Inside sales are the new height of sales wizardry.
This new marketing model is the good news B2B businesses need to hear. And, the model is promising to change how businesses approach their sales campaigns.
It is what experts are calling; not an evolution in marketing but a revolution that is shaking the roots of traditional marketing. It is ready to explode.
The days when a sales representative would ambush you in the middle of a hot afternoon to try and get you to buy their product… Or, when you would be rudely interrupted in the heat of the moment on a romantic dinner by someone on the phone asking to sell you their product is slowly declining. No soon, it will be relegated to the realms of history. So, watch this space.
Traditional sales are being replaced. And almost everything else that has to do with business and marketing is taking a new shape, dimension and outlook.
Every business is looking for a far more efficient method of growing their sales method- inside sales. According to a study conducted by InsideSales.com, inside sales model is growing 300% faster than outside sales. And around 50,000 non-retail inside sales jobs are created every year. SAP refocused its large and growing inside sales team towards working with channel partners, rather than directly with customers, as part of a strategic initiative was aimed at increasing channel sales to 40% of the company’s total sales in 2015.
Why so many companies are turning to inside sales?
Andris A. Zoltners and PK Sinha with explains here The Growing power of Inside Sales
Inside sales model not only offers you convenience and effectiveness, but it is also less demanding and more adaptive. It is one of the highly acknowledged marketing strategies in today’s marketing space which makes it a go-to strategy for B2B marketing needs.
Any business/company that has not already taken advantage of this huge windfall of opportunity needs to re-consider delving into inside sales. You are missing out on a great opportunity. See here at Sales Insights and Trends Expected In 2015-16
If you are still stuck on how to get your wheels rolling, here are a few titbits you may find useful.
Starting out in Inside sales
The beginning of any activity marks a major turning point. Whether you’ll succeed on or not depend on the foundation you’ll be laying your marketing on. With inside sales, you will need to build a rock-solid foundation as it is a very great determinant of how much fair are you in inside sales.
A weak start may doom your future chances of success. To effectively get started you need to consider the following:
1. Setting up Infrastructure and how to build on it
As mentioned earlier, inside sales are conducted remotely which then means that there must be a medium of communication that makes this possible. For your startup, you need to purchase the entire necessary infrastructure and integrate it well launching your marketing offensive.
Do you have the requisite software that gives you a hedge over your competitors? A just meh of tools will cost your business many leads while your competitor is having a festival of conversions.
You may need Skype on your phone and basically, anything else that facilitates making of calls.
What about your internet connection? You need it fast, stable and very reliable. Not the glitch Apollo mission kind.
2. Building a team for Inside Sales
You need to have a solid team in place before you launch your inside sales offensive. Auto-responders and other gadgetry cannot replace inside sales representatives.
What teams would you need?
- Get yourself the content team to help your content marketing, distribution, and measurement of the impact of the campaign (that is ROAS, ROI among other metrics).
- Large organizations will require a data team to handle the analytics part of the campaign.
- Set up a call team. However, care should be exercised as this could be a make or break endeavor. Cold calls done right are the best way to accelerate leads conversion. However, if done wrong, it could be a precipitate for disaster. And it could cost the reputation of your brand.
- At times, prospects would like to make a call for inquiries or to place an order. Don’t let your customers be relegated to the ‘autoresponder cell.” That is why every business needs a customer support team.
Team building is therefore agreeably a very important aspect. To build an effective team, you will have to clearly define your mission objectives and goals so that the team understands what is needed of them.
Learn how to onboard the sales team effectively. You also need to train them in inside sales, customer support and use of the provided infrastructure or hire trained professionals. Finally, you need to ensure that each and every individual is accountable for their actions so as to avoid disorder, laxity and other such problems.
3. Possible problems you might encounter
A start-up is like an idea in your mind. As much as it sounds as tangible, it is fraught with many challenges. These challenges could cripple its growth. As a start-up or SME, you should be adequately prepared to face some of these teething problems:
- Lack of or improper management of leads
- Poor market penetration
- Employee failure and consequent turnover
- Employee compensation
- Failure in the Information relay process
- Failure to maintain consistency as a sales manager
4. Strategies to overcome the problems
Using effective strategies, you can put most of these challenges in control so that you won’t have to delay your pick up the timeline or predispose your startup to huge losses… What are some of the strategies a start-up can implement to overcome these?
- Look for alternative sources of funding. You won’t want to be entangled in an employee payment crisis. This may be not one of the sexiest things you may want to experience. Until your business evens out, you should be able to pay up your employees. There is no escape route to this.
- Hiring professionals who can deliver. Quality is all the rage these days. B2B prospects are very picky with regard to quality. Shoddy content will attract no readership. Poorly written call script is your business’s graveyard.
- Proper onboarding of your sales team. This begins with proper and regular training. Teach your team the company’s culture, your goals, and everything else they need to know before they hit it off.
- Provide your team with adequate sales hacking tools. In this information age, you’ll be forgiven to think that a fit-all-kind of a tool works. Yes, it works. But not effectively. Now that you know…do due diligence.
- Kill communication inhibitions: Ensure that there are no communication inhibitions from the top management to the individual sales reps.
Have a great marketing strategy and utilize all available opportunities thus beating the challenges of market penetration and acquiring leads.Move to Inside Sales in Steps
Increasing Inside Sales
After starting up and acquiring your first batch of clients, your business enters into the next stage. In this case, you’ll no longer be requiring too much of pre-brand awareness campaigns. Rather, you’ll focus on increasing your brand awareness and how to increase the volume of future sales.
1. Strategies to increase and retain your prospects
Always remember that the greatest strategy for getting more sales is keeping the ones you already have. That is not a secret. And start-ups face the bitter truth of this reality.
In fact, Leo Dirr, the content marketing manager at InsideSales.com:
“Trust in companies has never been lower while the power of peer-to-peer recommendations has never been stronger. Only about 33 percent of buyers trust brands. On the other hand, 92 percent of buyers trust recommendations from other buyers.”
Most companies forget all about the clients that they convert and go looking for more clients. In the end, what you are advocating for is a short relationship with your customer instead of seeing the benefits of a long-term relationship. Of course, the revenue that a client brings in over the course of business is ultimately more than that which they bring in a single purchase.
There are various strategies that have been employed to retain customers. These strategies include:
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is one of the most effective tactics for driving sales. According to a study by ExactTarget, 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email. Also, Get started with Drip email campaign, it is a very effective way of email marketing.
- Leveraging the power of Social media. You have to have an active and interesting social media presence. Woo more people into your business with hearty and engaging conversations. Social media is a great way of increasing brand awareness and getting more leads.
- Blog& Blog &Blog about your business:. The power of having a business blog can never be underestimated. Especially in a B2B environment. Post regularly anything related to your business. Engage your readers, offer them workable advice and respond to their questions.
- Good Product reviews: Most clients buy their products based on a word of mouth from the other users of a respected review site. Have someone that may review your product. These give a potential client the information necessary for them to know whether your product/service is worth their time and money. Always take a time to respond to reviews of your brand, product or service regardless of whether negative or positive.
- Pay attention to customer’s plight: You can attract more leads and maintain converted clients by utilizing strategies such as surveys and questionnaires. Pay attention to customer feedback and make sure that you implement any recurrent suggestions.
- Implement a loyalty program: These are primarily designed to maintain your current client base. Provide rewards in the form of discounts on goods or prices for customers that have reached a certain pre-determined level of loyalty.
- Create irresistible offers: This is not an understatement. If your business is the take-take kind, your chances of retaining valuable customers are slim. Prepare a free e-book, a helpful newsletter blueprint. Just anything that makes the customer feels valued and wants to come for more.
2. Tools for improved acquisition, management, and retention of clients
Over the years, since its inception, people have come up with very effective ways of analyzing, interpreting, strategizing and implementing data acquired from inside sales. These sales tools make your inside sales gear and are divided into following categories:
- Sales Analytics tools: These are the tools that analyze your sales efforts. Tools Like SalesHandy gives detailed Data analytics and with Lead’s activity tracking to target hot Prospects.
- Lead/Prospect capturing tools: Leads are the prospective clients that due to at least one of your strategic marketing techniques end up considering your products. These tools are used to increase the efficiency of getting the leads.
- Lead Capture and Prospect nurturing tools: In case you need to drive your leads into a conversion, there are the tools you need to bet your mortgage for.They work by monitoring the lead information and data and providing useful stats on the working strategies and what needs to be redesigned.Some of the best lead nurturing tools include IntrusionSof, AWeber, and BatchBlue.
- Lead Analytics tools: These tools analyze stats on your leads and give your team workable insights. Different from lead capturing tools, they offer a more in-depth analysis of the leads individually. They are thorough and work to give you relevant, up to date data to aid in your conversion.
They work by analyzing information such as prospect location, demographics, a number of website and web page visits, contact information and other such information. Some of the best lead analytics tools I’d advise you to look into include Google URL Builder, Cyfe, Formstack, among others.
The information can be converted into spreadsheets for easier analysis and reproduction. They include but are not limited to IBM Business Analytics, My Data Converter, and Free Dive.
3. Leveraging on customer engagement
Customer engagement is one successful way a business can employ to retain customers. Here are the best ways to do so.
- Live chat: Much like forums, except that you provide live chat services. You can make it possible for customers to speak to each other or to only speak to your team.
- Outsource message keeping and calls handling: No one likes to be relegated to the ‘voicemail cell’. And that includes you. When clients make calls to you, they want to meet a live rep. If your company can not afford to keep a 24 hours response customer care team, you can outsource these services.
- Customer portal: Here the customer can find all the information pertaining to their relationship with your company/brand including information such as purchases and other such data. The benefit of a customer portal is that you can easily update them on matters business without having to inconvenience either party.
- Mobile application: Mobile phones have grown so much into business media to be ignored. The advantages of a mobile phone app of your company are numerous and are all reliant on the fact that your client is most likely almost always available on their phone.
- Company/Brand forums: Here your clients can get in touch with other clients and discuss issues pertaining to your products or services. Similarly, they can ask questions to your team.
Advantages of Inside sales over Traditional sales
- You’ll save a few bucks for your burgers. Inside sales are done from a remote location which makes their running extremely efficient. Unlike traditional sales where you would have to factor expenses such as transport, there is a considerable cost reduction in inside sales. Similarly, most of the delivery systems of inside systems are inexpensive when compared to those of traditional sales. For instance, social media is free while print media isn’t.
- Kills a migraine-inducing sales management process. With the tools described and listed above, the management of the whole process from the beginning to the aftermath is extremely easy. In traditional media, management of leads is almost impossible where such factors as location and client refusal are involved.
- You can free up time to catch with your skydiving team. It only takes about an hour to post an ad on a product on the website, share it on social media, writes a blog about it, answer comments, track leads on the product, answer questions in a forum and execute sales while using inside sales. In traditional media, an hour is probably not even sufficient for movement from one point to the other. There is a really great time-saving feature where inside sales are concerned and this works to boost productivity.
- You can work comfortably and competently in your pyjamas. The sales representative does not even need to leave his/her house so as to effectively work. There is a high amount of flexibility and convenience. The little or no hardship also provides for more satisfied employees who reduce employee turnover and laxity. At the same time, you do not have to be on-site at all times managing the employee work plans and overseeing the running of the business. You could be miles away and still view everything without any effort at all.
Latecomers thrive on discards and that’s no hyperbole. If at all, they do. Be on the first line to change with the change. And one way of doing it is embracing inside sales. You can never go wrong with this. If you are looking for a good tool for your sales team, we’ll be happy to give you suggestions. Also, let us know what your experience with inside sales if you have given it a go in your business.