7 Ways to Boost Inside Sales in the Post-Pandemic Era
Inside sales represent a large proportion of overall sales for many businesses. Inside sales are those that are made (or converted) remotely, rather than made face-to-face by a traveling sales rep in what is known as outside sales.
The most common methods for securing inside sales are selling using online channels (such as social media), over the phone, or by email. Traditionally, a team of sales reps would have worked from the same office, making calls and following up with leads at their desks. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything.
As most people are aware, remote working became the norm during Covid times, especially for inside sales teams. Why work from a busy, crowded office, when they could just as easily work safely from home? How does this change affect or challenge your inside sales strategy?
In this article, we’ll look at how things have changed since the advent of the ‘new normal’ to the post-pandemic era we are now moving into. We’ll also give you some tips on how to optimize your inside sales strategy to meet the new landscape.
How has Covid-19 impacted inside sales?
Businesses moved toward a working from home or hybrid working mode. And the trend for remote working continues apace. According to expert data scientists, 25% of professional jobs in the USA will be fully remote by the end of 2022, and this percentage is set to increase during 2023. Hybrid working is also on the increase, rising from 13% of UK professional workers in February 2022 to 24% by May 2022, based on figures from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The trend for remote working continues apace, which reflects on consumer behaviour shifts and brings sales teams new strategic challenges as well as opportunities.
There has been a big change in consumer habits over the past few years of the pandemic, which needs to be accounted for if you rely on B2C sales, mainly the fact that people are far more likely to buy goods online, rather than in-store.
Seven ways to optimize your inside sales strategy to account for this change
The upward trend for remote working and online purchasing is similar across the globe and there is no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated this change. Let’s take a look at seven ways to optimize your inside sales strategy to account for this change.
1. Increase sales and marketing efforts to startups
One of the surprising effects of the pandemic was a big increase in the number of new businesses. The US Census Bureau revealed that there were 24% more new business tax applications in 2020, than in 2019. In real terms, this means that 840,000 new US businesses were started during the pandemic than the previous year.
Most of these are online startup businesses, as well as freelance workers setting themselves up as sole proprietors. If you are involved in selling digital services or products, then you need to account for the increased size of this market and capitalize on it by focusing your marketing campaigns and sales outreach.
2. Update your CRM records to include mobile numbers
As mentioned earlier, there has been a seismic shift towards working from home and hybrid working over the past couple of years. For that reason, now would be a good time to update your CRM with mobile phone numbers rather than office phones, as you may not be able to contact past customers and old leads on landlines.
You may think that this isn’t too relevant in this day and age, as you can just fire off an email to prospects and leads. But research contradicts this and shows that cold calling is more effective than ever, rivaling the effectiveness of sales emails, especially if you want to create a conversation and get direct responses.
3. Optimize your inside sales segmentation
If you haven’t already segmented your prospect and lead lists, or you haven’t updated them for a while, now is the time to do it. Optimizing your market segmentation is all about shifting the focus towards the people that are most likely to boost sales and revenue.
To boost your inside sales figures, you should focus on segments that contain leads with high buyer value and are likely to buy without too many touchpoints. Then you should work out which touchpoints are most effective with this segment – email, phone, or social media, and focus your efforts there.
4. Implement a new CTI solution
If you use one of the more powerful CRMs, such as Salesforce, then you can add a Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) solution to improve inside sales efficiency. A good CTI solution links seamlessly with your CRM to offer features such as automatic dialing, click-to-dial, automatic call logging, call lists, local presence dialing, call notes, call routing, and call monitoring. This centralizes all communications and gets records easily available to the whole team.
A top-tier all-around CTI solution such as PhoneIQ will also integrate with specialist inside sales software such as Salesforce High Velocity Sales.
5. Improve your SEO
It’s likely that you’ve already invested pretty heavily in SEO, especially if you have a strong online presence and rely on inbound sales. But don’t forget that consumer and business buying habits have changed during and since the pandemic. People are increasingly purchasing B2B and B2C products and services online.
For this reason, it is worth giving your website and blog an overhaul to improve SEO performance and rank more highly in the search engine results. The first thing you need to do is update your content and make sure that the keywords you’re targeting are still relevant. Also, make sure you get all the technical aspects right – such as page loading speed, metadata, and backlinks.
6. Apply more automation
Automation is a surefire way to improve the productivity of your inside sales team. Software assistance can free up a great deal of time for each of your sales reps, which means they can spend more time talking to leads and customers.
There are plenty of repetitive tasks inside sales reps can automate, such as call logging, manual dialing, looking for customer information and actually having to record voicemail messages. Sales dialers, screen pop ups and voicemail drop features are great tools that serve this purpose. You can also apply business intelligence systems that automate certain tasks and workflow actions when triggered by an event. For example, PhoneIQ can automate some of your call center tasks, such as logging calls, taking notes, and tagging calls.
7. Reevaluate your offering in the post-Covid landscape
Last, but not least, in the dawn of the post-pandemic era, it’s a good idea to take stock of your product or service and how it sits within the new market and economy. Depending on your offering, you may find that you are better or worse placed than you were before the pandemic. Either way, it will affect how you market and sell your offering.
For instance, let’s imagine a company that sells telehealth services (remote healthcare consultations) to doctor’s surgeries. Before the pandemic, there may not have been too much interest. Post-pandemic, it’s a very different story and that company should be ramping up their sales and marketing efforts to boost their revenue and stay competitive.
Overhaul your inside sales strategy as soon as possible
Most developed countries that have implemented vaccine programs are pretty much out of the woods (for now) when it comes to Covid-19. The pandemic isn’t over, but it is certainly winding down. The ‘new normal’ of remote working took hold during the pandemic and the trend is looking likely to continue. If you want to stay competitive and make sure that you are maximizing your revenue, then this year is the time to do it.
If you focus on the seven points listed above, you’ll be able to create an effective inside sales strategy that will help you to thrive in the post-pandemic age.
One of the quickest wins you can implement is a CTI solution for your CRM, such as PhoneIQ for Salesforce. A CTI solution will turn your sales team into a productivity powerhouse, using the automation features to increase the number of calls they can make each day and accelerate the average time to conversion.