The 8 Success Factors For Building Your Inside Sales Organization
We're pleased to welcome guest blogger, Greg Casale, Founder & CEO of Reveneer, the top founder-nominated outsourced sales and sales training company from our 2018 Boston Founders' Short List. We asked Greg to share the top factors that make Reveneer so successful at inside-sales. He identifies the 8 success factors that startup founders should consider when building (or outsourcing) a high-growth inside sales team.
SaaS companies today, or most any business that wants to grow quickly, requires the ability to acquire new customers in a repeatable, predictable way, and at the lowest acquisition cost. BDR models and other forms of high velocity lead generation and selling engines, have become a proven way of achieving this goal.
Building operations that do this successfully is fraught with risk. For the uneducated, or simply impatient, it can lead to a lot of wasted time and burned capital. Most startup businesses can’t tolerate much of either. Be aware of these 8 keys to success, and the oftentimes counterintuitive thinking that drives success in each.
The physical environments of today’s high-velocity inside selling operations have changed dramatically since the days when reps were isolated in cubicles. Open floor plans promote communication over isolation, cooperation over competition. Physical space to allow reps to move around when on calls, facilitated by quality, noise-cancelling headsets, creates a dynamic environment. Standing desks and adjustable chairs allow for changing positions throughout the day, further promoting a high energy vibe across the floor.
Forget everything you may have learned about the ideal candidate to work in these operations - that too has changed, and so has the variety of skills that matter most. Hire the wrong people, and you will fall victim to the biggest killer of inside sales – employee turnover.
Gone are the days when inside sales was populated with extroverted talkers.
Gone are the days when inside sales was populated with extroverted talkers. Today’s ideal candidate is more analytical. They are great listeners, highly curious, process-oriented note-takers. They gravitate to well documented, prescriptive, disciplined workflows. They may be “ambiverts”, or outright introverts. In either case, they have exceptional verbal skills with clean speech, ideal pacing, and energy.
A detailed strategy is required to define everything about how the team will go about having conversations with prospective customers. Sometimes called a ‘playbook’, this is the working document that defines everything about the go-to-market strategy, from profile of ideal company, description of target personas, how the call is to be opened, which objections are anticipated and how to handle them, what needs and pain can be discovered, and what is the call-to-action. The playbook should represent the foundation of the training program, and be an accessible, living document.
Proper training initially, and ongoing coaching after launch, are critical to success. While many companies seek experienced BDRs (Business Development Reps) to staff their inside operations, you should not be afraid to bring on those with little or no experience. Building predictability and repeatability into your operation requires individuals that will strictly adhere to the playbook – doing things the same way, and at the same time as their teammates.
About 20% of training time should be allocated to products, and 80% on how to make a successful sales call.
Oftentimes, that is best accomplished by those with no preconceived ideas of how the job is done. Many training programs make the mistake of focusing too much on product training, and not enough on how to successfully engage a prospect in the first 15 seconds of a call – the most critical period for earning a conversation. About 20% of training time should be allocated to products, and 80% on how to make a successful sales call.
5. Technology Stack
Doing the job of BDR today requires a robust and somewhat sophisticated technology stack, preferably integrated directly into your CRM, to ensure efficiency and tracking for BDR activities. You can get as complicated as you like here, but basic elements of the tech stack include:
click-to-call dialer to ensure that all calls are logged against the lead to show number, frequency and date/time of call;
a lead sourcing tool to provide up-to-date roles and responsibilities, direct-dial phone numbers, active email addresses, and other intelligence;
email sequencing tool to allow for highly targeted, persistent one-to-one emails to targeted decision makers for the purpose of augmenting the results of outbound calling.
Cadence defines the modalities that teams will use to contact prospects, and when and how to use them. Because there are so many options available to reps today, from calling, to email, to social and chat, your BDRs require a prescription that guides them when and how to initiate contact. Designing a cadence should be based on scientific analysis and reports of actual conversion rates for your target personas.
Designing a cadence should be based on scientific analysis and reports of actual conversion rates for your target personas.
Analysis and reports are available from a number sources to help you in getting started. An example of a typical cadence would be to define the number of outbound calls required per lead, the frequency and total volume of calls per week, when to initiate emails, the frequency of emails, etc.
7. Dashboard and Reporting
Successful inside sales operations are guided by data, not emotion. No longer does this data have to be compiled in reports at the end of the week or month. Live insights gathered through custom dashboards are available from most CRMs. These views can be built to show, as a minimum, leads created, dials made, number of conversations, conversation rate, meetings scheduled and delivered, and conversion rates for each. The data can be shown by individual rep and by the team as a whole. Reviewing these dashboards, and looking for opportunities to improve, should be done at least once per week in huddles attended by all stakeholders.
Last, but in many ways, most important, is building agility into how your team goes about performing day to day. When business opportunities arise, you will want to be able to shift the focus of the team to go after those opportunities, whether they be by geography, target industry, new product offering, etc. Evaluating these opportunities in the weekly huddle, and providing the team with a well-defined cadence and revised playbook, will allow them to attack the opportunity with a uniform approach, and measurable results.
There are a lot of resources and published information to help you get educated in each of these eight areas. Most important is that you spend time designing your operation around these key areas before you bring on any resources, not after or during. Once launched, the bulk of the activity should be around the weekly huddles, reviewing and optimizing key metrics. Look for opportunities to promote leaders early, giving them responsibility for managing the day-to-day operations of the team.
At Reveneer, we take the complexity out of designing, building and managing high velocity inside sales operations to transform how businesses sell. Reveneer offers complete, turnkey on-premise implementations, or inside sales as a fully managed service. For news, updates and unique views on inside sales visit the Reveneer blog.