Inside Sales Management Best Practices that Boost Your Revenue
As an inside sales leader, you’re tasked with guiding your team to consistently hit their sales targets and maximize revenue. Meanwhile, you’re also responsible for developing the right sales enablement strategy as you continue to build the team.
There’s no denying the importance of strong leadership in inside sales.
In fact, effective inside sales leadership has been proven to boost revenue. According to a recent Spekit study, over 66% of sales reps who are consistently meeting their quotas credit their success to their sales leadership. Studies have also shown that providing sales coaching has been proven to boost win rates by up to 29%.
In this post, we’ll go over inside sales management best practices based on our 15+ years of experience in B2B and SaaS sales. From hiring and onboarding to investing in a sales enablement strategy, there are many things you can do to better your inside sales team.
Let’s start by evaluating your inside sales leadership structure.
Sales Pipeline Management Guide
Read our guide to explore how to manage sales opportunities, forecast revenue, and close deals efficiently.
Sales management structure best practices
As your sales efforts grow, so will your inside sales team — and the need to expand your levels of management. That way, top-level leadership won’t be stretched thin and bogged down with managing individuals and repetitive administrative tasks. In order to be successful, you should be strategic in what positions to create as the business scales.
So who should be on your sales leadership team?
To create a scalable sales team structure, your leadership team should consist of:
- Vice President: They’re responsible for big-picture tasks — such as implementing new strategies, standards, and processes to better hit the organization’s sales goals — and for fostering a team culture that encourages growth.
- Director: They’re in charge of a specific division, territory, or a sector of the sales org. They make sure each manager is hitting their sales goals as they’re developing best practices and day-to-day strategy.
- Manager: They’re the ones holding your reps responsible for hitting their monthly targets. They’ll also perform regular check-ins to make sure everyone on their team is on track to meeting their goals.
- Team Lead: While a lot of their responsibilities overlap with a rep, they help upskill and train individual team members. They also make sure reps are following best practices from the start.
We’ve broken down the building blocks of a successful inside sales team in another blog post — where we outline the specialists’ responsibilities on your team and tips on building a successful inside sales structure. It’s important to note that when we refer to “inside sales reps,” we’re typically referring to SDRs since they initiate conversations with prospects on behalf of closing sales reps.
Looking closer at each management role, you can see that each level of leadership plays an important part in keeping the inside sales org functional — from the big picture to the day-to-day. One reason our clients choose us as their inside sales partner is that we offer these tiers of management built into our services.
For example, we provide a Success Manager to oversee high-level strategy and a Project Manager to drive the day-to-day efforts for each project. This allows EBQ clients to spend less time and effort managing every aspect of their inside sales team because we handle those critical duties.
While evaluating who is on your inside sales leadership team is important, you can’t neglect the importance of sales enablement.
Inside sales enablement best practices
Sales enablement is the act of providing your sales team with the tools and information they need to better sell your solution. The biggest mistake any B2B company can do is to not invest in sales enablement.
In fact, more than 50% of sales leaders agree that investing in a top sales enablement strategy is key to boosting sales productivity. More than 80% of surveyed salespeople have no problem hitting their targets — as long as their sales leaders invested in an effective sales enablement strategy.
These are some of the most common ways you can improve your sales enablement:
- Investing in a CRM: A CRM platform is software that lets your sales team keep track of customer information, conversations with leads, and success metrics. A high-level leader is typically responsible for evaluating and approving which platform to implement.
- Developing call scripts and talk tracks: Your reps can use these scripts and talk tracks to highlight the benefits of your solution and overcome objections when speaking with prospects. Typically, a manager or team lead is responsible for drafting this messaging.
- Sharing sales collateral: These documents include information about your product and services, your processes, and your competitive positioning. Sales leaders should be collaborating with the marketing department to create and distribute collateral to the inside sales team.
While it’s crucial to invest in sales tools, sales leaders need to be considerate with which tools they choose. For example, many will be tempted to invest in sales automation tools — such as autodialers and prerecorded voicemails. However, there are consequences to taking shortcuts when trying to develop human connections with your prospects. We recommend that you take the time to evaluate the risks of using inside sales automation technology before making that decision.
Hitting your goals is more than just investing in the right tools and information; it’s about investing in the right people as well. Next, we’ll cover how to hire the best inside sales reps for your company.
Hiring the right inside sales reps
To make sure you’re hiring the right salespeople for your team, your first step is to define what attributes you’re looking for within your salespeople. We recommend taking a moment to list out traits and skills you want your recruiter to look for before interviewing your candidates.
For example, some inside sales rep traits we recommend looking for are:
- Their experience: Since most inside sales roles are entry-level positions, you should look for candidates with at least some customer-facing experience — such as those who worked in a service industry.
- Their skills: It’s important for your SDRs to be able to listen to your prospect needs and address their pain points in an eloquent way. They also need to understand how to deliver the value propositions of your solution to prospects.
- Their personality: Look for outgoing and confident candidates who constantly challenge themselves to improve.
If you’re looking for an objective way to evaluate your candidate pool, you can create performance indicators that can accurately gauge whether the candidate has the qualities you’re looking for. For example, some organizations choose to evaluate relevant KPIs and successes in their candidate’s resume before moving them forward.
Once you find a few candidates who fit your criteria, it’s time to start interviewing. Think of the interview process as a litmus test: you can test out these qualities in real time using roleplays. We recommend conducting mock calls and coaching them on the fly, which allows you to see how receptive they are to feedback.
For more tips on how to recruit effective reps, be sure to look into our blog post What to Look for When Hiring SDRs. We uncover what skills we’re looking for when hiring top talent to join our organization.
Because hiring is such a lengthy process, another option you can consider is outsourcing your inside sales team. This alleviates a lot of the stress and time associated with interviewing each candidate before hiring the right inside salesperson. That way, you can focus more on steering your sales team in the right direction rather than having to evaluate if each salesperson has the right synergy with your company.
Recruiting the right people is only half the battle. After you hire the right candidates, you’ll need to find an effective way to train them on your unique sales processes.
The inside sales onboarding best practices
Now that you’ve found top talent, it’s time to get them up to speed with your sales workflow. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that more than a quarter of surveyed salespeople find their training ineffective.
However, 90% of surveyed sales leaders agree that the hiring and onboarding processes are crucial to a salesperson’s ability to hit their targets. This means that your sales leaders need to find ways to effectively onboard your inside sales team within the first few months of a rep’s tenure.
To effectively onboard your newly hired inside salespeople, you need to:
- Distribute a playbook: This SDR playbook should be a living document that acts as a knowledge base for your unique sales processes.
- Provide rules of play: This is often found in your playbook, and it’s where you’ll define how to properly use each tool available to your inside sales team.
- Invest in sales enablement: As mentioned earlier, giving your SDRs tools and information ahead of time allow them to become top performers over time.
- Set clear expectations: Be sure to outline the specific milestones to reach in the first few months. That way, your reps understand exactly what is expected of them.
In an ideal world, a new salesperson should be fully ramped around 3 months into their tenure. However, studies have shown that the average sales new hire will only be fully productive after 11.2 months with an organization.
Once your new reps have been properly onboarded, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Studies have shown that more than 80% of their sales training will be forgotten by the time they’ve completed their first 90 days of employment.
This means that continuous training is key to increasing your revenue. Continuous training has been proven to yield 50% higher net sales per employee than those who don’t conduct regular training.
As mentioned earlier, it’s a costly and lengthy process to onboard a new sales rep — and it takes even more effort to continually train reps. To mitigate this, many organizations look to outsource their inside sales team. At EBQ, our inside sales specialists are trained on best practices, continuously upskilled, and can quickly onboard to selling new solutions—so our clients can focus on the bigger picture.
Finally, as a sales leader, you’ll need to find a way to evaluate how successful your efforts have been. For most, that’ll be creating an intuitive reporting process.
What to include in your inside sales reporting
Part of your leadership responsibilities is to take a step back and evaluate the effectiveness of your inside sales team. It’s important to remember that different sales leaders will be focused on different KPIs to make sure their individual goals are being met.
We’ve broken down what kind of reports your sales leadership team may be interested in based on their job titles and added some examples of reports they should be tracking.
VP and Directors
VP and Directors are primarily interested in big-picture metrics to make sure the entire organization is hitting their sales goals. They’ll also want to forecast revenue, which is why we recommend people in these job titles track sales pipeline metrics.
A few examples of these metrics include:
- Number of opportunities
- Average sales cycle length
- Average deal size
- Win rate
- Pipeline velocity
Sales Pipeline Management Guide
Read our guide to explore how to manage sales opportunities, forecast revenue, and close deals efficiently.
Your managers need to make sure their respective inside sales team is hitting their quotas month after month, which is why you need to give managers access to SDR metrics. That way, they can holistically judge your sales development efforts, while looking for future coaching opportunities based on these reports.
A few SDR metrics your managers may want to track include:
- Number of records touched
- Touch frequency over time
- Records added to the database
Since team leads are tasked to help train and upskill inside sales reps, you’ll need to give them access to individual reps’ metrics. We highly recommend tracking your reps’ cold calling metrics to make sure they’re following best practices — such as if they’re following your sales call cadence or if they’re proactively reaching out to warm leads.
Some individual cold calling metrics we recommend tracking include:
- Connect rate
- SQL conversion rate
- Meeting completion rate
If you’re struggling with collecting meaningful metrics for your sales leadership team, then you might want to invest in a sophisticated CRM — such as Salesforce. CRM platforms generate reports for you automatically based on your filters and give you a daily snapshot of your team’s progress using dashboards. We’ve written a Beginner’s Guide to CRM to help you get started.
Collecting these metrics gives you a better understanding of how you can improve your sales team in the long run. By doing so, you’ll be able to scale effectively based on what’s been working for your sales team so far.
Exceed your inside sales manager goals to
Investing in your sales team starts with you: the sales leader. To make sure you’re successfully guiding your team, we recommend evaluating your sales team structure, sales enablement investments, and inside sales processes.
Remember: Your goal here is to make an effective and standardized process that’s easy to repeat within your sales team. If you’re looking to bypass all the trouble of finding the right salespeople and managers for your internal team, we recommend considering an outsourced team.
EBQ provides each client with an assigned Project Manager, Success Manager, and as many reps as you need. This gives you the flexibility to scale down the road while helping you hit the ground running. For more information, be sure to visit our outsourced sales development services page.