As Velocify’s recent study on the Migration of the Sales Profession demonstrates, we’re still in the midst of a huge worldwide shift from outside to inside sales. Shifting the balance toward inside sales is an easy choice for a lot of companies—it’s easier on the margins, sales tools are making the position more effective, and Customer 2.0 is more accepting of a remote selling process.

But actually setting up an inside sales organization…that isn’t easy, at all. In fact, many well-intentioned high level executives set up their new inside sales teams for failure.

Here are some common traps to watch out for:

1. No defined structure

How will the organization be structured? Will there be Lead Development, Inside Sales, Renewals teams? What is the hand-off and sales process? Believe it – unclear expectations between the teams will cause duplication of efforts, awkward hand-offs, and even damage the partnerships between your salespeople.

2. Lack of respect from the field

If the reps in the field are weak, they rely too heavily on the inside team for the wrong reasons or try and cut them off from prospects altogether. They insist on half-baked leads, cancel appointments with well-qualified leads, or ask the inside to help them on brainless admin tasks they could do themselves.

3. Long sales cycle

Inside sales team members need easy wins to keep them focused on the daily grind of pounding out calls. It’s important for the inside to have an easy, low-cost solution to provide early adoption opportunities for their prospects. Product evals are a good vehicle and can convert to a potential sale.

4. New messaging = new confusion

When the product focus changes so much, it confuses the inside teams and this keeps them from positioning it effectively.

5. Unrealistic quota goals come too late

It happens all the time: inside sales waits to have their quotas assigned, and then they finally come around two quarters late and are much higher than expected. This impacts the team's productivity, focus, and confidence. 

6. Marketing is disconnected

Marketing is off doing its own thing, blasting out to thousands of disqualified leads they never bothered to scrub and expecting the inside teams to follow up. Poor leads affect the conversion process, and sometimes the inside sales team gets the blame.

7. Lack of field-focused training

Skills training has a chance to be great only when it is targeted to the job role. Inside sales requires a very different skill set than field sales. Approving the wrong training, targeted toward essentially the wrong profession, is worse than doing no training at all. Much training content is forgotten within weeks of the course, especially if training fails to be extremely relevant and actionable.

8. Too much

A long time ago, the inside didn’t have enough. Now they have way too much. Too much technology and too many tools can paralyze a team and create ways to avoid what they have been chartered to do. Picking up the phone and selling is a good start.

About the author:

Josiane Feignon
Josiane Feigon is the CEO of TeleSmart, a provider of inside sales training and coaching. She has trained 20-thousand-plus salespeople and still counting. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Feigon is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent. She is also a #1 Rated Inside Sales Training Bestselling author, speaker, and sales futurist. Follow her on Twitter: @JosianeFeigon




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