Your sales team can make or break your business. Good sales reps often provide your prospects and customers with an introduction to your company’s professionalism and expertise that makes them want to conduct business with you. Bad sales reps can drive prospects and customers away.
Building a great inside sales team is essential to the success of your business, and you can find out how to build a team that closes leads fast using the steps in this blog post.
What Is Inside Sales?
Inside sales refers to the sale of services or products by representatives who reach out to prospects to nurture and convert leads remotely via email, phone, or the internet.
What Do Inside Sales Representatives Do?
Inside sales representatives are responsible for seeking new clients and responding to prospect inquiries to sell products and services. Their clients may be individuals or businesses.
Some of an inside sales representative's tasks may include:
- Building relationships with prospective clients to establish trust
- Conducting research on customers and accounts
- Offering demonstrations of products or services online or during an in-person visit
- Negotiating rates or service terms
- Closing sales deals and reporting important sales data
A sales representatives position is fairly predictable, and they often have daily goals they must meet each day, such as the amount of phone calls they make, proposals they send, or meetings they book.
Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales
The primary difference between inside and outside sales is that inside sales reps often work in an office, communicating and closing deals over the phone, through email, or online.
Outside sales reps work outside of the office setting and are required to go out in the field to meet with potential clients. Once an outside sales rep closes a deal, they often maintain face-to-face relationships with current customers.
Here are some other key differences between inside and outside sales:
- Inside sales and outside sales professionals typically use different software to contact and manage customer and lead interactions. Outside sales reps often need additional tools to help them manage territories and map routes.
- Inside sales reps are usually able to reach and connect with multiple clients or prospects in a day, whereas outside sales reps are limited due to travel times, canceled meetings, or meetings that run longer than expected.
- Inside sales reps typically work in a more collaborative environment with a set schedule, and outside sales reps usually work alone in the field and make their own schedules.
Whether your sales team is inside, outside, or a combination of both, it is important to know how to build your team to close leads efficiently.
How to Build and Structure Your Sales Team
Although there is no one-size-fits-all structure for sales teams, you can build a sales team that contributes to your core business model and sales goals using the following steps.
1. Start With Your Hiring Process.
Starting with the hiring process means seeking salespeople or sales development representatives (SDRs) the same way you search for the ideal prospect to close deals. The salesperson you choose to hire should have the right skills and experience for your company.
Make sure you write an accurate job description and requirements on job posting forums to filter out unqualified candidates. You may also consider adding compensation information to filter out the salespeople you are unable to afford.
Since salespeople need to possess excellent phone communication, screen candidates over the phone first to see how well they build rapport with you and “sell” themselves before you meet them in person.
During the in-person interview, ask specific sales questions and behavioral questions, such as:
- How do you handle objections?
- What motivates you?
- Why did you select a career in sales?
- How do you handle conflicts within your sales team?
2. Consider How Many SDRs and AEs You Need.
Account executives (AEs) work off of the opportunities sent to them by SDRs. It is important to think about how many opportunities each AE on your team should have to keep them busy.
If your current AEs can’t handle the opportunities sent their way, then you may need to hire new AEs to hit your numbers.
Once you know how many meetings your account executives need to close deals, you can decide how many SDRs you will need.
The best way to decide how many SDRs you need is to calculate the weekly calls your team makes, the average conversion rate from those calls, and then you can make activity goals and quotas.
Here is a formula that may help you find out how many SDRs you need:
Total Sales Qualified Leads / Individual SDR Quota = Number of SDRs Required.
3. Develop an Effective Plan for Onboarding and Training.
If you want to create a great sales team, you need to train your new hires and offer them resources according to your company sales processes. Consider providing your new hires with a peer mentor who has more experience to guide them through the first couple of weeks with your company.
Here are some effective training and onboarding strategies:
Invest in Elearning Platforms.
Training videos, quizzes, and tests can help your new hires learn wherever they are. Elearning courses can be chosen for each team member so they can expand their skill set and move at their own pace.
Provide Actionable Feedback.
Feedback during a new hire’s first couple of weeks helps them to understand the expectations you have for them at your company.
Assemble a Resource Library.
Try assembling useful resources like sales blogs that provide detailed information on sales techniques and strategies. The HubSpot Sales Blog offers a comprehensive collection of helpful sales information.
You could also make a webpage or Google Doc with links to resources that is easily accessible for all team members.
4. Consider a Competitive Compensation Plan.
Developing a good compensation plan is essential to building an effective sales team. When you begin deciding how much your sales team members will make, start off with a base compensation rate and provide tiers to their income.
For example, your SDR will make a base salary no matter what their work performance is like, and then they will get compensated for scheduling meetings, generating revenue, creating pipelines, or hitting some other performance indicator.
This helps to drive sales performance and creates a sense of accomplishment in your sales team members.
A great way to determine how much your SDRs should make as a base salary is to look at the average salary for your geographical area on websites like Glassdoor or Indeed.
5. Align Sales and Marketing.
Successful sales teams often collaborate directly with marketing teams. Both teams end up having the same goals – to increase profits and drive revenue.
The best way to develop sales and marketing synergy is to get each team involved in what the other does. You can do this by educating your sales team on how marketing helps drive sales leads to them. And you can educate your marketing team on the sales process.
Marketing and sales should also have meetings periodically to discuss their activity and the outcomes of their efforts.
Marketing team members should ask the sales team questions such as:
- Why aren’t opportunities closing?
- How can we help you increase your average deal size?
- What does your pipeline look like currently?
If both teams have shared goals, like increasing conversions, then the marketing team can assist sales by creating more targeted blog posts and landing pages.
6. Establish Specific Goals and Metrics.
Clear sales goals and other targeted metrics help your sales team to understand where to focus their efforts and attention. This begins with metrics and goals that are split up by sales activity, pipeline activity, and revenue.
Some important metrics for sales activity are:
- Call time
- Generated leads
- Logged opportunities
Pipeline activity metrics include:
- Total pipeline
- Average deal size
- Conversion rate of lead to opportunity
- Amount of open opportunities
Some metrics for revenue include the following:
- Closing rate
- Year-to-date revenue vs goal
- Quarterly or annual goal projection
7. Determine What a Sales Qualified Lead Means For Your Business.
Generally, a sales qualified lead (SQL) is someone who has taken desired actions and shows intent to purchase a product or service. However, each company may have its own indicators of what a sales qualified lead is. Your sales and marketing team members can work together to determine those indicators.
The first step you can take to determine what constitutes an SQL in your company is to brainstorm what your ideal customer is like and develop buyer personas. This helps you to know what qualities and indicators to pay attention to when someone enters the next stage of the sales process.
A popular qualifying process that is used to determine SQLs is BANT, which stands for budget, authority, needs, and timing. This process can help you to make a list of qualifying questions that can be tweaked to fit your ideal SQL and buyer personas.
8. Use Efficient Selling Platforms.
For sales teams to be successful, they need sales platforms that work well. Here is a list of important platforms and tools for your sales team:
CRM software is essential for inside sales reps who usually spend most of their time on the phone or chatting with prospects on the internet. It allows you to keep track of prospect and customer information, correspondence, and lead status.
HubSpot CRM is a great CRM software option to get your sales team started.
Sales Engagement Tools
Sales engagement tools can help your sales professionals save administration time by providing them with the ability to engage with multiple contacts at a time and delivering key insights about their engagements.
For example, they can review sales reports and assess email campaign performance. Open rates can shed light on how their subject lines are performing. If their open rates are low, they need to improve their subject lines.
Lead Generation Software
Lead generation software allows you to generate leads for your sales team. The software also allows you to gather data from prospects who have visited specific areas of your website.
For instance, you can see returning leads when they land on your contact us page. If they're looking at that page, you can infer they're considering reaching out to talk to you. That implies intent to purchase.
9. Write Sales Call Scripts and Record Calls.
Sales call scripts can help your SDRs take control of the conversation when they are talking to potential clients. This can help them to convert their conversations into revenue for your company.
A good script contains three elements:
- Introduction: A good introduction starts with stating your name and the company you work for and making the prospect aware that you are there to help them.
- Connection: Make a connection on a personal level by letting them know you are aware of them or their company in some way.
- Positioning statement: This statement shows that you understand the prospect’s problems that they face regularly.
Once the SDR listens and asks relevant questions, they can begin to build their pitch using the call script.
Record the sales calls your SDRs have with prospects to use for training purposes. Have a manager or lead review the calls with the sales team member one-on-one to help them improve their phone communication skills.
Recording calls may also help you identify aspects of your products that aren’t well-documented or easy to convey. You may also try keeping call recordings that are well executed to use as a resource for new sales team members.
You can also build less detailed scripts. Some teams prefer listing bullet points to serve as a call framework. This way, reps aren't reading something word for word. Instead, they can hit their important talking points while having a natural conversation.
Building an excellent and effective sales team takes time and effort. If you invest in your sales team and take the necessary steps to help them become successful, your business will likely see more closed deals and a boost in revenue.
Erika is a Marketing Copywriter at Bluleadz. She is a huge fan of houseplants and podcasts about conspiracy theories. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, and enjoying the outdoors.