Inside Sales Representative: Lessons From Top Performers
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Industry trends may come and go, but an inside sales representative have been a staple of the sales world for decades.
Let’s answer these questions together to get a better understanding of what makes an excellent inside sales representative.
An inside sales representative is a sales professional who looks for sales opportunities by locating new customers or upselling to existing clients.
They may use methods like cold calling, traveling to trade shows, conducting email campaigns, and conducting effective online demos.
An inside sales job description may vary from position to position based on what is needed by a sales team.
However, generally, an inside sales representative is most concerned with customer satisfaction and how to close sales.
Don’t be fooled, though. A smooth sales process is a work in progress and an inside sales rep’s job is never finished.
Sales representative duties are varied, but they all fit together to accomplish their goal – ambitious customer acquisition.
Take a look at some specifics of what may be involved in the typical day of an inside sales rep.
An inside sales representative begins the sales process by finding sales leads. How can they do this?
One method of searching for new customers is through outbound cold calls. This involves making unsolicited calls to potential customers.
These phone calls may be to individuals or businesses to identify key players and decision-makers.
It’s hoped that the sales rep will be able to guide the customer along the entire sales process from this starting point.
Another one of the many inside sales rep’s requirements: route qualified opportunities. What are qualified opportunities?
Qualified opportunities are customers interested in a company’s products or services. The sales representative will want to continue generating interest with these potential customers.
Qualifying prospects requires excellent communication skills. This goes beyond endless cold calling and requires an inside sales representative to build relationships with potential customers.
A good inside sales representative will follow up on sales leads promptly to encourage further development.
In some cases, an inside sales team will:
All of these responsibilities require excellent communication skills with customers and within the sales team.
Sometimes the quick sales cycle environment can push a competitive inside sales representative to the point of focus where their customer satisfaction begins to drop.
Inside sales representatives want to focus on closing sales, but never lose sight of maintaining excellent customer service skills.
An inside sales representative must maintain a lot of data on customers. Every time contact with potential clients is made there is an opportunity to discover more about customer needs.
These should be documented in a customer relationship management (CRM) software system so details on leads can drive analytics.
An excellent sales representative needs to have strong verbal and written skills when using Salesforce or a similar CRM to ensure that pre-qualified leads do not slip through the cracks.
Many inside sales representatives operate in an office environment with other inside sales reps and sales executives.
Because of this work environment, an inside sales professional’s job description will likely heavily favor collaboration and teamwork.
It’s important to know that an inside sales representative can work well with the larger team and that they fit the company culture.
Tied to the inside sales representative responsibilities toward collaboration is the ability to work with channel partners – supplier companies from which a rep may sell products or services.
One of the final duties of an inside sales representative is to close sales. This seems obvious but it isn’t always the easiest goal.
A lot of effort goes into completing a sale. There are a lot of moving parts and steps along the pathway from initial contact, to qualifying sales opportunities, to closing sales.
Great sales reps will have a proven method and a deep understanding of their sales process.
Sales leaders want to make sure the inside sales representative they hire meets the industry standard requirements for the role. They also need to meet specialized requirements specific to their company.
Consider a few key areas to review when searching for a qualified sales rep.
Communication skills top the list of sales professional job requirements. Listening is a large part of being an effective sales representative.
Reps should practice active listening skills – not being distracted during customer conversations by what they will say next.
This may cause them to miss key elements that might point to a particular solution to a customer’s pain points.
One of the most effective means to convince a potential client to make a purchase is to make them feel heard and understood.
Some skills are not directly tied to selling but are still valuable traits. Therefore, hiring managers will want to keep their eyes and ears open for indications of these personality features.
Some sales positions benefit from having a well-defined sales experience track record. This would be true of sales executives that will manage other sales reps.
However, not all positions need previous sales experience – or experience in the same industry. This is something that needs to be decided before inviting salespeople to apply for a job.
Some companies may prefer that applicants have a degree in business administration or marketing.
Sales careers that will involve selling specialized products may require technical knowledge of the products and services.
Determine if this is something that candidates need to have beforehand or can be part of the training and onboarding process.
Usually, inside sales representatives will benefit from having experience with business software such as Microsoft Office and a particular CRM software that the company uses.
When it comes to composing an inside sales representative job description, it needs to be polished.
Sales managers can likely find job description templates online, but these tend to be generic. They may serve as a starting point, but take time to personalize it to your own company and sales position.
A good inside sales representative job description will provide a clear and honest evaluation of the job and highlight the traits and sales skills applicants need.
There should be enough detail so that candidates know if they are a good fit. At the same time, an inside sales representative job description shouldn’t try to cover every detail.
A good rule of thumb is that the job listing should be able to fit on one page.
A sales manager may need help with interview questions that can be asked of inside sales representative candidates.
The interviewer should be ready to focus on job accomplishments, skills, and traits that the candidate will bring to the table.
While the job description that they posted to job boards will do some of the filtering needed to find the right person for the sales position, interview questions will give a first-hand look at the person.
Here are a few examples of effective interview questions:
An inside sales representative has a never-ending job of pushing revenue growth objectives. They accomplish this with their prospecting skills and ability to build relationships with potential customers.
Many duties tie into this process. They are involved in qualifying prospects, tracking customers’ needs, and integrating into a sales team seamlessly.
Take time to list all the requirements for any sales job. Then develop an appropriate job description and post it to job boards.
Finally, create an interview process – including effective interview questions – to evaluate candidates. Soon you will have a new inside sales representative ready to join your team!