What It Takes to Be Great at Inside Sales

Inside sales is no longer just a matter of dialing the phone and reading a script…not at all! It requires specialized skills in customer communication. And with the growing reliance on inside sales to reach target markets in almost all industries, you want to be sure that you have well trained agents representing your company and your offerings.

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As you scan the horizon for inside sales training programs that will orient your reps toward delivering superior customer care, recognizing sales opportunities and closing deals, be sure that the development initiatives that you choose include the following:

• Methodology
In terms of methodology, the most effective learning will occur through the practice of real life scenarios most likely to be encountered in the field. Experiential and interactive programs will give each rep an opportunity to try out new skills in a safe environment. Small groups, under the leadership of an experienced facilitator/coach, should debrief the interaction and reflect upon how it could be handled even more effectively.

• Customization
For the learning to be relevant, see that the program is tailored to your specific industry, situation and challenges. Use case studies that ring true in your inside sales environment. This is the way to engage learners as they appreciate that the heightened skills will actually help them be more successful on the job.

• Clarity of Goal
The purpose of the training should be clear-to raise the skill level of inside sales reps so they are able to handle all customer interactions satisfactorily and learn ways to maximize sales opportunities. This will not only help them as individuals, but their work will have a positive business impact-significant contribution to the overall success of their team and their organization.

• Content
It is all about clear and compelling two-way communication. Reps first need to learn how to relate to the customer…this may involve an understanding of different communication styles and practice at flexing one’s own style to meet the customer’s preferred mode of expression. Next they should be able to identify the customer’s problem, articulate it for accuracy of understanding, and then turn the problem into a new sales opportunity. Finally, they must learn how to close. At each stage, they are learning to build solid relationships with customers…the best way to secure future business.

• Ongoing performance coaching
To make sure that the newly learned skills “stick,” teach managers how to give constructive performance feedback and recognize improvement and success.

With these elements in place, you can build a confident inside sales team that knows how to deliver both excellent customer service and increased business.

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