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Tuesday, 24 February 2015 00:00

Quick Tips for Conquering the B2B Inside Sales Training Gap

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What’s Causing the B2B Inside Sales Training Problem?

Last September, the AA-ISP, an international association dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales, released their 2014 Inside Sales Top Challenges. And they discovered that the number one challenge sales leaders are facing today is training inside sales people to perform well. In fact, many sales organizations complain about a high turnover of inside sales representatives as they don’t manage to bring them to the performance levels they expect in the calculated timeframes. 

Why is training such a hot issue?

A 2013 study by reports inside sales is growing 300% faster than field sales. This trend is expected to continue. That’s because inside sales:

·         cuts costs

·         is accepted by customers who have become comfortable learning about companies remotely via websites, social media, content downloads such as e-books and white papers, email and phone calls

In fact, many customers prefer the flexibility of phone calls to face-to-face meetings.

Due to the benefits of inside sales, the B2B sales model is changing. Inside sales representatives are taking over more sales duties, sometimes handling the complete sale by themselves rather than working hand in hand with a field sales person. Even if they are working with a field sales executive, they may be doing more up front to transform leads into qualified sales opportunities before passing the baton to the field sales person.

The growth in demand for inside sales people has resulted in a shortage of qualified reps on the market. That means companies now need to hire and train people who may not have a proven track record in inside sales.

Solving the Training Problem

It turns out that the inside sales person is a unique individual, especially when it comes to B2B sales. So, before you even worry about training, you need to ensure you hire the right people.

What should you look for when recruiting? Education and experience are not always good predictors of success in inside sales. Instead, you should seek individuals who have a natural curiosity and interest in learning and growing. They need to exhibit good judgment, the ability to think on their feet, and an aptitude for listening and asking the right questions.

With the right people on board, your training efforts will produce results.

As a shortcut to training, many companies sit the new rep down next to a top performer and have them listen in on calls. The theory is that the inexperienced rep will acquire the skills that have taken the proven performer to the top by the power of osmosis.

However, there’s a problem with this approach. Everyone has their personal style and it’s essential that they use it in order to come across as authentic as possible in a phone call. So, it’s better to give the new reps some call guidelines, let them do role play calls and provide pointers on how the rep can become more successful. It’s certainly a good idea to provide new reps with the example of an experienced rep, but this will never replace the necessary time for professional training with the new rep.

Another significant area of training is to hone your new rep’s listening skills. Teach them time tested listening techniques that are proven to work and also help them understand critical questions that will give them insights into the prospect’s needs, such as:

  • What solution do you use now to address this problem?
  • How satisfied are you with how it’s working for you? Why? Why not?
  • Are there things you would like to improve?
  • If you could create the ideal solution, what would it look like?
  • Are you interested in making a change to the service you currently use? If so, when? 

Once they have the basic skills down, you have to provide in-depth training on your product or service so your reps can speak about it naturally and confidently.

Hiring the right people and getting them up to speed takes time. But there is also a quicker solution.

You can outsource some or all of your inside sales tasks to a tele-services company that acts as an extension of your staff, presenting themselves as your company’s representatives. The advantage of this approach is that such companies hire and train professionals who do business development on the phone every day. They have the systems to support inside sales people and can deliver results much faster than most companies can do internally.

Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how you can outsource your Inside Sales function and jumpstart your B2B sales today.