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Discipline Your Inside Sales Process: A How-To Guide

An 8-step guide to building a more disciplined inside sales team and more efficient sales process.

Per AA-ISP’s 2014 Top Challenges Report, training and development are the most significant challenges facing Inside Sales. The struggle to adapt your team's talent to its processes can be maddening, which is why we're setting forth this 8 step guide that can help you render this top challenge a non-issue. How do you keep your team disciplined to their inside sales process? Here is an 8 step guide.

8 Steps to a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

For the precise reasons outlined in the AA-ISP's report, sales productivity is a hot topic right now, with motivation as its key term. Which is why we're leading off this Guide by highlighting two key articles that make an astute point:

Everyone is so worried about motivation, but it's impossible to stay motivated all the time. The more valuable character trait for an Inside Sales Force - or any organization - is discipline. 

Or, as one of the articles so subtly puts it: Screw Motivation, What You Need is Discipline. Read it as well as Little Known Ways to Think About Discipline and be thinking about their overarching points as we move through the guide.

Step 1. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process 

Measure everything 

Per 2013 polling, only half of CRM customers are achieving significant sales performance improvements or believe they can get real time information from their CRM system. According to CRM expert David Taber, an estimated 35 percent of CRM implementations face serious user adoption errors, while an average CRM customer had adoption rates of less than 75 percent among its sales team in 2013.

Those are stunning numbers, considering you need as accurate data as possible to appraise and improve your inside sales process and its adherents. Make it a top-priority organizational commitment to measure every sales process data -- phone calls, leads generated, deals closed, revenue, even stuff like email open and reply rate -- to its highest possible accuracy. To see how this task is actually attainable, let's move to Step 2. 

Step 2. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Automate Data Implementation

I'm going to reiterate a passage from a previous post (2015 New Year's Resolutions for Inside Sales Managers): Softwares that automatically input data from email and other electronic communication into a CRM are cheap and pervasive. Most importantly, the top-notch ones, like Cirrus Insight, are extremely effective. 

In a poll of their users, Salesforce.com data analytics app Implisit discovered two damning statistics about Salesforce usage: 1) Reps spent an average of 4 hours per week updating Salesforce. 2) They only updated 40 percent of the total data they were supposed to be uploading.

It's one thing to waste your talent's time with tasks better suited for an Executive Assistant. It's entirely another to have that wasted time be largely in vain, from a business intelligence standpoint.

Step 3. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Construct Benchmarks Around Those of Your Top Performers

Ambition CSO Jared Houghton advocated this particular step in his recent Sales Hacker article. (Using Data Analytics to Become a Killer Sales Coach). With minimal variation, you should be constructing benchmarks for your inside sales process around those hit by the top 10 percent of your performers.

In doing so, you set the bar at an appropriate height to begin inducing success. More importantly, you quantify and codify the path to success for a member of your inside sales team. You let them know what it takes to succeed.

Bear in mind that the original benchmarks you set are merely a starting point. You should then launch further analysis down the road to refine these benchmarks as needed.

Step 4. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process 

Incentivize Accurate Data Implementation & Adherence to Process

How best to accomplish this, you ask? By establishing the purpose behind data tracking and process adherence - improvement in metric accuracy. Or in other words, the data insights that will either lead a Sales Team into the wilderness or propel it to greater heights financially and professionally.

Two things I will not advocate: Financially incentivizing personnel for hitting non-financial benchmarks, and likewise, attempting to use badges or a leaderboard as a replacement. What I will advocate: Emphasizing the campaign as a group initiative. 

Step 5. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Repeat Steps 1-4 Until You're Confident As To Data Accuracy

How will you know when you've reached that point? Investigation. For example, Ambition's Reports Scheduler lets you receive daily or real-time notifications around custom benchmarks.

By scheduling a report at noon everyday indicating if anyone has failed to hit a very low number, 5 emails for example, then you can spotlight non-adherents and enforce accountability, while gaining a greater understanding of overall trends in data accuracy.

Step 6. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Automate Coaching

The beauty of building a disciplined Inside Sales Process in 2015 is that tools like Ambition exist that can automatically give instant feedback to SDRs, Account Executives, and other team members about how well they are adhering to process.

In the olden days, Sales Managers had to make educated guesses as to who on their team was following proper protocol. Now? Your Salesforce can have real-time enlightenment delivered to it while their Managers can focus on other tasks.

Step 7. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Create a Sustained Engagement Strategy

Process discipline is becoming a hot topic for a reason, as Sales Executives are realizing that even the best shots of adrenaline to a Salesforce will inevitably fade, at some point. Which is why we at Ambition have taken the liberty of creating a repeatable, self-sustaining engagement platform for you. Enough said.

Step 8. Building a Disciplined Inside Sales Process

Continuously Solicit Feedback & Test/Refine

Building a more process-driven, disciplined sales team is like becoming physically fit -- even after you get to where you want to be, you still must remain committed to proper practices or else risk losing the ground you've gained.

Once you get done with the first 5 steps, it's just a matter of repeating steps 6-8. Stay in touch, get feedback. Stay committed to the process. Over time, you'll see continuous improvement in your inside sales team performance. And an ever-growing distance between you and your competitors.

Ambition Drives Inside Sales Processes and People

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs sales departments, data sources, and performance metrics on one system.

Ambition's drag-and-drop interface lets non-technical sales leaders build custom metrics, scorecards, SPIFs, team sales contests, reports, and TVs for your entire sales force plus support and account management.

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for managing millennial sales teams. Hear from our customers below.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  1. ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  2. Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  3. AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton Homes: HBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.

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About Ambition
Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.

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