The performance of individual reps may drive the actions of an inside sales unit, but the overall success of the organization is driven by the team as a whole. Here are several characteristics exceptional inside sales teams share, which enable them to invariably reach their full potential and deliver an outstanding experience for their customers and leadership team.
Harmony between marketing and sales
This has to be at the top of any discussion about high-performing inside sales units, because proper sales and marketing alignment is what helps to yield the right number of qualified leads. If you don’t have the right prospects in your sales funnel, your inside sales team is never going to reliably meet goals; there’s no avoiding it.
This is why an integrated inbound marketing strategy is so crucial for companies that rely heavily on inside sales. Most B2B buyers have multiple options available to them, so it’s imperative they get the right information at the right time that will help them understand the true value proposition of your company. Marketing and sales must collaborate to produce engaging and informational content, and communicate with each other frequently and to ensure a seamless transition for the leads.
Widespread and uniform use of CRM
CRM software has come a long way in recent years, and it’s now so widespread, affordable, and intuitive that organizations of all sizes and types have implemented solutions. But that doesn’t mean every company is using their CRM platform effectively.
Inside sales managers who understand the value and importance of CRM instruct every team member on what the specific protocols are, and why they are necessary. Every sales rep in the unit enters the data in a standard format for each customer to ensure the data sets are readable amongst all team members and that data analysis is scalable.
A strict timetable for follow-ups
There is significant variation in the statistics, but some indications are that salespeople fail to follow up with as many as 80% of sales leads. Even if you think the lower estimate of around 30% is more reliable, that’s still far too many opportunities reps allow to go cold before they even begin to get hot.
Inside sales managers have to set a hard target for their team members to respond to every lead, and they are responsible for enforcing this principle consistently. Anywhere from 35% to 50% of all buyers end up signing with the company that contacts them first, so you have to put yourself in a position to be that first vendor more often than not.
Reps who actually listen
When you are an inside sales rep, you may only have one chance with each prospect to demonstrate you actually care about their pain points. The best way you can do this is by actively listening to them early in the conversation.
So many sales professionals believe that in this limited amount of time to make an impression, they have to run through all of the bells and whistles of their solution to hook and impress the buyer. But they aren’t looking for innovative features for their own sake; customers want a partner who has proven they understand the situation in detail, and is dedicated to improving it.
Consistency throughout the unit
The most successful inside sales teams have leaders who communicate clear expectations and require everyone be held to the same standards. Everyone follows up with leads in a specified time frame. Every inside sales rep makes a commitment to professional development. Each employee acts honestly and ethically in every single interaction with their clients. These leaders expect nothing less, but they are always fair and open about reasons, processes, and results. This dedication filters down throughout the entire unit, and begets inside sales reps who are consistent and accountable.
Drive and enthusiasm
As an inside sales professional, you’re going to have similar conversations with prospects, enter similar data into CRM software, and hear the same objections frequently. The most successful inside sales reps have an innate drive, and are able to maintain an enthusiasm to serving their clients’ needs, even when activities are rote. They consistently use multiple channels to try and reach their leads, create new content that will help them communicate the concept of value, and relish the pressure of beating their quotas.
A commitment to customer service
Some inside sales reps are content to pass their clients off to tech support and customer service once they’ve closed the deal, believing they can turn their attention to other pressing matters.
It should go without saying this is not how effective inside sales units operate. Great inside sales reps know their responsibility to deliver an outstanding customer experience never fades away, and that understanding this principle can be important to the future of the company. Research by McKinsey indicates customers are overwhelmingly likely to increase their financial contribution to an organization following positive experiences at key moments, and it’s up to everyone in the company to exceed the expectations they’ve set with customers.