Until recently, inside sales was overshadowed and overlooked by the sales organization. It was usually treated like a second-rate citizen and relegated to generating leads for outside sales or for merely closing smaller accounts. This is no longer the case. In fact, inside sales is now the fastest growing sales channel. Consider these eye-opening statistics:
- Inside sales is growing 300% faster than field sales. (InsideSales.com)
- The number of U.S. non-retail inside sales positions to increase by more than 40-thousand per year through 2020. (according to projecting from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, InsideSales.com)
- Inside sales reduce cost-of-sales by 40 to 90% compared to field sales, while revenues stay the same or even grow (Harvard Business Review)
Given these statistics and that the rise of inside sales is a trend likely to accelerate, sales organizations are sitting up and taking notice. What they are noticing is that inside sales departments are able to engage more buyers, increase chances of winning more deals, and accelerate sales cycles. They can also help create more predictable revenue streams and forecast revenue with greater accuracy – and all at a far lower cost than what it takes to run a typical field-sales organization.
Is your company ready to ramp up its inside sales investment? We have outlined the key elements you need to build a high performing inside sales team that will accelerate your revenue:
1) Be data-driven
High-performing sales teams rely on data and sales analytics to make informed decisions and to accurately forecast business. Developing strong KPI and performance metrics is critical for sales performance management and building a predictable, repeatable, revenue generation process. It allows sales managers to not only quantify and accurately measure rep performance, but also to quickly diagnose problems or issues that can compromise productivity. Here are 7 must-track KPIs that you should be watching to measure success.
2) Go mobile
According Salesforce.com's recently released 2015 State of Sales report, nearly 60% of high-performing sales teams already use or are planning to use a mobile sales application. High performers are 2 times as likely as underperformers to use or have plans to use a mobile sales app. Sparked by consumer demand for always-connected, always accessible customer service it’s not a surprise that this trend has penetrated to the business world. Top sales organizations use mobile apps for everything from lead management to sales forecasting, allowing them to close sales from anywhere at any time.
3) Embrace technology
To meet the needs of today's sophisticated buyer, inside sales reps need to work faster, better and smarter. In order to do so, Salesforce.com reports that high performing teams are 3 times more likely than underperformers to invest in sales technologies that give them an edge. Most average performers invest in basic CRM technologies, but the leaders go beyond CRM to more innovative technologies such as performance support, that provide task automation and real-time guidance.
4) Reduce training costs
Training costs are a valid concern for an organization looking to build an inside sales department. Until recently, most performance management approaches consisted primarily of classroom training programs and eLearning. With both approaches, valuable time is spent NOT selling. To add insult to injury, research has shown 80–90% of learning is lost one month after training. Modern real-time sales performance tools support the user within the work environment so that employees do not have to stop for training every time something is new or changed or forgotten. Statistics show that performance support can dramatically reduce costs by shortening the amount of software training by up to 20%.
5) Employ better hiring strategies
Hiring and retraining a top-performing team can be a challenge in today's competitive environment. A well-planned and well-executed onboarding process will increase the chances for a positive work experience leading to a win-win relationship between a new hire and your company. Reports show that 54% of organizations see greater new hire productivity and 50% higher retention rates for new hires when they have a standardized onboarding process in place. Learn what steps you can take to create a successful onboarding plan here.
To learn more about tools and technology to improve your sales organization performance, download a copy of our latest eBook - An Insiders Guide to Top Sales Tools.