Selling involves messaging, driving traffic, data management, list building, lead management, lead nurturing and relationship building. And that’s all before you ever get close to closing the sale.
The sophistication and complexity of today’s sales and marketing process require the talent of many specialists. Marketing departments have been integrating more specialists from programmatic advertising and social media professionals to videographers and data scientists. There is, however, a tendency to dump the leads into the laps of inside sales and telesales reps and hope for the best.
If you’re not integrating inside sales into your sales and marketing machine, then you’re missing a significant opportunity to power your growth.
It’s not enough to feed leads into the hands of capable inside sales reps. You need to invest in the coordination, collaboration and communication processes and that align your sales and marketing objectives, enabling marketing, field reps and inside sales to work together to close the deal.
Without this integration, you’re dropping the ball on your sales and marketing strategy. It’s time to support intra-departmental alignment and build multi-talented teams that can work together like a well-oiled machine.
Here are six strategies to help you get started.
1. Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration needs to become part of your company culture. It must happen at all levels, starting with your top executives. They need to walk the talk.
Create a culture of transparency, communication and clear vision. Everyone needs to be work toward the same objective. Many of our processes, technologies and systems are so complicated that they require specific expertise, so specialization is critical. At the same time, each specialist needs to be a part of something bigger.
For example, the marketing department shouldn’t simply hand leads off to inside sales, and inside sales shouldn’t just pass opportunities on to field reps. They all need to work together to shape the message, share techniques and craft a successful strategy that delivers both higher ROI and a superior customer experience.
2. Build Multi-Disciplinary Teams
With collaboration on the rise and sales and marketing alignment no longer an unconventional concept, it’s time to build multi-disciplinary teams. These teams should include marketing, inside sales, field sales, technology and product specialists—aligned on mission and vision.
Within these teams, every member of the team plays an essential role. They are not merely to do a job and hand off the baton. Each individual’s experience with customers contributes to the collective understanding of buyers. And together, the team will craft an integrated process to attract and communicate with prospects and close deals.
3. Establish Clear Lines of Communication
Building strong, enduring relationships with every customer starts with open lines of communication within the organization and between everyone on the sales and marketing team.
- Share best practices
- Make activities more transparent
- Encourage feedback
The result will be a better understanding of buyers, individually and collectively, and improved messaging. Better internal communication results in superior strategic planning and wider adoption of best practices. Also, it encourages a sense of shared ownership and better customer experience.
4. Define Buyer Personas
When it comes to connecting with buyers, there is no one-size-fits-all message. Not everyone needs or wants the same thing. Pain points vary by job title, industry, company size, technology, marketplace and even geographic location.
There’s no one magic message for everyone and your inside sales reps shouldn’t have to figure this out on the fly when initiating a conversation. Teams need to work together to define buyer personas and a series of protocols for communicating and moving the relationship forward.
With a collective understanding of the differences between buyers and the best ways to engage each group:
- Inside sales and telesales reps will be able to make an excellent first impression.
- Team members will be better prepared to approach and work with prospects.
- Your message will be more focused, and it’s more likely prospects will respond.
5. Define Lead Qualifications
As inbound leads pour in, it’s necessary to qualify each of them based on a variety of criteria, including need, interest, intent, budget and readiness. But how do you define each of these criteria? Do you simply hand over all your leads to inside sales reps and let them qualify as they see fit?
You will get better, more consistent results if you define the qualification process in advance. Again, for optimal results, encourage your teams to work together to determine each level of qualification and what’s required to elevate a lead to a marketing qualified lead (MQL), then a sales qualified lead (SQL) and ultimately an opportunity.
Once your team agrees on and adopts the definitions, your inside salespeople will be able to qualify leads quickly and consistently.
6. Create Nurturing and Relationship Building Processes
Most sales are the result of nurturing and relationship building over a series of calls, voicemails and emails. Instead of leaving it to the reps to decide what to say, charge your teams with crafting nurturing campaigns that draw on the best practices of sales and marketing.
Working together, teams can create a series of campaigns based on buyer needs, interests, intents, budgets and readiness. These campaigns ensure that all team members use agreed-upon messages and best strategies for calling and connecting. For example, based on inside sales talking points, marketing can support them by providing complementary case studies, blogs, videos and webinars that reps can reference in their communication with prospects.
The key to sales success in the 21st century is collaboration, communication and alignment across the sales and marketing machine. By integrating inside sales into the team, you can guide and support their efforts for the best results for your company and customers.
Call us at +1 813-320-0500 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online for help with your inside sales initiative.