When it comes to managing the performance of your inside sales team, there are a lot of platforms, tools and options at your disposal to facilitate improved productivity and results. But, which ones are really worth your investment and your reps’ time? Here we break down the top 10 types of tools that we think are valuable for inside sales teams in 2016.
Sales industry software vendor VanillaSoft reports that a software-based platform can help today’s inside sales teams in the following key ways: A platform “simplifies how inside sales teams work and collaborate [and] makes it easier for sales managers to set goals and objectives consistent with future growth.” Help your inside sales team navigate the market and improve their productivity with these great tools for success.
1. CRM (customer relationship management) platform. You likely already have one of these in place to help your inside sales team track and manage their daily activities, but it may be time to reassess the specific CRM your company uses. Mary Kremer of InsideSales points out the importance of finding just the right CRM for your company and industry: “…finding a CRM that works with your business model is the first step to increasing your productivity and sales.” Don’t settle for a CRM that “just about” meets your needs — it’s worth spending the time to research all of the vendors out there to find the best fit for you.
2. Mobile app CRM. If your sales reps call upon prospects out in the field, it’s important that they are able to immediately track and report back on their meetings — so they don’t forget to capture key data and management can always maintain a clear picture of how sales are progressing. If this sounds like something that could be beneficial for your company, consider choosing a CRM that has a mobile app component. Simply install the app onto the smartphone or tablet of your reps, make sure you provide some training on using it and your reps will be better equipped straightaway to report on sales meetings.
3. Fresh contact lists. If your company is looking to grow its revenue, having a continual stream of new contacts is critical. If your internal or third party contact center sales teams don’t have the resources to be continuously generating new contacts, consider partnering with a contact list service that provides names and contact information for you. But, as always, remember a smaller amount of promising leads from your target market are much more valuable that dozens of so-so prospects.
4. Standard email templates. Making sure your inside sales team is using a standard email template is important for brand messaging and consistency — but making sure that email hits your target with some pizazz is even more important. Don’t run the risk of becoming just another piece of junk mail in prospects’ inboxes. Instead, work with your sales, marketing and support teams to craft various email templates that will really hit home with your leads.
5. Automated contact routing. It’s easy — and probably natural — for your salespeople to want to spend the most time calling clients and prospects with whom they already have a good rapport. But, doing so can result in missing out on capturing the attention of other promising leads. Instead of calling the next easiest prospect, writes VanillaSoft, “Your salespeople will automatically work on the next-best lead — the lead your company has defined as the all- important priority at a particular time.” So, you’ll maintain greater control over the specific prospects that your team is calling each day.
6. Screen sharing. As Kremer of InsideSales writes, “If you want to sell your product, you’ve got to be able to do remote demos.” Screen sharing tools are cheap (sometimes even free) and easy-to-use these days, so your inside sales teams have no excuse for not being able to preview your products to prospects in real-time while on a sales call. Just as with in-person meetings, your sales reps should practice providing a demo over the phone to make sure the process is smooth and impactful for all involved.
7. Preview dialing. This method of automated calling is helpful so your sales team can “preview” the next call they’ll be making, so they can be fully prepared for the contact. VanillaSoft explains how this works: “Consider this a stage-gate process where your dialing platform takes your company’s long sales cycle times into consideration by feeding your salespeople with essential data and notes from that last call.” Your sales team will be more confident going into the call since they have all the data they need to have an informed conversation, and your prospects will be happy that their time wasn’t wasted.
8. Progressive dialing. When your inside sales team has a long list of calls to make and they don’t necessarily need a lot of details about each prospect on that list, using a progressive dialing tool might be your best bet. The list of prospects on a progressive dialing list aren’t “cold calls,” though. VanillaSoft points out: “Qualified leads have been preselected.”
9. Email scheduling. You probably already know that email is a great way for your inside sales team to reach and impact prospects. But, did you ever consider that the time of day makes a big difference as to whether or not that email will ever be read and considered by the prospect? It’s true. You can use an email tracking software to get a handle on when the most sales emails are being read by your prospects, and then install an email scheduling plug-in to automatically send out your reps’ sales emails during those timeframes.
10. Social media email plug-in. While this may not be appropriate for all business types, a social media email plug-in provides your sales reps with a meaningful glimpse into the full online life of an email contact. Allison Tetreault of AG Saleswork explains that the plug-in “gives a quick overview of your email recipients and prospects — including their picture, email, location, job title, and social networks, as well as any previous email interactions you’ve had with them.” This information displays in the sidebar of the email platform, so it doesn’t interfere with the rep’s workflow. Consider a social media email plug-in for your reps if an ultra-personalized approach is key to your sales process.
The inside sales tools we’ve discussed above aren’t just great to enable your sales teams to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently — many of them are also excellent at helping leaders better manage their reps. Inside sales software goes a long way in enabling managers to keep a better handle on what their teams are doing at all times, VanillaSoft points out: “Managers must manage the sales team’s activities, provide timely guidance, and ensure that the company’s value proposition is properly conveyed.” Invest in tools that help your sales team deliver a better customer experience at each and every point of contact, whether that’s email, phone or in-person. When your inside sales reps are confident that they have the tools to succeed in selling your products and services, the stars are the limit for your continued sales growth.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.