Dave Elkington, CEO of XANT, participated in a Q&A session with Ascent Advisor, a change management consulting firm, where he discussed the evolution of the inside sales industry and some of the common mistakes he sees sales professionals making.
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Some key points from the article with quotes from Dave:
- In order to be successful in today’s web-generated lead world, sales needs to evolve from the traditional single-tier, sales organizational model of closers, to the two-tier model of lead response or inside sales rep handing off to closers. Then you need to enable your inside sales team with rapid response technologies. “The only way you can be that specialized without dropping balls is by using technology, such as web-meetings and online contracts. We focus on enabling inside sales reps with sales communications.”
- Over past several years, the inside sales profession has evolved from a department to an industry. “We did a market-size study a year or two ago and found that there were about 1.6 million inside sales reps in 2009. That number is expected to grow to about 2.4 million inside sales reps by 2013.”
- As the inside sales industry grows, it is extremely important to hire only the best. “The risk [with this amount of hiring] is you have an untrained, unskilled, un-unified team … it’s just really challenging.” XANT uses personality tests, group interviews, and an onboarding course to ensure that new hires fit into the company culture and start working with the skills they need to succeed.
- A common mistake make by sales managers is not aligning metrics with strategy. “(At XANT) we make sure we’ve got the right metrics, the right incentives and goals, the right methodologies and skills, the right training programs, the right delivery plans. Each department operates under specific metrics, yet can be very adaptive, find problems, and fix them. We make quick decisions and we solve mistakes quickly.”
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