What does it mean to be a successful salesperson, whether inside sales or otherwise?
Certainly, the ability to persuade is as important as is the knowledge of the solution for sale. However, the most successful salespeople approach each sale as though it were a battle; not in the negative sense, but in the strategic and tactical sense, from gathering intelligence and building a pathway, to partnership between your company and the customer’s business.
According to a recent study, nearly 50% of sales leaders are shifting from the field to inside sales. This shift, along with shorter sales cycles and easier access to competitor information, makes it more important than ever to ensure your inside sales team is well equipped to hold its ground against the competition with a value message, a value selling approach, and the tools (and reports) to back it up.
With the right tools, your inside sales team can obtain the intelligence they need to initiate a conversation with each prospect and build a business case to develop and close the sale. When your company is selling solutions worth tens of thousands of dollars, your team needs the strongest possible position from which to launch a conversation.
In addition to leveraging information about your prospect (now more readily available online than ever), assessment tools and value calculators can funnel important data for your team to use in reaching out to a prospect. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and ROI tools provide information to build a business case to convince all stakeholders of the value of your solution to their business.
Initial Intelligence Gathering
The complex sale requires an effective foundation from which to launch a dialogue to help the prospect clearly define the business problem, including its scope and magnitude. The foundation, and the case for your solution, is strengthened with the results of a value calculator that enumerates how much revenue improvement and costs savings could be achieved by resolving the problem.
Because both the assessment tool and the value calculator use information specific to each prospect, those prospects own the numbers and receive results that directly address their business problem. Driven by a strong inbound marketing program, assessments or value calculators strategically placed on your website can help your inside sales team capture valuable data belonging to the potential buyer to build a customized approach to an initial conversation.
When 100% of your sales are conducted via phone and email, your team needs a solid reason to connect with a prospect. Data from ROI tools provide that reason. The sales representative will be primed with information specific to the potential buyer, a sure way to fix attention on the conversation.
If your team lacks an inbound marketing effort or a lead generation team, inside reps can still leverage these tools in their own outbound efforts. Some ways they can use them include:
- Sending their own outbound emails to target prospects
- Leveraging value messaging to open the door to a conversation
- Asking prospects a few brief questions to collect information to give them quick, high-level ROI results
All techniques will help pique prospect interest in further exploration of the value you can deliver.
The Business Case: Building a Process for Success
For your team to be successful, each member should follow a proven path to advancing and closing a sale. Even for a moderately complex sale, a business case is the most powerful vehicle for moving a sale to completion. The business case, built with the customer’s information, contains the data required to persuade each stakeholder in the decision making process.
An inside sales environment provides a management advantage, making it is easier for managers to enforce a process. If you require your reps to build and present a business case before developing a proposal, you’re in a prime position to make sure it happens. It’s harder for a sales person to go rogue when the leaders are there to provide guidance on best practices.
The successful inside sales team understands that the best way to win a sale is to extract and leverage as much information as possible to create the ideal opening for a conversation about how your solution can address the prospect’s challenges.
Assessment tools and value calculators capture and funnel data directly relating to your specific buyer’s problem. If you require it, this business intelligence can form a solid foundation for the business case essential to a successful sales effort.