By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which runs live every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific, moving soon to 11:30 a.m. Pacific. It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.
We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg. Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise. Recent Guests: Jim Keenan; Joanne Black; Aaron Ross.
We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and coming soon, subscribe on iTunes.
Matt: I’m excited to have Josiane Feigon, who is one of my inside sales heroes. She’s going to be talking about her predictions for 2016 in the inside sales world. Today we’re going to focus on inside sales. It’s definitely a category that continues to grow. I think a lot of organizations are no longer calling it “inside sales”—they’re just calling it “sales” because it has really become that prominent for organizations. I don’t know very many people in North America that know more about inside sales or have helped more organizations with inside sales than Josiane Feigon, who we’re really excited to have today. President of TeleSmart Communications, Josiane, thanks so much for joining us.
Josiane: Hi, Matt. It’s great to be here. Thank you.
Matt: Absolutely. Awesome to have you here. It’s really a pleasure. I know you are crazy busy, so thank you for carving out some time. Speaking of time, I do not have time to read through all of the awards that you have received and all the recognition you’ve had. Suffice it to say, if there’s a publication that has published a sales, or inside sales, or sales and marketing influencer report, you’re on it, which is a testament to your experience, your knowledge, and the work that you’ve done. Give people a little bit of a background on where you started and your inside sales journey.
Josiane: Sure, thank you. Absolutely. You know I started about 22 years ago! I was also in inside sales myself, and I was really frustrated to find there wasn’t enough out there for inside sales. I went and launched my own company, and today we are training and developing inside sales teams and managers on a global level. Anyone that has an inside sales organization the size of twelve people or the size of twelve-hundred people, we work with them.
Matt: That’s awesome. Definitely check out TeleSmart Communications. Josiane has written a number of books, including Smart Selling On the Phone and Online and Smart Sales Manager. Talk a little bit about what’s happening in inside sales right now. I want to get into some of your predictions for the New Year. You know it’s fascinating to listen to the folks at the inside sales professionals group and those that are leading the way in what they’re seeing in the field, but you’ve got a unique perspective, given the work you’ve done across so many different organizations. What do you see as some of the trends that have emerged that are beginning 2016 for inside sales teams?
Josiane: Obviously you know I’m passionate about inside sales, and it is exploding. Our time has come. And I really like what you said– it’s not being called “inside sales” anymore—it’s just called “sales”. It’s so true. Before, we had to really justify the existence of inside sales. They took a subservient role, now they dominate. They clearly manage at least 50% of the company’s revenue, if not pipeline–if not more. So there’s no doubt that their time has come, without a doubt. We’re seeing a lot of organizations not so much just building an inside sales team (which is what was happening before). Now it’s about refreshing it and really making it what I call “future fit” or in other words: “Is it ready for the future?” Because the ones that are not future fit will not really last, and they will dissolve just as quickly as they were built.
Matt: Yeah, no question. I think the push toward inside sales is happening on a number of fronts. You’ve got more senior sales reps that just don’t want to be in the field—they don’t want to travel as much. You’ve got the advance of technology that makes it so much easier to engage with people. So not only is it easier to have the relationship and kind of interaction you want with your prospects remotely, but I’m also seeing the prospects themselves, the buyers, prefer the inside sales model. They don’t always want the dog and pony. They don’t need someone in their office; they’re crazy busy (if I can quote a term from Jill Conrath). So I think there are a number of forces on both the buyer and the seller side that are really pushing organizations toward an inside sales model as the primary means of growing the business.
Josiane: That’s absolutely right. It really is driven by the customer. It’s that new customer, the one that’s really elusive. They’re very independent, absolutely crazy busy (as we’ve said). They’re engaging much later in the sales cycle, and they’re saying, “Don’t come into my office. I don’t want those lunches. I don’t need to do this. I can do it on my own”. So, I think that, without a doubt, the combination of the technology and the customer has really evolved the growth of inside sales more than ever before.
Matt: Yeah, and it’s exciting. It offers a level of control that companies like. It offers some greater economy of scale that organizations typically like as well. But there are nuances: There are disadvantages of not being in front of people because you don’t have the same level of leveraging your body language. Relationship building is different. I think it’s more complex. It can be more difficult, which doesn’t mean it’s impossible—it just takes a different set of skills. I know you address a lot of this in your program, the TeleSmart 10. So talk a little bit about that. Talk about some of the keys that make inside sales different but also some of the things organizations need to focus on to ensure they’re getting the results from inside sales they need.
Josiane: Sure. One thing especially, in both of the books I published, is that inside sales is no longer just about the phone. It really isn’t. It’s about the phone, it’s about email, it’s about texting, it’s about social, it’s about video—it’s so much more. And that’s really a big reason why, as inside sales continues to evolve, that voicemail, in many ways, yeah, it’s dead. Video: We have a lot of inside sales people that are early-adopters of technology. And that’s one of the things that may happen, is, many fields of people want to come inside. They want to trade their frequent flyer mileage and work inside, but they’re not all that successful at it because they’re not early-adopters of technology the way inside sales people are. Inside sales people have a much higher tool IQ: they use lots of tools and they take to them a lot quicker, which explains why a lot of them are sending out video now. Some are Skyping their customers. A lot of them are texting their customers. They’re trying new ways to reach out and get a response. My program really focuses not just on a telephone etiquette inside sales training course. It’s about being more of a digital and virtual sales person in today’s 2.0 landscape.
Matt: We’re talking today at Sales Pipeline Radio with Josiane Feigon, President of TeleSmart Communications, author, sales strategist, futurist! And that is a real thing for you. After we get back from the break we’re going to talk about some of your predictions for inside sales in 2016. But before we do that, you talk about technology and different tools. Obviously there’s a challenge to make sure inside sales teams know how to use that, but real quick before we got to break, how is that impacted by the preferences that the buyers and prospects have for technology as well?
Josiane: I think it matches really, really well. I think that the shortness, the cadence, the digital outreach… This customer is begging for virtual relationship. So we talked about how they don’t want the face-to-face anymore. But what they do want is the smart, intelligent sales person that can have a good virtual relationship with them.
Matt: Yeah, I agree, and I think your ability to use multiple channels… this is not phone sales, I think inside may be more of an accurate term just because they are inside. IBM just recently re-branded their entire inside sales team as digital sales, which is a strong nod to the digital channels that have become far more prominent as communication tools. As much as you need to understand what tools your prospects use, there’s certainly a lot to be said for when you can diversify your channels. You increase your ability to surround your customer. You increase the acceleration and velocity of building that relationship. So it definitely becomes a huge part of making that work.
Matt: We’ve got some great upcoming guests on Sales Pipeline Radio. Hopefully you get a chance to check out some of our past episodes on www.salespipelineradio.com. Our next guest will be Meagan Eisenberg, who is the CMO of MongoDB. Previous to that she was the VP of lead generation at DocuSign and really drove dramatic growth for that organization and users, and she’ll be talking a lot about sales and marketing teams working together. After that, really excited to have Trish Bertuzzi, who is another one of my inside sales heroes. She is the founder and CEO of The Bridge Group and just published a new book called The Sales Development Playbook. In addition to Josiane’s great books, if you need another book for your bedside table I highly recommend The Sales Development Playbook. Josiane, we’d love to have you cover that as well. I think especially with inside sales teams, it is so important to make sure there’s tight coordination between what marketing is doing to create demand and then having a really clean hand-off. How much of your work do you get to work with the marketing teams as well to help improve the interaction between what marketing is doing and inside sales is doing? And what are some of the keys to making that successful?
Josiane: Well, you know, any time someone staffs up an inside sales organization, it’s not unusual for them to have Lead Generation report to Marketing and Inside Sales report to Sales. So whenever you might take on projects, from delivering training to the entire organization, I’m constantly running around to Marketing and Sales, making sure they’re talking. And, as much as we want them to talk and we want that to improve, there’s still room for growth there. They’re not collaborating the way they could be and yet there’s no doubt that Marketing is increasing their control over Sales. They’ve got their fingers in the sales pipeline now and some of them are getting comped on that. But some of the old wars still continue such as: Sales wants Marketing to give them more leads. Marketing is still saying that Sales isn’t qualifying as well. I’m sure you know about all that, but we’re really hoping to see them collaborate more and more because they’re all in there together right now.
Matt: They really are. I don’t know very many organizations where they actually aren’t in it together. Your characterization of it as a war, unfortunately is not overdone. In a lot of organizations they really just can’t get out of each other’s way. But you mention Marketing owning lead generation and Sales owning inside sales. Let’s talk about the definition of inside sales because I think a lot of people, speaking of Trish Bertuzzi’s book Sales Development Playbook, a lot of people confuse them and aren’t differentiating sales development, BDR organizations from inside sales. Talk a little about what that looks like for best-in-class organizations. How are they segmenting what the phone based inside sales teams are doing?
Josiane: I think what’s happening is, because we have a very large millennial audience in the workplace which will be dominating it in the next few years, they want career advancement. So a lot more segmentation is happening in inside sales. Now there’s a SDR, now there’s a lead development person, and then there’s an inside sales person, and then there’s a hybrid, then there’s a supervisor and a director and manager. So there’s a lot more roles now than ever before in inside sales, mostly because we want to show that sort of career progression that’s available in inside sales. And how do you segment those roles? Usually an SDR is someone you start with (a Sales Development Rep). They only do top of the funnel stuff, they’ll be in their role for about 18 months at the most. Then they move into more of a territory role, or they take on more leads and qualifying and the more middle of the funnel piece. So that’s why marketing has more responsibility now in the top of the funnel activity. I would say that’s one way to describe how they are. And Trish has done a really good job at really taking that group of SDR’s and saying, “Hey! Anybody that doesn’t have this sort of group that’s top of the funnel is not going to start their funnel in a healthy way.” It’s nice to have someone that’s really dedicated an entire book to this group because they are such an essential part of the entire sales process.
Matt: Yeah, they really are, and I think it is really interesting to me to see more marketing organizations managing that function. It’s not something that Marketing has been used to doing, and certainly most marketing managers aren’t used to and aren’t comfortable with the art of managing sales people. But what I like about it is it takes Marketing out of the world of only owning leads and into the world of owning sales opportunities, and that’s a different thing. So now all of a sudden, if Marketing is responsible for generating qualified opportunities, they think about everything a little differently. And I think the more we can get marketing organizations to embrace that revenue responsibility, the more all of our efforts are going to be happier and the inside sales teams will be as well.
I promised we were going to ask you about some of your predictions for inside sales in 2016. So Josiane Feigon, futurist, talk a little bit about your predictions for 2016 in inside sales. Talk about where people can get the full report you have on this as well.
Josiane: Absolutely. Yes. We are in our, I think, our eleventh year of our predictions, and every year we put together top trends, but I spent hours and hours and hours really researching these trends because not only am I fascinated by this trend watch and trend spotting, but as I mentioned, inside sales is always at the forefront of some of these changes. So when I put together this trend report I really looked at, “What can we do now? How can we prepare?” And this year I dedicated an entire report to what I call the workforce of the future because it’s the first time in history we have five generations in the workplace. So I can’t just pick on millennials anymore because we really have a lot more generations, and the generation that is just starting to enter the workforce (your kids are too young still, Matt)… but it’s our gen Z. They’re the ones that are called the M2’s. They’re the ones that were born anywhere between ’94 and 2010. They’re about 19, 20, 21 right now, and they’re just starting to enter the workforce. They’re entering the workforce maybe as interns. Some of them are already entering at the SDR level.
What I mean by this generation is, they’re the generation that was brought up with a smartphone. So they’re a completely digital generation, and the fact that we have five is unbelievable because managers really have to step it up in terms of everything with incentives they’re doing, everything from metrics, everything around values… I mean, you’ve got so many different generations that are taking to things so differently. The Boomers especially, you know, this is a group that’s not ready to retire; they’re living longer; they want to keep working. So they’re also still in the workforce, and understanding that is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges that every manager has.
Matt: That’s so important. I think what’s interesting is we’ve got that new generation coming into the sales force… what we thought of as the young turks, the millennials, increasingly, those millennials are becoming our buyers. And so when we said, “Oh we talk to gen X, we’re selling to gen X.” well now the millennials are the audience. They’ve got some digital nativity going on. They’re spending a lot more time across channels. Understanding who your sellers are as a manager and understanding your buyers and what they’re interested in is key. So, I know Josiane, we’ve got to let you go here pretty soon. I know you’ve got a hard stop, but maybe summarize for us as people continue to go into 2016, they’re looking at their results, and they want to make sure their team is better. What are one or two things that most sales organizations, if they could only look at one or two things across their teams, what are some things they should be looking at for optimization purposes?
Josiane: Well definitely, I think we’re seeing that the sales force is being reduced. We’re seeing things such as Forrester forecasting that about a million will lose their job in the next four years. So my goal is to ask: “What can we do to be smart sales people and not be one of those casualties” because if we sell the same way, if we are robotic about how we do it and automated about how we do it, we’re going to get replaced. So those are actual words of warning. Also, “What can we do to stay relevant and stay focused?” Also, the workplace. We need to look at how we structure our workplace, where they’re working, where they’re seated, what the environment looks like, how conducive it is… I’d say those are a couple things we have to really think about in terms of keeping our talent, keeping them happy, and keeping them smart.
Matt: Real quick, before you go, if people want a copy of your 2016 inside sales trends report where should they go?
Josiane: Best way is obviously to go to our website’s resource section and download a copy. It’s free to everybody. It’s called 16 in 2016, and we have all of our other trends from previous years. If people want to see that we’re scary right, usually on these trends, they can go back and check the year.
Matt: I can attest for sure, Josiane is often scary right, which is one of the reasons why we wanted her on the call today. Josiane, thanks so much for your time. I know we’ve got to let you go, but thank you very much. If you want to check out her trends guide go to www.tele-smart.com. You can find her inside sales trend report, you can find her award-winning blog. She’s active on the social and on the Twitter. Really excited to have Josiane here today. Definitely join us next time for Meagan Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB. We’re going to have a great conversation about modern lead generation and sales and marketing teams working together.
If you want to listen to Josiane again, or if you want to listen to some of our past guests, you can check them out at www.salespipelineradio.com. If you’ve got an idea for a guest for Sales Pipeline Radio, tell us what you want to hear about; tell us if you got something out of today.