Have you noticed an increase in the number of calls from technology companies? How many attempts does it take to actually catch you at your desk? If you are like most people, it will take several attempts to actually speak with you and get through the voice-mail jungle.
Lead Generation Focus
Some call it inside sales, others say appointment setting or even telemarketing. No matter what you call it, this role serves as an important introduction to potential new clients. This highly skilled process requires training and coaching paired up with the right personality. In this day of website automation and email mania, many companies are missing the personal touch by not picking up the phone. Most companies (and many outside sales people) spend 20% or less of their time on lead generation activities, and 80% of their time on non- new revenue generation activities. The Inside/Outside sales process can change that ratio to become extremely efficient.
Tools, Metrics and Coaching
Like most things today, specializing with laser beam focus can drastically change results. The Inside sales process of sorting through vast amounts of data requires a solid process and automated tools. Most companies use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database tool, these are necessary to track customer data but not always the most efficient as a prospecting tool. There are specific best practices for a multi-touch pursuit campaign that employ telephoning, voice mails, and emails in a defined and automated fashion. This cleanses and updates raw data before it’s transferred to a CRM database.
We use a customizable tool that automates these steps while providing templates of scripted voice mails and emails that can update records with a just few clicks. Conversations can also be recorded and reviewed for ongoing training and quality control. The objective is a cleansed database with target contacts that would benefit greatly from our services and become the basis of additional marketing campaigns.
Hiring is Critical
The hiring process for an individual in an inside sales role is a challenge. This role is very different than outside sales and requires a variety of necessary skills:
- High activity levels
- Pleasing personality
- Strong confidence
- Positive attitude
- Persistence without pressure.
We look to hire to a cultural fit as a priority over a skills fit, this is the first impression with potential new clients and requires embracing, not violating our company core values. As an organization with less than 50 employees, we are very slow to hire, with nearly the same hiring process and procedures as F500 companies.
Success is Ongoing – Lessons Learned
Now that we've unwrapped the power of inside sales, let's summarize the 3 most important lessons.
Hiring the right inside sales representative is crucial
Process discipline, tools, & coaching are the key to skill development
Pleasant but persistent conversations are remembered
Our internal sales engine is off and running on multiple cylinders. The training, coaching, role playing, and tracking has come together over several months to be the consistent fuel of the sales process. This has become a stabilizing factor in steady revenue growth for the company and can be scaled to accelerate growth if other areas are scaled at the same time.
Your comments and questions are welcome. We'd love to hear your thoughts below!