Today I’m going to address a specific kind of organization: those of you with both an inside sales team and a field sales team. If that’s you, you know these two teams don’t always work as smoothly as you might hope. It should be smooth, of course; field reps and inside reps should function like a well-oiled machine, their efforts working synergistically to create a seamless hand-off process.
By collaborating in this way, inside sales reps and field reps can drive each other’s success and boost sales performance – but if they don’t work together efficiently, a breakdown in processes and culture is going to impact sales. It’s that simple.
See, we use the term sale team a lot but sometimes we forget the actual meaning of the word team. Teams aren’t just a collection of individuals. Being part of a team means having all hands on deck, means putting the greater good ahead of individual satisfaction. In a sales environment, it specifically means collaborating to infuse the organization with intensified power.
So how can you align these two teams? Let’s dive into practical steps.
Field reps and inside reps won’t reach out to each other of their own accord. Their leaders need to instill that relationship from the top down. It can’t be in name only, either. Ongoing communication, goal mapping and a clear vision are mandatory – and those conversations must be shared with the teams.
Build strong relationships.
I’m not talking about customer relationships. Field and inside reps should already be focused on strengthening those. Now it’s time for them to develop relationships with each other. Events, dinners and shared rewards for milestone achievements are a great way to get the teams thinking of themselves as one unit.
Ask inside reps to share their industry expertise with field reps.
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. Ask your inside reps to share their customer insights. Field reps will hear all kinds of enlightening product details and opportunities for upsell and cross sell. They’ll probably also acquire information about a specific customer’s business structure.
Ask field reps to share their strategies with inside sales.
All too often the field team forgets to include inside reps in strategy planning meetings. Often it just doesn’t occur to them. But by including their internal colleagues, they can evaluate messaging together, review inside strategies and even set up a calling plan. By aligning on goals, territories and strategies, the teams end up following the same roadmap for intensified impact.
Are you just building your sales team? Great – you can create a culture of transparency from the very start. Are you in the opposite boat, trying to lead a culture riddled with secrecy and lack of information? Well, you’ll need to take the wheel and turn that around. Outline clear metrics on tracking and analyzing achievement and contribution on both sides. It may not be easy at first but eventually both teams will feel a greater sense of trust in each other.
Even with the best planning and tightest alignment, your two teams will have questions about each other. Inside reps want to know the field reps are reaching out to contacts promptly; field reps want to ensure inside reps are contacting their prospects and having the right conversations. That means adopting tools to illuminate how reps are driving deals through the pipeline.
You’ve probably noticed by now that the common denominator in all of these steps is communication. And that’s fitting, because alignment – developing a unified front both internally and externally – is ultimately about talking to each other. Synchronize actions and goals, from customer briefings to goal setting and accounts reviews, and you’ll see both stronger customer service and higher win rates.