Inside sales is an exquisite ground for sales reps to prove their sales mettle. It takes a unique personality, and an intense drive, to take on the most intimidating tasks in an organisation, cold calls – and turn it into a pipeline. The struggle of inside sales representatives is clearly visible by the organization, but the intense pressure and complexities of the inside sales leader is usually looked over.
Inside sales managers find trouble in defining business protocols, lead management policies, workforce management, training structure, etc. And moreover, few managers face adversities in the technology or tools adopted by the organization, since they do not properly align with their sales operations.
Here are 5 gaps in your Inside sales process that you should not ignore at all costs.
1. Missing Inside Sales KPI metrics and Sales Leaderboards
Monitoring the right sales key performance indicators (KPI) enables managers to predict performances and determine whether the reps’ are on course to hit the desired targets. Sales activity metrics, pipeline management metrics, and sales results metrics are key broad categories of metrics the sales managers should have their eyes on. Sales managers should shift from evaluating rep performance solely on Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), to metrics like Reach rate, Pass rate and Pipeline rate, as stated by Outbound Index, QuotaFactory. This paradigm shift will help sales managers to identify the actual performance and weak links of reps, rather than letting them loose to sink or swim.
However, you should make sure these KPIs are clearly defined and made visible to the entire inside sales team in the form of a sales leaderboard. This encourages transparency and instills motivation.
2. Manual Calling and Predictive Dialing – both don’t help Inside Sales
Manual calling by far has widely known to be both unproductive and frustrating for inside sales. Inside sales team needs a communication solution that can empower them to be more effective and productive in their outbound campaigns. Down the line, some organizations tried replicating B2C models and adopted Predictive Dialer solutions that created a big bang, but are unfortunately Predictive Dialer is not suitable for inside sales operations which requires engagement with multiple stakeholders of organizations through multiple interactions. Moreover predictive dialers can results in dead air for the customer if more than one connect was made. This infuriates the customer.
What you really need is a sales engagement hub that determines the optimum day and time to contact a customer, and allowing sales reps to be in control of every call, giving them time and all the information needed to prep before starting a conversation with the prospective customer.
3. Treating all leads as equal
All leads are not created equal, and they should not be treated the same either. Did you know Web Leads that responded within 5 minutes have a 40% more chance of conversion? Hence it is important that a Web Lead should be addressed before a Cold-Call (Outbound). Once the lead turns up in the reps’ pipeline it’s his/her decision on when to follow up and usually they are not equipped with the adequate tools to prioritize.
You as Sales manager along with your marketing team should define priorities for each type of lead generated and deploy automatic lead scoring and assignment to make sure Hot leads have get addressed first.
4. Coaching Tools
Usually Sales Reps are trained on products once, given a prospect list with a phone, and are expected to generate revenue magically. They are let loose to sink or swim. Inside sales representatives need to be trained and coached consistently to do better objection handling, getting past the gatekeeper, out-maneuvering opponents, and pitch better. Sales managers understand this but feel constrained by incompetence of the Sales Coaching tools, or worse, the absence of it.
Sales managers should have necessary quality management and assessment tools to monitor, analyze and give feedback on performance of each rep by gauging the quality of rep-customer interactions, identifying points for improvement, etc.
5. Marketing Automation and Sales CRM both were not designed for the Inside Sales Rep
This is my personal favorite. Your marketing team just invested in a Marketing Automation system (hubspot, marketo, pardot, etc) and your Outside Sales team is showing off the Salesforce CRM which you would have been forced to use in your Inside Sales team. This might come as a shocker, but these tools were not made for Inside Sales. Inside sales is a communication intensive, fast-paced activity where phone, email, lead management, coaching, recording and real-time decision making is needed.
The actual need is for a Sales Engagement Hub. With cloud based applications gaining ground it is worth experimenting with such a tool. This could be the biggest gap that you can address.
What tips do you have to fill Inside sales gaps in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below.