More and more companies are realizing the benefits of an inside sales team. According to the Sales Management Association, inside sales growth is outpacing outside sales by 50 percent. Organizations see increased productivity, better allocation of resources and greater revenues with an effective inside sales strategy. However, simply creating an inside sales team is not the magic ticket to bigger profits. Many fall prey to common pitfalls that drain resources, lower employee morale, and prevent them from seeing the ROI they expected. Avoid this scenario by overcoming these hurdles.
- Inadequate follow-up. Common sense tells us that leads must be followed up on to complete a sale. However, research indicates that up to 80 percent of sales leads are never followed-up on. This is not necessarily due to employees just dropping the ball, though. An e-book entitled “Crazy Sales Figures” says that on average sales representatives have between 100 and 300 callbacks in their queue. That’s a huge number of leads to manage. Implement a process to help reps filter leads and enforce guidelines about how those leads should be worked. How quickly are your reps required to respond to an inquiry? How many times should they try to reach a lead before crossing them off the list? Utilize technology to help reps manage the lead process. Use your CRM to monitor valuable metrics, such as dials per lead and time spent planning before the sales call.
- Lack of personal interest. It’s easy for sales reps to get bogged down in mountains of leads and lose sight of the fact that there’s an individual at the other end. “Crazy Sales Figures” found that 82 percent of sales reps feel challenged by the amount of data and the time it takes to research a prospect. Social networks are valuable tools, but they often flood inside sales reps with too much data. Help your reps by having a CRM that logs important data, keeps it all in a central location and appears for the rep as soon as the call is active. This will allow the reps to have important data at their finger tips, enabling them to show personal interest in their prospect. Remembering that the lead has three children and plays tennis might be just the amount of personal interest that makes the sale. A lack of personal interest during the sales process is a red flag to clients that customer service will be lacking once they’ve actually purchased the product. Show them from the start that they are important.
- Failing to adapt. The sales industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Even traditional outside sales reps are now using inside sales techniques or companies are evolving the two roles into a team approach. Adding to the challenge of change, is the fact that consumers are evolving too. Attention spans shorten. How clients want to be contacted changes. The sales approach must change too. As a result, sales managers often experience less productivity because they are not adapting with the change in three key areas: technology, the sales process and compensation. Are you using the latest technology to manage contacts, track leads and follow-up on interest? Are you losing your top-tier sellers? If so, examine company processes. Are sales goals realistic, yet challenging? Are employees frustrated by the lack of support or technology to help them do their job? If your compensation structure is the same as it was five years ago, you most likely have a problem.
The key thread throughout a successful inside sales strategy is technology. The right CRM can help reps successfully follow-up, show personal interest in their leads and help your company adapt to the demands of the evolving sales arena. Tenfold integrates your phone system with a CRM that meets the demands of the modern inside sales rep. Contact us to try Tenfold for free.
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