Take Notice: AA-ISP Defines Inside Sales

Today I had the pleasure of addressing the audience at the SalesLoft RainMaker 2016 Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia. The RainMaker conference brings together sales development teams focusing on bringing a newfound knowledge base around the rising Sales Development Cloud. 

With the help of SalesLoft the AA-ISP has provided complimentary professional level memberships to all RainMaker attendees in an effort to bring together the community of Inside Sales. Below you will find an explaination and the new defintion of the word Inside Sales. The AA-ISP welcomes all titles and roles under this newly defined umbrella to join our community and together we will continue to raise the bar of professionalism and performance in our field.

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There have been many attempts to define Inside Sales, yet individuals and organizations of all sizes still ask us at the AA-ISP to narrow it down to something that could be listed in Webster’s Dictionary.  The fact remains that any definition we create will undoubtedly change over time.  As buyer preferences and technologies have evolved, so has Inside Sales.  Once called “Telesales”, today’s Inside Sales is light years ahead of a rep with a phone. Those of you who were there in the 80s will recall that Inside Sales was around well before the internet, e-mail and cell phones.  The one common thread behind this evolution is the fact that Inside Sales is “sales done virtually”.

As a respected resource on Inside Sales, the following will help to better understand the AA-ISP’s view on the term Inside Sales.

  • AA-ISP DEFINITION OF INSIDE SALES: Inside Sales is a generic, umbrella term which is widely used to describe a variety of roles, functions, and sales models, providing that these roles include a part or all of the sales cycle. The process should also be mainly virtual.
  • ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
    • Some companies and teams use Inside Sales as a title which describes a very specific role (such as an outbound, quota-carrying sales rep)
    • Other companies may use it to describe a multifunctional, multi-role organization (ie: inbound, outbound, business development, etc.)
    • The AA-ISP considers Sales or Business Development a very key and important part under the Inside Sales umbrella. SDR’s and BDR’s make up a large percentage of the overall Inside Sales definition.
    • The AA-ISP considers some inbound roles to be under the Inside Sales umbrella. (ie: where an inbound rep is actively selling or moving a sale along in part of the sales cycle)
    • Although most Inside Sales reps carry a quota, they don’t necessarily have to in order to be considered Inside Sales for certain roles and models.
    • Many, but not all, organizations have moved from the use of “Telesales” to Inside Sales for a title.
    • Some are using terms such as Digital Sales, Virtual Sales, or just plain Sales or Account Management as an overall title.

As Inside Sales continues to evolve, we will certainly see new titles, roles, models and terms emerge.  However, the term Inside Sales itself will continue to be widely used and accepted as a general description for sales done virtually.

Expect to hear more on this topic at the upcoming 2016 AA-ISP Leadership Summit on April 20th & 21st in Chicago.

Thanks to all… we’d love to hear your comments.

Bob on Stage

There have been many attempts to define Inside Sales, yet individuals and organizations of all sizes still ask us at the AA-ISP to narrow it down to something that could be listed in Webster’s Dictionary.  The fact remains that any definition we create will undoubtedly change over time.  As buyer preferences and technologies have evolved, so has Inside Sales.  Once called “Telesales”, today’s Inside Sales is light years ahead of a rep with a phone. Those of you who were there in the 80s will recall that Inside Sales was around well before the internet, e-mail and cell phones.  The one common thread behind this evolution is the fact that Inside Sales is “sales done virtually”.

As a respected resource on Inside Sales, the following will help to better understand the AA-ISP’s view on the term Inside Sales.

  • AA-ISP DEFINITION OF INSIDE SALES: Inside Sales is a generic, umbrella term which is widely used to describe a variety of roles, functions, and sales models, providing that these roles include execution of a part of, or all of the sales cycle. The sales process is also done virtually most of the time.
  • ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
    • Some companies and teams use Inside Sales as a title which describes a very specific role (such as an outbound, quota-carrying sales rep)
    • Other companies may use it to describe a multifunctional, multi-role organization (ie: inbound, outbound, business development, etc.)
    • The AA-ISP considers Sales or Business Development a very key and important part under the Inside Sales umbrella.
    • The AA-ISP considers some inbound roles to be under the Inside Sales umbrella. (ie: where an inbound rep is actively selling or moving a sale along in part of the sales cycle)
    • Although most Inside Sales reps carry a quota, they don’t necessarily have to be considered Inside Sales for certain roles and models.
    • Many, but not all, organizations have moved from the use of “Telesales” to Inside Sales for a title.
    • Some are using terms such as Digital Sales, Virtual Sales, or just plain Sales or Account Management as an overall title.

As Inside Sales continues to evolve, we will certainly see new titles, roles, models and terms emerge.  However, the term Inside Sales itself will continue to be widely used and accepted as a general description for sales done virtually.

Expect to hear more on this topic at the upcoming 2016 AA-ISP Leadership Summit on April 20th & 21st in Chicago.

Thanks to all… we’d love to hear your comments.

PLEASE STOP SELLING!

Stop Sign

Welcome back readers!  After a nice break from the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in Chicago, I am recharged and ready to help make 2014 a year dedicated to Training and Development.  On that note, today’s tip to leaders has to do with time they spend listening to and coaching their reps on the demos and presentations they do virtually to their prospects and customers.  Although there are a number of areas we could address which will help your reps make these presentations more valuable and memorable, today we will focus on only one. STOP SELLING – START LISTENING That’s right. Stop selling!  If you’re selling, you’re not listening.  And if you’re not listening, you’re not hearing and understanding what’s important to your prospect. Here is a story I will share to make my point.  The other day I got home after work and my wife seemed upset.  When I asked her what was wrong she went on to tell me about her friend who offended her during a conversation they had over lunch.  She went on to explain the situation and how it made her feel really bad.  I knew what could help her so I offered up a solution and approach she could take next time they spoke.  Unfortunately, it was the last thing my wife wanted me to do or say!  RATHER, she wanted me to just listen and fully understand and feel the depth of her pain and concern… without saying a word. All too often we as sales people do this very same thing with our prospects.  We ask a few open ended questions, hear some pain or concerns, and then can jump right into “solutions mode”.  After all, we are supposed to be solutions sales people right?  But think about it this way… why in the world would a sales rep want to try and move a prospect away from focusing on and discussing their pain or challenge, only to hear us start talking about our product or solution? Here are a few brief tips you can have your reps implement to avoid the above, especially when doing a demo or presentation:

  • TAKE TIME TO LISTEN. Be sure to allocate ample time either on an initial, pre-demo call, or on the demo call itself for listening to your customer’s concerns, issues and ideas.
  • BE ALL EARS.  I suggest reps actually using the term “I’m all ears” in the beginning of a call when allowing the prospect to fully describe their situation.  By saying something like… “I’d love to better understand your team’s biggest challenges… so I’m all ears” sends a big signal that you have every intention to shut up and listen to the prospect, and have a keen interest in what they have to say.
  • TIME YOUR TALK. Have someone actually time the amount of time your rep speaks vs. the time the prospect speaks during a demo.  Even when you need to explain and present something, having a rep who speaks 70-80% of the time is way too much.
  • KEEP IT IN THE BAG.  See how long you can keep your product or solution “in your bag” before offering it up in conversation.
  • FOCUS ON THE NEED.  The worst thing that can happen during a demo is for the sales rep to cover areas that aren’t necessarily important to the prospect.  I once was given a presentation on a CRM software add-on.  The sales rep asked me what was important and what I wanted to see in the beginning of the call.  I told them I really just cared about one particular issue to see if their solution addressed it or not.  The rep then launched into a canned demo covering every feature of their software.  Twice I tried to tell them I didn’t need to see that but rather wanted them to address my specific question. Finally, I had to rudely stop the call and not let them speak unless it was about my initial need.  Don’t let this be the way you present your solution!   Thinking you have to introduce a feature/benefit just because “they might not know they have this issue” is very risky and not advised by me.

Want to have your reps demo become more productive, memorable, and effective?  Try some of these tips above.  I would love you to share some other tips about giving effective demos so please comment below.

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