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How to Turn a Field Sales Rep Into an Inside Sales Rep (And Still Make Quota)

March 19, 2020
Jonathan Costet

Jonathan Costet

Selling Skills

Career shift? New sales model? Sales team temporarily grounded?

There’s no shortage of reasons to make the case for moving outside reps to inside roles.

Here’s what you – aka sales professionals – need to know to make the switch. 

And keep knocking your number out of the park.

#1 Master the Online Demo

It’s the ultimate test to becoming a world-class inside sales rep. 

And nailing a remote product demo is an art and a science

It’s equal parts delivery and perceptiveness.

However, unlike in-person demos, remote meetings offer fewer cues to determine whether your pitch is landing.

And you don’t have a monopoly of your prospect’s attention. 

Remember: they’re always one tab-switch away from going back to email. 

Here’s how top reps beat the distraction-barrier and capture their prospect’s attention from slide one to close:

First, break your demo up into clear, 9-minute chapters.

Past the 9-minute mark, your prospect’s attention is scientifically proven to drop abruptly.

Second, leave room for questions and comments. 

Top performers pause 1.6 seconds before responding to an objection. That’s 5 times longer than average performers who pounce after 0.3 seconds.

Third, don’t save the best for last.

Prospects use the first few minutes of a sales presentation to decide whether to pay attention or not. Our research shows successful demos are most commonly conducted in an “upside down pyramid” manner from most important to least important.

#2 Value Your Time (And Theirs)

Don’t always ask for an hour.

A well-run 40 minute meeting can help you focus on high priority items.

Calling for a quick check-in?

Maybe 15 minutes is all you need to cover essential topics.

With everyone’s very packed calendars, a shorter meeting with a delayed start will offer prospects a chance to freshen up and grab a coffee before your call.

You’ll also win some time back to understand their business pains in the present context.

And you’ll be able to let the meeting run on for an extra 5 minutes in case you’re still wrapping things up when the call comes to an end.

You know, just in case.

Value your customers by showing that you know their business and are being mindful of their time. Communicating that with a simple “I know you’re probably in back-to-back meetings and catching up with new responsibilities at home so I scheduled our meeting to start at 9:15” when you send out an invitation can go a long way in earning you some trust. As well as reducing no-shows and late cancellations.

– Bob Spina, VP of Sales, Strategic Accounts at Gong

#3 Rapport *Isn’t* Dead

Good news: an outside sales rep’s main strength translates directly into an inside role. 

Your work-the-room energy is still your superpower.

However, it needs to adapt to a new context.

First off, start by turning on your webcam.

According to Gong data, closed deals involved webcams being used 41% more often than lost deals.

Why? The short answer: two senses are more powerful than one.

Same words. Same delivery. Double the punch. 

Next, get personal with your prospect.

Creating a connection is harder from afar.

Top reps use these rapport-building tips to get buy-in, wherever they are:

  • Place your webcam at eye-level
  • Make eye contact by looking into the camera (not your screen)
  • Mirror your buyer (as you would in an old fashioned in-person meeting)

Lastly, listen actively. 

Put down your pen.

Close your note-taking app.

Do whatever you need to do to be in the conversation. 

Gong automatically records and transcribes your calls to help you stay focused in meetings and easily review next steps after you hang up.

Get all our secret recipes for deal-making video calls – and more! – in our Inside Sales Skills Bundle.

#4 Control the Conversation

You know how hard it can be to command the attention of a room full of people. 

Now try doing it in a video call with Slack, phones, and pets in the background…

To get prospects to pay attention, you need to run a tight ship. 

If your teammates are joining the call, start things off by introducing them on their behalf

You’ll save time and avoid losing your prospects early in the call.

Second, don’t be afraid to speak up. 

Raising the volume of your voice signals that you’re in charge and will be running the call. 

Also note: this doesn’t mean changing your tone of voice!

Then, go one-on-one with participants.

That’s right, if you want to keep your prospect engaged (and slightly on their toes) call on them individually when it makes sense to have their input on the conversation. 

Finally, be prepared to mute everyone.

Background noise and microphone crackle can and will draw attention away from the information you’re presenting. Nip it in the bud if it starts happening. 

Seasoned field reps are experts at controlling the conversation. Doing so effectively in a remote setting is just as important. It builds trust and shows that you are mindful of everyone’s time. 

– Bill Morris, Strategic Account Executive at Gong


#5 Build Influence Remotely

You’re already a pro at shaking hands and building relationships.

Now that the webcam’s is your new best friend, here’s how to grow those relationships remotely.

We ran through data from 53,632 sales opportunities, here’s what the numbers say:

For calls: winning deals have (on average) at least 3 people from the buyer’s side participate in meetings – against one person for closed lost deals.

For emails: closed-won opportunities involve 8 points of contact – versus 3 for unsuccessful opportunities.

Now that you know what success looks like, you can use data to your advantage and replicate these best practices in your deals.

One final word of advice: including 8 recipients in your emails isn’t enough to guarantee your odds of success (though that would be pretty sweet). Recipients need to be active participants in the conversation, consider emails received as a stronger indicator than emails sent.

Want 3 ready-to-steal plays you can start using today? Grab the Multi-Threading Playbook and watch your influence soar. 

#6 Switch to Multiplayer

Most – if not all field reps – already do this to get their deals across the line. 

Whether it’s tapping their neighbor on the shoulder (or, you know, a Slack message) here’s how you can refine the motion.

And bring your deal collaboration to the next level. 

First, over-communicate.

Context, use cases, next steps, objections: inside sales stars give Solution Engineers, Product Managers, and subject matter specialists all the ammo they need to win.

Second, over-prepare.

To better leverage these resources, top performing reps give their allies the full picture BEFORE bringing them into calls. 

Third, over-inform.

Sharing call recordings with teammates lets reps give an unfiltered view into deals and work for the win, together.

#7 Gear Up For Success

Shifting gears from road warrior to inside agent?

Another thing to get used to is your new tech stack.

After all, you can’t go full batman if you’re tripping over your utility belt, amiright?

Getting familiar with your toolbelt is how reps optimize their workflow.

And maximize time spent on winning deals. 

Here’s our team’s tools of choice to help get you up-and-running ASAP:

Industry Secrets from Elite Inside Sellers

We know inside sales is a different game. 

Even for seasoned field reps.

That’s why we compiled all the most-downloaded tips and tricks from top-notch inside sales pros.

You’ll learn proven techniques to close more deals and hit bull’s eye from any distance.

Earn your spot in the inside sales hall of fame with our Inside Sales Skills Bundle. It includes:

  • The video call best-practices guide: Learn the 10 necessary skills to drive better video calls and get prospects to show you the money. 
  • The product demo cheat sheet: Get your demos off the ground AND stick the landing with these 5 tips for “Aha-worthy” demos.
  • The multi-threading playbook: Steal 3 plays that top-sellers use to win influence in deals and lock down commitment. 

Nab your copy of the Inside Sales Bundle here and build out the skills to break into deals from the inside, or find out how Gong’s inside sales software can help your remote team work deals better, together. 

Stay up-to-date with data-backed insights

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