Build and operationalize team of inside sellers working in close collaboration with sales & marketing around prospecting, lead -& deal management and customer success, through virtual & digital channels
In our work helping sales organisations improve performance, we’ve witnessed an interesting development over the past decade; field-sellers are finding it increasingly difficult to get meetings and face-to-face time with buyers. Traditional sales training vendors will point towards “lack of the right training” as the root cause, but if we listen to the buyers, a different story emerges. Sales Benchmark Index did a survey of 12,500 buyers in 19 different industries and found that “in 75% of sales situations, buyers prefer not to spend time meeting face to face, but to engage through virtual meetings instead” (link).
The problem is not that the outside sellers’ lack of selling competencies, but that they are being set up for failure if their primary mode of engagement is through face-to-face meetings. The old sales system sets the “road-warriors” up for failure, trying to meet with buyers who prefer a different type of seller engagement.
For the Chief Commercial Officer or Head of Sales responsible for delivering on company growth targets, this means rethinking the old sales force structure, to meet buyer demand for engaging virtually in 75% of sales situations. It means building an inside sales force fit for the new buying environment and for future proofing the commercial organisation.
Sales Training & Development
Sales Operating Model & Enablement
What we do
We help commercial leaders understand how to use inside sales to meet new buyer demands for virtual engagement while increasing sales efficiency & effectiveness. Building an inside sales function requires getting six elements in place:
(1) People on the inside sales team to engage with existing & potential buyers
(2) Identified prospects, leads, opportunities or accounts for inside sellers to engage with
(3) Defined work processes for inside seller tasks (e.g. lead response management & prospecting),
(4) Supporting assets (e.g. insights, articles, virtual demos etc.) to help inside sellers engage with potential buyers
(5) Supporting technology to help inside sellers manage their work efficiently and report on PPIs (process performance indicators)/ KPIs
(6) A partnership/Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines mutual expectations, requirements and governance model (link).
Case in point
The management team of a leading European energy company hired Kvadrant Consulting to identify growth challenges, resulting in three key findings within their sales division:
1. Technical salespeople in their business were a scarce resource that the company could not recruit enough of, as the way to meet revenue targets
2. Prospecting and cold calling were not a natural priority for senior technical salespeople
3. The sales department had no further capacity to handle an increase in leads from new digital marketing activities
The client needed to find a way to boost the amount of sales opportunities and increase sales velocity, without increasing the number of the technical salespeople.
Although the company was unable to hire more technical salespeople to do “more of the same”, Kvadrant Consulting’s recommendation and solution was to build an Inside Sales team to take over prospecting, lead generation and nurturing remotely, directly from the office. A new “mechanism” to convert more market potential into pipeline value efficiently, and free up time for technical salespeople to focus on more qualified deals.
Moreover, the new sales function would collaborate closely with the marketing function to handle identified prospects & captured leads, and handover nurtured opportunities forward.
The project resulted in generation of 56 high value SQL’s in less than four months, while reducing time spent on research & prospecting from technical salespeople out in the field, by building an inside sales team responsible for research, prospecting, lead response management & qualification.
Covid-19 Commercial Leadership Playbook
How we work
1: Start with a clear hypothesis and business case to test: After the decision to build inside sales was made, a hypothesis and business case was developed as the first thing, based on numbers from similar cases and industry benchmarks. This was the test to qualify if inside sales would also work for or business and industry:
2. Get to “Minimum Viable Function” first, to start testing & learning: Until the Inside Sales team starts operating, we cannot say anything about how it works in the context of the customer’s specific business. That means the first goal is not to get a perfectly engineered inside sales team in place after 6-12 months, but instead get one in place that is good enough to start testing, learning and developing.
3. Work in short sprints with continuous alignment between key stakeholders: 10 weeks is not a lot to build a new commercial function from scratch. New people must be found and onboarded, new work processes defined, and new supporting technology platform configured. To succeed within the timeline, the project team followed 3 project design principles: (1) Run workstreams in parallel, not sequence, (2) Work in 2-week sprints and (3) Continuous alignment with key sales & marketing stakeholders.
4. Get the inside sales team members in place early, so the development process can be used as part of their onboarding: The Inside Sales team needs to own it when it goes live and part of taking ownership of operations is taking ownership in the development of their function
Contact our Expert
Martin Nyvang Mariussen
Martin has 10 years of experience as management consultant to commercial B2B leaders with special focus on commercial strategy, global salesforce development, marketing organization and building inside sales functions.
Our Latest Thinking on Digital Selling
Virtual Selling: How to succeed with the transformation
How to Build an Inside Sales Organisation in 10 Weeks
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