4 things inside sales managers should know before building their team

by Steli Efti
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You’ll hear tons of horror stories from inside sales managers who made bad decisions when they built their very first sales team. From hiring to training, there are many opportunities to slip up when trying to put together a scalable and successful inside sales team.

Over the years, we’ve chatted with inside sales managers from companies big and small on their approaches to building a team. A few tactics have come up again and again in these conversations—steps that have proven critical in putting together a successful team and equipping new hires with the tools they need to drive results.

Let’s look at some of these key tactics that can help inside sales managers build more effective sales teams.

Identify key metrics & realistic sales goals

There’s nothing more demotivating for a sales team than not having a clear, specific goal to achieve.

If you’re creating an inside sales team, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want your team to achieve. Start by looking at the number of leads in your funnel along with the value of those leads. Then review your close rate from the last few months and determine what you can expect in terms of new sales once the team is on board.

Platforms like Close.io are great for inside sales managers because they offer the ability to track lead value, confidence rates, and projections.

Furthermore, this data can help you understand what it will take from a tactical perspective to generate appointments, calls, and closed deals.

Establish a process for lead nurturing & closing

You need to show your new sales team the process they should take with prospects. In fact, understanding the process is as important as understanding the product. Every sales professional is different and may have their own method, but giving them a starting point is a smart move. The process will show them how to deal with difficult questions, navigate excuses given by prospects and overcome obstacles.

You’ll need to spend a significant amount of time explaining the process—including mistakes you’ve made in the past—so your team will be equipped to win.

That means if you don’t already have your process documented, you have some work to do. You’ll need to explain in detail the steps you take to get on a lead’s radar. Gather the various cold email templates you’ve used successfully in the past and the follow-up emails that have turned cold leads into clients. And record yourself giving demos to leads so that you can explain to your team what went right and what went wrong in these engagements.

Establish an onboarding & training plan

If there's one mistake I've seen far too many SaaS companies make when building their sales team, it's underestimating the role of a quality onboarding experience. As the inside sales manager, it’s your job to ensure that the team is equipped with the tools and resources they need to do their job well.

In the first week with your new team, make sure they have everything they need to hit the ground running. You want your team to become product experts, but to do that they need support. Educate them on how to sell your product and answer potential customers’ most popular questions. Check out this video for more on equipping your team to become product experts: 

Also show your team how to use the tools of the trade. What inside sales CRM software are you using? What tools do you use to identify leads? Does your team need to know how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator? What internal communications tools will they to use?

One of the more interesting ideas I’ve heard is to start your team on a Saturday. The rationale behind this strategy is that you’re going to be just as busy when these hires start as you were the week before—but now you’re also tasked with training a new team. Thus, starting on a Saturday lets you avoid the chaos of Monday so you can give your new team the attention they need to succeed. In a great blog post about training your sales team, our Head of Growth, Nick Persico, explains the ideal Day One if you start on a Saturday:

  • 9:00 a.m.: Have breakfast, make introductions, and fill out legal paperwork.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Give a fun presentation on your company’s history and how you got to this point. Don’t forget to take questions!
  • 10:30 a.m.: Tell your new team about your industry. Who are they selling to? Who are the players? Why are we doing this?
  • 11:00 a.m.: Go over your email and phone scripts and what they’ll be expected to accomplish by the end of their first week.
  • 12:00 p.m.: Have lunch.
  • 1:00 p.m.: Train them on basic CRM and sales tools, like how to contact people and use lead lists.
  • 2:00 p.m.: Review the scripts and make mock calls so your team can start making calls and sending emails Monday morning.
  • 3:00 p.m.: Get drinks as a team, and invite investors and even customers, if possible.

For even more strategies, here’s a great, in-depth blog post on how to onboard your sales team.

Know how your sales team will generate leads

Just as it’s important for your team to know how to close a deal, it’s important for you as the inside sales manager to know where the leads are coming from. Far too many inside sales managers keep their heads down to focus on cold calls, cold emails and referrals. Instead, you should be collaborating with the marketing team so that you know where your leads are coming from and what messages brought them in.

This connection to marketing will help you ensure that your team is getting quality leads, as well as help you estimate how many leads you’re going to need to land a client. Insights like these will allow you to better understand how well your team is doing and who is under- and overperforming.

Understanding the past success of your marketing team in terms of lead generation will also improve your ability to conduct sales forecasting. As an inside sales manager, the ability to take a high level look at what marketing is doing and how it impacts the leads your team must close will arm you with the ability to think strategically rather than being focused solely on tactics.

Wrapping things up

Making sure that your team is equipped with what they need to succeed should be the priority of every inside sales manager. From pushing for the right sales tools to pushing for better leads, it’s your job to give your team an environment where they can thrive.

If you’re an inside sales manager looking to ensure that your team gets started on the right foot, download our Ultimate Sales Management Toolkit. Get free email templates, sales scripts, a hiring checklist, and more:

Download the Ultimate Sales Management Toolkit