Up to four in 10 large organizations moved a significant portion of their sales effort to an inside model in recent years. These business models can be more cost productive, especially if you use the best sales training platform. Yes, buyers are more willing to engage with your reps through video meetings these days. But your team’s metrics may not reach the desired level unless you properly train and coach your reps.
The Best Sales Training Platform
If your inside reps rocked their sales quota back in the day, they were likely pitching simple products and services. Inside reps typically didn’t receive as much coaching or training as outside reps. In fact, the term “order taker” stems from the inside sales model. One hallmark of the inside sales playbook has been cold calling. As reps move to an inside sales mode, cold calling continues to be important. In a recent VendorNeutral webinar, C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of SalesFuel reminded listeners that “reps should be engaging in cold calling but they fear the outcome. If they approach with call with the right attitude, one that shows enthusiasm for the value they are offering the prospect, they'll have more success.”
Beyond cold calling, your reps who now sell inside need information and tools, i.e. training, to connect with prospects, or they won’t get far in their sales process. The best sales training platform will get your reps started on the right path.
Research conducted by Tará Burnthorne Lopez, April Field Kemp, and C. Michael Wittmann and published in the Journal of Selling at the University of Illinois highlights the challenges organizations face as they move to an inside sales model and retrain their staff. While your inside reps previously succeeded on the basis of product knowledge, the new sales model requires reps to have “[s]trategic knowledge including content such as competitor, industry, and customer knowledge.” In other words, they must be ready to encounter prospects who expect help sifting industry intelligence, and they must demonstrate knowledge of the business and competitors. Keep in mind that our research shows 40% of buyers are looking for sellers with experience in their line of business. Your reps need to know about the specific organization they’re selling to as well. Before they reach out, they should know how long the company has been in business, whether they’ve launched new products recently, and if they have a new competitor in the marketplace. We call having this kind of knowledge credibility.
Skills Covered in Training
Selling from a remote location also requires sales skills refinement. Your reps must be good at reading visual cues during video-based calls. When a prospect starts looking away from the camera, they’re sending a message – they’d like to call to end. As technology keeps evolving, so must your reps’ mastery of the latest tools. Your reps, hopefully, never would have been late for an in-person call. Failing to prepare for tech challenges amounts to being late if the prospect is waiting for your rep to figure out how to use the video tool you just invested in.
Email communications pose another challenge for many sales reps. Our research shows at least 37% of buyers prefer to do business with sales reps via email. However, 20% of buyers also say they are turned off by spammy bulk email messages. If your sales training doesn’t cover email communication, it’s time to make a change.
Your reps likely spend up to a month in training. In interviewing reps during their research, Tará Burnthorne Lopez et al found that organizations put their trainees in classrooms where up to 25% of their time was devoted to “strategy, including customer sales strategies.” In addition, “[a]ttention given to skills training such as selling skills ranged from zero to approximately 40%.” Reps also practice role playing during training and had the opportunity to win incentives.
The Need for Coaching
In many organizations, once reps are done with the best sales training platform, they’ll do well with the tasks that come easily to them. And they’ll struggle with other aspects of sales, whether it’s the ability to show empathy or keeping their cool during negotiations. They won’t necessary remember all the details of their sales training. But, when you supplement that knowledge with a personalized microcoaching platform, your reps will internalize tips about the sales process. They’ll implement those tips in their daily practice. And their move from outside to inside rep will feel achievable.
To learn more about how coaching leads to a high performing organization, check out this report.
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