Inside Sales is a term coming from the late 1980s to differentiate complex sales processes from telemarketing. As telemarketing relies on predefined scripts, the inside sales process is much more complex. Besides, Inside Sales doesn’t rely on telephone so much, but instead successful inside sales reps use a bunch of tools to share their screen and conduct conference meetings.
In the 1990s the term Inside Sales was used to differentiate from Outside Sales, because inside sales reps usually stay in the office and don’t go to customers. These days, increasingly more sales is conducted from the office, effectively rendering more and more sales as inside sales.
And herein lies the challenge. The term has changed to inside sales, but the way sales reps sell is largely the same as before, except they now do it online. What sales reps forget is that to be really successful with inside sales, you not only need to change the term and way of working, but you also need to acquire and use tons of data to optimize your sales process. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Inside Sales needs behavioral data
Because you probably never meet your customer face-to-face, you miss out on buying emotion and behavior. If you use traditional tools like WebEx and Outlook, you do manage to sell online but you never get insights in behavioral data. Behavioral data not only consists of email clicks, opens, file opens and views, attention, etc, but also an integrated ‘behavior’-profile of your lead or prospect.
2.Inside Sales needs integrated tools
Customer touches can happen on email, screen share, phone, brochure, etc. But the tools to get those assets to your customers are not integrated. Most sales reps use too many tools! So a potential customer can reply to your Outlook email message, but do you know if that person actually saw your attached sales brochure, and for how long, and which pages, without asking him? Should you contact that person by email again, or give him a presentation online?
3. Inside Sales needs constant optimization
Because sales reps do not have to meet their customers face-to-face, they have much more time to contact new leads. Actually, it’s not uncommon for a single sales rep to manage an active sales funnel of hundreds of leads. And to get the most out of that sales funnel, you need to constantly optimize, rethink and re-apply your sales tactics. The only way to do that is if you know how your leads respond. You need to have sales performance data.
4. Inside Sales needs relevancy
When you contact or follow up with a lead, the essential sales question is: what is the best time to contact this lead and what story should I tell to increase interest in my product? The more relevant you are, the more value you add to your lead, the higher the chance you get your lead excited to buy your product. Behavioral data enables sales reps to be extremely relevant and spot-on in their communication. For example, you can contact somebody as soon as data shows that they’ve read your powerpoint file, and you can see which slides they’ve studied and focus your sales call on that (or on the slides they haven’t seen).
5. Inside Sales needs lead scoring
As explained before, successful inside sales reps manage huge pipelines. Dedicated Inside Sales tools help sales reps to manage those pipelines by providing automation in the form of lead scoring (among others). Lead scoring basically attaches a score to a lead dependent on the actions they take on your sales story. Lead scoring in turn reflects the relevancy of your sales story. Leads with a high score are ready to close and should get focus. Without lead scoring it’s almost impossible to manage huge pipelines. And without data, there’s no lead scoring
These are 5 reasons why inside sales needs data. The problem is that traditional tools like Outlook, WebEx and PDF/Powerpoint readers do not provide you that data. So the term has changed from outside to inside sales, but the tools sales reps use are still quite traditional and do not really match the requirements of successful inside sales.
In other words: get yourself some decent integrated sales platform right now, start collecting data and become more successful as an Inside Sales Rep!