Today’s post is by Danny Wong, a marketing consultant, sales strategist, and writer. He leads marketing at Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. Connect with him on Twitter @dannywong1190.
Unfortunately, inside and outside sales teams often clash. They might fight over which clients fall into a team’s jurisdiction. Or, inside reps might refuse to hand over large clients because they don’t want to lose the commission.
To implement an efficient sales plan throughout your organization, inside and outside sales strategies must complement one another. Here are six ways you can make sure they do:
1. Start from the Beginning
The key to creating complementary sales strategies starts with job descriptions. If the company’s inside and outside sales teams are duplicating efforts or not working to their strengths, productivity suffers.
A good framework is using inside sales reps to prospect and touch base with dormant accounts through email and phone calls. Outside reps, on the other hand, can help them break into and manage larger clients that benefit from a face-to-face relationship. This frees both teams to focus on what they do best, complementing each other perfectly.
2. Empower Your Team with Technology
The easier you make it for your inside and outside reps to work together, the more likely it is that they will do so. Invest in a CRM system that makes it easy for multiple reps to keep tabs on a single account. At a minimum, they should be able to leave notes, attach important documents, and update contact information on the fly. You will also want to invest in software that facilitates internal communications and interdepartmental collaboration.
3. Host Inclusive Meetings
Instead of holding separate meetings for your inside and outside sales teams, consider holding all your sales meetings together. This gives your salespeople the chance to spend more time together, learn from each other, and discuss important strategies. Ensure your sales managers work side by side during these meetings to further drive home exactly how connected the two functions are to the company’s overall goals.
4. Set Shared Bonuses
Money is a powerful motivator. To integrate your inside and outside sales strategies, you need to modify the way your commission and bonus structure works. If commissions are paid out solely to the rep who closes a deal, inside and outside sales teams will compete against each other – to the detriment of your company and your clients. If you can find a way to pair their performance and reward everybody fairly, however, they will not only work together but they will openly root for one another.
5. Develop a Clear Career Path
One of the biggest problems that comes with managing inside and outside sales reps is that outside sales reps tend to be more experienced. They engage bigger clients, close larger contracts, and earn more money. It is often difficult for inside sales reps stuck working the phones to find much in common with them.
That is why making a clear career path that leads inside sales roles into outside sales roles makes a lot of sense. It instantly turns outside salespeople into mentors for inside sales reps. Most importantly, it makes future collaboration much easier. After all, your outside reps will know exactly what it means to have done inside sales for the company.
6. Unify Management
When inside sales reps report to their own manager and the outside sales team reports to another, it can create confusion and lead to conflict. The best-case scenario is having both teams reporting to a single manager. If that isn’t possible, you need to make sure the two managers work very closely to ensure their goals and strategies are aligned.
You can also unify your management team simply by ensuring both managers have the same boss. If both teams ultimately report to a single sales director, it is much easier to coordinate complementary sales efforts.