Sales is booming, the future never brighter. Business to Business (B2B) sales revenue in the US alone is expected to hit $9.2trillion USD by 2021, with eCommerce sales a driving growth factor. Business to Consumer sales only continue to climb. Inside sales is becoming a larger piece of the the sales pie – and can be a lucrative career for those that have the right personality and attitude, teamed up with a company with a solid sales strategy that leverages data-driven insights.
What is inside sales?
What is inside sales? It’s sales without the in-person meetings. Ramin Assemi at Close.io defines it as “the act of identifying, nurturing and turning leads into customers remotely.” But hey, if you’re in sales already you’ll know it’s an art, not just an act.
For example, B2B inside sales might be selling a software product to a 100-person company that’s across the other side of the country. B2C inside sales might be selling gym memberships online.
Inside sales is all remote interaction: via phone, email, IM, social media, or other communication channels. Whereas, in the past, deals might have been done over a face-to-face meeting (or many lunches out), the trend towards virtual sales is clear.
Even for outside sales reps, there has been a shift of 89.2% more of their time allocated towards inside sales techniques since 2013 (US), according to the State of Sales report from InsideSales.com.
To the traditional salesperson, this may be a little horrifying.
“How can I make a sale without developing a real-life relationship with this person?!”
For business, it makes sense.
Inside sales cuts down on the amount of resources required to sell – if strategy, salesperson and lead align. You can reach global territories without a salesperson on the ground. Inside sales allows better data collection, measurement, tracking, and analysis – and data is king.
With businesses moving towards remote working culture and physical boundaries melting away, inside sales is simply another way that technology is allowing us to be interconnected, without having to be face to face.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for every salesperson.
Why you should be an inside salesperson?
You love chatting online or on the phone
If you’re the type of person who likes to spend their time catching up with people over Messenger texting or chatting on the phone, then inside sales might be your calling. Since you’ll be having non-face-to-face conversations as one of your main duties, if you already like and excel at this, you’ll enjoy the work itself.
More entry-level sales roles
For those without any work experience to note, wanting to get into sales, inside sales is a great place to start. Many companies have inside sales roles available that don’t require any particular background experience. You’ll be trained up and the company will see how you perform. For entry-level applicants, it’s important to pick a company with a good reputation that offers a retainer, not a commission-only structure.
You’re already skilled at selling (and may not even know it)
Already skilled at selling? Great! Looks like you’ll be getting a healthy commission straight out of the gates. Have no idea if you can sell? If you’re the person in your friend or family group that always manages to convince everyone to catch up at X restaurant on X day, or your friends are always taking your advice on new products to try, then you’re probably a natural.
(Possibly) the ability to work remotely
Just because you’re only interacting with your leads remotely, doesn’t mean that you won’t be working from an office yourself. However, for some organisations, there is the opportunity for inside sales staff to work remotely. This perk of the job will depend on the company. Some companies may have an all-remote inside sales workforce, some will have everyone working in the same building, and some may be able to arrange remote work after training or if you’ve proved your chops.
The sky’s the limit
Salespeople are paid commission on sales that they make, which means the better that you are at your job, the more $$$ you’ll earn!
Customers’ impact on your sales strategy
Your sales strategy should be to make your customer feel valued, use frictionless technology to enhance overall customer experience, and satisfy needs they didn’t even know they had.
It’s still all about meaningful connections, but leveraging technology to be able to do so remotely.
George Beddoes, National Sales Manager, Partner Relations, MYOB, shares how they achieve this at MYOB: “We expect our partners to receive the same experience over the phone as they would in person. To enable this, our inside sales teams uses best in-class tools like salesforce.com and Sales Preso, integrated with Genesys telephony, screen sharing functions like join.me and Team Viewer, and online booking tools to help partners book meetings and call backs directly into the inside salesperson’s calendar.”
It’s customers and the data they provide that keep informing inside sales of what’s working strategy-wise – and what’s not.
It’s also important to remember that each customer is unique. What techniques work with some people won’t work with others. What’s now expected in the age of personalised experience means a tailored approach, always-on, omnichannel approach.
Cloud computing and the future of inside sales
The future of inside sales is strong. In Salesforce’s most recent survey, they noted that “Sales performance and inside staffing trends march in lockstep; high performers are 2.3x more likely than underperformers to have hired more inside reps.”
So, are the machines going to be taking away inside sales jobs any time soon? That’s a no.
Instead, cloud computing is giving reps the opportunity to improve their selling techniques, hitting higher numbers. George Beddoes gives us one such example: “The integration of natural language generation and machine learning with process automation is pretty cool. Helping users understand data, trends and opportunities to improve performance really gives them a level of insight that’s previously been expensive or hard to access, and allows them to make decisions quickly and effectively.”
This has been effectively used not only in the MYOB Advisor product for their clients, but also in dashboards and powering insights for sales staff on the team. The better that your company collects and analyses all the data available to them, the better you will be able to do your job.
Inside sales techniques
Spend more time and effort on customers that are estimated to have a higher lifetime value
Hopefully, in your inside sales position, the company you’re working for will have systems in place that can help estimate figures like customer lifetime value (CLTV) in an actual dollar amount. CLTV is calculated via historical data on similar companies, and is the estimated value of the revenue from the customer over the estimated length of the contract, minus the customer acquisition cost. Concentrate more on relationship building with leads with a high estimated CLTV – as they’ll be more lucrative in the long run.
Use inside sales for businesses with less decision makers involved in purchasing
George Beddoes details how they do inside sales at MYOB using this approach: “Where our Field teams typically work with partners with larger headcounts who benefit with meeting someone in their boardroom, the partners served by inside sales are often smaller businesses and sole practitioners who don’t need so many staff to be involved in making decisions. Those customers love having a phone based relationship as it saves them time and allows them to get to the point and talk business!”
Sell to your value proposition
Corporate Visions fills us in that B2B salespeople know 70% or more of their solution overlaps with what the competition are offering. So, instead of trying to go in hard on that 70%, you should speak up and really iterate that 30%. Speak about what you offer that the competition doesn’t. That’s your value proposition and what is going to ultimately give you the upper hand – if it’s a good fit for your customer.
There are plenty more inside sales techniques to learn, such as storytelling, a deep understanding of the competition, discovery of the leads’ current tools, and how to reach out at the right time… but going into more detail can wait until you land that gig.
Crystal ball says: An inside sales career may be in your future
If you’re looking for a role where the sky’s the limit, then inside sales could be for you. Jumping on board with a company that is taking advantage of all that cloud computing, AI, and data insights can provide will ensure you have better sales leads, with greater value, and better conversion rates, landing directly into your lap. All you need to do is do your thang.
Interest piqued into what’s happening over at MYOB? Check out their careers page for their latest job offerings.