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4 Ways to Maintain and Retain Inside Sales Client Relationships


Client RetentionClient retention is critical to a business's success. Over the years, I have had a long, profitable relationship with several clients. It’s important for inside sales reps to not only believe in what they’re doing for themselves and for their company, but for their client’s best interest as well. Having a customer-oriented approach builds longer term relationships. But what does customer-oriented mean? How do you develop and maintain that relationship between clients? Below are a few tips I have found successful while engaging with clients: 

1. Communicate openly, honestly and clearly with other inside sales reps, field reps and managers.

    It’s important for inside sales reps to communicate each week, each few weeks, or as needed, with field reps and managers, detailing their experiences while prospecting. This means communicating with other reps on the team, Directors of Client Operations and managers, and clients in client meetings or phone calls. If the client has questions or concerns that need to be addressed immediately, inside sales reps should take initiative and bring them up promptly with the appropriate party before it becomes an issue. Here's a breakdown of advice for communicating with these parties:

    At client level: If there are roadblocks to being successful in a particular industry or with accounts you're calling into, it’s important to be honest and direct about what you're facing in the client call. The client may have insight on specific objection handling that we may not be aware of, or may have ideas on how to tweak what we’re working with to fit what is needed to be successful on the project.

    At rep level: Some reps have been working in a particular area for many years. If a rep doesn’t know something specific about a product or solution, they should ask. Many reps are flattered to have someone tap into their expertise. It shows that the inside sales rep is interested in self-improvement and that he or she is truly engaged and thinking about conversations with potential customers. Reps may also be more prone to trust and to take an opportunity if they see and respect how much went into finding it.

    At manager level: Having regular meetings with DCOs and MCOs outside of the client meeting can help prepare for bringing something new to a client. My DCO has an open-door policy. He expects me to come up with a potential solution before I come to him for advice and to focus on what can be done and what we can work with, not what can’t be changed. If something is needed, ask.

    2. Ensure that the client sees your process and effort if there are no immediate results.

      Sharing minor successes and good conversations you’ve had with a rep, or patterns you’ve come across while prospecting with the client, is a good way to show your client that you’re still working hard, even if opportunities aren’t immediately present. It allows the client to see what potential opportunities may be available later, and can give visibility into if you’re hitting the right areas.

      3. Be consistent in the quality of your work. 

        Passing a ton of leads is great. Consistently finding opportunities that move along to next steps, eventually close and meet your client’s strategic vision is better. I would never pass a potential opportunity to my reps that I wasn’t proud of. I’ve found that discussing the opportunity briefly via phone instead of just sending a lead write-up adds a personal touch and allows for deeper communication. The rep always knows what they’re going into before the call, and knows I’ll be asking for feedback after.

        4. Be flexibile, willing to stick with what works and avoid what doesn’t.

          I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a territory where as long as I’m hitting certain parameters I can call into any account that may be a good fit. It also allows me to strike while the iron is hot if someone has an active initiative. I can see whether or not my client is already engaged with a potential customer through an extensive do-not-call list. The ability to self-manage where applicable allows inside sales reps to be much more involved while prospecting, and may produce opportunities a client had not thought of before.

          As you can see, it's all about maintaining the relationship between you and the client. How do you recommend retaining clients? How have your best inside sales reps maintained accounts? Please share in the comments below! 

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