The CEO of a startup is like the captain of a whaling ship. Some of his employees may be veterans with metaphorical sea legs while others may be beginning skippers. In either case, it’s the CEO’s job to guide his company through whatever challenges they might encounter. And in this day and age, adopting an inside sales strategy that utilizes the most up-to-date technological tools is key to success in the marketplace. Here are four steps you can take today to get on the right track.
1. Choose your customer relationship management (CRM) system carefully and wisely to suit your needs.
Before you invest in a CRM, take a second and make sure the CRM you’re using can fit all of your needs. If your employees travel a lot, a CRM with integrated mobile functions will let them access and update information about clients from a taxi or an airport lounge. At any company, large or small, the CRM facilitates communication between different departments. A good CRM system will also integrate with and store company emails, providing a valuable source of data for future leads. It automatically schedules follow-up calls. A cloud-based CRM database should be coupled with a reliable information security system, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive information.
2. Plug up your leaky faucet.
Put a tracking system in place that immediately notifies your sales development team when a lead comes in and calculates time taken to respond. Every representative should have an inside sales dashboard installed on their screen that displays how long it took to respond to the last lead, as well as his/her total average time to respond. The old adage “the early bird gets the worm” couldn’t be truer in the case of the digital salesperson. Dave Elkington, Chairman and CEO of InsideSales.com, analyzed 2 billion communications with 80 million customer profiles and found that 78 percent of sales went to the companies that responded first, not the ones with the best or cheapest service. It’s important for sales development to quickly capitalize on leads by qualifying them and sending them off to sales.
3. Understand buyer personas and equip your sales team with precise intelligence.
It’s been said that the real value of a salesperson is his Rolodex. That is, the customers that a salesperson knows and has established relationships with are his biggest asset. However, in inside sales, you may not meet people face-to-face for weeks or even months. It’s important to do the research about potential and actual clients. What are their needs? What are their buying behaviors? Encouraging customers to fill out surveys that give some idea of their background and concerns can help create a profile future leads can seek out. Studying your target demographic’s social media and web presence can give you an idea of their digital body language, which makes it easier to tailor your marketing.
4. Don’t frustrate your sales teams with complicated software and reporting.
Integrative training platforms to help your employees navigate your CRM software can provide your employees with fast and intuitive technical assistance. While monitoring and reporting are inevitable, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Frustration from operating software or reporting shouldn’t hold back your salespeople from closing a deal. One thing that sales performance monitoring would reveal is just how much time your salespeople spend wondering what to do. They could be unsuccessfully trying to navigate a new program’s interface or calling customer support to try to figure out how to use the software your company invested in. There’s no point in spending thousands on new software suites if your salespeople won’t know how to use it.
The Chicago Bulls weren’t the Chicago Bulls without Phil Jackson. Without Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay Packers were just another team. It’s up to you to guide your team to success by helping them increase their productivity. Fortunately, you’re not alone. There are plenty of technological tools that can assist digital salespeople in finding leads and building relationships with clients.
Originally published on The Huffington Post.