Technology advancements and shifting buyer preferences are elevating the inside sales role within B2B organisations, and moving them firmly away from the typical sales structure which had historically cast them in a supporting role. Today, inside sales representatives are able to engage in contextual, relevant and timely conversations, nurturing prospects throughout the customer journey and equipping their field sales colleagues with as many highly qualified deals as possible.
Today, face-to-face meetings no longer hold the same value that they once did in building brand credibility. While little beats seeing the whites of the eyes of the person you’re going into business with, prospects now are much more self-sufficient in gathering industry news and market information. The digital platform has grown to become the stage which sets the foundations of any ongoing relationship, with the internet radically shaping the way new client and vendor relationships are formed and sustained.
In order for IT vendors and technology consultants to drive pipeline growth and close more leads, the inside sales role has had to evolve in order to become indicative of these transformational behaviours and beliefs. The lines between sales and marketing have had to become blurred as inside sales teams become representatives of growing portions of the overall sales process; building value through shared knowledge and a consultative approach.
Evolution with technology
Technology is by far the clearest driving force behind the growing importance of an inside sales team in B2B IT Lead Generation. Technology has altered the ways in which our prospects choose to buy and engage with us and as such, we must fight fire with fire – bringing in new and innovative technologies which allow us to manage the sales and marketing processes, automate roles and provide increased transparency.
Multi-faceted marketing automation tools allow sales and marketing teams to identify prospects earlier, and further drive customers down the sales pipeline by empowering them to deliver the right messaging at the right time. The ability of these technologies to monitor, analyse and report on prospects behaviours provides both the marketing and sales force with the invaluable insights needed to both generate and nurture sales qualified leads.
Sales representatives are empowered to engage with potential buyers on their terms and on a platform and format which they find most engaging rather than being restricted to solely interruptive techniques.
Evolution through changing buyer behaviour
In the fast-paced environment of IT and technology, it is important to ensure that both sales and marketing teams are empowered to engage in knowledgeable and current conversations. The need to speak to your prospects about the relevant and current challenges they are facing, mean that not only is it important to stay educated in the latest news and trends of your own product or service, but it is just as important to be knowledgeable of wider industry trends, shifting markets and even competitor updates.
Changing buyer behaviours has resulted in the demand that inside sales representatives approach each engagement not as a sales pitch but as a consultation. With prospects now tending to engage with sales people after they have already researched the product online, customers no longer rely on the salesperson as a source of information but more as a resource to help them align the product with their goals and challenges.
Support and coaching which ensures your inside sales team are able to have a personalised conversation with every prospect is invaluable; you can be assured that your representatives are continually informed of the latest lead generation best practices, nurturing your prospects with each engagement.
Evolution through SMarketing
The alignment of goals between sales and marketing teams in the effort to generate B2B leads is critical to the production of high quality opportunities needed to grow the pipeline, a partnership which has grown over recent years. The SMarketing relationship is a symbiotic one built on transparency and communication, and is fundamental to the success of the campaign, ultimately impacting organisational bottom line.
With clear and concise lead definitions, sales and marketing can begin to work together to delegate responsibilities in how to identify high quality leads and the appropriate handling processes.
Modern Inside Sales teams are adapting to this closer relationship with marketing, creating a closed loop system which leverages the content created and shared by marketing to engage and influence prospects. More and more sales representatives are feeding back their knowledge of the target audience, while making use of marketing content to nurture and convert prospects.
It is undeniable that the role of the Inside Sales team in B2B IT Lead Generation has changed. The evolving nature of technology and buyer behaviours meaning that the ways in which sales representative’s approach lead generation has also had to adapt.
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