15 Actionable Inside Sales Tips
Inside sales teams are becoming even more important in the world of B2B.
Before diving into our 15 sales tips, let’s briefly touch on the growing importance of inside sales.
Compared to outside sales reps who work out in the field, meeting with prospective clients face-to-face to broker deals, inside sales reps sell remotely from an office (or working from home). This is done through connecting via email, phone, social media, or other digital platforms.
Sales teams within larger businesses have typically been ruled by outside sales reps. Now, we’re starting to see the balance shift. The simple truth is that buyers are easing towards our now primarily digital world. Not only are we seeing more companies adopt a hybrid approach, we’re also seeing many of them lean towards fully remote sales teams.
Shifting the balance
Unsurprisingly, this wide-reaching trend has only sped up over the past twelve months.
Businesses have been forced to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing offices. This means they’re unable to facilitate in-person meetings with prospects. It goes without saying that this has severely limited the success of the outside sales model.
Meanwhile, remote sales have continued to create an easier, quicker, and more convenient way for buyers to research and place orders. In fact, statistics show that around 80% of B2B buyers now prefer remote interactions. With only 20% saying they are hoping to return to an in-person method of sales.
Nowadays, we see plenty of overlapping traits and techniques shared between inside and outside sales teams. In reality, the two are starting to blend to meet the rising demand of buyers wanting faster of ways of doing business.
This blog will share 15 actionable tips to become successful inside sales reps, leveraging insights and expertise from some of the best in the business. We’ll teach you the tactics you need to help improve your results.
Let’s start by covering an essential shortlist of general inside sales tips. Here, our experts offer some useful guidance on your day-to-day activities. We aim to help to boost your sales power and evolve your inside sales strategies.
5 actionable inside sales tips every rep needs to hear
Know what you’re selling
Without knowing what your company is selling, you’ve already missed that first step on the ladder. It may sound basic – but it’s crucial to the success of your sales activities.
Knowing everything you can about the product or service is a good starting step. If you really want to make a difference, ensure to research the pain points your company is solving. That’s the main differentiator for your buyers. Use every resource available to do so – from case studies to feedback and reviews.
The greater your depth of knowledge, the better you can sell the benefits and value proposition to prospects. Showing a basic idea, or presenting misleading information will only push buyers towards your competitors.
Analyze your competitors
In every market new companies will always spring up. Plus, existing competitors will continue to test and evolve their sales strategies.
To stay competitive, you need to carry out competitor research and assess the pros and cons of their offering. Comparing these against your own will equip you with a much more detailed picture of your place in the market. This will help you find the best way to position yourself as the ideal solution for your prospect.
Managing your time
Organization and time management are two key skills vital to every inside sales rep.
Every day you’ll schedule meetings, make back-to-back calls, research your prospects, and review your sales plays. With so many different tasks and disciplines to juggle, it’s easy to lose track of time.
To avoid this, remove any distractions that could disrupt your workflow and hamper productivity. Make sure all of your activities are being logged in a CRM. The best systems will provide integrated tools to help you manage your tasks more effectively.
Create a Buyer Persona
Your sales strategy will inevitably vary between prospects, whether it’s the tone of your communications, cadence, or selected channels.
When it comes to inside sales there is no “one size fits all” solution or universal template when attempting to analyze your prospects. By creating and assigning a buyer persona to prospects you can better categorize them. This is based on both actionable data and persona-like traits, allowing you to better understand their complex needs and what communications they respond to most effectively.
Whether picking up the phone, writing an email, or connecting via LinkedIn, you need to be concise and effective across every channel.
Don’t be afraid to use tools that can help you get better results. Software like Grammarly can not only help make sure your emails sound professional, but also have the correct tone balance. Being bold but not too assertive.
Motivation is the driving force behind being a better communicator. Treat every new prospect as a unique opportunity. A challenge you can adapt to and learn from!
Having shared some advice on the best general inside sales practices, let’s now focus on some more specific inbound tips. As the name suggests, inbound sales are initiated by prospects looking to solve a particular problem. They have reached out to your business in need of a solution through the products or services you sell.
5 actionable inbound sales tips to nurture quality leads
Know your prospects
Having a surface knowledge of your prospect, their business, and industry, can open the door to sale. But, if you really want to be effective you will need to leverage every available resource to find out more about their specific needs and pain points.
Social media is a powerful tool to gain information on decision makers. Over 70% of B2B decision makers use social media to help inform purchasing decisions. Even if prospects aren’t using LinkedIn daily, they can still leave a breadcrumb-trail to a successful sales conversation.
Profiles show their role within a company and how long they’ve been in a specific industry. By seeing who and what they are engaging with, you can build a list of common interests and shared experiences to help craft your dialogue with them. Make sure the information is relevant without giving off the impression you are being invasive. personalize but don’t be creepy!
Always be helping
Don’t always try closing a sale on the first call. Even if your entire job revolves around the number of sales you make, put the prospect first. When you try desperately to sell something, the conversation becomes all about you.
Inbound leads come to you looking for a solution to their problem. It’s almost like dating – you have to build trust and show shared value before developing a relationship and closing the deal.
Focus on providing solutions and building a rapport – understand the prospect’s buyer persona and why they have come to you. Which piece of information have they accessed? Which asset have they downloaded from your site?
Knowing this, you can have the solutions ready for them during your call, giving you an easy, effective conversation starter.
Explore your network
As we’ve already mentioned, social media can be a powerful tool in helping to research single prospects.
It can also be used to gain insights by seeing what connected contacts in a shared industry are commenting on and engaging with. From this you are able to spectate and identify pain points. The knowledge you gain here can be valuable in helping you to build authority.
Don’t limit yourself to LinkedIn – Twitter can be just as useful. Another platform you may not have thought of is Clubhouse. Here, you can drop into live audio chats that often involve decision makers and their close networks.
In short, build and maintain an active presence within as many relevant networks as possible.
Prepare to talk
Thoroughly researching your prospect is key, but it’s only half of the battle.
Even if you have found their issues and linked those to your gain points, a conversation still needs to happen before a deal is struck.
Instead of info dumping, condense your notes, hitting key points while remaining an effective communicator. Be prepared, but not laser focused. Remember that there are other prospects in your pipeline, waiting to talk.
It doesn’t matter if you have all the skills – you also need a persistent mindset to succeed as an inside sales rep.
Be determined and prepare to chase up prospects. Commit yourself to remain on their radar even if it leads to an eventual rejection. The average salesperson will reach out 6 to 8 times – leverage every channel and make sure you are employing a multi-touch strategy.
Although it’s important to be consistent, it’s just as important to realize that with every prospect there is a cut off point. This might be after 20 touches, or 30. Again, think about time management and understand you have other prospects in the pipeline. This cut off point should come naturally to you based on their persona.
Finally, let’s dive into outbound sales. This sales process requires a different approach as you actively look to reach out and engage with prospects who may not be aware of your company of what your offerings are.
5 actionable outbound sales tips to engage prospects
Own the fact you are cold calling
Accept the fact that prospects are hardened to cold calling. There’s a good chance they will have encountered cold emails pretending to be personalized, too.
Selling can be an awkward experience. However, in showing awareness of this and embracing the discomfort, you can become a better salesperson.
Think creatively when sales prospecting for the first time and make sure you expertly explain the value proposition of your company. Be genuine in how you personalize connections.
Email continues to be one of the most powerful tools available to sales reps.
Even with the rise in instant messaging and video calls, it remains the primary method of contact for those in a business environment. In fact, 86% of business professionals prefer email over any other form of contact.
With inboxes barraged every day, how can you stand out? Be creative – get expressive with how you word and present your emails. Experian reports that 56% of brands who use emojis in their email subject lines had a higher open rate.
Watch your tone
80-90% of a phone call is tone. As with any other form of communication, you need to be authentic in how you deliver your message.
This can be detected through your tone of voice. Remain neutral but not passive, assertive but not aggressive. It can be a tough balance though one that is ultimately learned through sales training. Focus on your value proposition and key selling points, avoid hesitation, and don’t be afraid to use a script.
Tone needs to be matched with energy. If you are not enthusiastic, then why should anyone else be?
It’s also important to listen to your prospect even if they interrupt or question your pitch. Develop your active listening skills as this is key to selling and lead generation. Learn to listen and understand instead of simply listening to respond.
Even if you’ve spent ages researching your prospect and fine tuning your messaging, there’s always a chance that they’ll miss your call, email, or InMail. Here are some useful insights that could help you be more effective in timing your outreach.
For phone calls, a Salesmate study reveals that Wednesday is the best day to make sales calls, typically yielding the most successful call conversations. Unsurprisingly, Friday is the worst day to make sales calls. As for the time of day, phoning between 4PM and 5PM is best with 10AM and 11AM being similarly effective.
As for email, Hubspot have some insights to share that can help sales reps who are aiming to reach decision makers:
“ B2B emails for the average 8-5 office employee are best sent mid-week around 10AM. However, entrepreneurs and executives open email more frequently than the average employee, so day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals based on open and click rates is on Saturday at 10 AM.”
Don’t take these statistics as gospel. Combine this data with your buyer persona and other valuable insights you’ve learned about your prospects.
Go beyond InMail
Connecting via LinkedIn is a great way of engaging with prospects. Though, as we’ve discussed, you’ll need to interact with them first before sending out an invite. Even once they’ve accepted, there’s a chance your InMail messages will get buried among dozens more.
Stand out from other sales reps and competitors by keeping on top of new ways of prospecting to improve your sales messaging.
Try LinkedIn video. This is one way of reaching out to prospects that is currently being underused. A LinkedIn voice or video can easily help by helping to diversify your existing touch pattern. When making a game plan, remember that video is the most captivating form of comms, followed by voice, then InMail.
Evolve your inside sales strategy
Whether you are dealing with inbound or outbound prospects, we’ve uncovered a wide range of actionable inside sales tips throughout this blog.
Chances are, a few of them have slipped your memory already. In truth, there’s a vast well of techniques, tips, and tricks out there – we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface!
Make sure you go back and take note of how each one can be a benefit to you and your inside sales strategies. Our experts have also referenced several helpful tools to help improve your messaging and effectiveness. Adapt what we’ve discussed here within your own inside sales activities and get ready to see the results.
Experienced Client Delivery/Innovation Manager, Director of Operations and Purveyor of Tech-Industry Processes with a demonstrated history of working in the Computer Software and Technology Industries. Skilled in Consumer Electronics, Tech Trends and Analytics, Tech Best Practices, Six Sigma, Technical Support, Sales, Sales Management, Project Management and Team Building. Always looking for innovations to make tomorrow’s dreams possible today!