it entirely depends on tools. By selecting the right tools, you can empower your inside sales teams. Here are some must-have tools for your inside sales team:
Conversation Intelligence Tools
On average, an inside sales rep makes 33 cold calls a day.
Conversation intelligence tools allow you to listen to these calls and help you understand your customer's needs as well as your sales reps’ weaknesses. This makes it easy for sales leaders to offer personalized training to salespersons and help them improve their productivity.
Conversation intelligence tool like Salesken helps you get call snippets of real-time conversation. Along with the above functions, you can use this tool to onboard new sales person quickly.
You can also analyze the recorded calls for understanding:
- What questions do customers have before making a buying decision?
- What are the best answers to those questions?
It helps you use this tool as a pitch intelligence tool and develop winning pitches.
CRM helps you manage all of your sales activities and generate reports to understand the efficiency of your sales strategies, activities, and sales reps. It is used for:
- Storing customers' contacts, sales opportunities, and schedules in one place which allows access to everyone from any location.
- Creating weekly, and monthly sales reports in just one click by keeping the sales process automated and transparent.
- Making it easy to understand priority tasks to take quick actions.
- Keeping sales representatives updated about follow-up, sending quotes, renewing contracts, etc.
- Cutting down many admin tasks and helping them focus on selling.
Remember, always choose a CRM which is easy to integrate with your existing tools.
Social Intelligence Tools
Social intelligence tool is a must-have for inside sales teams who use social media to connect with their customers.
It helps in getting valuable insights from social media that help salespeople engage prospects, and nurture leads.
Email Tracking tools
It is one of the important tools for inside sales reps. Inside sales reps spend a lot of time drafting emails, attaching correct files, and double-checking messages.
As per McKinsey research, inside sales professionals spend 28% of their day time writing and reading emails.
Email tracking tools help sales professionals measure the effectiveness of their email marketing strategy. It tracks email open rate, bounce rate, number of unsubscribes, list growth rate, spam complaints, engagement over time, click-through rate, and conversion rate.
Revenue Intelligence tool
Revenue intelligence tools help you track your revenue goals. Using this tool, you can get an estimate to calculate customer lifetime value and the total revenue they will generate. It will help you modify your sales strategy as per your goals.
Advantages of Inside Sales
Here is the list of benefits that may encourage you to re-evaluate your current sales strategy.
Easy to Scale
Setting up inside sales requires less investment. But, before you start using this sales model in full swing, you can try it with a small team and find answers to questions like -
- Is inside sales suitable for your business or not?
- What works for your business in terms of inside sales?
- What strategy works better to close the inside sales deal?
Then, you can easily train more people to follow the same strategy and scale it to the level you want.
An inside sales call costs just $50 while an outside sales call costs $308. It means inside sales calls are 83% cheaper than outside sales calls. Except for this, the absence of travel and accommodation costs makes the inside sales cost-effective.
Better Time and Resource Management
In simple words, field sales take more time than inside sales. A field salesperson has to visit each of their clients’ offices multiple times before closing the deal. Furthermore, there will be days when the prospect will turn away your inside sales rep.
This whole process of field sales consumes a lot of time for the salesperson to close one deal. It also reduces the efficiency of your resources.
However, inside sales lets salespeople work remotely from their office or home and save a lot of time, money, and effort.
Convenient to Collaborate and Coach
Managing the inside sales team is easier for sales managers. Inside sales make it possible for sales managers to work with their salespersons in physical proximity. It improves the chances of collaboration and the opportunity to coach sales reps. An added advantage is reduced on-boarding time of new employees.
Even if they are working remotely, using tools you can keep track of their activities.
Faster and Transparent Process
Inside sales allows you to automate the sales process using tools like CRM, call recording, etc. It helps in evaluating the current strategy and adjusting it accordingly through A/B testing quickly.
Inside sales offer you the ability to adapt to your changing buyer demographic easily.
Tools also make it possible to keep everything transparent for every sales team member. Sales managers can track all the calls of the sales team when needed and reduce the instances of common complaints among the sales team.
Easy Revenue Prediction
By using tools, you can track the whole inside sales process, you can get insights about customers, closed deals, number of demos booked, number of calls made etc.
Using these insights, you can make better sales strategies to improve your growth and revenue.
Inside Sales Metrics You Must Track
Call to Connect Ratio
It is one of the most important KPIs for inside sales managers. It gives insight into salespeople's productivity.
You can calculate it with the formula:
Call to connect ratio = Call answered / Call placed
Number of Meetings and Demo Scheduled and Completed
As the name depicts, this metric helps you measure the number of meetings or demos booked by salespeople.
You can further measure the number of demos and meetings completed. Booking and completed meetings and demos are different. After booking, meetings /demos can get cancelled because of any reason. You can track both these metrics separately for better results.
Lead to Opportunity Ratio
This metric helps to track the number of leads converted to an opportunity. It provides personalized training for sales reps, if they have trouble with meeting a predefined company ratio. But if you find the ratio is reducing across the board, then you may want to work on your sales process or strategy.
Opportunity to Deal Ratio
This metric helps you compare how many opportunities you are able to convert to deals and how many you lost. It gives insights into how good your team is at closing deals.
You can calculate this metric with the below formula:
Opportunity to deal ratio = Deals Won/ Deals Lost
Call to Deal Ratio
This metric helps you understand the efficiency of your sales process. It compares the number of calls made to how many of those calls convert into deals.
Length of Sales Cycle
The length of a sales cycle refers to the amount of time it takes for a customer to move through the entire sales process, from initial contact with a company to the final purchase decision.
If the sales strategy is working and things are moving in the correct direction, there will be no reason for slow sales. You can measure this metric for each of your salespeople to track their performance. You can track the whole inside sales team too, for a bigger picture.
Average Deal Size
Average deal size is an important metric to project revenue. You can calculate it by taking the total revenue you achieved in a particular period and dividing it by the opportunity won during that period.
It also helps in evaluating the performance of the sales team.
Inside Sales Tips
To run inside sales successfully, you need an effective inside sales strategy. Every company is unique and needs to develop a strategy that suits them the best.
Here are some of the tips to build successful inside sales strategies:
Understand Your Product
Your sales reps must understand and have all the information about the product before calling customers. This helps answer customers' questions and in creating your brand's reputation. If your sales reps fail to explain how your product can be helpful to solve the prospect’s problem, chances are they will lose interest and look for other solutions.
To help your salespeople understand your product, you must provide solid training to them.
Develop Buyer Persona
Creating a profile of the ideal customer improves sales reps' understanding of the target audience and their pain points. It helps pitch the right features and improves the chances of the deal.
Some questions you can ask to build a buyer’s persona:
- What is the goal behind buying this product?
- What is the individual or team requirement?
- How will they measure these goals?
Use Customized Templates
Inside sales team sends so many similar emails every day. To make this process easy, you can use personalized email templates to have a tailored approach for each outreach.
Building rapport with customers is essential to create a positive and long-lasting relationship with them. Empathy, active listening, a positive attitude, and personalization, are some ways you can establish rapport with your customers.
Ditch boring cold emails and personalize them by adding the customer’s name and other details.
Manage Your Time Wisely
There are many administrative tasks like logging customer details in excel sheets, creating reports, etc. You can use CRM and other analytical tools to make quick reports and manage your sales team.
- You can sync emails to CRM
- Connect communication apps with CRM
- Add accounting information to CRM
Use Social Selling
It shows social selling can help you sell more. But, choose the social selling platform that suits your product.
LinkedIn is a network of professionals. So, if you try to sell B2B products, it will give you good results. But it may not work for B2C the same way.
Without a doubt, a conversational AI tool or a CRM can play a crucial role in managing inside sales and help in cost-cutting.
So, it’s almost impossible to imagine inside sales growth without the right tools and technology. This calls for selecting the right CRM like Salesken.
Salesken is a conversation intelligence platform that helps record, transcribe, and analyze all calls. It provides real-time nudges during calls to help sales reps to stay prepared.