Your inside sales team was set up with the best of intentions. The plan was to increase coverage by adding inside sellers that can cover more accounts to compliment your field sales team. However, over time this inside sales group becomes the catch all, handling all the work no one else can or wants to. To release the trapped potential of your inside sales team, the admin inefficiencies must be removed.

Inside sellers should perform essentially the same role as field sellers, the only difference being the inside sales team does not visit customers or prospects face to face.

 

Role Corruption Results in Poor Sales Performance

 

With the inside sales team in the office it is common to push activities or tasks to them that do not fit within their normal day to day work.  The most common reason we see subpar inside sales performance is role corruption.  Overtime, the inside sellers take on more and more administrative tasks resulting in lower productivity.

 

If you find yourself in a situation where the inside sales team is not producing as expected, it is critical to understand what activities and tasks the team is performing daily.  The best way to do this is a time study.

 

Conduct a Time Study to Increase Productivity

 

Have your inside sellers record where they are spending their time for a two-week period.  How much time is spent on selling activities and how much time is spent on non-selling activities?  Even more important, what activities account for the most time in the “non-selling time” bucket? 

 

Best in class inside sales teams spend more than 70% of their time on selling activities.  Leverage the attached tool to conduct a time study for your inside sales team.  In doing this, you will have a prioritized list of the biggest time sucks you will have to solve for.  Removing these activities will free up more time for the inside sales team to spend on selling.

 

Sounds easy enough, but who will take on these tasks?  We can’t ignore them, and someone will have to pick up the slack…

 

Having a dedicated sales admin team is the key to unlocking the potential of your inside sales team.  It is very common to see sales administrators for field sellers, why should inside sales be left out?  Just because an inside rep “can” do the work does not mean they should.

 

Here are some very common administrative tasks we often see inside sales doing, that need to be removed to maximize selling time:

 

  1. Customer support activities. Just because inside sales reps are in front of a computer and can pull up a customer record does not mean they should.  Sales administrators can bridge the gap between sales and support and be the first line of defense for inside sellers.  It is impossible to remove all customer support activities as some tie to a renewal or upsell opportunity where the inside seller needs to be involved but limiting this is a key to increasing selling time.

     

  2. CRM work including searching for contacts, editing records, finding duplicates, etc. Your inside sellers should have a clean, prioritized list of leads and contacts.  Sales administrators should be working with sales ops to ensure each inside seller can be confident pulling up a record and dialing the phone.  Any time spent confirming the contact information is up to date or that the lead is not actually a customer is dragging down inside sales productivity.

     

  3. Order processing. Once the negotiation is complete, the inside seller should be able to pass off the procurement, legal and contracting work to a sales administrator to run with.  Navigating the internal and customer facing hurdles needed to complete a transaction can bog down inside sales productivity.

     

These are only three examples of activities we commonly see lowering inside sales productivity.  For additional help with sales productivity issues, check out these two articles:

 

  1. Diagnosing Your Sales Productivity Issue.
  2. The CEO’s No. 1 Priority: Sales Productivity

 

As mentioned above, a time study will isolate the exact activities and tasks that are impacting your inside sales productivity.  If you have questions or would like help unlocking the trapped potential of your inside sales team, our team of experts can assist. Bring your leadership team to see a hand-picked team of experts in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s executive briefing center.

 

Leverage the attached Inside Sales Time Study Template Tool to conduct a time study for your inside sales team.  In doing this, you will have a prioritized list of the biggest time sucks you will have to solve for, and enabled your team to be more productive in the future.

 


 

Additional Resource

 

For additional help evaluating your strategies, click here to take SBI’s Revenue Growth Diagnostic.

 

Sales Revenue Growth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Hastings

Leverages expertise in operations, sales and marketing to implement new strategies that help clients make their number

Prior to SBI, Andy spent 8+ years at Constant Contact in a hyper growth SaaS environment. He brings significant expertise in direct sales, channel sales, marketing, operations and project management. Most notably, he delivered results on projects that included sales and marketing strategy, CRM design and implementation and sales productivity / enablement. Known as a problem solver who can quickly diagnose sales and marketing gaps, develop a strategy and lead cross functional teams during implementation resulting in organizations making their number.

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