By January 10, 2013 2 Comments

Call Guide for Inside Sales Training

The Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) function is critical to predictable revenue growth because it provides a steady flow of qualified opportunities for Direct Sales Representatives (DSRs) to pursue and close. In addition, as inquiries and leads from Marketing are converted to qualified opportunities, Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) serves as a bridge between Marketing and Sales.  Cold calling scripts are a tactical step in building a call guide but a huge driver in building a qualified sales pipeline.

The Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) Representatives also provide key feedback to the demand creation planning team on which programs are working. The Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) Reps provide valuable feedback to product marketing on whether messaging and positioning is or is not resonating with prospects. Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) Reps also share competitive insights gleaned, help keep FAQs current, and communication prospects’ perceptions on functionality and price.

For all of these reasons, it is imperative that an organization set the Inside Sales (Telemarketing, Telesales, Sales Development) Reps up for success by creating effective cold calling scripts. This cold calling techniques must become part of the daily routine.

An image depicting an Inside Sales Training Call Guide

An image depicting an Inside Sales Training Call Guide

What Comprises an Inside Sales Training Call Guide?

The cold calling guide for Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Training should provide context, positioning, product information, competitive analysis, and cold calling scripts. It serves as not only as a key component for new Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development training, but provides a valuable day-to-day reference guide.

An effective call guide for Inside Sales Training prepares Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives with cold calling techniques to make cold calls and follow-up on inquiries generated by various marketing programs.  Cold calling scripts also define the “process of engagement” on all leads, inquiries and cold calls. Each day, while communicating with prospects and customers, the call guide should be consulted as it contains the “source code” for all of their conversations.

Why Are Cold Calling Scripts so Important?

Typically, Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives are relatively new to the industry or to a company. Because many aspire to become a Direct or outside Sales Rep, turnover is relatively high in this function. And frequently there is pressure to “get them on the phones immediately” with a sales script. Setting the reps up for success from the start means giving them all of the resources needed to make them effective like insights into cold calling techniques. Unfortunately, many companies provide training that basically consists of a day or week full of “Death by PowerPoint.” After that training, the reps are expected to get on the phones and be successful with a few sales scripts. However, this “fire hose” approach seldom delivers training that permanently transfers knowledge. The problems with this typical training approach are threefold:

  • Too much information is presented too quickly
  • The information is not in a “sales-ready” format
  • “Drive by” training does not change daily behavior

It’s vital that Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives are educated, motivated and effective as they are crucial for:

  • Communicating the value proposition and representing the brand
  • Initiating relationships with prospects
  • Converting cold calls, inquiries and leads to qualified opportunities
  • Seamless hand-offs to Sales Representatives

How Do You Put a Call Guide for Inside Sales Training Together?

Successful cold calling scripts for Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Training requires active participation and contributions from Sales, Sales Operations, Demand Creation, Demand Management, Marketing Operations and, of course, the Sales Development team. The scope of the call guide should span the positioning of the company, the product, competition, cold calling techniques and cold call scripts. An overview of each section is summarized below.

Positioning

The first step in developing an effective cold calling script for Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives is to review the company’s messaging and positioning to ensure everyone is on the same page. In short, positioning is how reps will talk about the company and its solutions. Specific components of positioning include the value proposition, relative positioning, company messaging, business benefits and third party validation.

  • Value Proposition –a promise of value to be delivered, and a belief from the prospect or customer that that value will be experienced by purchasing and/or deploying.
  • Relative Positioning – the process by which marketers try to create a unique image or identity for their company or products in the minds of the prospect or customer.  Because many companies will attempt to position their offerings in a similar manner (whether intentional or not) it is imperative to focus on relative positioning – i.e. is the goal to associate or disassociate with a competitive brand?.
  • Company Messaging – at the end of the day, a company will decide on the specific messages that will be used to clearly and consistently communicate inside and outside the organization. It’s important to “stay inside the lines” when coloring here, so that the exact same words are communicated over and over again in order to consistently reinforce the brand.
  • Business Benefits – once a purchase process exceeds a threshold, a cost/benefit analysis is typically incorporated into the decision making process, whether formally or informally. This means there should be some context around the impact on expenses, revenue, profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Third Party Validation – there are basically two approaches to persuading a target audience to buy: direct exposure or vicarious experience. In terms of the later, thought leaders like analysts, influencers, peers, colleagues, partners, etc. play a vital role in influencing prospects and customers that a product is a good choice and is endorsed and supported by people “like them”. With that said, it is advantageous to leverage terminology, paradigms, visuals, etc. that have been developed by this group to bridge the organization into the “circle of trust”.

Product

  • Benefits – simply put, a benefit answers the question “What’s in it for me?” That’s why it’s really  important to remain focused on communicating the results the product provides or enables.
  • Capabilities – these are a description (in layman’s terms) of what the product allows a user to do that they otherwise would not be able to do without it.
  • Architecture – in most technology sales there will be several technical people who are either approvers, decision makers, recommenders or influencers. However, these people will demand insight into the product architecture or the structure of components, their relationships, and/or the principles and guidelines governing their design.
  • Packaging – in short, it’s imperative to clearly state what is included with the product, the upgrade paths and compatibility with existing products.
  • Pricing – details on how the product priced and payment options. .

Competitive

  • Comparison of Features and Capabilities – these are typically displayed in a table with a graphical representation including check boxes or a yes/no format.
  • Quick Reference Chart – a one page summary containing the most important points to communicate and the most commonly asked questions – all formatted in an easy-to-read format.
  • Landmines – these are the seeds a company wants to plant in the mind of the prospect or customer so that if they are asked of a competitor, the competitor will be at a disadvantage.
  • Objections – these are the points prospects or customers have raised in the past, or are known issues that may surface in the future and must be diffused now.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – these are canned responses to the most common questions, difficult or tricky questions, or questions that are core to the brand and need to be responded to with exact wording.

Cold Call Scripts

  • Priorities – it is necessary to document, communicate and visually display how Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives should prioritize his or her day. With inbound and outbound programs, not to mention training, new product announcements, attending events, and following up activity from the prior day, reps can be “busy” all day long but if not managed effectively, may not accomplish what will “move the needle.”
  • Cold Call Script Intro’s – although there are as many approaches as there are reps to call intros, in a managed, repeatable environment there will be patterns that emerge and Tone or two approaches will consistently be  more successful than another. A best practice will then prevail and should be leveraged.
  • Customer Environment and Pain – while gathering data from a prospect or customer on the phone is useful, this data must be placed in context for it to become information. It’s paramount to develop a full and accurate picture of the current prospect or customer environment and the specific pain that exists.
  • Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe (BANT) – at least two diametrically opposed points of view exist on when and how to use BANT, however, all agree that these questions do need to be asked and answered somewhere in the sales process.
  • Closing – closing out the call correctly is a mandatory step if the opportunity is going to progress in the sales cycle. This includes summarizing the information  communicated by the prospect or customer (i.e. effectively synthesizing all the content that was provided in response to questions), validating contact information, articulating next steps, confirming the next meeting, bridging in anyone that will join in on the next call, following up with a detailed email and then updating the Sales Force Automation (SFA) system.

Call Guide for Inside Sales Training – Summary

The Inside Sales, Telemarketing, Telesales or Sales Development Representatives are critical component in the sales process by sitting between a cold call or inquiry and a qualified opportunity in the sales pipeline. As such, the Inside Sales function must be set-up to succeed as opposed to a sweatshop that burns and churns. Setting the reps up for success requires more than some onboard training; it requires ongoing training and education and that is greatly facilitated with a Call Guide for Inside Sales Training.  Download a Call Guide With Cold Calling Scripts now>>

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VP Marketing on Demand

About the Author:

Peter is a strategic and visionary marketing executive and brand champion who has leveraged his unique combination of classical training and entrepreneurial experience at start-ups and F500 companies to transform technology innovations into multimillion-dollar revenue streams. His experience spans all areas of marketing, including go-to-market strategy and execution; brand identity and brand positioning; product development; sales and marketing leadership; customer acquisition and retention; and influencer and analyst relations. Peter consults with c-level executives, teaches at USF’s EMBA program and serves as an advisor to start-ups.

2 Comments on "Call Guide for Inside Sales Training"

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  1. Andy says:

    Peter thanks for the detailed post on call guide. I was wondering for a while if sales scripts were necessary, or if we should just teach them our product and values, and let the creativity take over the rest. I guess training & scalability becomes the concern in that scenario.

    • Peter Buscemi says:

      I believe scripts are necessary to keep the message tight and focused. Anyone can make a call but few exhaust the opportunity to determine whether it is a qualified opportunity, something to nurture, referral or a dead end. A sales script allows each call to follow the best practices your organization has established and becomes a framework for measuring effectiveness.

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