Sales and marketing are constantly evolving, but the truth remains: to generate pipeline, you still have to pick up the phone. In the digital age, businesses must go beyond face-to-face meetings to achieve their sales growth targets.
According to InsideSales.com, inside sales grows 15 times faster than outside sales every year. But to truly transform your insides sales program into one that leads to sustainable revenue generation, you need an approach that doesn’t treat inside sales as just a numbers game.
Up to 60 percent of prospects have already made a decision before ever speaking with you. That means inside sales success starts and ends with doing the homework on your prospects—who they are, why their product exists, what they stand for, and what they need to meet their business goals. It’s also critical to determine if the products and services you’re offering can fill their existing needs and gaps.
Here are four best practices to help optimize your insides sales program and make the most of every sales opportunity.1. Identify your qualified target audience
Rule number one: filter for the optimal target audience. Developing complex scoring models will amount to nothing if you haven’t zeroed in on the right prospects. You only want to contact those who are most likely to buy what you’re selling, and who are high-level enough to take decisive action about your products.
Have you decided on the right function and department? What title does your ideal lead have? Which industry or region is your customer in? What is the company size and revenue?
Doing the legwork to identify the ideal target audience and ensure all your calls and meetings are homed in on this segment increases the chance that your meetings will result in sales.
2. Gather meaningful intel on prospects
Do in-depth research on your target prospects. Knowing and connecting with their unique situation in mind ensures you’ll meet up with a kindred spirit (and a more willing customer), even before you’ve made an appointment.
Learn about the issues that are preventing your potential customers from being successful—and don’t just stop at the problems and pains they have. Delve into the history of the business to find out what ideals they stand for, what kind of change they are passionate about effecting, and how they describe their company.
The more closely their business vision aligns with your pitch, the more likely you are to get their attention.
3. Use inside sales professionals who know your audience
Once you’ve identified the right targets to approach, send the right people to talk to them. Of course, the ideal sales development representative (SDR) is a compelling speaker who can keep prospects on the phone for more than a few seconds.
But what will really set your calling program apart from most are SDRs who can relate to prospects.
Often, this means keeping inside sales calling efforts on-shore. Your salesperson should be familiar with professional and cultural nuances that are close to home. If there is any kind of socio-linguistic barrier, it’s highly unlikely that a sale will result. It also means SDRs should be as well versed in the prospects’ personas as your products and services.
You win half the battle by building a team that can straightaway establish a sense of commonality and camaraderie with a potential client.
4. Learn from what's not working
It’s natural to want to focus on wins over losses, but an inside sales team may learn more from rejections than successes. If a prospect doesn’t end up agreeing to a meeting, it’s important to understand why.
Was the prospect not a good fit? Was a competitor’s offering preferred? Or did the rep simply reach out to prospects at the wrong time, when they had no pressing need for your services?
All the information you gather should be mined to optimize the pitch or improve targeting criteria. Having the right knowledge is a powerful way to align your inside sales program to sales pipeline and revenue goals.