Inside Sales was presented as one of the strategic levers for SAAS companies selling to the US market at a recent Google Accel event. no wonder when
iSPIRT arranged for a round table on this topic there was a buzzing interest.
If you are not familiar with the round tables of iSPIRT check them out here. (Highly recommended)
Suresh of kissflow.com who has been successful in cracking the US market with his DIY Self-service workflow product conducted this round table.
What was interesting is when the group was setting an agenda. It sort of covered areas from the complete funnel from marketing to Sales. Here are the sections and key learnings that were discussed in each. End of the article we also have links to tools and resources that can help.
This is concerned with generating leads. These might be signups on your free-trial self-service product or request for demos. [Inbound]
These might also be leads that you have gathered by list building/event which you might be nurturing through email marketing or Inside Sales for outbound.
- SEO is a must and early start helps
- Start with a keyword list (Commercial intent) and then keep building backlinks and writing content. In Suresh’s words its do-able and needs discipline and not hacks. [In my own opinion we as Indian entrepreneurs have done a shoddy job in this area and need to learn this fast]
- Keywords, which you cannot rank on, go with PPC. The typical signup costs discussed were between 50 USD – 200 USD per signup / MQL
- Data for outbound prospecting is very important; Mass Emailing does work but it is super important to spend time on defining segment well and crafting messaging which is relevant.
[In my opinion one would actually have to go a step further with personalization if you are not a mass market solution and selling to mid-large markets]
- Having a strong Web Engineering team which works on Google Analytics and conversion optimization is a must
You may be calling this team with different names. In theory the following are possible
- Lead Development Rep – Qualify Inbound leads
- Sales Development / Account Development – Generate Qualified meetings from outbound
- Other names discussed were BDRs (Same as SDRs or some times channel)
- Account Executive – Someone who closes
- Product Specialist – Someone who knows product well and closes
- Should you have a product specialist closing or Account executive?
- Self-Serve product with low complexity AE (sometimes even an SDR) can close
- If a product requires mapping use cases configurations (Like KissFlow) then Product specialist are in the best position to close
- If you selling 50K + ACV then a field Sales or experienced AE in the US is recommended.
Where to Hire Inside Sales
There were different thoughts and opinions on what talent can fit into this role. Typically the options are
- Someone who has been in a BPO
- Fresh Graduate who wants to build a career in Sales
- Experienced Lead Generation in IT Services / SaaS
It was recommended that if you are starting out get someone who is more experienced and can then train new members. Training was an important aspect of Inside Sales and once you have 2-3 members it’s best to invest into training.
One of the learning I have had is that the player coach model does not work. If you are getting someone to manage / coach a team do not have a individual quota for them.
- At one point this became a discussion of Chennai vs RoW ☺
- SDRs should be compensated and evaluated on meetings / opportunities passed and accepted.
- AE should be compensated on MRR addition (and may be a bonus on long term contracts)
- The starting costs of SDRs discussed varied from 4L – 8L [Inbound is far easier than outbound]
- Inbound leads per Rep per month – 200 – 300 this is for ACV <10K kind of deals. Larger deals lesser leads
- Outbound accounts per SDR per month – 200 – 300 and aim for 1-2 meetings per day
- Email Open Rates for Cold Emails – 20% – 30%
- Right party Conversations per Day – 8 – 12
- Leads Data
- Linkedin +Aeroleads
- Emailing (Mass)
- Product market Fit and Conversion (How can we not discuss this as founders ☺ )
- Full Story
- Intercom.io (Other usecases too around engagement)
- Email Sequences
- Klenty, Yesware
- Dedicated Inside Sales tools (Sales Acceleration)
- Outreach.io, SalesLoft.com, InsideSalesBox.com
- Intelligent Pricing
- Predictable Revenue – Aaron Ross
- Sales Development Playbook – Trish Bertuzzi
- Sales Acceleration Formula – Mark Roberge (CMO Hubspot)
Guest Post by Sachin Bhatia, Founder at InsideSalesBox