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Getting your Inside Sales and Field Sales to Work as a Team?


Steve is an inside sales rep here at AG Salesworks. More importantly, Steve is my inside sales rep at AG Salesworks. He's a good inside rep too. Together we make a pretty good 1-2 punch. We're kind of like Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtough (Danny Glover) from Lethal Weapon.

Chris:   No way Steve, we can't qualify that's too dangerous

Steve:  Don't think that way Chris. I'm going to do something crazy and unpredictable, just follow my lead.

Chris:   That will never work....he's going to say he's not interested

Steve:  Not today Chris....lets go! (Steve dials phone)

Chris:   I'm getting too old for this! (audience laughs and wonders how they will ever pull this one off)

Much like Riggs and Murtough, Steve and I didn't always work well together. It's not that he was ever a bad rep or I was a bad sales executive. We just weren't on the same page. Over the past couple of years we have worked on and refined our process to the point where Steve knows exactly what I am looking for in a lead and I know what he needs to find great opportunities. There a lot of different things that we do to keep in sync with each other. Listed below are the first steps that we took to make sure that we are getting things done as well as team:

Review Interested Accounts: We take about 20 minutes each week to review our "Interested Accounts". These are prospects that like our solution, but may not be in a position to purchase for a number of reasons. Reviewing the conversations Steve has with interested accounts lets me know what I have coming to me in future months. It also allows me to prospect into some accounts before Steve would normally pass them to me. For example, Steve had a conversation with the decision maker at a multibillion dollar company the other day. That DM wasn't in the position to buy for about 12 months. Knowing that this was a huge account I was trying to lock down for quite some time, Steve brought it to my attention. Together we formulated a pass off plan and I am now having regular conversations with the right person. They may not be active buyers right now, but when they are, my company will be discussed.

Review the Not Interested Accounts: The not interested accounts show why people do not want to speak with us. I think these are the best notes to look at when it comes to continuous improvement. Reviewing these accounts makes us able to identify the fears and reservations of our prospect base and address them in future calls. It helps Steve as he is able to proactively deliver a pitch that alleviates the doubts of the prospect before they even voice them. If you know that your prospects are terrified of using a solution because they have been "burned in the past", you can formulate your pitch to show why you are different right from the start giving you a higher likely hood of being able to keep someone on the phone.

Top 5 Accounts: Every week I give Steve 5 accounts that I would like to get into. I do some research into each of the companies ahead of time to make sure that they are a fit for our services. These accounts are like the girls that wouldn't talk to me in high school. I was never good at the initial introduction. I never knew where to start and would mess it up. EG: "Hi I'm have big nostrils.....not that that's a bad can probably run for distance, with the increased air flow and all....I'm sorry I'll leave now." Steve and I review the top 5 accounts and set forth a strategy as to how he is going to get me a date with them. We look at their upcoming events, major news stories at the company, acquisitions, new funding and we formulate a pitch and plan specific to what they are dealing with at the time. More often then not, I end up meeting with those companies within a month.

Steve asks questions about my sales calls: We go through all the leads that Steve passed to me and talk about the ones that worked and the ones that didn't work. The purpose of this is obvious, but very powerful: identify the prospects and pitches that worked and repeat them. Similarly, identify the things that aren't working, and stop doing them. If we notice that we get killed every time we get a lead with a certain title, we make changes to the pitch that will make it more alluring to that titles specific needs.

All of these steps have a great yet unintentional result. The discussions we have make Steve and I feel like a team. There are so many companies out there that separate the inside and outside reps often times leaving the inside reps hearing about their performance from a marketing or sales operations person. Including them in conversations about the sales process gives them insight directly from the reps they support and also makes them feel like they are part of the sales team, rather than a faceless cold caller. You do better work when you feel like you are part of something and other people are relying on you. As a result the quality of leads goes up, the sales person closes more deals and both parties get paid more!

Those are a few of the methods that Steve and I use to stay on top of our pipeline and continuously get better at our respective roles in the sales process. I would love to hear feedback on how you have increased the effectiveness of your inside/outside sales process.


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