Recent lead management research indicates that over the past 3 years, inside sales positions have increased at a rate of 15 times more (7.5% versus .5% annually), than outside sales – creating 800,000 fresh sales jobs.
In order to successfully establish yourself as an inside sales rep, here are five habits worth adopting.
1. The Rule Of Three
Steve Richard, the CEO of ExecVision, recommends a three-point check list before approaching a prospective customer via the telephone. This involves spending three minutes gathering three pieces of information about the customer that might help seal the deal. To give you an idea, you might visit their LinkedIn page and see if you share any groups or contacts in common, or research the company to see if they’ve had any recent structural or funding changes. This information will sufficiently help you prepare for the call, and make you appear all the more professional and sincere.
2. Follow Up and Don’t Bow Out Early
Almost half of inside sales reps seem to feel that one follow-up call is enough before giving up on a particular lead. However, studies have shown that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls! There is, of course, an art to follow-ups. Persistence should not be misconstrued as nagging or harassment, and it is important to establish a rapport with your customers without pushing a sales pitch too hard. Furthermore, it takes an organized professional to be on top of all these follow-up calls, so a comprehensive scheduling system needs to be adhered to.
3. Prioritize Leads
The top 1% of inside sales reps know how to prioritize their leads to ensure the best end result. This doesn’t only mean organizing a calendar at the start of each day (although that is a useful activity), but knowing whether your business leads are likely to engage in conversation, and planning exactly what will happen at each stage of the sales process. This can include writing out a list of tough questions that a customer might ask you, which will allow you to competently answer on-the-spot queries.
4. Proactive Objection Prevent
You’ve heard it a million times – “We don’t need this right now”, or “Call back in a few months, I might be interested then”. It is thought that the 4 most common objections to your sales call revolve around budget, authority, need and timeliness. However, as a proactive seller, you can address these issues before they’re even mentioned, making you all the more persuasive.
Budget is never a total obstacle, and depending on your product, there may be a way of offering the customer a competitive deal from the offset. Moreover, consider the possibility that budget is a smokescreen for a deeper issue and try to determine what this might be in order to alleviate their concerns. Doing your research before the call can ensure you get through to the right department and therefore locate the correct authority to speak to, from the offset.
5. Timing Is Everything
Research has shown that customers are most responsive to your calls on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 4 PM and 6 PM, or first thing in the morning. If you have a particularly challenging lead that you’d love to qualify, these are the days and times that will maximize your chances of success. It’s worth also noting that Friday’s are the worst days for qualifying a lead, dropping your chances of success by a whole 19%.
Of course, it’s not just about the time of day you call, but the length of time you spend on each call. The majority of your calls will find their way to voicemail. Therefore, it is important you can use this as an opportunity to generate good, tight communication. A B2B sales rep spends on an average 25 hours per month leaving voicemails, and the majority of unreturned calls are due to clumsiness or mixed messages found in the voicemail. For best results, spend between 8 to 11 seconds to leave a voicemail, keeping it clear and concise.
Inside sales is a fast-paced, challenging environment. But there are ways that a sales professional can make their day much easier. The techniques revolve around good planning, research and time management, with a focus on tight communication and a customer-focused, proactive approach. By following these tips, you’ll achieve a greater success rate in converting leads into exciting sales and drive your career forward.
Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Notable, a sales lead development solution based in Singapore. Notable matches B2B service providers with clients looking for their services. He can be reached at: https://sg.linkedin.com/in/salestest