The world of sales is evolving as rising costs and shifts in buyer behaviors continue to change. An emerging strategy that organizations are adopting to grow revenue more efficiently is inside sales. Inside sales refer to the practice of selling from office premises via phone, email, or video calls.
Aliisa Rosenthal, VP of Sales at WalkMe, shares her insights on developing a powerhouse inside sales team at scale to succeed in today’s customer-driven marketplace.
Benefits of inside sales
There are three major benefits to having an inside sales team: cost-effectiveness, enhanced responsiveness, and revenue predictability.
- The first benefit of inside sales is its cost-effectiveness. Inside sales reps are able to reach out to more leads than they could if they were to meet every single lead in person.
- Unlike outside sales teams, inside sales teams respond to queries quickly as they have access to their phones and emails at all times. Your company is then able to achieve faster response times and higher call volumes, leading to higher conversion rates.
- Revenue predictability is another essential benefit that comes along with inside sales. Companies that have inside sales teams can more accurately predict how much revenue each salesperson is going to generate, thanks to CRM tools.
Over my 4 years at WalkMe, we increased our conversion rate by 150%, grew average sales price by 4X, and increased our renewal rates by 10%, thanks to the high-performing inside sales team I built.
There are four crucial steps to building a high-performing inside sales team. These four steps are based on real knowledge gained from achieving considerable sales growth.
Step 1: Collect data
You can’t sell effectively if you don’t collect data. Investing in a robust CRM software is a must as it helps you consolidate data about customer interactions. The sales stack I use includes Salesforce, Clari, and Gong.
- Salesforce brings together all prospect and customer data across your business allowing you to win customers and grow your business.
- For forecasting purposes, I use Clari. This tool gives you predictive analytics and shows you how you’re trending compared to previous months or quarters.
- Finally, my favorite recording tool is Gong. This tool allows you to understand what’s happening in the calls. It also gives you analytics around those calls, like how many questions customers ask, what the interactivity looks like, and what topics come up.
Step 2: Analyze your funnel
Once you have the data, next you’ll want to analyze your sales funnel. This step is critical, as investigating your sales cycle will help you understand where you acquire your leads, where you lose them, and how to improve the overarching sales process.
Take a look at your sales funnel and ask: ‘Do I see any red flags?’ By asking this, you’re ensuring that the right-fit customers get through. It’s impossible to convert everyone, but a well-designed sales funnel will successfully convert more of the right people into buyers.
Step 3: Experiment
Successful inside sales teams have to ask these questions to get more accurate sales results: “Should we run a trial differently?”, “Should we do custom demos?”, and “Do we have to try a new pricing model?”. Start experimenting with new offerings and models to see how they impact your sales cycle.
The beauty of an inside sales team is you have enough cycles where you can run a lot of experiments.
Experimentation 1: Intro call drop-off
Our team was doing hour-long intro calls. Did we really need an hour for that? No.
Instead, we adjusted down to 30-minute intro calls, calling it a discovery call, not a demo. In a discovery call, we seek to understand a customer’s needs and what value looks like to them.
Only then do we build a tailored demo that caters to the buyer’s needs.
The result? Our conversion rates were impacted significantly — we saw an increase from 20% to 30% right away.
Experimentation 2: Average sales price (ASP)
Going to Gong, I analyzed the sales reps’ calls to understand at which stage of the conversation they were talking about pricing. Some reps were doing this much later in the cycle, meaning that they held out pricing until all the value had been proven.
Some reps were giving pricing much higher. It’s a well-known sales tactic — the higher you anchor, the higher the deal will likely end up.
What did we do? We introduced price floors, and reps don’t get credit for a deal below a certain threshold. The reps immediately started to move up to that price, anchoring higher and higher.
Experimentation 3: Renewal rates
As I studied the data I found that the more people paid for our product, the more likely they were to renew. Another exciting thing I found was three-year deals had much higher renewal rates.
Having these insights, we heavily leaned into having our customers invested in the product upfront and for three years which helped us increase our renewal rates by 10%.
Step 4: Drive behavior with ICPs
The most critical tool you have as a sales leader is an individual comp plan (ICP). You will want to keep it simple and not have too many things you’re trying to achieve at once.
Consider what it is you care about most as an organization: Is it long-term deals? Is it bigger deals? Is it a faster sales cycle? Or something else?
It’s okay to change your ICPs year over year because you have to keep up with your changing priorities.
Build your ICPs to incentivize the behavior that will bring you the highest quality and highest retaining customers.
Bring a growth mindset to your sales cycle. Here are four takeaways you can implement today to build an outstanding inside sales team at scale:
- Use sales tools to collect data.
- Conduct experimentation.
- Track your ASP, sales cycle, and conversion rates.
Scale based on your organization’s priorities.