Every inside sales rep sells differently. But, a common variable they share is ‘process.’ In a nutshell, a sales process is a defined set of actionable steps that helps convert prospects into customers. It creates order from chaos. As a sales manager, you can be aware of your team’s metrics like the number of prospects converted into customers and the deals won, and also individual metrics like target achieved by each salesperson. With a sales process in place, your inside sales team knows what steps to take to move a deal from one stage to another, making sales forecasting a lot easier.
Analysing your current sales process
If you have at least five customers, it means your inside sales team follows a sales process, but it may not be well-documented or structured. Before you go ahead and build a sales process for your inside sales team, look at your current customers’ list and consider asking the questions:
- Who is your ideal buyer?
- What is the first touchpoint?
- How do prospects find your business?
- What is the average buying process?
- What are the top-performing touch points?
Top-performing indicates higher customer interaction via one medium. Example, a prospect is 2X likely to respond positively to an email reminder as opposed to a call.
- How many times should a sales rep follow-up with a prospect?
- What is the average time for deal closure?
- What are the common objections faced by inside sales reps?
- How is a deal won?
- What are the common reasons for losing a deal?
Once you have answered the above questions, you will have an idea of how to structure your inside sales process.
Building the sales process for your inside sales team
To build a winning sales process for your inside sales team, you can start by recognizing the different stages the customer goes through during a buying journey. When creating stages for your inside sales process, keep in mind that they have to be distinctly different from each other. Once you’ve designed the sales process, try explaining the stages to a member outside of your inside sales team and see if they understand the difference between them.
Here are seven steps that will help you get started to build your sales process.
In this stage, you reach out to prospects that match your buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer who is facing challenges that can be solved by using your product. For each buyer persona, identify a unique set of pain points and understand how to solve them. You can create your buyer persona based on your product and the challenges it helps to solve.
Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, you can begin the sales prospecting process. Get the attention of your prospect by acknowledging a challenge you know they are facing in a catchy email or on a cold call. Make sure you’ve done your research before hitting send or making a call. Here’s a quick example of a prospecting outreach:
Day 1: Cold LinkedIn message
Day 3: Highly personalized cold-email
Day 5: Follow-up via email
Day 7: Cold call
Day 10: Follow-up via email
TIP: Attach a 2-minute video introducing your product in your outreach efforts. This helps capture the prospect’s attention and are most likely to get a response from them.
Qualifying a prospect involves understanding if the prospect has a need for your product and how they can use it. From the various available qualifying techniques like CHAMP, MEDDIC, GPCT and more, choose a framework that best suits your customer journey. The most common framework used by businesses to identify and qualify a prospect is BANT, based on their Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline.
BANT stands for
Budget = What is the prospect’s budget?
Authority = Does the prospect have decision-making authority?
Need = What is the prospect’s business need?
Timeframe = Do they have a timeframe to implement the solution?
For instance, your qualification process can follow this workflow:
- Prospect understands the product and the need for it.
- Identify customer challenges and how the product can solve it.
- Identify the decision makers.
- Understand the roadmap for the company, if they have the budget and time for the product implementation.
TIP: Send case studies of customers with similar pain points and challenges. This helps prospects better understand your product and also helps build trust and credibility.
3. Demo / Presentation
This is the make or break stage where you present the personalized solution for the prospect’s problem. Be it in an onsite presentation or a virtual one, you should not only be well-prepared for the demo but also:
- Explain the product features.
- Answer questions regarding feature implementation and usage.
- Offer a trial account for the prospect to use.
- Follow-up on technical queries and objections through emails and call.
- Communicate any customizations needed for the product.
TIP: Send out customized presentations and white papers describing the product features and how they solve the prospect’s pain points.
4. Objection Handling
Your inside sales team cannot avoid objections but they can learn to handle one. Some of the common objections would be regarding the product price, or they may show interest but later go cold. Your sales reps need to be prepared during an objection and the best way to do that is to follow a process like the one below:
- Listen to the objection without interrupting.
- Understand why the objection is being raised.
- Answer the objection.
- Make sure you follow up with the prospect.
TIP: Make a document with common objections and how best to handle them, so your team is well-prepared and not caught off-guard.
There will be rounds of negotiations around features and pricing. If your product has a tiered pricing plan, the prospect may negotiate for a premium feature on a lower plan or a discount on a higher plan. Your inside sales rep should know how to handle asks and make sure the prospect meets them halfway.
- Agree on pricing.
- Prepare necessary legal and corporate documents.
- Set dates for product buy and implementation.
6. Deal Won
This is the moment for a happy dance!
Your prospect has come down the buying journey to become a customer. Now is the time to send out contracts for signatures.
Depending on the nature of the product, you should establish an implementation period. If the prospect is moving away from an existing solution, set a plan for product and data migration.
This is the stage for follow-up actions. You stay in touch with the customer to know how the product is working out for them and understanding issues.
If done right, nurturing can help strengthen the customers’ loyalty to your brand and product. By maintaining a great relationship, you can keep customers in the loop about new products and have a clear shot at up-selling.
During this stage, you should make sure to:
- Follow-up on customers to understand the value they have seen in the product.
- Find out if they have any issues.
- Ask for referrals and testimonials.
TIP: In the case of closed lost deals, nurturing can help revive it. You can keep prospects in the loop by staying in touch and sending updates about product features and pricing changes.
Improve and optimize the sales process
You’ve implemented your inside sales process, and your inside sales team have now begun crushing their targets! YAY!
But creating a sales process, implementing it and then ignoring it isn’t how it should be. As time goes, parts of the sales process will be neglected, or there might not be a need for it. As your business grows and starts gaining popularity, your team will start receiving more inbound leads. The qualification stage would have to be modified accordingly because the prospect would be reaching out with the need and budget in mind.
Analyze the sales process over time and understand how it can be improved. Also, every process will have a bottleneck, and the sales process is no different. Eliminating bottlenecks is the easiest way to improve sales performance.
For instance, as your team grows, you will need to ramp up sales. This might seem easy in theory—you just hire more inside sales reps. But this might not effectively scale out. Adding more prospects to the top of the funnel might seem like a good idea, but if your team does not have enough inside sales reps who are skilled at product demos, a bottleneck might be created. Prospects could go down the sales funnel and get stuck at the presentation stage because the team may not have the bandwidth for more than“X” number of demos. By recognizing this bottleneck, you conclude that you need to invest in training your inside sales team on presentation skills.
It is easier to create a sales process than it is to get your inside sales team to implement and adhere to it. This can be solved by automating the sales process within a CRM software and have it do a chunk of the work. Follow-up emails can be scheduled within the CRM, with reminders popping up on overdue tasks. Lead stages can be changed automatically using triggers in a workflow. The tiring task of sending out prospecting emails can be made easier with the use of email templates that can be edited right within the CRM.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use CRM for your inside sales team, look no further. Freshsales is an intuitive sales CRM that can help you optimize your sales process. With AI-based features like lead scoring and territory management, your inside sales team can now focus more on selling rather than sorting leads manually. Do this and more with Freshsales CRM.