Inside sales continues to be one of the most rapidly growing sectors for sales and an increasingly important focus for organizations, from startups to the enterprise. While “making the calls” is front and center, there are other factors that drive an inside sales team’s success.
1. Develop talent.
2. Focus on speed-to-lead and high-quality activities.
3. Set up inside sales reps for success.
4. Motivate, motivate, motivate.
Motivating an inside sales team is imperative. It's a hard job whether you're on the inbound side, taking leads, or outbound (which is even harder) and making cold calls or warm calls. Motivation is huge in engaging people and keeping work fun and competitive in a positive way.
Of course, compensation is an obvious motivator, but that can’t be all of it. The biggest motivator for reps is earning the promotion to account executive. Sales development reps on our team know that by the end of 12 months they will have the opportunity for a promotion. But this is a meritocracy where that opportunity is only realized if their metrics and stack rankings are above required levels.
In support of healthy competition, we post results every day on Chatter (our internal communication platform), call out the top performers, offer competitive challenges, and show the staff rankings. Everyone across the organization piles on with well wishes: "Hey, great job, Jimmy! Great job, Suzy!" And people start to really strive to be at the top of the dashboard because they want that recognition. Some of our most successful competitions originate organically from the reps or managers publically challenging each other.
5. Keep persisting.
It takes persistence to connect with a lead. While the industry average is one or two attempts, we know that it takes as many as five attempts (and sometimes more) to connect. Our standard rule is to try and put five touches on a lead — either a call, email, or both — over the course of 10 days to two weeks. After a fifth and final attempt to reach a lead, we let it go.
With this additional persistence, the connect rate becomes an incredibly important metric for us. We don’t want to get to number five but rather prioritize correctly and connect as early as we can. The more calls made to one customer translates to less capacity for other potential leads. Getting to a ratio of 1:1 for a yes or no faster is always the goal.
6. Partner with product marketing.
Inside sales isn’t a silo, and it’s important to develop a close partnership with the marketing team. Marketing is often eager to do training for our team, and since we are the first voice of the company, it’s critical to have the latest information on products. It’s a two-way street as well. Product marketers listen on the calls to learn firsthand how customers are responding to our positioning. What was right or what can be improved? This is a really critical loop for any inside sales team.
“It takes persistence to connect. While the industry average is one or two attempts, we know that it takes as many as five attempts (and sometimes more) to connect.”