As told to SaleS AddA by Rajiv Mukherjee, CEO of Incubate Hub
The way startups and organizations are evolving, and we are building our goto market and sales outside India, the goto market has been established more from an inbound lead perspective. After an inbound lead comes in, we take it forward through an inside sales journey.
Prominently, with a lot of B2B SaaS (Software as a Service) startups, who are selling in India as well as outside India, i.e., sitting out of Chennai or Bangalore, selling their software service across India, or in South East Asia or in the USA, Inside sales becomes critical.
The way this happens is – once you have created a first draft of the product, you try and reach out to your target audience through various channels, like digital marketing, PPC campaigns, emailer campaigns & retargeting campaigns.
It is very critical to know the target audience. This is the most important discovery when you plan your goto market. Firstly, who your target market segment is. Second, who are the people who will buy your product, and who are the people who will use your product. This is the preliminary stage.
The next stage is when you create your messaging. Or your value proposition for your target segment. So, you create your marketing collaterals, your positioning statement, copyright your messaging for targetting your segment through various channels.
Once you have done this, and broadcast through various channels, both online and offline, you start generating interest. Interest, as in, either someone fills up a form which is taken as a lead or somebody visits your website and you are able to track people visiting your website and start chatting with them in your chat window. That is where your inbound marketing and inside sales kicks off. Somebody visits your site, does not seem to be interested, but just browses around, trying to discover your product, sees the price, sees how it solves their problem, and you have to try and engage with them via chat.
So it becomes like a funnel. Many of them will get converted into a lead, that is, they fill up a form asking for a demo, or to contact them. Based on that, you contextually create your communication. If somebody asks for a demo or a callback, you need to have your next emailer ready or a notification mail that goes to them, which briefs them about the product, maybe send them a presentation. So, he may respond positively or might go silent. So you need to know what is the best email campaign. A series of emails that you would send over a period of time to lead the customer into at least taking a demo with you. Or get the customer to agree to a meeting, either online or face-to-face.
This email campaign has to be planned, which is also the responsibility of an inside sales team. Should I send them a case study after my second email about the things I have done in the industry? Or should I send them 2 – 3 blogs to build my thoughts in that area? I this way we are trying to convert a lead from ‘warm’ to ‘hot’. Of course ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ have different definitions in various industries and products. ‘Hot’ lead is one in which you have already had a meeting with the customer, or completed a demo. Preparation for a demo is critical. You need to have a video demo ready, in case a customer does not want a ‘live’ demo. All of this forms a part of the sales collateral which makes you ready to reach out to your customer segment and develop leads.
The trick of inside sales is to try and close a deal without being physically present. From building interest to scheduling a meeting, conducting the demo, online proposals to converting them to a customer without being physically present. Sometimes, if possible, it’s better to meet the customer at the time of closing an inside sale to build trust. Trust is better built on a face-to-face meeting, rather than online.
That’s the journey of Inside sales. You need to get to a closure. A demo should move to a proposal, a proposal to negotiation (during negotiation, one needs to be prepared with all the FAQs regarding the product). Finally one needs to get the money in the bank, i.e., to handover the sale to the account management or the operations team.