An inside sales rep essentially uses the phone and e-mail to call on prospects, complete and follow-upon sales. In some cases, the inside rep works independently in building and managing a customer base. Other times, he supports a field rep by managing customer calls and taking renewal orders.
Call on Leads
A primary role of the inside rep, in most cases, is to call on leads. In this role, you typically work with a list of prospects that have been selected, gathered or acquired and qualified by the company. When you call, you indicate the problem or need that you are calling about and try to sell the prospect on your company's product or service.
Manage Customer Relationships
Most sales-driven organizations use a customer relationships management, or CRM, software program. A CRM program is used to maintain profiles on all contacts and customers and to track the company's relationship with them. As an inside sales rep, you would normally review a prospect's file before making a call and update his file after each conversation or purchase. Keeping accurate notes and information ensures everyone within the company understands the relationship with particular customers during any incoming or outgoing contact.
Salespeople must also commonly play the role of customer-service associate, especially in an inside job. Given that you often have little direct contact with customers, it is important to follow up after purchases to ensure delivery, installation and experience with a new product or solution is satisfactory. This step helps you deal with problems and shows concern. Follow-through on any post-sale activities is also important to establishing credibility. You can also potentially recommend add-on products and services if applicable, or get referrals.
A job in inside sales typically requires both strong verbal and written communication skills. In particular, you need to communicate effectively and persuasively on the phone and through e-mail follow-ups. Though many inside reps do have associate or bachelor's degrees in business, you may find entry-level jobs with the right skill set and proven customer relationship abilities. Technical computer skills are also helpful.
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