Hi, my name is Trish Bertuzzi. I’m the CEO of the Bridge Group and I’m also the author of The Sales Development Playbook. My business primarily (though not exclusively) works with B2B tech companies, helping them to truly unleash the power of inside sales.
What Do I Need to Know about Inside Sales?
I think the first thing you need to know about inside sales is that it’s very much an umbrella term. People use it to describe a lot of different functions. Let me run you through a few of them so you have some context.
Inside sales can be what I call sales development and that is people focused on the top of the funnel. These are people who are either setting introductory meetings or qualifying opportunities. That can be fragmented even further into people who do just inbound lead conversion or people who do outbound. So that’s one aspect of inside sales.
The second aspect of inside sales is people who carry quota, or people who are actually giving revenue responsibility for your product or service. Those people can also be segmented further. Those people can be hunters going after new logos or those people can be farmers where they’re selling back into your customer base.
And then finally the latest category to emerge in inside sales is customer success. And this is a critical function and that function is responsible for not only ensuring that your customers stay with you but also having them help you with quite a bit of the across-selling and up-selling. So kind of like a farmer but kind of like a hunter but all about customer success.
What Is a Hunter and What Is a Farmer?
A hunter is someone who is super focused on landing new logos in its simplest terms. It’s someone who is excited by that challenge, who is really good at getting to engagement, really good at those initial conversations, who understands how to partner with your potential buyers to help them build a better business. Those are the best hunters.
Farmers are people whose forte is taking that existing relationship and cultivating it in two ways: cultivating it to make sure that they’re successful, because the worst thing ever to happen is to lose a customer, and then also cultivating it to potentially cross and up-sell additional products and services. That traditionally falls under farmers or account managers. Some people call it customer success—you name it.
How Do I Build a Team?
I’m going to tell you one thing: it’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s actually why I wrote my book, The Sales Development Playbook. In it, I pose questions to people so that once you work your way through those questions and reach a decision, you move on to the next question. People think inside sales is easy. It’s not. The same is true of sales development. So much dictates how you build it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that variables matter. So you can’t just say, “Oh, look at that startup over there. This is how they did it. I’m going to do it that way, too.” Or “Hey, I read a book on how SalesForce.com built inside sales in 2004. I’m going to do that, too.” No. Here’s what you need to think about.
Number one: Have I defined my ideal customer profile, and who is it?
Number two: Who are my buyer personas? Am I selling high? Am I an enterprise sell? Am I selling high because I am selling to innovators and early adopters? Am I selling low because I’m a commodity? Who are my buyers and how does my product or service fit their adoption life cycle?
Three: What’s my price point? Am I $50 a month MRR? Or if you’re not a technology company, then what is your price point? Because that’s going to dictate typically how many buyers you’re selling to. You’re selling to the SMB—that requires one skill set in your inside sales team because typically you’re going to sell to the owner and one person can get to the owner, qualify the opportunity, and close it. If you’re selling to the mid-market or enterprise, do you need sales development? Maybe. Or do you just need inside sales? Maybe. Or do you need inside sales and field sales? Maybe. It’s all the variables that matter. You need to really think through those variables and don’t think that you can go grab it and slap it down. Revenue is not going to happen for you.
How Do I Determine the Price Point?
One of my favorite things to do—and I do this personally—is when I’m having a conversation with a potential buyer and they keep saying no, I just say, “What about my message did not resonate with you? Was it my message? Was it the investment fee? What didn’t resonate?” Every single conversation you have is a learning experience and as the person that runs the business you need to understand that, and you—and I’m going to beat you on the head with this one—you, you, you need to have the conversations before anyone else does.
How Do You Handle Rejection?
Rejection is part of the job. If you’re building a business, rejection is your middle name and what you need to go past that rejection is a vision for what’s going to happen next. Vision trumps rejection every time, and that goes for who you have on the phone selling for you. I think it’s a critical success factor that you share your vision and that people understand that rejection is a learning experience. Once again, going back to my question: “What about my message did not resonate with you?”
People say no to me, and I’m weird. I know, I’m a salesperson. My response is, “Oh really? I’m going to make that no a yes.” And that’s the attitude you need to have.
Final Thoughts and Tips
The tips I would leave you with we’ve talked about through this session. One, figure out what your sweet spot looks like. Read Geoffrey Moore’s ‘Crossing the Chasm’. Figure out what your beachhead is, and don’t ever say to me, “We’re a horizontal play,” because you’re not.
Number two, figure out what your message is to those buyers. And you do that by getting feedback. You do that by having as many conversations—could be online, could be offline, could be events, could be phone calls, I don’t care what they are. Have as many conversations as possible so you understand what resonates and what doesn’t.
Number three, make the calls yourself. Try to figure out your sales process yourself. That experience is going to be unbelievable for you. There’s another great book I’d recommend; it’s called ‘Go for No!’ It’s 87 pages about how every “no” leads you closer to “yes.” Right? Think about it: most people have kids, and we know that kids can be very persistent. They keep asking for cookies, and no matter how many times you say “no,” they eventually wear you down to the point where you give them the whole bag! “Can I have a cookie?” Here’s a bag of cookies. Leave me alone. Right? That’s what we’re talking about. “No eventually leads to “yes,” so don’t be afraid of no.