What makes a good inside sales team?
Your inside sales team can be one of the most effective weapons in your lead generation and sales strategy. But getting the best from them requires far more than just handing over a phone and letting them get on with it. Here are eight tips to help you equip your sales team for optimum performance.
Define and develop your sales process
From the outset, ensure that you have a defined and documented sales process. This will help you to clearly communicate the sales cycle to new starters and senior management alike.
Understand where your leads are coming from
This is so often overlooked because after all, a lead is a lead – right?
Wrong. By ensuring that your sales managers are working closely with marketing, you can develop a lead-scoring system that will identify when a prospect is ‘sales ready’. Also, by letting the sales team know where the leads are coming from (e.g. social media, email, telemarketing, or an event), they will have a stronger understanding of what messaging the prospect has already been exposed to.
Develop an ongoing training programme
Continually developing your inside sales team is crucial. It provides a great opportunity to build up trust among management staff and to deliver changes in tactics, as well update everyone on any new marketing approaches that may affect their performance.
Have a strong recruitment process
Getting the right people in is important. To some extent, defining who the right person is will be defined by your sales strategy and processes. Believe it or not, a team member that is great at closing deals but ignores processes can do more harm than good in the long term.
Key traits to consider are tenacity, intelligence and resilience. While experience is good, sometimes introducing a new recruit to the industry can lead to you being rewarded with loyalty and enthusiasm in return for the opportunity you gave them.
Use clearly defined metrics
These can include call times, call rates, number of calls, calls to unique prospects, number of prospects, and deals closed, among many others. These are all vital metrics that identify who is underperforming, who might be struggling with the number of prospects they are trying to close, and also who has a low number of prospects to contact.
Record your calls
Record every call by anyone that is dialling out or receiving sales calls. This will allow you to monitor the quality of the calls and use them in the development and training process.
Keep staff motivated
Sales is tough and you have to deal with a lot of negativity. Not every call will go your way and deals can suddenly disappear that you were convinced “were in the bag”. Even the most resilient sales person can start to feel a negative mind-set creep in every now and again. By motivation I am talking about having fun – do something that gets everyone together as a team. This doesn’t have to be drinks on a Friday night. For example, I’ve heard of indoor pedal-powered go-kart races.
Suitably reward staff
Appropriately paying staff is always tricky to balance. A salesperson who is worried about money will not perform as well, while on the other hand, a basic wage that’s too high might lead them to get comfortable. Work out what the average basic is for your sector and go a little higher, you will attract the top talent and maintain a low staff turnover. Combine this with a realistic and rewarding bonus scheme and they won’t put the phone down unless it’s to do the post-deal paperwork.
Ultimately, you need to plan ahead to ensure that the transition from marketing, to sales, to first point of contact is continuous and is delivered seamlessly every time.