A lot of strategies have come and gone in the world of inside sales. What we thought worked a decade ago could now be considered archaic, while some practices have withstood the test of time. We’ve come a long way from the boiler room call centers to present day Account-Based models — but there was a lot in between as well.
Take a look back at some of the inside sales strategies through demandDrive’s eyes as we navigate through our old blogs:
Appointment setting won’t cut it anymore
When you say the words “lead generation” it often conjures up the image of a call center with tons of people trying to book loosely qualified appointments — a boiler room environment, if you will (if you don’t think that, good on you! Welcome to the minority).
I have some news for you — that’s old school sales development, and it won’t work anymore.
Lead generation has moved into the 21st century, and long gone are the days of smiling and dialing. The common practices of using scripts, blindly dialing through a list and not qualifying leads are (mostly) looked at as archaic. Thankfully they’re almost eradicated in common lead generation, but unfortunately, some of these old-school methods have made their way into the present day. How can we remedy that? Teams need to adapt. Sales development is becoming more targeted and personal, people want to be treated like people and not just a name on a list. Remember that and you’ll be well on your way.
How inbound marketing changed the game
There has been a seismic shift in the day-to-day responsibilities of an SDR. Gone are the days of “smile and dial” and in are the days of inbound. “It makes the old methods of lead generation — high volume, disruptive marketing — look archaic and ineffective.” It’s more cost-effective, leads convert at a faster rate, and the ROI is much higher. What’s not to love?
One big problem lies in the way — volume.
Sales teams are seeing conversions go up, but they’re seeing activity plummet. The total universe of people who want to talk to you is much less than the universe of people you want to talk to. This also assumes that every inbound lead is qualified enough to take a call, which just isn’t true.
“Low volume and dud leads are far too common for teams executing an inbound only strategy — in order to be successful as an SDR you need to rely on more than just inbound leads.” Enter targeted outbound…
How demandDrive is changing the game
Did you ever think that lead generation would be equated to a hybrid car? Neither did we, but here we are.
Combining the previous styles of high-volume outbound and high-quality inbound gets you the future of lead generation — utilizing all of your resources to their fullest potential. It’s still a bit of a trial and error process — you have to find out what mix works for you — but supplementing a solid mix of outbound activity with high-quality inbound leads is definitely the way to go.
“Taking the best parts of the two allows demandDrive to create a customized program just for you.”
More calls =/= more deals
There are a lot of myths in the inside sales world, most of them revolving around activity and its relation to success. The old “smile and dial” adage didn’t come out of nowhere.
There’s a point of diminishing returns where reps start burning out after a certain number of calls, and they won’t put in the right amount of focus and energy needed to make the most out of each conversation.
Ever been told to “hammer the phones?” Or “we’ll pay double for any leads you pass before the end of the month?” How about “just be more aggressive when you reach out?”
Contrary to popular belief, making more dials won’t always net more leads. The best way to motivate a sales rep isn’t always an increase in pay. Being aggressive doesn’t always come across as confident. These are old tactics that simply don’t work for the modern rep, and need to be addressed.
It’s been a good run, but like the Walkman or driving to the store to rent a movie, BANT is a thing of the past
When it comes to qualifying a prospect, the standard criteria that most sales team rely on is BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe). Understanding these four things gives a majority of sales reps all the info they need to effectively qualify an account — meaning they’re ready for a more technical discussion.
When your reps focus on BANT you may see your pipeline fill up with several near-term opportunities, but chances are these prospects will already have a pretty close relationship with one or several of your competitors.
Instead of using BANT to qualify your accounts, be more consultative in your approach. You know best what qualifies someone to be considered a “sales lead,” so focus on those questions. You’ll not only generate those short-term leads, but your pipeline will be chock full of strong accounts to nurture as well.
Turn those target accounts into tangible revenue
When it comes to getting the most out of your target accounts a lot of strategies fall short — why?
It’s mostly pre-outreach planning. Getting the right contacts associated with your target accounts is step 1, and it’s a big one. You also have to effectively map the account and find as much info as you can before qualifying it.
Using information gathered from one contact to aid your communications with another will help you build credibility… It automatically speaks to a pain point you know they have and makes your product or service relevant to their business need.
You can’t just dive on in and dial through a list of names anymore — that’s how you ruin the concept of a target account altogether. Take the time to map out the account beforehand and go in with a game plan. Otherwise, you’re employing the same strategy with target accounts as you are with regular accounts.
If you don’t make efforts to identify the actual decision makers in a company you’re going to miss a lot of opportunities and waste a lot of sales resources
Your list won’t always be perfect. Actually, your list will more often than not be very much imperfect. That’s why the inside sales role is so valuable — you’re not only passing qualified leads to your sales team, but you’re uncovering trends in your accounts that would otherwise get overlooked.
Mapping an account (either before you reach out or live on the phone) is instrumental in getting to the decision maker. Once you’re there you’ll have a ton of information and older conversation notes at your disposal, and it makes qualifying them that much easier.
Preparation is a requisite for success
When it comes to the changing landscape of sales development, thinking outside the box becomes imperative. Taking the time to research your prospect will pay dividends in the end — it’s not about blasting through a list anymore.
Developing a game plan can only help in your quest for qualified sales opportunities.
Create a cheat sheet, understand the vernacular, be tenacious, and put the prospect first. All of these are great starts to making your prospecting process something unique to you, and not just a cookie cutter call cadence.
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