Technology has affected almost every part of the buyer’s journey, and with it, the role of inside sales, who now is driving a great portion of bottom-line sales results.To stay competitive, sales managers must provide training that reinforces inside sales specific skills and deals with their day-to-day requirements: how to do a great remote presentation, a pre-call research, prospecting calls. This not only maximizes the agent’s ability to meet the customer’s needs, but leads the way to successfully contact and engage new prospects.
I reached our own Agent Experience team at VOIQ for inside sales training tips. In this post, I’ll go over 6 valuable tips for agents selling over the phone.
1. Create an effective onboarding session
Before your sales agents start calling, be sure to provide clear documentation around the call campaign and procedures. Dedicate time to build resources like campaign guides that include your campaign objective (i.e. scheduling in-person meetings, generate interest, identify decision maker), timeframe, call script, rebuttals and FAQs.
Kick off your onboarding with an introduction from the Agent Experience Manager, review all the details around the campaign, the timeline, provide a contact for support. Walk your agents through the call software or any of the tools they’re using to carry out the calls, its terminology, and any special tips on how to take advantage of the call software.
Follow the meeting with some role-playing exercises, go over different call scenarios (i.e. a call back, a not interested lead, and a converted lead) so the agents are fully prepared for any type of outcome.
2. Design Agent training materials
Developing instructional materials is essential for any inside sales training program. Depending on the objective and length of the training session, training materials can include presentations, how-to-guides, tutorials, demo videos, etc. The goal is to educate your agents around your company and product(s).
A lot of managers forget to include this in the their trainings, but Agents should also be provided information about company culture, tonality, and even your brand’s personality. With this understanding, your agents will be more prepared to interact with customers in a way that is consistent with your business values.
If your sales call software have the capacity to record all calls, incorporate call samples into your training so your sales agents can see how an ideal interaction with a prospect should be, what selling points or angles are working better, adjust how the product is being sold, what’s best to say at each stage of the conversation.
3. Leverage call software techonolgy to optimize agent training
In this fast-paced sales environment, if you aren’t making use of the technology that’s available, you’re already behind. The ability to monitor and record sales calls allows managers to assess agent call performance, identify training opportunities, and perform quality control.Agent Monitoring or QA gives you access to your agents’ calls in real-time, so you can:
- Listen to call recordings
- See qualifying question-by-question breakdown
- Gain insight into customer interactions
4. Track daily call activity metrics and KPIs
Setting up KPIs and monitoring daily call activity keeps your company on track over campaign and agent performance. KPIs allow to establish a baseline for your sales agents to operate with, and motivates them to aim for a measurable goal.
With real-time reporting available on your campaign dashboard, you can keep track of call metrics such as number of dials, connectivity rate, call dispositions, time spent on calls, etc. Use these KPIs to assess your sales agents, and provide them with practical tips on how to hit their KPI benchmarks.
5. Conduct one-on-one focused training sessions
Don’t wait until the campaign is over to carry out inside sales training sessions. In one week after the campaign is launched, you’ve already gathered valuable information on agent performance, script management, customer insights, etc. Instead, break down one long session into weekly, short focused training sessions.
Group sessions are a good way to deliver any campaign updates at a scale, or provide the chance to hear from others agents that are experiencing the same issues as you. But carrying out individual sessions is a great opportunity for the agent to hear its own call recordings without being embarrassed, to work on a specific skill, and most important, to learn how to stay focused and increase its productivity.
6. Acknowledge and reward Agents' good work
Everyone appreciates recognition. Dedicate a part of your inside sales training to acknowledge your agents when they’ve done a good job handling objections, or congratulate the whole team when the number of successful calls have increased. When you do this, you encourage them to outperform their last attempts.
An effective way to reward your sales agents, is by implementing a bonus system in which a specific amount of bonuses are earned when a prospecting call is handled expertly, when you accomplish a certain volume of calls in a determined period of time, when a lead is converted.
Inside sales training never ends. There’s always a shift on your company’s goal, or a change in your marketing and sales strategies. As managers you should conduct regular inside sales training sessions to keep agents updated on sales or cold calling best practices, recent call recording samples, new product features, or any progress on the campaign KPIs.