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Inside Sales Representative – Role in Sales Team in 2021

Inside sales refer to the practice of pursuing and converting leads to sales remotely, without face-to-face interaction with the customers. This is now a prevalent sales method that is used in both B2B and B2C sales. It has also been adopted in the technology and SaaS markets.

Lisa Anchalia

Sales is an important part of any organization. It helps drive revenue, increase product visibility, and connect the business to its customers. Hence, every business runner strives to create a competent and well-managed sales team.

In the current market, there are different kinds of salespeople. These are the people who work hard to sell a company’s product or services to the end-users or customers. They can do this in many different ways and through various platforms.

With the world having embraced the internet and virtual interaction whole-heartedly, salespersons have found a grandiose new avenue to reach customers. Along with traditional sales techniques like face-to-face interaction and direct dealings, another sales method has evolved, which is known as inside sales. 

A person dealing with inside sales is known as an inside sales representative. If this concept is new to you, we will detail the duties and roles of the inside sales representative for your better understanding.

What is an Inside Sales Representative?

Evolution of Sales Role
Evolution of Sales Role

Inside sales refer to the practice of pursuing and converting leads to sales remotely, without face-to-face interaction with the customers. This is now a prevalent sales method that is used in both B2B and B2C sales. It has also been adopted in the technology and SaaS markets.

An inside sales representative is someone who sells products or services remotely, depending on the required style of the organization they work for. While outside sales reps work on the field, going about to meet prospective clients to secure a deal, inside sales reps contact the clients via emails, phone calls, and other such platforms.

On this note, it is crucial to mention that inside sales reps are not the same as telemarketers. In the initial stages, remote sales were only conducted through telephonic calls, which became bothersome to most people. Hence, telemarketers acquired a bad reputation in the market.

However, the modern approach towards inside sales is different. Inside sales reps don’t bank on set scripts to talk to prospects. They are trained to work in more complex situations while doing phone-based business-to-business and business-to-customer interactions.

Inside sales reps can now work on their mobile devices and also from home. Their leads are based on real-time data and fresh leads that are bound to fetch more positive results.

Almost half of the entire sales force in the United States consists of inside sales professionals. If you are seeking a career opportunity in this field, it is necessary for you to read on and understand how this job role works.

What is the job of an Inside Sales Representative?

Job of an Inside Sales Rep
Job of an Inside Sales Rep

The inside sales field is growing by leaps and bounds. More and more inside sales reps are being hired by companies every day. Since this career path is in such high demand, let’s discuss the inside sales representative job role and duties.

As mentioned earlier, inside sales reps work with potential customers remotely by guiding them through the features of the product or service they’re offering. Then, they walk the customers through the sales process to ensure their requirements and demands are met.

The key responsibilities of this position include:

  • Sourcing new leads through calls and emails
  • Researching and maintaining a database of potential customers
  • Partnering with other channels or platforms to improve sales reach and techniques
  • Displaying in-depth knowledge of the product
  • Performing online demos or tutorials, if required
  • Attending to prospective customers’ questions and concerns
  • Building a cordial relationship with potential customers based on trust and friendly interaction
  • Nurturing leads to convert them to sales
  • Acquiring new customers to attain their monthly quota
  • Closing customer deals and reporting sales data

Inside sales reps typically have a target for daily activities and may be required to maintain logs of their activities or the number of customer contacts they make every day. This includes the number of calls, the number of meetings secured, the number of proposals sent, and the number of deals booked, etc.

What are the skills required to become an Inside Sales Representative?

Skills needed to be an Inside Sales Rep
Skills needed to be an Inside Sales Rep

Inside Sales Representative jobs require a set of skills, just like any other job role. However, being in sales is a little trickier than other fields, as it requires convincing people to opt for your products. More so if you’re in inside sales, as you have to rely on phone calls or emails to get your point across.

As such, these are the skills required to become a successful inside sales rep.

  • Research techniques: The difference between an average and successful sales rep lies in smart research. A concrete game plan is required to recognize prospective leads so that the conversion rate can be increased. Research areas include knowing the business needs of the client, their background and prior buys, and so on.
  • Product knowledge: This might sound trivial and something that can be acquired on the job, but adequate product knowledge is important to become a successful salesperson. While talking to the customer, the sales rep should not fumble or provide erroneous facts about the product. This creates a bad impression of the company. The sales rep should also be equipped to handle customer queries and questions.
  • People skills: People skills are very important if you are in the sales field. The key is to gain the trust of your prospective customers so that they feel the urge to invest in your product or service. If you’re successful in building friendly relationships with your potential customers, they will be more likely to contact you with their business needs.
  • Communication prowess: Inside sales rely solely on telephonic or online communication, so the tone and content of the representative’s sales pitch are crucial. It is very easy to displease potential customers if the tone and volume are unpleasant. A sales rep should also refrain from displaying impatience or pushing the customer to buy their product immediately.
  • Time management and instinct: An inside sales rep has to work with scores of leads every day, so it becomes quite impossible to fit all of them into standard office hours. Time management is essential to fit as many effective calls as possible, as these reps mostly work on commission. Here, instinct is a major plus point to recognize leads that have the potential to convert to sales successfully.

Why do you need an Inside Sales Representative in your Sales team?

Case Study: Sales Conversion with & without Inside Sales
Case Study: Sales Conversion with & without Inside Sales

You might wonder about the need for an inside sales rep if you already have multiple outside sales reps. However, in this current day and age, it is not always possible to reach potential customers physically and talk to them face to face.

With inside reps, the company’s reach increases, and travel expenses can be curbed. Incidentally, most inside reps can be found in smaller organizations. Large companies generally prefer outside sales trends for a more personal approach.

In the general sense, an inside sales team is an asset for a company as it boosts their marketing strategies and helps them to convert more leads into sales. Moreover, inside sales reps can close more deals in shorter periods of time and with fewer resources at hand.

Inside Sales Reps Quota

Sample Sales Quota w/ Feedback

Sales quota refers to the target assigned to a sales rep for a specific period of time, be it a month, quarter, or year. The target can be based on money, the number of deals finalized, or the number of products or services sold. The quota creates pressure on the sales rep to do their job competently.

In theory, each sales rep is expected to attain 100% of their quota every year. However, only about 60% of sales reps can fulfill their targets. Inside sales reps are under a lot of pressure to attain targets as they have to be dependent on virtual communication to close deals.

There are a lot of factors that affect the quota fulfillment of an inside sales rep. Some of them can be controlled by the salesperson, while others need improvements in the company’s functioning. Cohesive collaboration is crucial on the part of inside and outside sales teams for better results.

The factors that affect quota are:

  • Effective leads: It is important to collect effective leads for better productivity in sales. Rather than grouping a large number of customer contacts, the focus should be on recognizing genuinely interested people and pursuing them for successful conversion.
  • Optimized sales process: If the sales process is inefficient, there is little an inside sales rep can do to convert leads to sales. The company’s sales workflow should be smooth, coherent, and customer-oriented.
  • Communication gap: There should be no communication gap between the salesperson and the customer. It is the sales rep’s job to communicate the value of their product and convince the customer to trust their service. This will lead to more sales and thus, higher chances of reaching quota.
  • Discipline in approach: The sales rep must have an effective plan for their quota time period. Sticking to a constructive plan always helps in time and resource management. Needless to say, it is always an option to make changes to the plan, depending on present needs.

Reaching the quota affects the inside sales representative salary as it has incentives and commissions attached to it. Thus, the aim of an inside salesperson should always be to streamline their work towards attaining the quota.

Conclusion

An inside sales representative undergoes proper training and coaching to perform their duties and reach their goals. This job is not merely based on hit-and-miss leads; it requires proper research and planning. Thus, this job role is an asset to the company. It is set to gain more prominence in 2021, with the working world slowly shifting towards a more long-term remote work scenario.

Sales

Lisa Anchalia

I'm a consultant with 4+ years of business experience in the field of sports planning, manufacturing, accounting, economics & research. I occasionally write articles for Breakout.