As a salesperson, you probably have a unique selling style and your own methodology that you’ve developed over time. You’re flexible, used to thinking on your feet, and you thrive on finding ways to make connections, solve your prospect’s pain points and close that sale.
Today online meetings are becoming increasingly important. In fact, The Sales Benchmark Index says that 75% of your customers prefer not to meet in person. With top publications like Hubspot and Close writing about inside sales, it’s safe to say that it is not just a trend. It’s here to stay!
So, how will you keep your sales pipeline healthy and exceed sales targets while selling remotely?
In this guide, you’ll learn how inside sales can grow your business and what tactics you can use to increase your sales efficiency. As an added bonus, we’ve packed in links to useful articles that will help you to become an absolute pro in inside sales.
What is inside sales?
Inside Sales is the process of selling to potential customers remotely. This can be done through phone calls, emailing, social selling, or any other activity that doesn’t involve leaving the office to talk to your customer.
The primary factor here is that b2b inside sales reps are not in the field building in-depth relationships with clients. They are in an office probably making 100+ calls and emails every day.
Why inside sales works?
Executives have proven that they will take a remote meeting or call, in fact, The Sales Benchmark Index says that 75% of your customers prefer not to meet in person. With top publications like Hubspot and Close writing about the topic, it’s safe to say that inside sales are not just a plan B for the current in-person meeting limitations, and are here to stay (and evolve)!
The inside sales model for b2b SaaS has caught fire in the last several years. We believe this is the case for a few reasons. Many SaaS products have low entry-level costs that scale up with a company. Due to the product being relatively low cost, they don’t need an outside sales rep going to different geographies to sell it. It’s at a price where transaction selling is okay, so working a list of 100 customers every day will likely be more lucrative than trying to convince 10 to convert in person. In regards to tools, the inside vs. outside sales debate will usually go to the inside sales side, simply because the tools have gotten so good.
Some of the ones mentioned above are only a few examples of very high-quality software that have been built out to service sales teams. The better the software gets, the more inside sales will creep into the territory of outside sales. Still, there will always be a point where in-person human interaction is key. Demodesk is an example of a product that helps marry the remote work of Inside Sales Teams with personalized and interactive video meetings.
It generally comes with less of a price tag - Inside b2b sales reps cost less than outside ones, usually because they are not responsible for larger enterprise deals. Some would argue that it takes less skill to be an inside sales rep. In addition, there are fewer travel costs associated with an inside sales model, whereas outside sales reps are spending most of their time in the field.
If your ACV is under $30,000, consider an inside sales team - If the product you selling doesn’t require multiple decision-makers and a budget approval on their end, then it is probably a waste of everyone’s time to build a relationship for 6 months before the sale. Inside sales equate to more transactional selling with lower-cost deals when compared to outside sales.
If you’re going into rapid scaling mode (let’s say you just raised your series B), some companies might go with an inside sales force simply because it can scale up faster than an outside sales force.
As the market gets more internet savvy, potential customers may prefer to be contacted through one of the b2b inside sales channels. Especially as millennials and Gen Z grow in the workforce, a phone call or email exchange could be more optimal than meeting face to face in a coffee shop.
At the end of the day, only you can determine whether inside sales is the right sales structure for your company. Generally, the bigger and more important the deals are, the more you should mix in an inside salesperson.
Inside sales processes, you should implement
When it comes to meeting virtually with potential customers, you want to be prepared to handle each unique aspect of the sales meeting. Your sales prospects do not want to be hassled or have to jump through hoops like downloading a meeting app to join the call.
Make sure to create a seamless, barrier-free meeting experience that allows them to really focus on what you are talking about. Otherwise, it could greatly affect your chances of closing the deal.
There are a few ways to ensure your meeting goes spectacularly well. One way is to use a screen-sharing solution like Demodesk to simplify the meeting experience and eliminate issues that hinder your sale. The other ways to make your online meetings more effective? Keep reading to find out!
Schedule a sales discovery call before the demo
The purpose of Sales Discovery is to learn more about your prospect's business and to identify their pain points so you can deliver a winning product demo. When you know exactly what your prospect needs, you can personalize your demo to hit all the right points.
During the Discovery Call, you won’t have the time to ask every question on your wish list, so plan ahead. Prioritize your questions and make sure you ask the mission-critical questions before time runs out
Based on a study of over 500K sales calls, the best results came from asking between 11 to 14 questions during your meeting. Your questions should be open-ended to trigger a discussion so it feels more like a conversation instead of an interview.
Which questions are best? We’ve compiled 14 of the best questions to ask.
11 Discovery questions
- What made you check out our product?
- Which problems do you hope our product will help you solve
- Which tools are you using at the moment, and what does the workflow look like?
- What do you dislike about your current setup?
- What do you like about your current setup?
- Which other products are you evaluating or have you evaluated in the past?
- How are you evaluating our solution?
- Which objectives do you hope our product will help you achieve?
- Who will be using the product?
- What does the decision-making process look like?
- Is there a specific timeline or budget for this project?
3 Bonus questions
- How will you measure the success of the product performance over time
- What is your perception of our product versus the alternatives?
- What are the individual expectations of people involved in decision-making?
Based on the insights you gathered from your prospect’s answers to these probing questions, end your meeting by reinforcing the value of the demo. Make it a no-brainer for them to say yes to seeing the product and don’t say goodbye without having clarity on these next steps.
Avoid demo no-shows with scheduling hacks
If you can, schedule the demo while you are still on the sales discovery call. Before you ask for prospects’ availability, give them the scheduling guidelines below to ensure you are controlling the timing. This still makes them feel like they are still picking the date and time.
Ideal Schedule Guidelines:
Date: Within 5 business days of your call.
Duration: Ask for a 30 to a 45-minute slot.
Time: Between 3 pm and 5 pm on Monday through Thursday.
Send an email 15 minutes after the call with a booking link from your scheduling software. With Demodesk, you can integrate your scheduling calendar into your website with your own branding.
*Never schedule calls on Monday morning or Friday afternoons and avoid days around holidays or vacations.
While there’s no special magic dust to ensure your prospects will show up, we have seen no-show rates decrease by over 50% when appropriate reminder emails are sent.
Not all reminder emails work but these are the best practices to decrease no-show rates:
- Always send reminder emails during work hours, 24 hours before the demo.
- Personalize it as much as you can. An online meeting tool can send different types of emails based on custom rules (e.g. whether your prospect has accepted the meeting or not.)
- Do not just remind them of the meeting time but reinforce the value of the demo so they are more motivated to show up. (maybe include a case study, article, etc.)
- Include the demo meeting agenda and the goals so they can prepare for the call in advance.
- Make it easy for everyone to reschedule by coordinating everything through a master calendar.
Last but not least, we ALWAYS recommend being friendly but professional.
No-shows often occur because the scheduling process becomes painful for the prospect. The back-and-forth emails trying to nail down a time with multiple players is a recipe for disaster.
Luckily, new types of software have solved the tedious email-writing, calendar-checking, excel-managing headache of meeting scheduling. Online tools like Demodesk completely automate manual scheduling tasks and remove the friction.
Don’t let archaic online calendars, too many emails, and inaccurate spreadsheets get in the way of your sale.
Frame your demo agenda
An agenda is not a laundry list of items you hope to cover in the demo. Use the opportunity between Discovery and the Demo to create an action plan of how you will address their business issues. Frame the demo agenda around how your software specifically helps them. Begin with the most pressing pain point first.
In our experience, the most successful demos are always completed on time. Staying within the time is key, but give yourself some flexibility to read the room and shift gears if needed.
This is how the typical 30-minute demo agenda should look like:
- Introduction (5 minutes): Re-establish rapport and connect with everyone on the call to establish trust. Share the agenda.
- Set the stage (5 minutes): Remind them of their top business challenges and give them an overview of how you are going to help them.
- Solution Mapping (15 minutes): Address each pain point and solution by focusing on the most relevant benefits of your solution. Focus on the three biggest pain points.
- Next steps (5 minutes): Discuss your prospect’s decision-making process and what else they need to move the deal forward.
When you craft an agenda that addresses the core issues, send it to your prospects beforehand. If they sign off on it, your close rates will improve greatly.
Focus on one feature to highlight
It might sound counterintuitive to only focus on one feature for your demo, but there is sound logic behind it. When you keep the demo targeted to a specific solution that addresses the main business challenges, your product starts to feel like it was made just for them.
First impressions are powerful. There will be time later on to show the other cool features of your product. The One Feature Framework is designed to help your prospect make the immediate connection between their need and your solution. You will get them thinking: “We need this feature! I wonder what else this product does?”
1. Identify the right features
Before you can give an intelligent product demo, you must have a strong understanding of your audience, brand, and product capabilities so you can pair the right features to the right prospects.
We developed a One Feature Framework Matrix that maps everything out for you, so everyone in your team can align on the feature focus. The matrix includes:
- Type of prospects (personas)
- Their goals and value propositions
- Stats or quotes that apply to that audience
- Their common pain points
- Product solutions for those pain points
- The features that best solve the pain points
A large percentage of your prospects will have similar needs. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Use your matrix as a centralized guide to help the entire team quickly select the right feature to highlight in the demo.
2. Frame the demo around the prospect’s story
Demos are not about your product. Surprise! The purpose of the demo is to retell your prospect’s story about why they came to you, except your version of the story includes the solution your prospect needs to make it a happy ending.
For example, you could start your story like this:
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned after giving hundreds of demos is that every business is different and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. You’ve already shared with us how your business will improve if you could solve x, y, and z issues. The purpose of this demo is to show you how you can use our tool to solve those issues specifically.”
Remember, the product is not the hero, it is your prospect. But every hero needs a superpower, that is where your one killer feature comes in.
3. Know your one feature inside and out
When you show one feature, it gives you the focus to practice and perfect that one aspect of your product demo beforehand. It’s more difficult to plan a demo where you will jump around to different features while keeping the flow of the conversation seamless.
Set their expectations early by explaining that your SaaS product has a lot of features, but their demo is customized to show how it specifically meets their highest priority needs.
For example, you could say, “We’ve got over 20 features to help you, but you told us that you need help in this area. So today we are going to zero in on the one feature that can help you achieve success.”
Make it your mission to present the one feature completely, and your prospects will have confidence in your expertise.
4. Let them explore more
An interesting side effect of the One Feature Framework approach is that it heightens your prospect’s curiosity about what else your product can do for them. It is simply human nature to want to see more after they have decided they like the initial feature.
At Demodesk, we invite people to try our platform for 7 days after the demo so they can see the other features for themselves. A free trial or a demo follow-up meeting are good ways to share more relevant features.
Your SaaS product surely has more than one special feature, but when you realize the feature is only special to some of your prospects, you’ll be able to connect the dots between the prospect persona, their needs, and the one feature that will solve it for them.
Leverage next steps
Get your prospects to agree on the Next Steps before you end your product demo and your chances of a sale will increase. When you use “Next Steps” as a tool to keep the momentum moving, you’ll take one step closer to closing the deal. In fact, sales reps who spend four minutes longer talking about the next steps than their peers, win more deals.
Chris Orlob, Director of Sales at Gong.io, discovered that close rates can skydive by over 70% when you fail to discuss the next steps. Needless to say, it is a critical step that should not be overlooked.
When discussing Next Steps, use pointed questions that are designed to elicit very specific answers. For example, you can ask questions like:
- Is there anything else you need to see to help you make your decision?
- Can you help me understand your internal next steps and timing for a final decision?
- Would you like to set up another meeting now to include your colleagues?
At this point in the sales process, your prospects are looking to you to tell them what is next. It is your sale and the “Next Steps” is your opportunity to show everyone that you are the one guiding them to the finish line.
Whatever the situation dictates, give them a clear direction with confidence. You can assume that your prospects don’t know what is supposed to happen next. Take control of this journey.
Make inside sales easier with the right tools
Sales meetings are not like normal online work meetings, so you should ensure that you have the best tools to ease the process. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Prospecting tools: A popular prospecting tool that many salespeople use is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can filter for your ideal customer persona, then star names that look like they could be a quality lead. There are dozens of ways to prospect and you can see a helpful list right here.
- Tools for outreach: The first reach out can be done through any channel where your customer wants to be contacted. Generally, this is emailing, calling, social selling, or various other channels that have sprouted up with the rise of the internet. Inside sales organizations tend to be very analytical, so over time, they will know what types of reach outs do best, and why. Products like Reply or Outreach help with this process.
- Lead generation tools: use tools like Oktopus to generate leads on LinkedIn instead of events.
- Scheduling: ensure proper scheduling with tools like Demodesk or Calendly between you and your prospects.
- Video conferencing: while you can use various solutions for this, it’s best to use software that’s dedicated to Remote Sales teams. Here you can find a comparison between the most relevant ones.