We live in a technology-driven world, which is why the selling landscape is continuously evolving. There are more inside sales tools available than ever before to establish meaningful relationships with prospects.
The excellent sales representatives separate themselves from the average ones by their creative outreach methods.
In this article, we detail the fundamentals of inside sales, how to effectively qualify leads, and the different strategies to help maximise your company’s sales process.
We also explain the various programs, software, and tools you can use to leverage your prospecting and deal-closing systems.
What are Inside Sales?
Inside sales operations involve representatives prospecting, developing, and converting leads into loyal customers. They do this process remotely, instead of in person. Inside sales are especially common with SaaS transactions.
However, inside sales strategies are used within most B2B, B2C, and technology interactions.
So, what does an inside sales representative do? These professionals provide value to customers remotely.
They do so by coaching the prospect through the sales process, investigating their needs, and recommending a product or service that solves their initial problem.
Some other critical actions and responsibilities include:
- Establishing and growing relationships with potential clients
- Showcasing advanced knowledge in the product or service
- Negotiating contracts and closing deals
- Providing insightful sales and data reporting
- Nurturing and developing leads to turn them into customers
How can you qualify inside sales leads?
Qualifying leads requires you to ask deep questions to obtain the information you need. Many sales teams struggle with this process because it can sometimes make the prospect feel uncomfortable.
They provide you information that is already known to them. Inside salespeople must be skilled in gaining this information while confirming that that potential customer is already in need of their product or service.
Many salespeople use the concept of lead scoring to assign a value metric to the prospect toward the beginning stages of the pipeline. This score factors in the information that the prospect has already shared with you.
It is based on their ongoing engagement with your website, brand, and company. The more they interact with your content, website, and communications, the higher the score.
Do the necessary research
There are two ways to gain prospect information: ask them directly or do the homework on your own. Instead of asking the prospect questions they already know, you can conduct a systematic approach to finding this information online.
You can examine the person’s LinkedIn profile, look through their company website, and read news articles about them or their company.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
If you meet with the client, you can establish yourself as a genuine, credible resource by asking meaningful questions. Neil Rackham’s “SPIN” selling method puts you on the right track to help you fully understand how much your prospect could use your product or service.
The “SPIN” strategy involves asking questions that get the prospect to talk about their situation, problem, impact, and need-payoff.
What’s the difference between inside and outside sales?
There are a couple of key differences between inside and outside sales functions. Inside sales professionals conduct business remotely, usually from a company or at-home office.
On the other hand, outside sales representatives travel on the road, foster face-to-face negotiations, and provide on-site account support.
Outside salespeople will still have an office to make calls, prepare quotes, and perform administrative work. However, most of their responsibilities occur at different offices, conferences, industry events, and trade shows.
How can inside sales be leveraged in 2021?
The selling landscape is constantly changing, which is why you should know the different resources, programs, and email hacks available to increase your sales and conversion rates. Some of the most popular tools include Outfunnel, Avoma, Hubspot, Google Analytics, HotJar, and Salesforce.
Outfunnel is a helpful inside sales tool for several reasons. The platform merges your marketing and sales data to enhance prospecting and boost conversion rates.
It also saves you time by eliminating the need to import and export contact lists. You can maintain your pipeline by keeping it in sync at all times.
This tool also automates information sharing between marketing and sales data, which allows you and the sales team to sell better.
You can accurately input engagement events in the CRM, such as clicks, opens, subscribes, and unsubscribes.
For example, if you collect leads with a WordPress form like Contact Form 7, use Pipedrive as your CRM, and send out marketing campaigns with ActiveCampaign, then you can ensure seamless contact sync with Outfunnel’s Contact Form 7-Pipedrive integration and further data sync with their Pipedrive-ActiveCampaign integration.
Lastly, Outfunnel provides you critical insights on key revenue-driving factors. You can analyse which pages and channels lead to the most converted customers. Outfunnel also tells you which email marketing or advertising campaigns perform the best.
The platform is designed to tell you what is performing well, which allows you to reinvest the critical time and marketing dollars into similar selling techniques.
Avoma is a tool that helps SDRs, Account Executives (AEs) as well as Customer Success folks in closing more deals and retaining customers.
Using Avoma, you can get visibility into your sales team’s outbound calls, their current way of objection handling, and learn actionable insights to book more meetings. It uses AI to record, transcribe and analyse outbound calls at scale.
For AEs, Avoma ensures that they get more active selling time by automating the note-taking, CRM updates, and next steps from each meeting.
Avoma ensures that all your online meetings (be it on Zoom, Google Meet, or any other platform) are actionable so that you can build and sell faster.
The platform leverages conversation intelligence to identify insights to improve your sales discovery calls. It also listens to customer success calls and helps you identify potential customer churn signals so that we improve your customer retention efforts.
HubSpot streamlines sales, marketing, and sales support into a single place. One of its most impactful features is its automation. The platform programs a series of tasks, forms, emails, and landing pages to help you boost productivity and increase your sales effectiveness.
HubSpot also delivers advanced features like video and chatbots to help salespeople be as responsive as possible to prospects.
If you spend a lot of time preparing email templates, HubSpot has a list of pre-written messages you can send out to your email contacts.
All you need to do is add a little bit of personalisation, and then send it out. HubSpot also communicates how well these email marketing campaigns perform.
Even better, HubSpot provides sequences of tasks and templates to help you optimise your outreach.
Google is constantly innovating all aspects of its search engine, analytics, and overall platform. It just released GA4, which is geared toward tracking events in real-time.
It allows you to monitor prospect interactions with your site through specific events. You can gain critical insights about which of your digital assets are producing the most revenue.
The report generating functions are what separate Google Analytics from a lot of the inside sales tools. You can discover detailed reviews about landing pages, top-converting pages, mobile conversions, social media customer acquisition, goal reports, and more. Then export Google Analytics data and use it for performance analysis and improvements.
Instead of wasting time chasing down dead leads, Google Analytics prepares you with a clearly defined list of people interested in your brand.
HotJar delivers more data about your prospect’s motivations and behaviour. It provides data through heatmaps, lead scoring, hovering information, and other critical data.
In addition to offering insightful data points on your website activities, it also gives you clear reasoning about why people act the way they do.
The platform also learns this information quickly to give you the data in real-time.
A unique feature of HotJar is the live recordings. This function allows you to watch an anonymous session of someone interacting with your site.
You can see which pages, products, or services they view. You can then use this data to retarget that prospect with more benefits about what they were looking for.
There are also plenty of HotJar alternatives on the market for you to explore.
Salesforce does an excellent job of organising all the critical information about your customers. Inside sales representatives can review their contacts, accounts, tasks, opportunities, and events within a single location.
Salesforce also allows you to run and analyse your reports. Reps can curate a list of accounts they have not contacted in a while, analyse products they sell the most, review outstanding tasks, and follow up on idle opportunities within the pipeline.
Salesforce also has a customisable dashboard feature, where reps can constantly check how they are performing with their sales activities.
The platform also provides a strong base of email templates to establish a connection with prospects. There are optimised messages for welcoming a customer, sales introductory call, and a “thank you” email.
Inside Sales Email Techniques that Work
Now that you know about the different programs to optimise your outreach strategy, it is time to learn how to convert prospects into customers with your email.
Below are some of the most effective email marketing ideas to build trust with your prospective clients, deliver valuable information, and increase your closing rate.
‘Abandoned Cart’ emails: are you going to pay for that?
This is a fundamental technique within inside sales. The purpose of this email is to influence customers to return to your site and resume their purchases.
You must stand out from your competition by influencing prospects to go back to your site.
There is a lot of information available on the internet, so your abandoned cart email needs to have an engaging copy and be timed perfectly.
Here are some quick tips on how to draft effective emails for abandoned shopping carts:
- Hit on their ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO)
- Add a little bit of humour
- Throw in an extra discount that will win them over as a long-term customer
- Personalise the message by using their name
- Make the specific product or service a main focal point of the email
- Send the email at times when they will be browsing, such as during lunch or right after the standard workday
There is one con to this approach. Customers may be genuinely interested in something else and will not want a follow-up email. If you use this technique tastefully, you can increase your chances of hitting those sales goals.
Up-Sell emails: these services are for exclusive power-users
Upselling emails are geared toward encouraging customers to purchase a more expensive version of your service or product.
This strategy could also focus on upgrading a subscription. Here are some of the optimal times to send out an up-sell email:
- Immediately after a purchase
- Toward the end of a free trial period
- When a loyal customer reaches a milestone
- During a new product launch
There are a few strategies you can implement to increase your conversion rate with up-sell emails. You can complement the customer on their progress in interacting with your product, service, or website.
Personalisation is also an effective technique, which involves gearing the email toward the customer’s goals.
One downside to this approach is that you could lose an existing customer by not coming off as genuine. The customer may also perceive that you are trying to hit your sales quota, rather than helping them out.
Cross-sell emails involve leveraging a sales opportunity to offer an additional service or product to an existing customer.
This strategy is effective because your customer already trusts you. They bought your product because they know you can solve their needs.
When you offer another product, they will be more likely to buy in.
You also already have the customer’s contact information. Because they purchased on your site already, you can retarget them with a cross-sell email on a product or service that pairs well with what they already have.
Promotional Offer Emails
Promotional offer emails are perfect for new arrivals, product launches, giveaways, contests, seasonal sales, and subscriber-exclusive deals.
To write an effective email, you must define what you will promote, why you will promote it, who you will target, and what value it provides.
There are many positives to promotional offer emails. Your customers will appreciate that you are offering a discount or deal.
They will also feel “part of the club” when you distribute campaigns for subscribers only. You can develop trust with them and increase retention by running a promotional offer consistently.
One downside of this strategy is excessiveness. If you run too many promotions that are not attractive in the customers’ eyes, you can lose loyalty quickly.
There could be other companies that offer a more advantageous promotion. It’s essential to assess what your competition is doing and then counteract it.
Negative Reverse Sell Emails
Negative reverse sell emails involve statements or questions that go against your desired outcome. Most sales emails try to convince prospects or customers to buy your product or service.
Negative reverse selling emails do the opposite.
When you pull the prospect in an adverse direction, they might want to go the opposite way. If you start with a message about not buying your product, it could turn out to be favourable for you.
This strategy guides a smooth sales process, enhances your position, and makes the customer discover that they do need your company.
One downside of this technique is that customers may perceive you do not believe in your product.
They may agree with you and end up not buying. As you perform this strategy, be mindful about providing value in the process.
Final wrap up
Because the sales landscape is always evolving, you will need to constantly optimise your inside sales strategy. Your potential customer is continuously looking for new information, so do what you can to capture their attention.
You can do so by utilising these strategies discussed, investing in new information, and studying what works… and what does not.
Darya Jandossova Troncoso is a photographer, artist, and writer working on her first novel and managing a digital marketing blog – MarketSplash. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, creating art, and learning everything there is to know about digital marketing.