Pre-sales teams are an invaluable part of any business. They are your brand ambassadors and the first human interaction your prospects have with your company. Managing that initial inquiry or touch point with the client carries a huge responsibility. With Inside Sales/Pre-sales gaining importance in the sales and marketing strategy, it is important to put a formal training program in place. This will equip the Inside Sales Team to meet and surpass their objectives. Your team can use this article to draft and structure an effective training program. The first step in this process is to clearly define which parts of the entire sales engagement cycle you would like the Pre-sales/Inside Sales team to be responsible for.
Key Areas of Responsibilities for Pre-Sales Team
You can ignore ones that are not applicable to your business.
- Manage incoming leads from portals, digital PPC campaigns and Email inquiries.
- Receive and respond to first level incoming calls from clients, schedule and establish next steps. Eg: a site visit, discovery call, and meetings.
- Engages in proactive outbound activities which include cold calls, follow up calls, emails and recycle old/non-responsive/dead leads.
- Gather data on initial requirements, develop proposals, share information regarding availability and pricing.
- They report, record and manage data. This includes updating the CRM with call statuses, discussion notes, contact information, and generate new contacts to enter in the CRM. Additional responsibilities also include cleaning and managing incorrect data, duplicating records management, collecting feedback by and between marketing and sales teams.
- Account and competitive intelligence: Gather and share any new information about market development from customer calls and online research.
Training and Development Strategy for Pre Sales/ Inside Sales team
To begin with, you will need to put a formal structure that categorizes your training topics at a very high level. You can follow the below-listed points in order to enhance the existing training process.
- New Hire Training (NHT): The primary objective of New Hire Training is to bring all representatives to one common starting line. In most cases, you can complete this training during the first week of work.
- NHT Evaluation: The evaluation is undertaken after the training is completed and aims at measuring the effectiveness of the training. You can then hand over the results of these tests to the reporting manager who can coach the Inside Sales representatives in required areas.
- Reinforcement Training: This training module is topic specific, for eg- sales skill training on first 10 Seconds of the call. You may need to reinforce these modules once every quarter.
- Spotlight Training: This is stand-alone training and usually topics covered under this have no reinforcement training.
Relevant Training Topics For Inside Sales
Here we have cited the examples of training topics for Real Estate industry.
- Introduction to Company: These slides give new members an overview of the organization and should ideally be presented by senior employees. These could include about us, work culture, organizational structure (planned), and HR related slides.
- Ice-breaker session: The objective of introductory sessions is to help team members from marketing, sales, and leadership teams to get to know each other.
- Key result area of Inside Sales: You can present slides on what the teams have to do, how much they have to do and what does their daily/weekly report look like?
- The Sales CRM Software training toolkit: This will serve as a comprehensive guide to using the sales CRM. It will encompass modules on how to call, Email, record data, respond, assign/allocate, schedule and inform others, pricing, availability and tool usage.
- How to verify the lead: The pre-sales team can do this based on contact information, past inquiry history, current needs, de-duplicate, budget, occupancy time frame, and location. These are common parameters and could be subject to change depending upon your internal sales process.
- Responding to leads generated through property portals and marketing channels.
- Responding to an Incoming call: The best practice would include responding within the first 10 seconds. Later stages will include an assessment of how much to qualify, how much Information to share, how to schedule a meeting and addressing common objections posed during the first call.
- Call Grading: Listen to calls from the past and grade these individually or play good calls to the team to highlight important points. This will be followed by group discussions where members can analyze these calls.
- Spotlight RERA: This training can throw light on what RERA stands for and how it impacts buying decision. Demonstrations and inputs can also be given on how to handle RERA related objections in the Initial stages of the sales cycle.
- Spotlight: This module should familiarise the teams about your projects and competing projects functioning in the same location. Understanding how a particular location is preferred and nearby locations that are in demand. You can further discuss city-related macroeconomic factors related to real estate.
- Mock Calls: The entire team needs to practice 3-4 sessions of role plays. Mock calls are where one team member pretends to be a customer and the other team member practices the skills taught in training. While the call is going on, everyone else prepares notes to share feedback with the one practicing the skills. This way, every team member takes turns to practice the skills before applying it in a real-life scenario. You can also record these scenario-based calls, so the trainee can hear how he/she is sounding.
Best Practices to Adopt While Implementing Your Training Program
Your training calendar should be made available to every team member and you should try and not change training schedules. Once planned it must be done. You commit first and the team will follow with trust.
- Presentation/Word Document: You can assign a presenter and ask the presenter to prepare a written document. Avoid chalk talks or talking into thin air.
- Share why and what they will learn: Chart out a clear learning objective along with anticipated questions. Prepare answers as these will help you address questions posed after training and also the important points the teams should remember. These should always be included in a short write up or on one slide.
- Write the scenario for the mock call and share beforehand: Inform the sales representative, ‘this is what we will practice, the ‘pretend’ customer will have this objection and you will use this point and try to get to this goal. Make it easy for your teams to practice the basic skills and help them focus on one skill at a time.
- The boss must be a part of the training: As someone in the managerial position, it is important for you to meet the trainees. You need to share your professional journey and the plans you have for the teams. You owe this much to your brand ambassadors.
- Evaluation: The first evaluation should have a medium difficulty level. There is no point in expecting miracles with one training. So, the purpose of the evaluation is to figure out which areas of training must be done again or differently. If the topic is really important for each of the inside sales rep to follow day-in and day out, then plan for weekly reinforcement training till the time your team uses the skill.
- Training is a never-ending process: Please do not stop training the Inside Sales representative. There is so much an Inside Sales representative can do that it is unfair to not impart them with the requisite skills.
- Manager Accountable: Irrespective of the size of the organization, the manager who handles the team has to be directly made responsible for the skill level of their team member. The onus of adherence and adoption of the training calendar for inside sales team is on the manager.
- Define Compulsory: If the Inside Sales person does not improve the quality of client engagement every month, quarter or year, it should be a cause of concern to the organization. With every business review of the inside sales team, the manager or sales/marketing head should also ask the team member to play a call where he has done better compared to the previous period. Part of the inside sales metrics should be dependant on quality. No quality equates to no Money. Therefore the training should not only be compulsory to attend but compulsory to follow.
We hope these points will equip you with an effective and practical training plan that will help your Inside Sales team improve their overall performance.