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How to Build a High-Performing Inside Sales Team

photo of a happy inside sales rep

As any business will attest, there’s no greater feeling than when your company grows and reaches a point where you need to expand your inside sales team. Naturally, more salespeople means more sales which translates to more revenue. This is what you have been working so hard to achieve, right?

The only question remaining now is; who do you hire first? According to the Harvard Business Review, the average annual turnover in sales is about 30%. More often than not, seemingly talented candidates fail to transition into sales leaders or good sellers for a company.

The trend is the same. They all start out on a high note, bubbling with excitement as they proceed through the onboarding and ramp process. But after a while, they start feeling overwhelmed and begin falling behind on their sales motions.

Sure, it’s easy to blame the employees and point fingers at the hiring process. Unfortunately, your company might be the root of the problem. You could be failing your sales team and not the other way around. So, what causes a low-performing sales team?

Guide to Building an Inside Sales Team

As any business will attest, there’s no greater feeling than when your company grows and reaches a point where you need to expand your inside sales team. Naturally, more salespeople means more sales which translates to more revenue. This is what you have been working so hard to achieve, right?

The only question remaining now is; who do you hire first? According to the Harvard Business Review, the average annual turnover in sales is about 30%. More often than not, seemingly talented candidates fail to transition into sales leaders or good sellers for a company.

The trend is the same. They all start out on a high note, bubbling with excitement as they proceed through the onboarding and ramp process. But after a while, they start feeling overwhelmed and begin falling behind on their sales motions.

Sure, it’s easy to blame the employees and point fingers at the hiring process. Unfortunately, your company might be the root of the problem. You could be failing your sales team and not the other way around. So, what causes a low-performing sales team?

Causes of a Low-Performing Inside Sales Team

 One of the most common mistakes companies make when building an inside sales team is to shirk the hiring process. They take this crucial step nonchalantly and fail to spend the required time and effort to getting it right. Instead of being certain that a hire is right for the role, they hope the employee to be will just get it and hit the ground running.

When you’re in need of a team right now, you tend to ignore a few signals that someone is just not the best fit for the task. This is often why many companies don’t end up with rockstars and new teams miss the mark. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the hiring process and get top performing sales reps that stick around, collaborate and win on a consistent basis.

Sure, it may seem challenging at first, but assembling a winning sales team is key to bolstering the growth of your business. You simply can’t wait for this to happen down the line. With that in mind, let’s check out all the steps you can take to not only attract the best sales reps, but also build a world-class inside sales team. But first, why start with an inside sales team?

Why Start with Inside Sales?

 

Inside Sales Team

When we talk about outside sales, we’re referring to a team that goes out on sales calls to sell regionally and at conferences, events, and so on. On the flip side, inside sales is handled remotely without face-to-face interaction with prospective buyers. By utilizing the power of modern outreach tools like phones and various sales tools, inside sales reps work cohesively and independently to make sales.

These reps spend their days reaching out to prospects, qualifying them and building relationships by helping clients solve their business problems. When it comes to B2B, SaaS, and other technology companies that prefer a centralized team, inside sales is the more popular model. That’s because it’s more cost effective and measurable with a bigger set of metrics.

One way to select between outside and inside sales hires is by analyzing the type of product you’re selling. More specifically, the length and complexity of the sales cycle. If your product or service is a high priced solution that includes customization, then outside sales will work perfectly.

However, sales can be handled remotely if you sell SaaS or other cloud based products. As such, inside sales comes with a throng of benefits such as metric driven, rapid scalability, increased efficiency and lower associated costs. What’s more, research shows that over 75% of prospects really don’t want to engage in face-to-face meetings.

What Positions Make up an Inside Sales Team?

You’ve already likely heard of a few standard roles such as Account Executives or Sales Engineers. For small inside sales teams, a few AEs might be doing everything. However, the roles become more specialized and defined as the company grows. Let’s check out each role by order of hiring priority.

1: Account Executives

AEs are the foundational role of inside sales teams. These guys need to be able to do it all. This includes lead generation, qualification, relationship building, presenting, and finally closing the deal. Not only are they the main point of contact, Account Executives are ultimately responsible for demoing products and handling the entire cycle in small companies.

2: Sales Development Reps

To generate leads, B2B software companies rely on inbound marketing. However, those leads are typically not enough to keep the pipeline full. This is where SDRs come in as outbound lead generators. They’re responsible for calling and emailing several prospects with the end goal of setting up a meet. The role requires determination and grit to overcome constant rejection and unearth new opportunities.

3: Account Managers

Many salespeople will agree that closing a sale is just the start of maintaining a healthy stream of revenue. The Account Manager is responsible for checking on clients and nurturing relationships after the contract is signed. This includes helping them use the product and identify additional revenue opportunities. They will learn more about the buyer’s business goals and inject value to help retain and grow the account.

4: Sales Engineer

Does your product have several use cases and high technicalities? This is where sale engineers come in to bridge the gap for Account Executives. The SEs provide pre sale answers to complicated product questions and help determine exactly how your products solve a prospects major pain points. What’s more, they also help implement the product and lend a hand to Account Managers when the client has technical needs.

5: Sales Operations

This position is usually the last one to fill as your company gets bigger. Once you have the above positions filled, you’ll want to track your team’s progress in build on procedures. Sales Ops focuses on this particular area of support. They help analyze all the metrics across different tools and point out areas of the sales funnel that could use an overhaul. Typically, sales operations are responsible for ensuring the entire process runs more efficiently.

How to Empower, Develop and Motivate your Inside Sales Team?

photo of a female inside sales rep

Now that you know what comprises a team of good sales people, it’s time to make sure they become the high-performing killers you want. But before you can even hire anyone, you need to make sure you’ve developed an onboarding plan as well as a standardized sales process. All these will give your new hires a roadmap of what, who and how they need to approach sales in your company.

How to Develop and Onboard your Team?

Onboarding your new inside sales teams is vital. Research shows that effective sales onboarding can boost quota attainment by almost 7% and improve employee retention by a whopping 82%. The main aim of onboarding is to help your team become contributing members in the shortest time possible.

This means providing your sales team with the required information they need to be engaged and productive in their new role. While there are several resources to explore an effective onboarding program, below are a few points to consider.

a) Training Curriculum

The first step is to create a training manual that takes your employees through the sales process, competition, common questions, product value propositions, objections, sales scripts, and different ways to answer them. In addition to the information you give them, you could also issue a test they must pass before moving forward.

b) Company Values

Like most companies, your business probably has a set of core values that everyone knows and follows diligently. Letting everyone on the team know what the company stands for is part and parcel of creating a healthy culture.

c) )Product Expertise

Another point to consider is having your inside sales team use your products with common use cases they might come across in real scenarios. Don’t lend a hand whenever they get stuck. They will need to read articles, engage customer support and overcome obstacles just like any other buyer.

d) Ongoing Development

Training doesn’t have to end with the initial onboarding. Success for sales hinges on ongoing listening to calls on a weekly basis. This will help with coaching and analysis.

Motivate with Performance Metrics

One of the best ways to motivate your inside sales team is to set clear expectations along with metrics to guide them along. Different expectations can revolve around activities such as closing rates or number of calls each day. Some of the most common Key Performance Metrics include:   

Lead Response Time:

This is the time it takes to follow up on a lead. One study revealed that a lead is more likely to enter the sales process if they’re contacted within 5 minutes of an inquiry.  

Time Spent Selling:

This is the exact amount of time a rep spend selling as opposed to administrative and non-selling tasks. Currently, the average time spent selling is 35.2% of a reps time.

Customer Acquisition Cost:

How much money does the company spend to close one sale? Ideally you want the cost to be as low as possible. However, it all depends on your business model, products, and services.

Opportunity Win Rate:

This is a calculation of opportunities won divided by the total number of opportunities created. Although the win rates vary by product, a recent survey shows that the average win rate is about 47%.     

Sales to Revenue Ratio:

This metric aids in measuring just how efficient and productive your sales operation is by calculating total costs over total revenue.

Sales Pipeline Coverage:

This metric takes into account your pipeline relative to your end goal for a specific period of time. The SPC acts as an early warning system for any threats to future growth.

Empowering your Inside Sales Team with the Best Sales Tools

Due to an array of technological sales tools, inside sales teams are both efficient and cost-effective. There are more than enough online tools for each and every phase of the sales process. You have to empower your teams with the right tools so they can perform to the best of their abilities.

Customer Relationship Management Software

CRM software gives managers an overview of all their sales activities while helping them stay on top of the pipeline. With a great CRM, you’ll have all the data you need to manage customer relationships more effectively.

Reporting Tools and Dashboards

Everything you track tends to generate a certain amount of data. This data needs to be organized, analyzed, and then displayed in a way that your team can make sense of it. This is where reporting tools come in. They allow you to create a dashboard of all your top key performance metrics so everyone can know what is going on.

Email Tracking Software

Being inside sales teams, you can expect a large amount of emails to be sent out every day. This is the main channel of communication. With a great email tracking tool, you can detect the exact date and time an email is opened. Check out our comprehensive post on how to accelerate email tracking and some of the tools you need.    

Online Sales Communication Tools

If you’re looking to schedule multiple meetings, record high quality demos and integrate your CRM, you’ll need web-based meeting tools. These tools are vital to presenting your product and garnering enough momentum actually close a sale.

Sales Intelligence Software

As the name suggests, these are tools that make use of machine learning, databases, and other forms of data to give you valuable and actionable insights on competitors, potential customers and markets. You can read all about the best AI sales assistant software here.  

Conclusion: Inside Sales Team

 

Inside Sales Team

Building a high performing sales team is no simple task. Fortunately, you can make your team feel like a unified machine with the above tips. In tomorrow’s sales organizations, employees will no longer need to be physically present in the office to achieve success. Virtual connections can help organizations tap into talent pools they would never have accessed before.

However, all these require clear, direct communication, consistent meetings with actionable agenda items as well as the right sales technology stack. For starters, you’ll need a strong and reliable CRM system to monitor and manage different aspects of sales. You might want to look at the number one CRM in the world – Salesforce.

Next, you’ll need some way for your sales teams to access the CRM both at home and on the go. This is where Veloxy comes in. With Veloxy, your team members can instantly access sales intelligence for any of your accounts, find new contacts to engage with, discover new prospects near them and gather contact information in term of phone numbers and emails.

Veloxy also logs all activities performed by your inside sales teams making tracking and monitoring that much easier. Get Veloxy today and say hello to a high-performing inside sales team that just won’t quit.

Samir Majumdar

Samir Majumdar

Samir is the CEO and Co-founder of Veloxy. After spending 20+ years creating corporate systems, boosting revenue, and eliminating inefficiencies, Samir started Veloxy to help sales professionals shorten sales cycles, accelerate pipelines, and close more deals.

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