The need for inside sales REPs is constantly growing nowadays with many B2B companies having a strategic change in their sales teams’ structure. InsideSales.com conducted a research with shocking results showing that “inside sales is growing 300% faster than outside sales”. This is happening mainly due to the fact that inside sales increases sales effectiveness, productivity and minimizes costs. “Surveying more than 100 senior-level sales leaders from high technology and business services companies (…)46 percent of respondents reported a migration from field to inside sales models within their organization over the last two years”(Steve W. Martin, Velocify)
Keeping pace with this fast growing trend, it’s important to adjust your company’s sales team skills to the new sales model. As sales people are shifting from field to virtual communication with customers, it’s mandatory to understand that virtual interaction is different in its nature from a face-to-face meeting. Let’s review the main skills required in virtual communication proficiency.
- Tone of Voice – A significant part of any Sales REP’s day is spent on the phone with customers, so pleasant, confident and friendly voice must be an inseparable part of the Sales’ virtual personality. Voice is the only image a client gets when he or she hears from a Sales REP for the first time. I personally perform the first interview for inside sales candidates over the phone; it’s the only way to check if that’s the tone of voice you would like your prospects to be exposed to.
- Conversational Skills – Being able to lead a pleasant conversation is a mandatory proficiency for an inside sales REP. A good sales person should be able to effectively attract strangers and get them into the conversation- not a MONOLOG. It’s common to use a pre-written script- the main required skill is to present the script naturally and improvise a dialog with the customer.
- Questioning Skills – asking the right questions and carefully listen to the lead’s answers as they are the key to continuing the interaction or planning the next conversation.
- Writing Skills – Writing becomes an inseparable part of the virtual communication capabilities required from a sales REP. The ability to correspond with your leads in an engaging manner could make the difference between a Sales REP and an Excellent, Successful Sales REP. Creating a “bank of email scripts” to various scenarios in the company is always a help; but, at the end of the day, the sales REPs must be able to adjust a relevant script and write a relevant & captivating e-mail that will encourage your customer to continue the discussion with them.
- Hands on with Web Conferencing Tools – Technology has a significant contribution to facilitate the virtual sales process. Any sales REP must be very comfortable with the tools the company decided to choose. You don’t want your team to spend lot of time when they need to schedule a product demo or presentation with their prospects.
- Presentations Skills – Web conferences, and demo meetings became vital in insuring customer engagement to the sales process. It is important to be able to catch the client’s attention via the web presentation and not to limit it to voiced-over presentation slides and screen share. You can do it by diversifying the content of the presentation, adding different types of media (videos, audio files, pictures) and some brainstorming activities along the presentation.
Remember that Virtual communication practice is different in nature from traditional in-person engagement. Ensure your inside sales team has the right skills and you will reach better sales results.