I was recently speaking with a contractor who created an Inside Sales position in his company. He made this change because he recognized that recovering revenue that would otherwise be lost is a huge opportunity. To him, it was a no-brainer. An Inside Sales person can recover a great deal of revenue.

I asked if he had run into any issues during the implementation process. He mentioned that having the Inside Sales Representative (ISR) had created a couple of consequences he hadn’t thought of or intended. The most significant had been competition between the ISR and Outside Sales.

For those of you who have an ISR, how do he or she and your Outside Sales people get along? Are they hostile toward one another, or do they have a cordial relationship? Even better, do they have a complimentary relationship, in which both groups are succeeding? These are critically important questions. If managed correctly, everyone wins – your ISR, Outside Sales people, you, your organization, and your customers.

How Was the ISR Presented to Your Team?

If your new ISR was presented as “This person is coming in to recover all the lost revenue from your leads,” then you’re creating a negative relationship between the ISR and sales. No Outside Sales person wants to own that they lose jobs. Those customers just haven’t bought…yet.

Instead, demonstrate to Outside Sales what they have to gain by this new ISR position.

Your Outside Sales people might appreciate not having to make hundreds of follow-up calls or worrying about staying in touch with dead leads. Throw in that they will still get some level of compensation if leads still close, and they’ll likely be onboard.

When you start thinking about the advantages that an ISR can bring to the Outside Sales team, you should be able to develop a message that your Outside Sales people will be receptive to. The goal is to help ease the sting of hearing that they’ll have to split their commission with the “new guy.”

What are some of the talking points you might use? This list will be different for every company, but the most common ones, besides the “No more follow-up calls,” are:

  • You’ll be able to focus on the one-call close and not be worrying about last week’s leads.
  • You’ll be motivated to operate with a greater sense of urgency, perhaps asking a few extra questions, which should help you close more.
  • The ISR has a different personality and may be able to build rapport with the customers that aren’t connecting with you.
  • When it’s peak season, the ISR will be able to make the needed follow-up calls that you don’t have the time for.

Who Owns What?

The most important point to emphasize and build your plan around is this: Who will own the process at each stage of the sales cycle? For example, when does the ISR take over the relationship, and how does that transition take place? There will still be the 10-20 percent of the sales leads that present themselves in a “what-if” manner, but these can be handled on a case-by-case basis. This is better than trying to over-define, thus causing under performance by both the ISR and the Outside Sales team.

When you look back on the decision to add an Inside Sales Representative to your company roster, keep in mind this quote by one of Apple’s executives, Eddy Cue:

“Competition on anything is good, because it makes everybody better.”

Publication date: 3/26/2018

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