What is an Inside Sales Rep? What does an Inside Sales Rep do? A Day in the Life
With the sales landscape changing, B2B firms across the globe are moving towards a remote process – and for good reason.
Embracing the right mindset for inside sales is all about recognizing that what was previously being done out in the field, can be done online. Entirely remotely. Nothing embodies this more than the role of the inside sales professional itself.
This latest article will offer an insight into everything you need to know about inside sales reps. We’ll break down: who they are, what they do, why they’re used, and what an average day in the role looks like.
What is an Inside Sales Rep?
On the surface, the inside sales representative’s core objectives align with the same goals as any traditional sales role: identifying new markets, pitching to prospective customers and nurturing leads.
The difference is, inside sales reps don’t meet potential customers face-to-face like their outside counterparts. Instead, they identify and nurture leads through a more in-house approach. These reps use phone, emails, Zoom and live chat to interact with buyers more frequently – with a number of key benefits.
We know what you’re thinking. How can it be possible to replicate the same sales outcomes without in person interaction?
The inside sales representative role isn’t designed to reproduce the exact same sales cycles as a field approach. It’s designed to bring it up to speed with our understanding of the modern buyer.
With the development of Web 2.0, universal buyer habits are rapidly changing. The 21st-century buyer is far more digital-savvy than any of its predecessors. As highly accessible, on-demand, services like Amazon become an ingrained part of our lived experience, there’s a natural expectation for this model to work seamlessly across the B2B market as well.
It’s within this expectation that the inside sales rep role thrives: offering a constant resource for prospective buyer engagement and lead nurturing, without the demands of physically leaving the office. This reduces the cost of customer acquisition by a staggering 40 – 90%.
Of the 5.7 million professional salespeople in the United States, 45.5% are inside sales representatives. This is only an estimate – the actual figure is likely to be far greater. The reality is, the value of in-person social selling is dwindling. Buyers are far more comfortable being sold to remotely. The authentic, face-to-face sales experience is gradually being phased out for more on-demand methods of engagement.
That’s not to say personal authenticity isn’t valued by modern buyers. Where in the past inside sales reps were limited to cold calling and emailing, today they are closing deals through an entire range of creative and highly-engaging outreach approaches. This allows SDRs to enrich lead engagement and hold more intelligent conversations based on real-time data.
What does an Inside Sales Rep do?
The main duty of an inside sales representative is to sell products and services remotely. It’s their responsibility to seek new clients, understand customer needs, build effective sales pitches, and generate new leads.
Inside sales representatives carry out their function entirely remotely – managing incoming sales calls and turning cold leads into new clients from the comfort of their desks. There are two common approaches to inside sales, recognized by the terms: “inbound” and “outbound”.
As the name would suggest, inbound sales refers to sales made through incoming enquiries. Typically, these are prospective clients that are already aware of your company’s offering. On the other hand, outbound sales refers to the process of seeking out new customers through cold outreach, leveraging mailing lists and directories as well as other ways of pursuing new clientele.
In the modern age of sales, there’s no limit to how inside sales reps reach out to their prospects – and engage once connected. There are a few core essentials in every rep’s toolkit:
Although outreach forms a core part of the inside sales process, it isn’t the be-all and end-all of the job. Inside sales reps play an invaluable role throughout the entirety of the sales funnel.
To make effective sales pitches, inside sales representatives meticulously research potential leads, taking into consideration pain-points, common-ground, revenue, annual growth and, of course, the business’ needs.
Thankfully, this research process means that reps have a great deal of expertise to draw from when pitching to a prospective client. This enables them to position their offering as an industry-leading solution, through insider knowledge and a savvy awareness of the company decision-maker.
Essentially, remote sales make the process of researching and informed-selling more accessible and, as a result, inside sales reps are expected to have greater flexibility in their workload. Inside reps will often spin a number of plates at once, switching their focus from one sales funnel stage to another with consummate ease. In doing so, when a lead falls through the cracks, the inside sales rep will adjust, moving onto the next in the pipeline.
In the following section, we’ll hear from InsideOut inside sales rep, Amber Frazzano. She’ll delve into the inner workings of her day-to-day, and her top-tips for surfing inside sales’ unpredictability.
As an SDR, it’s simple to write out a schedule, with the best of intentions to adhere to it.
However, as a realist, I know that the best laid plans fall through. For instance, here is a breakdown of my typical daily outline:
Sounds like the ideal day, right? The chances of this actually happening has an improbability factor of 2408 to 1.
I make calls throughout the day, based on time zones, buyer persona, past experience, and a lot of guess-work. If you’re calling VPs and Directors, you’ll primarily be leaving voicemails or speaking with gatekeepers. In the rare instance that someone does answer and is willing to have a conversation, it can go on longer than expected. You are lucky if, when someone does actually answer, you aren’t caught off guard getting ready to leave the 19th voicemail message in a row.
An SDR’s day is full of repetition and rejection. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scheduling. We have to look for ways to maximize our time and efforts in each category. Prospecting, for one. This is absolutely one of the most important, yet frustrating, activities for an SDR. When lead lists are provided, we tend to lose the “story”.
I’ve found that by putting the work in upfront, using a combination of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ZoomInfo. These platforms have suggestions that will help you build your prospect lists more efficiently. I can save my notes about the prospect and their company in SalesLoft, and refer to it every time I go to call, email, or message them. This helps me remember my “why”: why am I reaching out and what do I think we might be able to do for them?
Also, by searching similar personas and properly building and setting alerts on saved searches in Sales Navigator, I’m able to create multiple custom-built lists where I will have a daily delivery of new prospects that meet my criteria.
Spending time organically connecting with my prospects should be priority number one. The old standardized emails and hard-script cold calls just don’t work anymore. Each prospect has a unique need – and it’s up to me to identify the possibilities.
My advice? Variety. Schedule tasks at alternating times for different days of the week. But most importantly, leave room for you to learn and engage in ways that aren’t forced, scripted, or standardized. People do business with people they like is the old adage; people do business with people they trust is the new one. Authenticity and understanding aren’t scheduled into an SDR’s day, but they ought to be priority #1.
Create relationships, prioritize obligations, and always leave room for improvement. And lunch. Don’t forget to leave room for lunch.
In this article, we’ve pulled back the cover on the inside sales representative role. We’ve highlighted what these individuals bring to a sales team and how the role aligns with the requirements of the modern buyer.
In a nutshell, the position of inside sales representative has fast become an invaluable role in the current sales landscape. It greatly influences the way in which we think about remote sales.
In short, there’s no traditional “day in the life” of an inside sales representative. The role requires patience, perseverance, on-demand creative thinking, and an insurmountable amount of phone calls. Sales are achieved when approaches are tactical, researched, well-informed and tailored to suit. Even then the response can be unpredictable – but those with the tenacity to push onwards will reap the rewards.
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!