Inside Sales Process: The 7 Steps To Building a Successful Sales Strategy
Say what you will about “the pit” in The Wolf of Wall Street or the The Boiler Room -- they are classic examples of Inside Sales.
However, I doubt there are too many people in Hollywood with deep sales experience, so you naturally are given the facade of what inside sales “looks” like.
Truth is -- behind all the ringing bells, dialing phones, and grinding sales reps of any Inside Team worth its weight is an inside sales process that is ironclad, trained, managed, and revered as law.
Why is an Inside Sales Process Necessary
Your inside sales people are typically the first human touch that a prospect experiences when they engage with a product or solution. These teams are also typically made up of sales people who are earlier in their careers.
These are the two most important reasons that process is extremely important. Without a solid process, the least experienced people on your sales team will be left dealing with your customers during their very first impression with your brand.
The 7 Steps of a Winning Inside Sales Process
Step 1: Hire appropriately for the role
The role of the inside sales person is to engage with your target prospects, create interest, and qualify leads.
The job requires volume -- emails, calls, follow-ups, social touches. No is a common answer. It takes a unique skill set to have the thick skin and the drive to be hungry enough to do what is necessary to maintain consistent volume in the job.
The kind of person you want for this role is someone who can demonstrate that they have the patience, persistence, and ability to quickly learn how to effectively communicate your value prop to your prospects without fear of rejection.
Step 2: Know your numbers
The inside sales process must be rooted in a recipe for success. You need to know your numbers so you can give your team their marching orders.
On average, how many calls and different follow ups does it take to get a prospect on the phone?
How many conversations does it take to find a qualified lead?
How many leads convert to customers?
How many customers do you need to hit your sales goal?
These are all numbers that you as the Leader need to understand so you can give clear direction to your inside sales team as they follow your inside sales process.
Step 3: Develop Your Sales Plan
Every prospect, industry, and company are different. This requires you to develop a customized and specific game plan that your inside sales process will help carry out.
The process is just the roadmap for which your strategy is carried out with precision. If you don’t have a game plan then you might as well not even have an inside sales process.
Things to think about in your sales plan:
Who is your ideal prospect?
What pain does your ideal prospect have?
How do you solve their pain in a unique way?
What is the buying journey for your prospects to find, engage, trust, and buy from you?
How do you make it easy for your prospects to purchase from you?
Step 4: Set crystal clear expectations
Start setting expectations as early as the interview.
Once you know the kind of volume and work that it’s going to take your inside reps to be successful, make the expectations for the team crystal clear as early as possible to save from their being any surprises.
Anyone who accepts the job to work on your team is understanding the inside sales process that they will be expected to follow. These expectations should be public, a part of your weekly reporting, and what you base your performance decisions on.
Step 5: Train, Train, Retrain, and Train again
Every inside sales process needs to be deeply rooted in training. Every single step of the actual execution a rep needs to follow and every single expectation that you gave them needs to be a topic that you train on.
They need to be as clear on how to do every single step of the process.
How do you want them making cold calls?
What do you want them leaving for voicemails?
How many days should they wait for the next follow up?
What emails should they send? How should they use your CRM?
All of these things needs to be figured out and trained often.
Step 6: Root your process technology
Use technology to your advantage for your team to use to help follow your process.
CRMs today are getting really good, and much of your inside sales process can be pre-built inside your tool for your team to easily follow.
The CRM serves as guard-rails to help the process that you create, expect, and train to be followed. Proper use of the right CRM should also help your team automate as much of the sales process as you possibly can to remove manual error.
Step 7: Management and Follow Up
You can have the right team, sales people, expectations, process, training, tools, and technology -- but if you don’t have the right manager working with your inside sales reps to make sure the inside sales process is being followed, nothing else matters.
The role of the manager is to build relationships with the individuals on the team to give direction and accountability to enforce the inside sales process that has been strategically created.
It’s that simple.
It’s often said that expecting with inspecting is the number one mistake an inside sales manager can make.
3 Things to watch out for
1. Freedom to change
Your process isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the game plan you put together isn’t working. Sometimes metrics change.
Maybe you launch a new product and aren’t certain what the expectations are going to be. That’ okay!
You can change your inside sales process as long as you clearly communicate to the team why, create a new process, set new expectations, and train appropriately.
Often times, teams that fail do so because of their lack of willingness to adapt and change.
2. Rogue Reps
One of the worst things that can happen in your inside sales team is for you to allow people to go rogue, and give exceptions to the process.
This oftentimes happens when you have a rep who “does it their way,” but finds a way to be successful.
Certain small things within the process can be left to interpretation and style.
However, allowing rogue reps will set poor precedent in the team. You allow it once, you might as well allow it for everyone. Before long you will have no process at all.
Turnover in management and the hanging of the reins to a new leader can often time leave our process to be changed by new interpretation or opinion.
Keep your process documented and make sure your inside sales process is clearly understood by everyone in the leadership ranks, all the way up to the top. You don’t want personnel change to have any effect on process.
Like the sales “soldiers” in Wolf of Wall Street and The Boiler Room, you too can create an army of inside sales people ready to introduce our products and services to the people who’s problem you solve. But, the inside sales process is critical to the success of the team.
Silent Sales Floor
In the modern era of sales dominated by technology and digital communication, inside sales teams are becoming quieter and quieter.
Sales floors that used to be full of energy and hustle are becoming quiet. The phone is not dead and should be a dominant part of your inside sales process. Keep your reps accountable to high call volume -- your competitors aren’t.
Josh currently offers free Sales Growth Strategy calls for founders/CEOs of B2B companies looking to develop a plan for how to generate more leads, build bigger pipelines, and grow your business through modern sales.
You can learn more and save your spot here.
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