How to be a Successful Inside Sales Rep: insights from someone who’s done it all

How to be a Successful Inside Sales Rep: insights from someone who’s done it all

How to be a Successful Inside Sales Rep

With technology and engagement tools that continue to evolve every day, it’s no secret that being a strong inside sales rep is becoming even more challenging.

As social selling, CRMs, and aware consumers have filled the marketplace, finding ways to stand out isn’t as easy as it once was.

When I first started in inside sales, I was provided a tech stack to support my efforts by an excellent business, but I still managed to miss targets and lose out on close deals. Even with the most advanced CRMs, sales optimization tools, and hand-crafted messaging… I still couldn’t seem to make it work.

Some around me who were also struggling in the extremely competitive target industry took to blaming the technology, messaging, or quality of training. Was it that we weren’t actually being given tools that helped, or were we just not using them right?

After a couple of months of what seemed like a complete failure, I accepted the fact that what I was doing hadn’t been working. It wasn’t going to work. It was going to quickly cost me a career with high potential for success.

The first step to making things right is accepting that they are wrong.

There was a disconnect between the messaging and the voice of the buyer. I was saying all the right things but in all the wrong ways. To get through to the people I needed to reach, I had to know how to speak their language.

1. Industry Immersion 

It’s not enough to just become familiar with your product or service.

While that could definitely argue for spot number one on the list… knowing all the ins and outs of your offering doesn’t prepare you for the competitors, rejections, or even flaws.

Over the last year and a half, everything has gone virtual. We no longer attended live summits – we attended webinars instead.

Our knowledge stopped being limited to those in the room, and instead became readily available on social media. LinkedIn. Twitter. Even TikTok. Why would I not take advantage of learning everything I could about the industry I’m looking to get into?

By fully immersing myself in the conversation, and not just pitching to the sales prospects, but hearing their concerns, I started to speak the language. We removed the “filler” and focused on persona-specific messaging that wasn’t targeting a company ask, but rather a person’s need. Knowing why this affects them and their personal pain, the team became fluent in not only covering how the product can provide solutions to these problems, but how it compares, how it exceeds, and that we understood what matters. Just with these small changes, a $50k pipeline month turned into a $5m pipeline month.

2. Track Your Data 

We all know one size doesn’t fit all. It’s why companies like InsideOut have found the keys to success. It’s not one magic message, it’s testing a series of engagements, from social to phone calls to email, and giving them time to prove their value. Be that lead generation or else. When you have a weed in the garden, you don’t throw out the rosebush – you pull the weed!

Taking the time to allow error, to identify success and what it looks like, and to A/B test your changes is absolutely imperative.

Creating the roadmap for not only what works for each person, but which department, which medium you use, takes data, analytics, and continuous improvement.

This means also making sure you also have the right people in place. If someone were to hand you an x-ray, and there’s a 50/50 chance you’re looking at it upside-down, you’d call on a medical professional to take over. The same goes for sales. In most cases, it’s the heart of a corporation. Understanding your data and being able to replicate success is the only way to ensure mastering your trade.

There was a disconnect between the messaging and the voice of the buyer. I was saying all the right things but in all the wrong ways. To get through to the decision makers I needed to reach, I had to know how to speak their language.

Track Your Data

3. Offer Suggestions 

One of my favourite things to say is “Don’t come in with a problem without having considered a solution.”

Something isn’t working? What would you recommend we do differently? Are the current steps counter-productive? What did you try that works better? Let’s see a side-by-side of the data.

Internal sales representatives should be capable of leading their team to success by cultivating innovation, testing their theories, and getting traceable analytics on anything from inbound leads to messaging effectiveness. Communication between reps and their leaders should be encouraged! That’s not to say that every “complaint” or “grievance” is worth reinventing the wheel – but remaining open to individual offerings, improvements, and forward-thinking ideas? Key. We’ve made a point of staying in the conversation, and often, the conversation changes. Don’t get stuck on one thing expecting it to work forever, and keep in mind someone has to be the leader in transformation. Why not you?

4. Maintain Your Relationships 

You’ve spent time prospecting, qualifying, and not just “pitching” to your prospects, but genuinely sense how you can be of value. Why would you stop that just because they’ve moved to close?

Showing that you are consistent in your investment in their success is just as important as how you follow up. Continue to share content with them, nurture them, and follow up with relevant information for their betterment. As you grow your network, these are the people who will continue to vouch for your ability, resolve, and most of all, character. Don’t just rely on frequent sales calls to create engagement.

5. Tools & Time Management

Your technology matters.

Your technology matters. There is a difference between a good tool and the right tool. For example, if I were to open a cupcake shop, I could choose to mix all of my ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon. It’s a good tool for the job! Or – I could use a Cuisinart mixer that, with the flick of a switch, mixes the glorious treat that gave me my first cavity.

Understanding the difference between a good tool and the right tool for your application will separate busy from productive. From cold calling to just storing your prospecting data.

6. Team Spirit & The Big Picture 

Remember, the most successful teams are together teams. Success for one person means little if it can’t be shared with those around you. Strong sales strategy and sales process starts with open communication.

Often, sales & marketing are seen as at odds. Instead we should be building stronger ties with marketing teams by using their efforts in targeted outreach. Developing healthy, face-to-face relationships and active listening with other departments will allow you to execute a full plan of action. This will increase sales, develop more engaging content, and drive revenue growth.

If it’s worked for you, it’s likely good practice for the company. Knowing how to keep the overall objectives of your company aligned with your professional goals means a consistently mutually beneficial relationship. In other words, it’s not just about you succeeding, it’s about your team, leaders, and company succeeding as well!

I bring a passion for innovation and inside sales together into the world’s first sales innovation lab, InsideOut. We help sales leaders determine and validate the best approach to acquire, grow or retain their customers within a live lab environment. Large F500 to high-growth startups can try out alternative sales methods by using our mirrored lab teams representing our client’s brand. If the new ideas work out, we develop a Live Playbook on what worked and how it worked so clients can implement the same practices.