How to structure an effective inside sales team

How to structure an effective inside sales team

Building your inside sales team is a challenging undertaking, but an important one. If you want to grow your business and your revenue, you need to build a winning inside sales team. Internal sales teams are the bedrock of the ever-increasingly important customer experience phenomenon and in the absence of a dynamic inside sales team, your customer relationships will quickly break down.

Building your inside sales team will yield numerous benefits. It is less expensive, because there are no travel and other expenses to worry about. It’s measurable, because inside sales teams leverage tools that generate valuable metrics such as call percentage, conversion rates, and close lost rates. It’s repeatable, because once you know what works, you can easily replicate it across the team. And it’s more scalable, because you can ramp up and onboard quicker. Finally, it’s customer-friendly: research by McKinsey & Company shows that more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.

Overall, regardless of location, the inside sales model is 2%-19% more effective. Plus B2B purchasers have indicated they’re interested in making fully self-serve or remote purchases more regularly. Even better, this is primarily cited for prospective high-volume purchases ranging between $50,000 and $500,000.

Here’s the inside track on inside sales.


Roles to hire for within inside sales

Building a new inside sales team takes time, but you can gain an upper hand by focusing on some key roles. To start out, you’ll want to consider the following: sales development representatives (SDR), account executives, and customer success managers (CSM).

Sales development representatives

A sales development representative (SDR) is key in helping to assist your account executives in turning inside sales leads into qualified sales leads. An SDR focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualifications, driving sales leads through the sales pipeline.

Demonstrations, strategy calls, fit assessments, consultations, and technical calls are all part of an SDR’s toolkit to elevate the sales process. These professionals typically focus on inbound leads, and they empower customers and clients through education, answering questions, and sending additional resources. This helps to maximize efficiency, and ensures that leads don’t fall through the cracks or are nabbed by competitors. Typically, an entry-level position, or an SDR role is a smart way to get talent on board who could eventually move up to a sales executive level.

The success of your newly hired SDR can be measured by looking at how many inside sales leads they connect with and how they’re engaging and qualifying the leads they connect with. Important skills to look for when searching for your SDRs include solid research, interpersonal, organizational, and data analysis skills. Resiliency, a desire to succeed, and adequate product knowledge are as important.

A sales cadence, established by your sales leadership team in partnership with your lead SDRs, can help build more effective processes as your team will have a repeatable process of activities for sales outreach. This allows for a polished framework and consistency in who is reaching out to which client, eliminating the chances of unprofessional (and embarrassing) overlap.

How to structure an effective inside sales team

Account executives

Responsible for closing deals with prospects, account executives take the work of SDRs to the next logical step – they close the business transaction. Account executives add value by growing accounts, eliminating threats, maintaining customer satisfaction, and collecting/analyzing data.

They often work cross-functionally with marketing and product teams to drive sales through both existing and new accounts. Their extensive knowledge, and constant contact with clients, means account executives are often central figures in helping to develop new sales strategies for existing and new product lines.

A range of professional backgrounds can land a role as an account executive. In many cases, these professionals have bachelor’s degrees in business administration, communications, or marketing. Negotiation is a key skill, along with demonstratable communication, project management, leadership, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Ideally, it’s preferred for account executives to have had sales or prior experience as an SDR.

Customer success manager

Once a prospect becomes a paying customer, a CSM or customer success manager steps in, helping to elevate the customer experience. Operating primarily in the customer support phase of the sales cycle, CSMs make sure clients get the support they need. CSMs onboard new customers, follow up on renewals, and encourage upsells and cross-sells, all while being the “voice of the customer”.

Adopting a customer-first strategy, these professionals engage directly with existing clients. As a result, they fully understand the customer base, which can help your business manage long-term customer needs better.

To be successful as a CSM, one must have a customer-centric mindset. That’s the first requirement. Then, you need to possess superior communication, relationship management, and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to quickly develop and portray exceptional industry knowledge. Active listening, teaching, mentoring, and technical skills will also go a long way in helping you excel in a CSM role.


Onboarding and training

To ensure your team is fully prepared and to ensure your sales team’s success, a comprehensive onboarding and training program is critically important. This helps get them ready to start working through the inside sales cycle.

Inside sales onboarding

Having a well-defined onboarding program not only gives new SDRs, account executives, and CSMs more credibility and confidence in their roles – it also gives your company more currency when hiring for these positions.

Furthermore, a strong and responsive training program will raise employee satisfaction levels among your sales team. When employees are happy, they’re likely to be more motivated, more engaged, more likely to stay, and this will manifest in your bottom line. Overall, organizations with a solid onboarding strategy see a new hire retention rate of 82% while raising productivity by more than 70%.

To build a positive onboarding experience, leverage your company story – your mission, your vision, your values. Relay clear, concise, and consistent messaging throughout the process and beyond. You’ll also want to provide standardization. This ensures teams get the right paperwork, manuals, onboarding materials, and centralized messaging.

According to the Brandon Hall “Evolution of Onboarding” study, 51% of organizations reported that most new-hire attrition occurs during the first six months of employment. Onboarding is a key component when it comes to employee retention, and it’s now seen as covering a period beyond the first few weeks, even beyond their first-year anniversary. With the cost of hiring and onboarding a new employee potentially costing as much as $240,000, you want to make sure you’re always on top of your onboarding game.

Develop a checklist

A checklist for new hires can help build out this process. This includes keeping your training personalized. Always remember, no two sales professionals are alike and everyone has different learning styles. So, be authentic, since it’ll help to build trust – a fundamental building block of any organization regarded as so important that it is capable of making or breaking an organization’s culture.

Zach Lahey from Aberdeen Research notes that the period between accepting a job offer and the first day at work is a great opportunity for “new hires to become engaged and excited by immersing them in the company culture before they formally start”.

Best-in-class companies are 53% more likely than others to undertake pre-boarding by starting the employee onboarding process before day one. Consider engaging before the actual onboarding sessions to maintain employee enthusiasm and excitement. This can include a less formal getting-to-know-you call or sending the new hire personalized messages from their manager, welcoming them on board.

Schedule one-on-one time with a manager on the first day. This is very important, since 72% of employees say direct time with a new manager is the most important part of their onboarding process. Assigning them a mentor and encouraging new hires to ask questions both big and small is always a good idea.

How to structure an effective inside sales team

Set realistic goals and expectations

Setting clearly communicated and attainable goals and expectations keep teams motivated and focused to achieve the desired end goal. Make sure to use trackable key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor expectations and ensure performance metrics are being met.

Notable KPIs that all sales managers should be tracking include sales volume by location, competitor pricing, existing client engagement, employee satisfaction, upsell and cross-sell rates, sales cycle length, and customer lifetime value (CLV).

How to set inside sales goals

Rather than only setting a quarterly quota, the most successful sales teams set weekly and monthly goals, as well. This helps ensure individual reps will meet their larger, overarching goals. It also helps build confidence because teams can celebrate smaller wins.

A study has found that setting specific goals increases motivation beyond the usual: “I’ll give it my best shot.” Here are some ways to set sales goals on an individual and team level.

  • Waterfall Goals: This approach breaks down sales targets into smaller, more manageable pieces and then assigns team members different tasks and due dates. This approach helps team members move forward without fear of failing because occasional setbacks are all part of the process. This leads to greater motivation and higher morale.
  • Sequence Goals: Ensure your team knows which goals are of the highest priority. Determine which goals bring the highest value, and make sure your reps are meeting those first.
  • Activity Goals: You can create goals associated with an activity. For example, smaller goals that lead up to that overall quota.
  • Incentivization: Bonuses, variable compensation – and keeping their jobs! Sales reps are motivated by the results they receive when they accomplish big quotas. It’s important to actively publicize new incentives and offerings for your sales team.
  • Stretch Goals: For higher performers, don’t hesitate to set bigger goals. For example, hitting 120% higher than their original quota.
  • Collective Goals: These are designed to focus and achieve, harnessing the experience of multiple minds. The more minds working together on a collective goal, the better the result is likely to be.

How Skynamo can help track inside sales goals

Custom reports to boost revenue and production within your team are available at the click of the button through Skynamo Analytics. Month-to-date leaderboards allow for easy displays of your top five performers, easily adjusted to display achievers based on KPIs and other criteria. This provides a quick snapshot of your top performers across your entire team.

With custom reports, you can compare the number of sales for the current month vs. the previous month and review customer summaries as well as the variance. It provides you with an aggregated overview of each user’s call performance – required, made, pending, and missed. With this feature, you can easily see how each customer’s sales increase or decrease month to month.

Get access to the best tools

You have the best sales strategy, but without the right tools, you’re going to come up short and your sales are going to take a hit. Sales tools are the bridge between your sales strategies and overall success.

Sales automation tools are helping businesses streamline potential leads and sales through effective recording and storage of data. When implemented correctly, sales automation can help companies identify sales targets, recover lost leads, and provide enhanced communication channels to better engage with their target audience.

Skynamo is better than typical CRM solutions. Why? Skynamo has been developed specifically as an app for mobile devices, which means a superior experience for users and access to all functionality – even offline. Modernized and mobile-first, our cloud-based technology frees up time and dollars, as opposed to traditional hardware and infrastructure technology investments.

Additionally, GPS technology allows for sales to be automatically tracked while cutting down on administrative tasks – and increasing transparency to compile valuable insights to enable smarter decision-making. A dedicated Skynamo customer success team also offers free training and turnkey account management.

A customized approach will drive business results while catering to the unique and evolving needs of your sales team. With seamless ERP integration, Skynamo easily integrates with your existing tools, including Sage, Acumatica, Syspro, Xero, Quickbooks, and SAP – to name a few.


Skynamo gives you the inside track on inside sales

Structuring your inside sales team smartly can boost business revenues, resulting in accelerated year-on-year growth. But as competent as your inside salespeople are in finding potential customers, qualifying them, and helping them solve their business challenges, the need for innovative sales tools to help them perform optimally is becoming more and more pronounced.

In today’s digital-first world, technology is critical for communication, collaboration, and creating customer connections, and will help businesses get ahead of the curve. Skynamo can help teams to achieve their sales goals faster. Skynamo’s advanced reporting and automated tracking of sales activities give managers more confidence in the information they are getting and empowers them to have better control and clarity of the sales process so their businesses can thrive.

Here, the numbers speak for themselves: Each month, Skynamo manages close to three million customer relationships, two million products, and captures 130,000 orders worth more than $70 million for its customers.

Want to learn more about how our clients typically experience an up to 20% increase in revenue in their first year of implementing Skynamo solutions? Let’s chat today!