16 February 2021
What is inside sales and why you absolutely should care
Many businesses adopt inside sales as their main sales model. But what exactly is it and why should you care?
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70% of customers prefer inside sales as opposed to in-person meetings.
Clearly, inside sales is extremely important for businesses to grow and spearhead towards success.
But what exactly is inside sales and how do you do it?
If these are what you’re worrying about now, fret not. We’re about to go through the ins and outs (pun intended) of this.
- What is inside sales?
- What is outside sales?
- Inside or outside sales?
- Benefits of inside sales
- Key inside sales skills
- Software that support inside sales
What is inside sales?
Inside sales is the remote handling of sales – via phone, email, and other digital channels. In other words, there is no in-person interaction between the lead and the rep. This is a common sales model in B2B, tech, and high-ticket B2C transactions. And it’s amazing! Just think about it.
Because of the advancements in technology, inside sales reps are able to conduct meetings, presentations, and demos like that of reps in the field.
Naturally, this has resulted in customers feeling more comfortable and embracing inside sales.
What is outside sales?
If there’s inside sales, what about outside sales?
Outside sales is the process of selling your products or services to customers in person.
Outside sales reps usually spend most of their time out of the office, travelling to meet new prospects.
They build trust and establish good relationships through face-to-face interactions and a deeper human connection. That’s why the success of outside sales reps heavily depend on their ability to maintain such relationships.
Inside or outside sales?
For many years, businesses primarily focused on outside sales to generate leads.
However, technology (and the pandemic) has caused a shift in the way people view inside and outside sales.
While many businesses still aim to have a good balance of both, the changing customer journey has resulted in the way purchases are made. Most people are in favor of remote sales.
And this has forced companies to lean towards inside sales.
But are the lines between the two sales models blurring? Which sales model is better? Which should you choose?
So many questions, so little time to cover all of that here. But we saw this coming. So we’ve prepared a separate article to discuss this in-depth! Go check it out! 😁
Benefits of inside sales
1. Greater scalability
Inside sales teams can be easily scaled up without the hassle of additional expenses or the inconvenience of relocation.
Since inside sales reps sell remotely, all they need is a computer and a good customer relationship management (CRM) software to help them keep track of their leads.
Hiring additional inside sales reps won’t skyrocket your costs either – you just need to factor in their salary, a new CRM seat, and training.
2. A more cost-effective sales model
Inside sales is a more cost-effective way to do sales.
If you think about it, inside sales reps can reach out to more leads via emails or phone calls than they could if they were to meet every single lead in person.
This means that inside sales reps can take far more meetings and create more sales opportunities than outside sales reps.
And it also means that each new lead costs less than it would with an outside sales team. Think about all the potential transport costs that you can save! In fact, research shows that the average outside sales call costs $308, while an inside sales call costs $50.
Research by Harvard Business Review also showed that inside sales reduced the cost of sales by 40 to 90% as compared to outside sales.
3. Reduce lead response times
Travelling to a lead’s location to solve or answer their queries in-person takes up a lot of time. Long response times could lead to angry customers, causing you to lose valuable sales opportunities. You know how it is. 🤭
And, responding to your leads within the first-minute increases lead conversions by 391%.
4. Increased productivity
Inside sales reps spend 35% of their week selling. Meanwhile, outside sales reps only spend 22% of their time selling.
That’s because inside sales teams don’t need to spend their time travelling back and forth to meet leads and prospects. Inside sales is an accelerated process in which your sales teams can save a lot of time on unproductive activities.
The extra time they have on their hands can be put towards trying to close current leads or following up with even more leads.
Key inside sales skills
Being an inside sales rep is not an easy job. Here are some of the key skills an inside sales rep should have.
1. Building a rapport
Though inside sales rely less on building trust and relationships with customers compared to outside sales, that doesn’t mean they don’t have to do it.
In fact, it’s even harder to build rapport with leads virtually than in-person.
Thus, it’s important that inside sales reps take the initiative to do their own research about the lead before a call, or if they have the natural ability to strike conversations and make people feel comfortable.
Communicating virtually means that what you say is not all that matters, but how you say it determines if you’ll make a sale.
38% of communication is about other attributes of communication such as tonality, volume, and the pace of your pitch.
So to effectively communicate with your leads, inside sales reps should learn to mirror the lead’s tonality and make themselves familiar and relatable. This can make it easier for reps to close a deal.
Other than being able to communicate well and build rapport with prospects, an inside sales rep should also possess active listening skills.
Actively listening is especially important over the phone because your leads can’t detect your body language or maintain eye contact with you.
Only by listening can your reps empathize with your leads’ concerns and learn more about their business. This helps your reps understand how to best market your product or service to a lead.
Inside sales is so much more than contacting a lead who’s shown interest.
Imagine jumping into a call or reaching out via email knowing absolutely nothing about the lead! 😢
That sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Inside sales is also about investing time and effort into doing research about the lead and finding out more about them, such as their company, company size, and industry.
This gives your rep and leads a common ground to establish a relationship and build trust. It also shows that your business is committed to fully understanding what your customers’ concerns are.
Types of software that support inside sales
Video calls have now become an essential part of the selling process to share, educate, and perform product demos for leads.
Platforms such as Google Meet allow reps to virtually connect with leads with just the click of a button.
Aside from streamlining the sales process, this also creates more opportunities for inside sales reps to communicate and build relationships with leads.
Remember how lead response times help to increase sales opportunities?
With Novocall’s click-to-call widget, website visitors simply request for a call, enter their details, and a call will be automated between the lead and the sales rep.
This helps to streamline the communication process between the lead and the inside sales rep. Leads aren’t left waiting for a call that never comes, and sales reps can follow up with leads promptly.
With click-to-call software, businesses can potentially increase their conversion rates by 45%.
Back and forth emails are a thing of the past.
With appointment scheduling software such as Timesync, you can easily set up a common meeting time without all the hassle.
Most of these software integrate with your personal and work calendars, like Google or Outlook calendars. It allows leads to choose a time that works for them and the rep.
It’s a win-win situation for both – leads make appointments that work for them, and reps never miss a meeting or get double booked.
Whether you’re a one man team or an army of 200 reps, there’s no denying that CRM software helps in managing relationships between your company and customers.
And having a good CRM like Hubspot is essential for inside sales teams.
The widget captures lead data such as a lead’s name, email, and phone number, and these are automatically stored into the Hubspot database.
This helps to streamline business processes because reps don’t have to do manual data entry and management, and all customer data is stored on one platform. Think about all the time saved!
Reps now have more time on their hands to focus on closing deals.
Making outbound calls – whether it’s a cold call, warm call, or hot call – is a crucial part of the inside sales process.
And autodialers make this calling process much quicker and more efficient.
These software automatically dial a list of contacts and connects to your rep only when the call is connected. This eliminates the need for manual dialing and reduces call wait times for your reps.
Inside sales reps can spend the extra time to prepare for the next call or record down important notes from the previous call.
There’s no doubt inside sales teams rely heavily on emails to get in touch with leads and prospects.
Email automation software like ActiveCampaign allows reps to easily create and schedule email drip campaigns. With their drag and drop builder, creating an email sequence can now be done in minutes.
Reps can also easily monitor and scale email campaigns that are effective.
We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of what inside sales is.
The evolution and improvements in technology have steered businesses to embrace the inside sales model – so much so that remote sales is becoming the main sales model for many.
That said, businesses shouldn’t be so quick to drop outside sales entirely. Though it’s a more traditional way of doing sales, it still has its benefits.
But we’ll leave that for another article 😉
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