Inside sales historically was an entry-level sales position, often a feeder to a field or territory sales role. Today, inside sales is growing exponentially faster than outside sales and has become a career in and of itself.
The skills inside sales reps need to succeed are similar to the skills that field sales has always needed. All sales professionals must gain a buyer's attention, quickly establish credibility, build rapport, qualify and close opportunities. For inside sales, all communication is virtual and doesn't have the benefit of non-verbal communication cues. The best way to accomplish this is through developing excellent communication skills and leveraging today's sales-friendly technologies.
What sales people do, say and write when communicating with prospects is a major detriment of success.
Developing strategic inside sales skills
As sales organizations continue to raise the bar for their sales teams, the question remains, “How do we equip our sales professionals to have meaningful and purposeful sales conversations?" Here are a few best practices.
- Develop a professional sales culture vs. a telemarketing mindset. It’s critical that sales leaders draw a strong distinction between working a call center and working inside sales. Inside sales reps should not think of themselves as transactional order takers. They are there to initiate a relationship and solve problems that have a positive impact on the business When we solve problems and focus on the prospect, we become trusted advisers and are prescriptive with our solutions. This is a different mindset than those who dial for dollars without regard to building quality, long-term relationships.
- Engage, don’t pitch. Most people hate to be sold, yet they will buy something that they believe addresses their needs and adds value. Sales professionals not only are knowledgeable about their product and services, they must also be knowledgeable about the prospect, their company and industry. Instead of blindly going into calls, high performing sales reps do their research and keep conversations focused on the prospect’s business and point of view, and add value with their solution.
- Business Acumen. If you want to sell to an executive decision maker, it is critical to speak the language of business. Sales reps must be astute in business terminology, financial terms and documents in order to have business conversations with decision makers.
A sales call is a sales call. The purpose of any sales call is to effectively communicate. That could mean asking relevant questions and listening attentively. It could also mean contextually educating your prospect on your products or services and prescribing a solution.
Technology is playing a critical role in facilitating more virtual communication than before. Technology provides a platform, it can accelerate and amplify our communication – yet it will not replace the required skill set for effective communication.
How you sell is important. How you communicate with prospects is a critical component of selling skills whether you are an inside sales rep or an outside field rep.
Sell with Value!
Relevant topic? Sign up for our next webinar, Thursday, November 15 at 10 AM PST: Game On: How to Build an Effective Playbook.