Inside sales is on a steady rise as more and more customers prefer to engage and close deals remotely via digital devices and technology. However, a 2017 InsideSales.com report titled “State of Sales in the United States and EMEA” showed inside account executions to lag behind field sales by around 6% regarding the attainment of set quotas. So, where are remote sales teams going wrong? Studies point to critical skill gaps due to inadequate training as relevant personnel fail to keep the pace with rapidly evolving customer purchasing habits and continually shifting sales strategies and processes within their organizations.

According to the 2016 AA-ISP/InsideSales.com’s “Inside Sales Top Challenges: New Research” survey, sales leaders identified training and development as the most significant obstacle to inside sales success. In the same study, individual sales representatives ranked training as the third-most critical impediment to the attainment of inside sales objectives.

Similarly, the report attributed inside sales training challenges to the necessary changes sales departments are constantly making, including sales optimization strategies and the management of personnel turnover. While the latest technological advancements provide more efficient ways of leveraging account-based, B2B sales models, most remote sales crews are not acquiring the prerequisite competencies fast enough.

Also, the transition from generalist to specialist sales approaches (and vice versa) introduces new roles for office-based sales representatives, and with these, new training requirements. The 2017 InsideSales.com study found that field sales reps committed about 45% of their time to remote selling, while inside sales departments worked toward attaining 100% cooperation with face-to-face sales teams.

As such, remote sales forces are now finding it critical to learn how to utilize phones, emails, social media, or voicemail to participate actively in all phases of the sales cycle, from pre-sales prospect research to closing. These office-based professionals are playing a leading role in customer profiling and market analysis to gather useful business intelligence. The experts need extra skills to measure up to market dynamics as well as changing internal sales processes.

 

The Need for Tailor-Made Sales Training

Inside sales forces encounter unique challenges that demand specific, tailored training, and sales leaders are helping in several ways, including by boosting internal training programs, according to the AA-ISP report. While some organizations are considering special inside sales certification, others may outsource expert trainers to help close the skill deficits in their sales departments.

Training and developing a successful inside sales team requires any organization to establish a tailored onboarding course for each role. Such a program ensures new hires catch on quicker and start helping their colleagues achieve overall sales goals.  The training should be customized based on the skill level of an individual inside sales professional.

Sales managers may use core metrics to gauge and close specific inside sales competency gaps in their departments. For instance, a sales trainee’s contact-to-demo conversion rates may indicate their skill level and any requirements for additional training. Likewise, can the employee spot a buying signal and take the next critical step in the lead-to-sale process? How are they handling objections? Individualized sales training can answer such questions, leaving nobody behind the learning curve, and ensuring the entire sales team attains the competencies required to achieve predetermined quotas.

Additionally, remote-selling training should be ongoing, rather than a one-off session. It should provide relevant instructional resources, from videos and mobile apps to electronic documents, which inside sales reps may access and apply on the job at their own time. Such a learning approach is practical, and it enhances knowledge retention.

The inside sales model is growing very fast today, but are your office-based sales employees up to the task? At Inside Sales People, we provide a total approach to sourcing and upskilling Inside Sales talent. We partner with organizations and help you acquire top talent and build out stellar sales teams. Get in touch with us today to discover how our recruitment and training model can help you source, retain and develop high potential sales talent.