Increase Your Prospects with Inside Sales Training

Increase Your Prospects with Inside Sales Training

'Sell wherever you find a customer.' This is the established, unwritten convention of sales that has always inspired business enterprise to go beyond their territory and explore the untapped customer markets. However, dwelling in a world that is driven on Web 2.0, and smart technology, sales in the business realms is still generally perceived as a phenomenon involving a dapper executive, holding a brief case and heading out in the field on a meeting spree with prospective client and leads.

The stereotype is so strong that most, business organizations formulate their sales strategies that are primarily inclined towards outbound sales. Such strategies clearly fail to realize that in the world that is more efficiently connected through WLAN, 5G and smart technology than physical mediums, relying solely on field-oriented sales strategies is the prime reason why businesses fail to achieve their revenue goals.

When you can approach your global customer populations online, from the convenience of your premises, restricting yourself to outbound sales is nothing but a fatal delusion or homicide. Hence, the only smart solution is to armor your sales force with the principle techniques of sales 2.0.

Sales 2.0 – The Digital Facet of Contemporary Sales

Sales 2.0, virtual sales, inbound sale, or cloud sales is the digital and the modern face of sales that is performed at the convenience of a desktop, smartphone or tablet and provides the businesses with an immense opportunity to extend their domain of approach to global consumer markets.

Inside sales is a phenomenon that is often perceived as being limited to cold calling or telemarketing. In the realistic and truest sense of the term, the inside sales or is the professional sales performed through the digital mediums in consumer segments present in the cyber sphere.

Excellence in Digital Sales and the Need for Inside Sales Training

Executing the inside sales on the same grounds as the outbound is just like running your ATL and BTL activities on a similar strategy. The analogy would make more sense if you envision outbound sales in a broader scope than mere telemarketing or generating leads through emails.

Inside sales has stood the test of efficacy for B2B, B2C, SaaS and tech industry and has emerged as an effective sales model for various business markets and industries.

Just like the outboard sales, the inside sales too is bound with the core objective of generating leads and bringing in revenue. However, with different functional paradigms and virtual mediums of engagement, there is a crucial need to train your sales force and educate them on the mandatory standards, etiquettes and core principles of inside sales.

· Training your Sales Force on Impressive Communication Skills - If you sound like a recorded tape on the phone call with your lead, do not be surprised if you end up disconnected from the other end of the line.

· Instilling Life in Virtual Interactions - Your interpersonal skills can literally make or break your rapport building efforts. Train your staff to establish a lively and interactive interaction.

· Influencing Customer Attitudes and Actions - Inside Sales is not just about getting your message conveyed. Your prime motive should be to turn the tide from a professional conversation to a formal virtual setting of sharing ideas and feedbacks.

· Ruling Your Domain through Efficient Engagement and Sales Service - Innovate your inside selling approach through new offers, virtual presentation, value selling, identifying potentially rewarding areas and creating an impactful customer experience.

Inside Sales Success Requires More than Chasing Money

a cartoon of a man chasing "flying money" with a butterfly net

Simply chasing money may have worked once upon a time for sales teams, but today’s high performance sales reps are better schooled. They have been through customized inside sales training and understand a far more sophisticated methodology for selling success.

A modern and high performing sales culture, whether inside or outside sales, has five major characteristic activities:
  1. Focus on data
    In today’s competitive marketplace, it is not enough to drive a sales team by gut feel. Technology allows us to keep close track of what works and what does not. It is these insights that should drive our decisions about where and how to play. Beyond making better decisions about the kinds of customers we should seek, data help us more accurately forecast future business. Gather the data, turn it into insights and then make them public. The entire company should have access to the information that can help them make decisions in alignment with your sales strategy. 

  2. Measure performance
    How can you improve performance if you have no baseline measure nor expected standards? Every salesperson should have specific goals and should be accountable to them. Whether those goals are weekly, monthly or quarterly, their achievement of those goals should be celebrated and their lack of achievement should be examined. There may be good reasons why a salesperson did not reach their numbers, but each case should be reviewed for the cause of failure so everyone can learn how to do better next time. Accountability is a critical building block of a high performing sales team.

  3. Balance individual and team goals
    Few true salespeople are content to have all their sales results buried in team numbers. And yet you want your team to be able to work collaboratively together. Plan your compensation package to support both individual and team effort. A little competition keeps team members sharp and always striving.

  4. Keep on learning
    There should be no end to improving one’s sales skills. Even the best sales rep can get better. A portion of team meetings should be devoted to looking at what needs fixing, talking about common obstacles, or practicing sales behaviors that matter most. The team that learns together, stays together and hones their inside sales skills for success.

  5. Stay flexible
    Change is constant. To be successful, you need to adjust to changing circumstances. You may need to change the way you position yourselves in the market, fix a problem in your sales process, or shift your definition of a sales target. Be ready to modify sales plans as needed to stay on top of your game.

Download the Top 7 Barriers to Inside Sales Success and How to Overcome Them

Plan the Right Inside Sales Questions to Deepen Understanding

A woman stands at a blackboard with the word, PLAN, surrounded by question marks

Inside sales training should improve sales performance.  The best inside salespeople are innately curious about their prospect’s situation so, as part of what they learned in inside sales training, they ask effective questions that deepen their understanding of the client’s goals, challenges and needs. 

Successful inside sales training reps have learned that the more accurately they can describe what the client needs, the better they can target their solution to help the client succeed. They take every opportunity to leverage what they have learned to expand their knowledge. How? They artfully use the kind of inside sales inquiry that is based on confirming questions.

The goal of confirming questions is simple: to make sure you focus on what is really bothering the customer so you don’t waste their time (and yours) on a side issue that doesn’t have priority.

Here is how we recommend you use inside sales training confirming questions in a way that is not annoying (the way the classic therapist simply parrots back their patient’s concerns):
  1. Establish common ground at the beginning of each interaction.It is helpful to confirm what you learned the last time you talked and to set the agenda for the current conversation. You can say something like, “The last time we met, we talked about the problems your customer service team was having in solving customer issues efficiently and effectively. Is that still your most pressing problem?
  2. Use the same language.Whether you’re meeting face-to-face or on the phone, jot down the key words the customer uses to describe their situation. When you “speak” a common language, the customer really feels heard. It shows you “get” what is bothering them and are really paying attention. Taking notes allows you to remember the most important points of the conversation and to reflect back in a way that shows you consider the exchange important enough to write down. Then when you get to the stage of proposal writing, your language will be familiar and you will describe the client’s needs the way they see them.
  3. Demonstrate your knowledge and credibility.Make a plan so you can ask your confirming questions in a variety of ways. Use phrases such as, “Is it accurate to say that…” or “Did I understand you correctly when you said…” You may not always get agreement but that’s good. What you are looking for is accuracy. You want to be sure you fully understand the client’s needs before you begin to design a solution to their problem.
Be smart about the way your inside sales force uses confirming questions. By reiterating what you heard, you can clarify, correct or expand your understanding. It also helps to build trust by demonstrating that you care about getting it right.

Download the Top 7 Barriers to Inside Sales Success and How to Overcome Them

3 Healthy Ways to Grow Your Inside Sales Team

a healthy plant is just beginning to grow

For more and more organizations, inside sales, and inside sales training, has gained importance as part of a successful sales growth strategy. 

The main reason is that many sales are now made remotely. As technology becomes more widespread and familiar, customers feel more confident making more purchases and sealing bigger deals over the phone and over the internet. There will always be a need for face-to-face transactions but, if you want to keep up with the times, you would be wise to build up your inside sales organization at the same time you maintain the effectiveness of your outside sales reps.

When working with our clients who recognize the potential of a strong inside sales organization, we have learned a lot about the most effective way to grow inside sales teams. A first step should always be a training needs assessment and organizational review of what the team is currently doing well and where they need to improve. Putting your team through a proven, customized inside sales training program will give the team the skills they need to succeed. They will emerge from the inside sales training with a common sales language, a common sales methodology and a clear picture of the activities and behaviors that will increase revenue. With good sales performance coaching, the inside sales training will “stick” and become embedded in their sales process.

But there is more you can do. 
  1. Raise expectations.
    Now that you have invested in building the sales skills of your inside sales force, you should not be afraid to ask more of them. They should be better at following up on leads, qualifying, discovering customer priorities, and closing. Be realistic in the targets you set but don’t underestimate their potential to deliver. A bit of a stretch is challenging and a high performing inside sales team will strive to deliver.

  2. Speed up time to contact.
    The sooner a lead is followed up, the warmer it is and the higher probability of closing the deal. Sales reps should follow up on prospects without delay. Research shows that companies that contact a prospect within 5 minutes showed significant revenue growth.

  3. Use technology to capture and distribute leads.
    Don’t overlook the tools that can support the inside sales team. Good technology that is correctly implemented and fully utilized can significantly boost revenue. Not only will it save time but it will also allow team members to share knowledge and capitalize on the experience of their colleagues.
A winning sales strategy should depend on both teams…inside and outside…for sustained revenue growth.

Inside Sales Training – First Establish the Why

The letters W, H, Y are held up by hands

Any inside sales training initiative, if it is to succeed, should first answer the question for participants as to why it is being offered.  The smooth introduction of your sales training plan is critical. 

With any proposed change, the targets of change need to be convinced that not only is change possible but also that it is in their personal best interests as well as the interests of their team and the company at large. Especially with an inside sales training initiative, participants need to be willing to learn…and they will be if they understand that the training will help them reach their personal and professional goals. 

Help inside sales reps see how the skills they will learn in the workshop and the behaviors that follow can be a direct resource for performance improvement and achieving their own success. The inside sales training is not designed so much to “fix” them as to enhance their likelihood of improved sales performance. They need to see, even before the sales training begins, that there is a personal payoff.

When presented well initially, your insides sales training workshop will be attended by willing learners, not prisoners. Elicit the aid of the team’s sales manager to meet with each member of the inside sales team to review individual goals and link the program objectives to the rep’s career objectives. It is all about relevance – to the participant, their boss and the team as a whole.

Once the participants are persuaded that the training makes sense for them, they should understand more of the details of the content. If, for instance, you have determined that sales have lagged because the reps are not very good at uncovering customer needs, then participants should embrace the opportunity to learn how to ask the questions that will lead to a better understanding of customer issues. The skill to be learned connects directly to improved sales.

Of course, training by itself is of little lasting value. Skills workshops are effective only when there is a follow-on system to reinforce the new behaviors on the job. Make sure that you set up ongoing coaching and create a measurement system to assess performance as those new behaviors are applied.

Both the introduction and the follow-on to training matter to the success of the overall initiative…not just the workshop itself.

For more information about inside sales training best practices, please visit:

Don’t Leave Your Inside Sales Team High and Dry

a businessman is in a boat stranded in the desert

As more and more companies increasingly rely upon their inside sales forces to generate revenue with lower sales costs, make sure you give your inside reps the sales tools they need to be successful.

With the changes in the marketplace, businesses depend almost as much on their inside sales force to produce revenue as their field sales force. It makes good business sense.  Inside sales reps cost less, are more flexible in reaching out to customers through technology, address a more sophisticated buying public and can deliver a high level of customer service.

Recent studies show that inside sales is growing three times faster than more traditional outside sales. But what hasn’t changed at many organizations is the level of development provided for inside sales reps. Resources are still being spent disproportionately on field sales. We consider this very short-sighted.

Invest in your inside sales team so they perform at their best. Make sure to:

  • Have a clear, proven, simple sales process to follow. Give them a step-by-step inside sales methodology so they know how to engage a customer, listen for the problem, deepen their understanding of the situation, build rapport, create a solution, and close the sale.

  • Provide opportunities to develop their inside sales skills through training, practice, and coaching.Institute a quality, proven, customized inside sales training program that focuses on the critical few inside sales scenarios that matter most. Teach them what they need to know to succeed and then work with them side-by-side as they demonstrate the desired behaviors on the job. Make sure they know how to communicate effectively and how to take advantage of a quality CRM system.

  • Measure and reinforce the inside sales behaviors that work.Don’t rate your inside sales folks by the number of calls they handle per day if you are looking for truly satisfied customers AND revenue growth. Speed is typically not what matters but effective discovery and problem solving. Know what inside sales behaviors succeed in your business.  Measure those behaviors to rate each individual’s level of performance.  Then apply appropriate and proportional rewards and consequences fairly and transparently.
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The Role of Inside Sales in an Organization’s Success

a photo of a woman on the phone surrounded by pictures of others she is talking to

The sales game has changed. It used to be that outside field sales had all the prestige and the big deals and the big salaries. But today’s businesses rely much more on sales that are conducted over the phone or online than they did in the past. This is the domain of inside sales, basically sales that are handled remotely. Inside sales teams generate and close sales over the phone, emails and the internet and now play at least as big a role as outside sales – and often at greater margins due to their lower salary and training costs than their outside sales counterparts.

What does this mean for companies looking to grow? It means that they have to pay a good deal more attention to the quality of their inside sales force. For many businesses, inside sales reps have become the primary interface with new and existing customers. Are you sure you are attracting, developing, engaging and retaining top sales talent where you need it most?

 “A” players at inside sales must be good at consistently connecting with customers on the phone and online.  They must project “high touch” attention through each and every customer interaction. “A” inside sales players need to know how to have collaborative conversations where both parties build together toward a successful agreement and conclusion. 

But beyond being able to communicate well both verbally and in writing, inside sales reps need to have the same drive that you looked for in your outside field sales force. Inside sales reps need to exhibit perseverance in the face of repeated rejection, the ambition to reach agreed-upon targets, and a competitive spirit that keeps them coming back to the job every day with renewed energy and total commitment.

And we’re not done yet. How well do your inside sales reps understand and follow the sales process you have adopted? A good dose of customized inside sales training is essential to be clear on what you expect them to be able to do and on how their success will be measured. Teach them how to leverage their network to uncover potential leads. Have them practice role plays with difficult customers, with customers open to up- or cross-selling, with customers who don’t know what they need, and with customers who are already satisfied with their current provider. Encourage inside sales reps’ ideas for new ways to approach, sell and serve customers. The more comfortable they feel adding value on the phone, the more genuine they will sound to customers.

If your inside sales force is top-notch, you will see a significant uptick in your customer base and in your sales revenue at a higher margin.

For more information about inside sales training best practices, please visit: