The Anatomy of an Inside Sales Team

Division of labor has been practised since the industrial revolution of Europe and America. It lead to highly specialized jobs which in turn lead to greater productivity and prosperity.

A similar specialization wave was observed a few years back in the software development industry. Software developer profile made way for designations like web developer, iOS developer, front end developer and full stack developer.

Naturally, this hyperspecialization had to affect the modern inside sales teams also. 

What does an Inside Sales Team look like now?

For most B2B software companies the modern inside sales teams has 5 distinct roles. 

Anatomy of an Inside Sales Team

Sales Development Representative (Inbound)

The primary responsibility of an inbound SDR is to qualify leads and setup appointments for inside sales managers. 

Usually in a well run B2B software company the number of inbound leads is high. Response time and lead qualification success rates are usually the performance metrics for an SDR.

Sometimes the inbound lead qualification can also be a marketing function, but it is recommended to be a sales function. 

Sales Development Representative (Outbound)

Outbound SDRs have the responsibility of demand generation. They look for prospects and qualified targets to setup meetings or demos for the inside sales managers. 

Outbound SDRs can be very effective for B2B software startups.

As Aaron Ross points out in Predictive Revenue, outbound prospecting was largely responsible for earning Salesforce an additional $100m in revenue.

Inside Sales Managers

Responsible for closing deals. Inside Sales Managers handle all qualified leads until they turn into paying customers.

Often job ads for inside sales managers ask that applicants should have a “hunter” mentality. Within sales organizations inside sales managers are sometimes called as hunters, as they are the responsible for landing a new customer. 

Account Managers

They make sure that customers stay with the company.

Responsible for generating maximum revenue from customers, including the referrals. For the same reason account managers are sometimes called farmers since they farm customers and extract maximum value out of them. 

Customer Success Managers

An improvised customer service executive role. They take care that the customer doesn’t churn and try to elongate the customer’s lifetime value. 

In most sales organizations, they don’t have quotas, nor do they handle renewals and upsells

The modern inside sales team is a different beast altogether. 

Do you have a different team structure? Let me know through comments.

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