David Ovies is a business results specialist at Uhuru Network where he helps companies with what next steps they need to take to uplevel their marketing and sales.
David began his sales career at a SAS company in Silicon Valley, where after excelling in that position, he moved to a different company doing inside sales, and finally, he landed at Uhuru.
How the Current Crisis is Impacting Outside Sales
Right now as a result of COVID-19, companies are making the shift from face-to-face outside sales, towards digital sales. Due to the fact that many more people are working remotely, sales teams have had to switch to digital channels.
The popularity of inside sales isn’t new. Before the pandemic hit, inside sales were already growing quicker than outside sales. And now, as a result of stay-at-home orders, companies relied heavily on outside sales now need to transition to inside sales now. Some companies don’t know if their traditional sales channels will ever return to normal and now see inside sales as their main channel to close deals.
Unfortunately for many companies, this transition to inside sales had to happen quickly and companies that didn’t have a remote work model had to adapt in times of uncertainty.
REMOTE WORK BEST PRACTICES
Because sales teams had to make the switch so quickly, David had some recommendations to help them work remotely.
He suggests keeping one calendar to help you stay on track with the things you need to get done every day. Make sure that you’re blocking off time for both work and personal activities in one place—and try to stick to that one calendar you’ve created as closely as possible. This will help you ensure your daily goals are on track, and the calendar holds you accountable for your commitments for the day.
Staying fresh is another thing that can help you be most effective when doing inside sales from home. Continue to take care of yourself and practice good personal hygiene. Don’t work in your pajamas—get up and get dressed in your professional clothes, it will help you get in the right mental space.
Use Video Calls
Use video as much as you can when you’re on sales calls. If your prospect isn’t comfortable being on video, that’s ok—you don’t have to make them. However, whenever possible, use video calls to gather information from your prospect based on body language rather than just their tone of voice and what they’re saying. On video, you come across as more authentic, and it’s much more straightforward to read people when you can see them. This also makes building rapport in inside sales much more comfortable.
How Health Care Sales Can Overcome the Relationship Barrier of Inside Sales
It can be challenging to build rapport with a prospect when you can’t be face-to-face. Sometimes it can feel like being behind a computer screen stops you from building relationships, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are David’s tips to help you build relationships from home.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before speaking with a prospect for the first time, do your research and know some things about them. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for gathering the type of information that’s great to bring to a sales call. Look for details like their background experience and where they live. This can help you create small talk before, after, and during calls.
SHARE ABOUT YOURSELF
One of the best ways to build rapport is to be authentic with people. Don’t respond to the question “how are you today” with “I’m good.” Be honest, tell them about how you’ve had an active day, and you’re looking forward to relaxing later. Don’t be afraid to be authentic.
TAKE GOOD NOTES
It can also help if you take good notes when speaking with your prospect. If you remember that your potential client says they’re moving on a certain day, not only are you able to ask them how their move went, it could help you close a deal by knowing when they’re available to start a program.
Right now, all we have available to us is technology, so it’s essential to leverage it.
Once again, video is a vital tool for inside sales, especially during a time like now. Not only does it help you build rapport, but it also makes it easier to read your prospects so you can navigate conversations better.
You can also have your team create digital assets and content that you can utilize to provide upfront value to your potential customers. These assets can help you establish touchpoints to circle back with prospects. The resources you offer can show your prospect how your company can solve a problem they have.
You can also maintain rapport by reaching out to a prospect you may not have spoken to in months, and share a resource that was recently published on your website that may help them. Content will help you establish and maintain rapport and shorten sales cycles. Establishing credibility is especially important in health care sales.
How to Optimize Your Time and Still Provide Value
With inside sales, it’s important to have a daily touchpoint with your team. The meeting should have an agenda to provide structure to the meeting and ensure it doesn’t get off track. In this call, you should define your priorities, your A- and B-list prospects, the calls you need to make (either to clients or for sales), and the deals you’re moving forward on that particular day. During this call, you should also cover all the questions and impediments your inside sales team has that day.
Managing your sales pipeline isn’t linear. Instead, it’s similar to a marketing funnel. You should keep a pulse on what your prospects are trying to achieve and where they are in the sales process. Doing this can help you provide value at each stage.
You should consider having a nurture stage in your pipeline. This would be a place for a deal that isn’t necessarily progressing, but you’re continuing to provide value to the prospect. Focus on what’s going to be valuable for them.
Automated email sequences can also be beneficial when you know a prospect wants you to circle back in a few months. At Uhuru, the inside sales team does this by scheduling an email sequence in Hubspot with a reminder task for the business results specialist. This helps optimize time while continuing to provide value to prospects.
Inside Sales Played Out in Real Life
David had a prospect towards the end of the year, and he spent additional time providing upfront value to them. In this case, it was a surface level audit that Uhuru provided of the prospects digital marketing and online sales efforts of their website.
He spoke with their marketer and found that they were working with an agency that was a competitor to us, which was the end of the conversation since they weren’t looking to hire someone. Months had passed, so David set up a sequence to check-in, and he was responsive, so the sequence never went through (because when someone responds, the sequence ends).
He followed up in another couple of months (6 months after the first initial call), and they responded saying they were interested in having a conversation. After half a year, they still had that asset he created for them.
They wanted to buy what we had to offer, but they wanted to know the type of results that could be achieved. They wanted to run paid ads on the software they had just launched with no historical performance on from a marketing or sales perspective.
He usually responds to an objection with a question in order to understand what the prospect is saying so that he can go deeper. In this case, he wanted to reveal how little the person knew about the topic. When the prospect responded, showing how little he knew, David told him he wasn’t technically qualified to hire us, which ended up building rapport because he was blunt with him.
In the end, they wanted to work on SEO and build a certain number of customers in three months, which David told them wouldn’t work. He ended up closing the deal and made sure they knew SEO efforts were a long term commitment.
This exemplifies the importance of maintaining relationships, staying connected, and leveraging content to establish authority. The deal might bounce around in your sales process, and it usually won’t be linear. You must have a sales process that allows you to get the information you need to recommend a solution if you’re in complex B2B or health care sales.
David’s favorite book as a child was Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He really enjoys anything written by Vladimir Nabokov. His all-time favorite book on productivity is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. His favorite book for sales is Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff; he says it’s a different approach that focuses on human interaction. Finally, his favorite book for writing is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
Want to connect with David? Find him here:
LinkedIn: David Ovies