What can you do to make your business more efficient? One of the recommended methods is the introduction of inside sales.
Inside sales are currently attracting attention, and the number of companies introducing them is increasing. In this article, we will explain the methods and characteristics of inside sales, and the points to work efficiently.
Table of Contents
- What is Inside Sales
- Difference from field sales
- 3 reasons why inside sales are attracting attention
- (1) Online sales have developed due to the corona crisis
- (2) Labor shortage
- ③Increase in lead acquisition online
- 3 benefits of inside sales
- (1) Travel time can be shortened
- ②Increase the number of business negotiations that can be held in a day | Respond to labor shortages
- (3) Improved contract rate
- Inside Sales Method 5 Steps
- Step 1 Development of customer data management system
- Step 2 Division of roles with the field sales department
- Step 3 Develop goals and plans
- Step 4 Develop prospective customers
- Step 5 Move to face-to-face sales activities
- Three points for efficient inside sales
- (1) Strengthen internal cooperation
- (2) Utilization of sales tech
- (3) Periodic review and improvement of initiatives
- Companies and human resources suitable for inside sales
- Companies with online systems
- Human resources with a wealth of sales tech knowledge
- Human resources who can communicate smoothly online
What is Inside Sales
Inside sales are non-face-to-face sales activities that use e-mail, telephone, online business negotiation tools, etc. to prospective customers who are interested in the company’s products and services .
In field sales, basically one person in charge is responsible for nurturing prospective customers, visiting them, and closing them after the visit. The disadvantage is that it is difficult to serve multiple customers at once.
However, in inside sales, we share the responsibility of nurturing prospective customers and obtaining appointments. Therefore, there are merits such as eliminating labor shortages and making sales activities more efficient.
Difference from field sales
Traditional field sales have the advantage of deepening relationships with customers because they can communicate face-to-face. However, face-to-face communication is also restricted due to the corona crisis, so there is a disadvantage that sales activities cannot be carried out efficiently.
If you introduce inside sales, you will be able to communicate with customers even during the corona crisis, and the number of customers you can handle in a day will increase because it does not take time to travel. In addition, close communication makes it easier to extract customers with high purchasing intentions.
For example, it is possible to analyze the degree of customer’s willingness to purchase from the opening rate of the delivered mail magazine and the content of the telephone or video call. Before communicating face-to-face, you can provide information by e-mail, telephone, etc. and see the customer’s reaction.
3 reasons why inside sales are attracting attention
Here are three reasons why many companies are focusing on inside sales.
- Online sales developed due to the corona crisis
- labor shortage
- Increased lead generation online
(1) Online sales have developed due to the corona crisis
From around 2020, the new coronavirus infection spread in Japan, and companies were forced to change their sales systems. Face-to-face meetings and business negotiations have been canceled, and web conferencing tools are being used more and more instead.
However, as a result of these changes, online sales systems were established, and inside sales, which are conducted non-face-to-face, became widely known.
(2) Labor shortage
Currently in Japan, the declining birthrate and aging population are progressing, and the working population is gradually decreasing. Under such circumstances, how to secure human resources and efficiently promote sales activities has become important.
Inside sales has the advantage that it is easy to divide the work and it is easy to work with a small number of people . In the case of field sales, face-to-face sales activities are the main activity, and in most cases, a person in charge is decided in advance for each customer because they actually visit the customer.
However, with inside sales, sales tech can be used to send emails all at once, and travel time can be shortened by avoiding direct visits . As a result, more and more companies are introducing inside sales to improve the efficiency of their sales activities.
③Increase in lead acquisition online
Today, with the development of the Internet environment, information collection and inquiries on the Web have become mainstream. As a result, opportunities to acquire lead (potential customer) information on the web have increased.
If a phone number and e-mail address are entered in the form for inquiries and document requests, you can approach the lead without face- to-face contact . Through non-face-to-face communication, it is possible to ascertain how much the lead’s willingness to purchase is , so it is possible to conduct face-to-face sales activities only for customers who have a particularly high willingness to purchase .
3 benefits of inside sales
What are the benefits of inside sales? This time, I will explain the following three advantages.
- Reduce travel time
- Increases the number of business negotiations that can be held in a day｜Able to deal with labor shortages
- Increased close rate
(1) Travel time can be shortened
Inside sales use e-mail, telephone, online business negotiation tools, etc., so you can complete sales activities within your company. As a result, there is no need to directly visit the other company, which is the customer, and travel time can be saved.
Work efficiency will improve because you can devote time to other tasks as much as you do not need to travel.
②Increase the number of business negotiations that can be held in a day | Respond to labor shortages
Since it does not take time to travel, the number of business negotiations that can be conducted per day increases compared to face-to-face field sales. If there are many business negotiations that can be carried out in a day, it is possible to respond even if the number of prospective customers increases .
Also, in field sales, sales representatives visit customers directly, but in inside sales, the approach is mainly non-face-to-face, so there is an advantage that it is easy to work with a small number of people .
(3) Improved contract rate
Inside Sales allows for a continuous approach to prospective customers. This allows you to develop your prospects over time.
Furthermore, if you use MA (marketing automation) tools, you can analyze the customer’s interest and interest level from the email opening rate and website browsing history. The closing rate will improve by providing information suitable for each customer and prioritizing customers with high purchasing motivation in sales activities.
Inside Sales Method 5 Steps
I will explain the inside sales method in 5 steps.
- Establishment of customer data management system
- Division of roles with the field sales department
- Setting goals and plans
- Nurturing prospective customers
- Shift to face-to-face sales activities
Step 1 Development of customer data management system
The first thing to do is to establish a system for managing customer data. Inside sales need to accumulate not only the customer’s personal information, but also their interests and concerns.
Manually managing and sharing data has its limitations, especially when manually analyzing customer interests and concerns. Therefore, we recommend the introduction of the sales tech (sales activity support tool) introduced below.
In order to accumulate and share customer’s personal information, it is recommended to introduce a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Some CRMs have a function that can automatically send emails, so be sure to take advantage of it.
We recommend MA (Marketing Automation) tools for analyzing customer interests . By using MA, you can track the customer’s email opening rate and website browsing history, so you can visualize the areas of customer interest and the degree of interest.
In addition, a business card management tool is also available for managing customer information. By using the business card management tool, you will be able to manage business card information online and easily share information.
Step 2 Division of roles with the field sales department
In some cases, the prospective customer approach, nurturing, and business negotiations are all done non-face-to-face, but it is more effective to shift to field sales (face-to-face sales activities) after nurturing.
In that case, it is necessary to establish a system for smoothly sharing customer information. Additionally, it’s a good idea to decide in advance when you’re going to transition to field sales.
Step 3 Develop goals and plans
Merely working on inside sales will not produce ideal results.
By setting specific numerical targets, it becomes easier to evaluate the results and increases motivation. In addition, having goals will make it easier to plan sales strategies and inside sales initiatives.
An example of a specific numerical target is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). KPI is a specific performance evaluation indicator for a company to achieve its objectives .
KPIs vary greatly depending on the industry, and each company sets its own according to its objectives. For example, KPIs in the sales department include:
Step 4 Develop prospective customers
Once the inside sales system is in place to some extent, let’s actually start nurturing prospective customers.
In the prospective customer development stage, it is important to provide information that is suitable for each individual customer . It is a good idea to listen to the problems, needs, and areas of interest that customers have over the phone.
When the willingness to buy is not so high, instead of forcibly negotiating and promoting purchases, start by providing information and devise ways to gradually increase the willingness to buy. In addition, when a customer requests materials, it is effective to explain the content of the materials in more depth or to provide additional related materials.
Step 5 Move to face-to-face sales activities
Let’s conduct face-to-face business negotiations with prospective customers who are particularly interested in purchasing.
You’ll be handing the face-to-face sales activities to your field sales reps, so share all the information they need. Accurately grasping the customer’s needs at the inside sales stage and providing more information will increase the success rate of business negotiations.
By spending time nurturing prospective customers at the inside sales stage, the success rate of field sales increases and sales activities can be made more efficient.
Three points for efficient inside sales
Here are three tips for increasing the efficiency of inside sales.
- Strengthening of internal cooperation
- Utilization of sales tech
- Periodic review and improvement of initiatives
(1) Strengthen internal cooperation
Before engaging in inside sales, it is necessary to strengthen the collaboration within the company.
In particular, when balancing inside sales and field sales, cooperation between the two is essential. In addition to sharing customer information, it is important to establish a system for constant contact.
It’s also important to share inside sales initiatives across the company and get cooperation from various departments. Irregularities are likely to occur when tackling new things, so the cooperation of all employees is essential.
(2) Utilization of sales tech
The use of sales tech is effective for managing and analyzing customer information. It is difficult to manage and analyze a huge amount of customer data manually, so let’s actively introduce it.
There are mainly three types of sales tech that can be used in inside sales.
(3) Periodic review and improvement of initiatives
Once you’ve made some headway with your inside sales, it’s time to regularly track your achievements and progress. It is easier to evaluate the results by looking back at the extent to which the initially set numerical targets have been achieved.
If you’re not getting the results you want, find out what you can improve and fix it right away. Also, if you have achieved results, find out what efforts were particularly effective and continue those efforts.
No matter what you do, regular review and improvement are essential. Make sure you are always looking for better performance.
Companies and human resources suitable for inside sales
Introducing the characteristics of companies and human resources that are suitable for inside sales.
Companies with online systems
If you have already introduced online business negotiation tools and sales tech in your company, you can start inside sales without much cost. In addition, inside sales can reduce the frequency of coming to work, so it is also recommended if you are promoting telework.
If you haven’t introduced an online business negotiation tool or sales tech, consider comparing multiple tools. If you use the free trial, it will be easier for you to get an image after the introduction.
Human resources with a wealth of sales tech knowledge
Implementing sales tech alone will not produce results. Using sales tech at the right time and using it for inside sales will increase results.
If you have people with a lot of knowledge about sales tech and IT, you will be able to make the most of sales tech. In addition, you can rest assured that you can respond immediately when you stumble in the operation of the tool or if you have a problem.
Human resources who can communicate smoothly online
Inside sales communicate non-face-to-face. Without meeting face to face, it may be difficult to understand the needs and willingness to purchase of the other party.
Even in such a situation, if there are people who can communicate smoothly, sales activities will proceed smoothly. In particular, it would be very advantageous to have someone who is used to answering the phone.
When carrying out sales activities with limited human resources, determine the tasks that should be assigned based on the characteristics of each employee. Optimal division of roles is the key to inside sales.
This time, I introduced the method of inside sales divided into 5 steps. When working on inside sales, be well organized and proceed step by step.
In addition, it is important to understand the needs, issues, and areas of interest of each customer, and to spend time facing them. Use the steps in this article to get started with inside sales.