Inside sales is the sales process carried out without face-to-face interaction with customers. Its implementation depends on a qualified team and the adoption of technologies that guide the approach.
Have you ever heard someone say that selling is an art? Well, artistic processes also undergo evolution and this is what allows us to say that there are new ways of making a sale, such as inside sales .
In the free translation into Portuguese, we speak of “internal sales” or, to facilitate understanding, sales made remotely, without face-to-face contact with the potential consumer.
With this post, we want to better explain this concept to you, presenting its benefits and pointing the way for your company to be able to implement the change and have an inside sales team . Check out!
What is inside sales
For you to understand how and even why to implement this concept in your company, you first need to know that inside sales is a sales process carried out from within the company, without the salesperson having to go to the customer .
With this, some other terms can be used to define this practice. This is the case, for example, with virtual sales or sales in the clouds. Regardless of the denomination, the fact is that inside sales is nothing new, but it is undergoing evolution and becoming an increasingly common reality for companies.
In some markets, inside selling has become part of the routine for B2B representatives, companies offering software as a service (SaaS) solutions, and a variety of B2C companies working with high-value products.
The digital transformation , which is still ongoing, can be pointed out as one of the reasons for choosing inside sales . A change that may also have appeared to many as a necessity considering, for example, the impositions that Covid-19 has made on society and the job market as a whole.
Many companies and professionals were forced to go digital in order to carry out their activities. Inside sales , more than a sale carried out remotely, is a sale that relies on the use of technological solutions to obtain data that favors conversions.
As a result, embracing innovations such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software , the inside sales team has increasingly assertive information to guide its approach and seal sales.
Inside sales versus telemarketing
Does it cross your mind that even before the term “inside sales” appeared, you and the whole world already knew this idea of inside sales based on the work done by telemarketers? Well, let’s get to the differences.
The key to understanding what inside sales is from the perspective of inside sales and why it differs from the infamous telemarketing has already been given by us: technology.
The data in favor of personalizing the approach
How many times have you been annoyed by receiving a telemarketing call offering a product or service that was not of interest to you? How many times have you been frustrated with a sales approach that uses the same script to talk to you and hundreds of other people?
Certainly, we are not here to “throw a stone” on telemarketing, nor on its attendants who are only doing honest work. But it is precisely on the basis of the questions raised that we can return to the reflection at the beginning of the post on the evolution of the art of selling.
In recent years, a practice known as inbound marketing has started a market transformation focused on the relationship between companies and consumers.
Among many other things, inbound leads to a more personalized approach to interactions with potential customers.
Have you ever found it interesting to receive an email from an e-commerce about a product that was exactly what you were looking for? Coincidences aside, it is this “new” approach to marketing that is behind it.
This type of situation only occurs if the company seeks to have access to data about your preferences, your profile and other information that can reveal what type of products or services will meet your needs. These will be the ones to be offered, guaranteeing a greater chance of success in the sale.
Basically, that’s what inside sales does: it relies on data to understand a potential customer’s needs and know what to offer, how and when to offer it .
Thus, unlike standardized and even random sales, as telemarketing does, inside sales is something much more targeted, personalized and, consequently, assertive.
What does an inside sales professional do?
You already know that inside sales uses data for a different approach to sales and therefore differs from telemarketing and even the traditional sales process known as field sales or field sales, outside sales.
What may not be clear is how this happens, beyond the adoption of a technology that allows the collection of relevant data. Let’s talk about it so you can understand what makes this sales process special and capable of increasing your company’s success. Follow:
In addition to the product
At the end of the day, what a company needs to maintain itself, as well as to generate profit and grow, is to sell. Knowing this, at first it may sound strange to say that inside sales efforts are not necessarily focused on the product or service being sold.
Not everyone who is interested in a product will actually buy it. If you have a positive experience with the company, however, you may spontaneously recommend it to others. In this regard, it is worth remembering that word of mouth is still a powerful form of advertising.
What’s more, this positive experience can make the person return to your company instead of looking for the competition when they finally decide to buy. And, as if that weren’t enough, it can also be the key to making that person a loyal and recurring customer.
For all this, before focusing on the product, inside sales focuses on helping the potential customer to solve a need . Thus, it is not a question of trying to force a sale, using appealing arguments, but of providing advice, being useful and, if there is an opportunity, trying and selling.
This tends to work better than traditional sales processes because it tells the consumer that the salesperson isn’t desperate for commission, selling something that might not even be that interesting. The difference in approach contributes to the understanding that the product is really worth it.
Focus on personalization
This makes it easier to understand why the inside sales team doesn’t follow a standardized script like the telemarketing team usually does. In each interaction, the salesperson needs to be prepared to identify and understand the needs of that particular customer .
Thus, the professional does not get in touch to offer a product randomly, but directs his approach based on what each potential customer wants.
It is the personalization that we have already talked about and that contributes to greater interest in what is being sold, increasing the chances of success.
Finally, we emphasize that inside sales avoids invasive approaches. We dare say that you have certainly been annoyed with a contact made by a company to which you never gave your phone number or your email, right?
This sort of thing isn’t or shouldn’t be part of this inside sales process we’re talking about. Even to try to ensure better chances of closing a sale, inside sales focuses their approach to those who have expressed an interest in knowing more about the company, its products or services.
Thus, the professional who is part of the team only gets in touch with those who left their phone or email directly . Something that even justifies this interaction and makes the consumer not feel as uncomfortable as happens due to some telemarketing onslaughts, for example.
An overview of inside sales in practice
With all that has been said so far, you must be understanding more and more what inside sales is, but it is natural to have doubts about how this process works or is capable of generating sales for a company.
For this reason, we have prepared a kind of timeline so you know what steps the inside sales team can go through. Are they:
You’ve read here that the inside sales team only contacts those who have expressed an interest in receiving more information or even requested a call from a salesperson or consultant of the company.
For this to happen, the company has to make itself known to the public and attract their attention . Something that can be done by sharing relevant information that helps people answer questions and solve problems.
Good content can get a person to engage with the company and give them permission to make contact, becoming leads . A full plate for inside sales!
As leads are contacted by the company, follow-up should be done to see how the relationship is evolving and whether the goals set for the inside sales team are being met.
Monitoring the work, especially with the help of metrics, is important to understand which bottlenecks need to be corrected for the team to be more successful in its approaches.
Wondering what metrics those would be? We will cite some of the most relevant ones considering the entire internal sales process. Look:
- Conversion rate : this is the most important metric as it indicates how many of the interactions carried out were actually transformed into business, that is, into sales;
- Conversion by lead : this metric is intended to allow a comparison between leads (those who joined the contact list) generated and leads converted (those who became customers) in previous months.
The idea is to make a projection of what to expect for the current month, favoring the planning and adoption of strategies by the inside sales team ;
- Average and individual sales value : the purpose of this metric is to evaluate how many sales each professional from the inside sales team made in a month or in a certain time interval.
The idea is not to have inputs to exert pressure, but to understand the existence of possible bottlenecks and correct them to improve the performance of the team as a whole;
- Total Time : It is interesting to have a metric that allows the company to know how much time, on average, the inside sales team spends to achieve its goals.
The information can, among other things, be used to compare this sales process to field sales and certify the best strategy for the company.
As we said, the focus of inside sales is not directly selling a product or service. Thus, it is advisable to use approach methodologies that allow the team to know who they are talking to .
That way, they’ll know whether or not it’s worth investing in a negotiation and even how to conduct that conversation when the time is right.
Inclusion in CRM
At this point, if the sales professional has understood that the lead has what it takes to be a customer and knows how the company can help him or her, we can say that this is a qualified lead .
Qualified leads must be included in the CRM software used by the company so that the next steps of the sales process can be designed. It may be time to send a demo of service to the potential customer, for example.
closing the sale
Once you get here, the chances of everything going wrong are much smaller. This is because the company has already captured the attention and interest of the potential customer, shown that it can help them, made a demonstration (or similar strategy) and is ready to present a sales proposal.
Important! We warn that this path is not necessarily linear and that not all consumers will need to go through all the steps. Therefore, the evaluation of inside sales professionals , as well as the data collected will help in defining strategies in each case.
Key benefits of inside sales
We have already mentioned a few times that inside sales are more assertive and increase the chances of sales being completed. Those aren’t its only benefits, though.
There is much more that your company can reap by selling, in a personalized way, to those who are really interested in your products or services. Look:
Field sales demand that the company have salespeople on the street, spending time in traffic, spending on transportation or gasoline and running the risk of having canceled meetings.
With inside sales , the team works from within the company itself, having available the time previously spent with displacement and reducing its operating costs . Also, if a meeting gets canceled or a call goes unanswered, it’s easy to move on to the next one.
All this generates cost efficiency and also makes the company apply its resources more strategically.
Higher profit margin
If the company spends less, it can consequently have a higher profit margin.
Furthermore, the inside sales approach favors the approximation between the company and the consumer and customer loyalty. With this, a scenario is created in which it becomes easier or more likely to increase the average ticket .
More opportunities and efficiency
Moving from one call to the next is simpler and takes much less time than going from one potential customer to another in person.
With this, inside sales also have the benefit of generating more sales opportunities for the company as the team is able to serve a greater number of people per day . This increases both the productivity and the efficiency of the sales team who can better prepare for contact possibilities.
More flexibility for the company
Especially since we have already mentioned Covid-19 in this post, we remind you that remote work, which was already a trend, has grown and should remain part of the reality of many companies even with the end of the pandemic.
Thus, the implementation of inside sales can be combined with a home office policy that brings even more benefits to the company, if this type of work is interesting within its reality. This flexibility tends to be positive and can further enhance cost efficiency and productivity.
How to implement inside sales
In a way, the implementation of inside sales can be considered simple because the company does not need to invest in many tools.
You need phones or other devices for audio and, when convenient, video calls, CRM software , and an e-mailing tool.
On the other hand, the company must have or assemble a team prepared to work with internal sales, making use of technology, data and adapting to the approach that the process demands.
Next, we will go through these points so that you understand which way the implementation of insides sales should go.
For inside sales to work , your company may need to create a people training and development program to prepare your sales force employees to do things differently going forward.
To do so, it is important to know in advance whether the inside sales will be applied to all sales, to the entire process or just in some steps. Thus, the training of employees can be better targeted and adapted to the role they will have to play on a daily basis.
With this preparation in mind, it is also important to know the profile of the inside sales professional . Thus, the company can know what knowledge and skills must be transmitted or what type of professional it should seek in the market, if necessary. Check out the main features:
Remember how we said that inside sales increases sales force opportunities and efficiency? This only really happens if professionals are organized and able to manage their time well.
Otherwise, even without the delay caused by traffic and unforeseen events, the professional may not be able to contact everyone he needs to reach the stipulated goal;
We said that the inside sales professional can act as a consultant and that he or she needs to guarantee a personalized service to each consumer. For that, empathy is needed.
Only by understanding the demands of each potential customer will the salesperson be able to help him, win his sympathy and create a relationship capable of resulting in sales for the company;
As is expected of anyone in sales, the person working on the inside sales team needs to have good persuasion skills.
In fact, even though salespeople have data capable of better directing their approaches, the fact that contact with potential customers is remote can make convincing even more important.
This, however, is something that must happen following the approach proposed by inside sales , that is, without invasive tactics to force a sale. Something that requires an even more developed power of persuasion;
Still, it is interesting for the inside sales professional to be proactive, especially with regard to seeking new information and learning about new tools that can be used in their approach and sales process,
Investment in content
In addition to training or preparing the team, to implement inside sales your company will need to invest in at least one type of content that is capable of attracting the public’s attention . The most appropriate thing is that this content is online.
Blog posts, emails, e-books, virtual presentations, videos with explanations and other relevant information and so on. This is important because, before focusing on selling, inside sales need to show the public that the company can help them solve different problems.
It is this type of content that usually attracts people who will eventually express interest in providing their contact email or phone number, following a lead qualification path until they become customers.
It’s worth remembering, this all has to do with the inbound marketing we mentioned earlier.
Adoption of technologies
The implementation of inside sales depends on the adoption of suitable technologies . We sometimes mention the phone as one of the tools, but your company can also make contact online and even invest in a chatbot to start conversations.
Therefore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the company’s audience, which are the most appropriate communication channels to establish contact and other particularities that will guide the choice of solutions to be used.
Other factors that should be considered
Implementing inside sales is certainly not something that happens overnight and requires planning.
Your company needs to consider, for example, whether to train the entire sales team at once or divide them into groups to better deal with the impact of the transition period.
Depending on the composition of the staff, adaptation to a new approach and the use of new technologies can be more or less slow and all this must be taken into account.
It may also be interesting for your company to focus on upskilling strategies to ensure continuous learning from the inside sales team . The sales industry evolves frequently and new skills may be needed to succeed in attracting leads and converting into sales.
Also, follow-up metrics must be used and, as a consequence, will require adjustments to be made in the processes and approach methodologies used by professionals. Something that also demands a continuous investment in qualification.
End of traditional sales?
Now you know what inside sales is , its benefits and even what your company should do to implement it. Does all this mean that other sales strategies should be abandoned? The answer is not necessarily.
Inside sales can work well for virtually any type of company, and there are even those that adopt it exclusively. Nothing is eight or eighty, however, and your company’s case must be evaluated based on its particularities.
It may be that mixing inside sales with field sales , for example, is the best way out . Depending on the type of product or service, not all stages of the sale can work well remotely and, therefore, a combination of strategies ends up being the best choice.