There is plenty to be discussed on Inside Sales domain. But why? Why is Inside sales gaining importance? According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, 46% percent of the participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model, as opposed to only 21% who moved back to field sales model.
The goal of any sales rep is to have the highest closing ratio. But that is by no means an easy feat. There are a number of external factors that can influence lead conversion. Complexity of the product, the requirement of the customers, existing market conditions, to name a few. At the same time, every seller has a specific closing technique which is subjective and learned over a period of time. We have many inside sales softwares available in the market, still there are certain ground rules to inside sales that sales expert strictly follow.
#1 Do the Groundwork before Selling
A salesperson needs to earn the right to sell. They can achieve this by learning about the prospect even before making the sales pitch. Before hitting that call button, get a heads up about the prospect. The inside sales team usually have information like phone number, name, email-id, etc. about the prospect. You can use this information to fetch relevant details about the potential customer.
For instance, if you have the person’s name or address of his/er workplace you can get valuable information from their linkedIn profile. Similarly, information like residential address and age will help you determine if the prospect is worth chasing. The idea is to try to close at every stage. A little groundwork before selling will ensure that all efforts are goal oriented and perspective driven.
#2 Prompt Response & Engagement
Usually, closure does not happen with one contact. Sales reps need to pursue the prospect for some time. Most often, prospects may not have an immediate requirement or they will tell you to call back on a specific day. But once you have managed to gain attention of the prospect and they are showing interest, you cannot take it for granted. The salesperson needs to ensure quick response. The key is to keep engaging with the prospect to gain their trust and build relationship.
#3 Have a Follow up plan – Be persistent
There can be variousreasons for failure to follow up. But persistence is the key to success. Have a touch point campaign in place. A prospect might not be keen on hearing another sales pitch. Try to approach that prospect in a different way – provide informative articles to gain credibility as an advisor, drop frequent, yet spaced out emails, follow up the emails with phone calls. Research shows that one can dramatically improve contact rates by making six attempts. Thus, don’t just drop a prospect after one or two attempts. Keep trying.
#4 Implement Lead Management Software for Follow ups
Automating the lead management is not only less time consuming, but also makes follow up easier. Sales reps can easily import the lead lists, have data of previous contact points in one click and can thus, be better organized. Distributing lead data are also made easy through such lead management softwares. That ensures proper follow up is done without missing out on any prospect.
#5 Call at Optimal Time
You need to research about the industry and location of the company. Post that, figure out the right time to contact. Calling at certain hours might yield better results. For instance, people in Middle East countries work on Sundays and instead have holiday on Friday. It’s better to contact prospects in the middle of the week as they are less likely to be interested in building new contacts towards the end of the week.
So it’s advisable to filter your lead list accordingly. Creating a separate section to record “suitable time” data can prove to be beneficial for contact rates. Some of the best times to call are between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Though adjustments need to be made for different time zones.
#6 Identify Buying Signals
It is critical to recognize and respond quickly to the buying signals. Below are some of the buying signals that a sales rep should look out for:
- Probing questions – asking detailed questions about the product
- Mental possession – talking about the product as if they own it
- Asking for opinions – including another person in the meeting for feedback
- Comprehensive Evaluation – investing a lot of time looking at your product
- Constant Agreement – saying yes to the sales rep often and showing enthusiasm
Once the buying signals have been recognised, the next step is to ask for the sale. Sales reps need to answer buying questions with closing questions. For example, a prospect asks about the expected time of delivery or deployment, ask them when do they need it rather than just plainly answering the question. Try to first know the expectations of the prospect before committing a date.
#7 Make use of Smart Technology
Exploit the smart technology, Make use of Inside Sales software to make your task easier. A good Inside Sales software will have automated, queued dialing system, call tracking, local presence dialer to name a few. Local presence dialer for example, increases your contact rates as there is a higher probability of a prospect receiving a call with local area code than a toll or a long distance number. Similarly, call tracking helps in maintaining the team or rep wise call analytics. This ensures quality of calls.
The Way Forward
All said and done, what is the future of inside sales? What can the organizations expect from it? According to research, inside sales reduces cost-of-sales by 40-90% relative to field sales, while revenues may be maintained or even grow. Some of the benefits are:
- Reduced sales force cost-per-contact and increased number of contacts per day
- Increased revenues in accounts that were lowest priority for field sales, but are high priority for inside sales
- Greater access and faster response times for customers
When focused on the right market segments, stages of the customer engagement process, and product/services, inside sales drives huge sales force efficiency improvements with little or no effectiveness loss.