Who doesn’t want to streamline processes to become as efficient as possible? For many organizations, reaching the efficiency mountaintop means rejiggering sales roles in order to align the end-to-end process with the customer journey. The desired result is role specialization, a calling-card approach that puts the inside sales team at the point of first contact with the customer.
And that initial point of contact is super-important: It’s a big responsibility to be the voice of the organization, the virtual hand extending to greet the prospect. If that interaction is fumbled, the customer journey gets about as far as packing a toothbrush. It’s essential for the smart company or sales organization to ensure that their inside sales team is effective at being the disembodied voice on the phone line and the writer of emails with a winning edge.
In addition to having the right people in the right and more specialized roles, it is also important to ensure you are using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor your team’s success. But relying on KPI’s alone is seldom enough. What you also need to consider are the skills of your inside sales team based on their role.
To get the most bang for your metrics buck and see a more comprehensive view of what’s happening on the frontlines, you’ll want to examine your inside sales team’s responsibilities from the perspective of the following revealing skills categories.
Prospecting Skills: Going for Gold, Not Shiny Trinkets
In a way, depending on what you are selling, it may be monkey business to decide that 20, 25 calls per day measures effectiveness if the sales rep is only convo-ing with lower-rung folks at Simeon Inc. Five calls with a key person is worth all the time spent extending the “monkey paw” to the wrong chimps. Measure great prospecting skills by the rate of successful connections: those that have a chance of resulting in prospect-to-customer conversions.
Once your frontline rep has established a connection with a decision maker, equally important is the information they gather. Whatever company they’re reaching out to, in order to be top-performing inside sales reps, they need to know how to gather the following information about that company:
- Decision maker names/titles
- Current technology/solutions
- Existing pain points/areas of dissatisfaction
- Timeframe for reevaluation
Cataloguing these data points in a CRM creates invaluable pipeline info for the entire sales team, as well as for marketing teams as they put together future targeted nurture campaigns if the lead is not in purchase mode yet.
Phone Skills: This Call May Be Monitored…
For inside sales reps, efficiency comes down to productive multitasking—possessing the ability to work on numerous accounts simultaneously, which translates to many hours of phone time each day. But, again, measuring the reps’ productivity by number of calls and the average length of calls is not an accurate method for evaluating effectiveness.
Of course the numbers tell a story, just keep the narrative focused on connections made vs. opportunity-conversion rate. If the plot isn’t adding up and you’re seeing a high connection but low opportunity-conversion rate, consider sitting in on calls to understand the cause of the disparity. It could either be an issue or will, or skill.
Work Ethic: Keeping the Flow
Numbers aren’t the only thing you’re looking at in terms of effective inside sales rep performance, but this is a numbers business we’re in, so ensure that each rep is creating a steady flow of outbound activity. How consistent are the numbers in terms of average calls and emails per day? Is Rep A shouldering the numbers load while Rep B is in the breakroom watching someone else’s lunch circling the microwave carousel?
Competitiveness: To the Victor Go the Sweets
Once reps are firmly rooted and carrying out their job description with panache, they’ll be trending toward consistently meeting or exceeding their goals. Success breeds more success. These reps will naturally strive to win over the prospect and rise to the top of the rep pool—and all of that will have a positive effect on their selling ability.
A great way to motivate your inside sales reps’ toward more healthy competition is to hold sales contests; another is to create a smart-looking lead board in a high traffic area so that your reps can track their success against others. Success is also infectious—it will have co-reps wanting to reach as high or higher. Just for fun, but not around Halloween, maybe lure them to the board with a candy bowl. Chocolate makes everything better.