The term “inside sales” does not see much use anymore. Back in its heyday, it was used to differentiate sales reps that did not participate in outside sales, i.e. representatives that go out into the field and physically visit prospects to market/sell products. Inside sales refer to the teams that work remotely to convert prospects into customers. This is very prevalent in fields where business-to-customer (B2C) and sales-as-a-service (SaaS) operations are dominant.
Fun fact: Inside sales invented the popular phenomenon of cold calling.
Inside sales is often a beneficial alternative to conventional methods. Particularly in scenarios such as the lockdown due to the current pandemic, remote sales and marketing techniques are extremely important for businesses to stay afloat. The reason why we will be looking into qualified lead generation using inside sales is two-fold – prevalence, and relevance.
Remote sales have been extremely prevalent since the late 20th century. As of 2019, the ratio of inside sales to outside sales representatives (in local studies) has almost reached the steady-state values of 1:1. However, as a consequence of the pandemic, we suspect the numbers to have shifted in favor of inside sales even more.
Speaking of the pandemic, this lockdown has shut down a very large part of our physical lives. Since outside sales require physical interactivity to thrive, most sales teams have been converted to inside sales, thereby staying relevant and trending in this scenario. A McKinsey article goes so far as to claim that COVID-19 may have transformed B2B sales strategies “forever”.
Generating Qualified Leads via Inside Sales
Inside sales and qualified lead generation are often viewed as mutually exclusive processes that are independent of how the other progress. However, by linking what are assumed to be opposed procedures, we can create newer and better connections. These connections often lead to ideas that improve upon their predecessors in terms of efficiency and overall time density.
We need to look at the crux of how inside sales and lead generation works, and in the process transform them into a cause-and-effect strategy. This applies to sales and marketing teams as well, and you can know more about it here.
Inside sales teams have a simple loop with every potential client: contact, nurture, meet, follow.
Contact refers to the first step of a lead entering your business’ sales pipeline for the first time. While this instance is often termed as “first contact”, it is staying in touch (i.e. general contact) that keeps the loop running.
Nurture refers to persistence, and the requirement to call back and check in on your prospect. A balance between “too many calls” and “too few calls” is a necessity.
Meet includes all sessions that are scheduled with the prospect, even after they have exited the sales pipeline. Interviews, demonstrations, introductions, and all other similar events are compiled under one umbrella.
Follow-up is similar to Nurture; however, it focuses more on the sessions that have taken place between you and the prospect, rather than the prospect themselves. Hence, the steps we will be focusing on are Contact and Nurture.
The overall functionality of an inside sales team often contributes to and is a critical part of, lead generation.
The most important part of an inside sales team is to not cold call and inquire about leads, but rather provide a warm welcome for inbound leads. Leading senior figures of pioneer marketing organizations have stated that “two-thirds of an inside sales team’s time should be spent on inbound lead calls.”
While they can be redirected to sales directly, an inside sales team acts as an effective lead qualification buffer for your business. By following First Contact principles, your inside sales team can gently nudge the prospect into conducting business with you. Depending on B2B/B2C delivery, further steps can be taken to ensure that the first call often ends the qualification process.
Irrespective of what First Contact results in, Nurture should be the next step. Focusing on the prospect themselves could provide an insight into the level of customer service and importance you provide, and this can be accomplished by your inside sales teams. Combining this with the wider market reach that inside sales provide, you can begin to gradually build up a lead database for your organization, future-proofing your client base in the meanwhile.
And there you go! Integrated inside sales and lead qualification is a very efficient process that solves various problems with a single team. Furthermore, you can contact us (at FunnL) for even more B2B solutions, today! We are pioneers in the SQM space, and lead generation is our only business. Well-trained expert professionals, 25,000+ successful qualified meetings, and a vast portfolio of satisfied customers – all you need is us to get that next prospect of yours turned into a customer.