Buying a subscription to a contact database, making cold calls and sending cold emails doesn’t get you new customers. It gets you the cold shoulder.
Only roughly 1% of cold calls result in a meeting. And 90% of B2B buyers don’t respond to cold outreach at all.
While straight up cold calling is quickly becoming a thing of the past, B2B inside sales is hotter than ever. In fact, the number of inside sales jobs has increased dramatically in recent years, far outpacing the growth of outside sales jobs.
Why? Because successful inside sales teams have evolved, developing a more strategic and targeted approach to selling. And this new approach is delivering impressive results.
To take full advantage of this trend, here are three common mistakes your new (or existing) inside sales team should avoid.
B2B inside sales isn’t telemarketing
For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the phrase “inside sales” is telemarketing. Dig a bit deeper, and you’ll quickly see that these two functions couldn’t be more different.
Telemarketing relies on a random assortment of contact information. Some of the names are wrong, most of the phone numbers are incorrect and not all of the contacts are a great fit for what you’re selling.
Telemarketing is a textbook example of a “spray and pray” approach. Most B2B companies broadcast their message out to the world and hope it sticks with a certain number of people.
By moving away from “spray and pray” and embracing a targeted prospecting process, your sales team will get better responses and see better results from companies that are a better match.
At Symbiont Group, our inside sales reps work with our marketing team to develop their lead lists. We discuss which industries we’ve had the most success selling into, which target segments to go after based on attributes such as revenue or company size and how to evaluate the maturity levels of each target account.
At the end of each outbound sales campaign, the sales and marketing teams evaluate what worked, what didn’t work and how we can leverage those findings for future sales campaigns.
This process allows our inside sales reps to focus on the right leads and generate better opportunities.
B2B inside sales doesn’t follow a script
Nothing is worse than getting a call and hearing someone read a call script verbatim over the phone. Your inside sales reps shouldn’t sound like robots; they should sound like people.
Reading a call script word for word causes your reps to lose sight of who is most important: the person on the other end of the line. If they’re solely focused on reading the script, they aren’t allowing the prospect to talk or listening to what they have to say.
Some people think call scripts are a thing of the past and that your inside sales reps shouldn’t be using them. And there is some truth to this statement.
A call script is only an effective tool if it’s constructed, used and updated properly. Properly is the key word here because it rarely happens.
At Symbiont Group, we use call flows when calling on behalf of our inside sales clients. Our inside sales reps spend time upfront reviewing buyer personas to understand what’s most important to each particular audience—including what moves them, what buttons to push and what objections they are most likely to have.
We create multiple call flows for the inside sales reps to refer to—as opposed to reciting—because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all message.
Our inside sales reps meet on a weekly basis to discuss what they heard over the phones, what resonated most with their prospects and how to overcome any new objections. The new findings are then incorporated back into the call flows—a crucial step many B2B sales organizations overlook.
This review and revision process allows our sales team to improve outbound communication consistently and perform at a higher level. Because call flows aren’t helpful when they sit on a shelf and collect dust.
There’s more to B2B inside sales than cold calling and cold emailing
Cold phone calls and cold emails are annoying. They interrupt what you’re doing. They lack context. They rarely add value.
For years, inside sales reps were limited to the phone and email as their primary tools for communicating with prospects. And when a prospect didn’t answer their phone calls or respond to their emails, it was incredibly difficult to get a read on that person.
Are they reading what I’m sending? Are they ignoring me? Are they interested at all?
Limiting inside sales reps to these two tools prevented them from being able to gauge the prospect’s or lead’s level of interest fully. If the individual didn’t say it over the phone or include it in an email, inside sales reps couldn’t track it.
When armed with the right tools, inside sales reps can now monitor a prospect’s or lead’s digital body language.
Digital body language is essentially the aggregate of digital activity seen from an individual. Each email that is opened or clicked, each website visit, each content downloaded and each referral from a social media property are part of a prospect’s digital body language.
At Symbiont Group, we teach our inside sales reps how to read these signs using CRM, marketing automation and social selling tools. They track and monitor every digital interaction with current and past prospects.
This helps them answer questions like:
- Have they clicked on links in your emails?
- Have they visited the client’s website?
- Which pages have they viewed?
- What content have they downloaded?
- What articles are they sharing on social media?
By evaluating these nonverbal buying signals, our inside sales reps have a better sense of what to say and when to say it.
Let’s face it
Establishing and running a revenue-generating inside sales organization can be difficult. But it’s not impossible.
Your team’s success depends on the foundation you’ve laid.
Effective inside sales teams put in the upfront time identifying their target audience, reviewing what’s most important to their target buyers and determining the appropriate communication channels to use when delivering their message.
Whether you’re building your inside sales team internally or using outsourced inside sales, it’s important to know these common mistakes and how you can avoid them.