Category Archives: inside sales
Inside sales professionals have a constant focus on moving quality leads through the pipeline. By reaching out to contacts, they attempt to discover which ones have needs that fit within the scope of offered solutions. Those that qualify progress to the seller.
Inside sales sometimes known as telephone sales is a growing priority for businesses seeking a wider customer outreach through the cost-effectiveness and convenience of technology. However, inside selling cannot succeed on volume alone. More customer conversations will not move the needle unless the seller can adopt a consistent framework to yield value from each interaction.
Inside sales representatives must balance the rapid-fire style of inside sales with dialogue that connects with the customer. This connection is a crucial step lacking in most sales dialogues today, as seen by research from Gallup showing that less than half of customers believe that sellers adequately address their problems. However, a consultative approach offers a scalable framework for understanding customer needs within the structure of inside sales in three ways. First, through careful questioning balanced with insights; second, by eliciting feedback; and third, by practicing active listening.
In Richardson’s new white paper, Unlock the Potential of Inside Sales with a Consultative Approach, we look at how sellers use the consultative approach to turn volume into value. The white paper outlines:
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Many sales leaders have told us they are expanding their inside sales channel strategy to take advantage of shifts in buyer behavior (see Don’t overlook competencies when expanding inside sales). In doing so, they also need to take advantage of their sales talent, both in hiring and in developing the skills of current employees.
The hiring process itself should provide ample opportunities for candidates to demonstrate how they would sell to customers. While this holds true for any sales position, it is even more important for inside sales, where sellers never meet customers face to face. There are three relatively simple ways to test a candidate’s skills in action: video, role play, and voicemail.
Skype and other video chat services allow sales leaders to see how candidates would interact with prospects and customers. Sellers can no longer shy away from video; it has become an accepted, and even expected, communication channel. Everyone in sales should get themselves comfortable with video chats. There are a few tactical issues with a video call versus a phone call – such as removing distracting backgrounds, paying attention to posture, and making eye contact – but video can be the next best thing to meeting in person. You can also use a Skype call to role play with a candidate. They should be able to handle the pressure and give you a sense of how articulate, composed, and compelling they are.
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One thing we at Richardson are hearing from many of our customers in sales leadership roles is that they are, or are considering, expanding their inside sales channel strategy. They see the shift in buyer behavior, with more customers conducting research online before engaging salespeople. They also see that an increasing number of customers are willing to interact with sales organizations, and even willing to make buying decisions, over the telephone. As a result, they are moving beyond utilizing inside sales for just their small-size customers and simple sales and including mid-tier customers that might also be serviced well by inside selling teams.
There are certainly cost benefits with this strategy, as well as the potential to reach more customers more quickly. In making this shift and adding greater demands for productivity from inside sellers, sales leaders need to consider and train for specific competencies. They need to think about how they develop an inside sales organization differently than field sales.
Obviously, many of the same selling skills are used in telesales as in the field. All sellers need to build rapport, ask great questions, listen actively, share insights, and articulate value. They need to position their solutions persuasively and close the deal. But when selling over the phone rather than face to face, sellers face higher barriers to engaging prospects and building credibility.