Inside Sales Leaders’ Toughest Management Challenges

Jodi Beuder
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If you're leading a team of inside sales professionals, chances are you have tales to share about how challenging this role can be. The job of inside sales itself is tough. It takes special skills to be able to rise up to the challenge of turning a cold call into revenue for an organization. In this job, there is nothing more important than drive for an inside salesperson to succeed.

It’s no surprise then that the top challenges for an inside sales leader all relate to people: hiring, coaching, motivating and retaining your best assets.

Challenge #1: Who to Hire

There are many talented and motivated individuals out there. But not everyone will be a good match for the job or the company. You can stick to the standard hiring process and hope the next new hire proves to be a sales rock star. Or you can be more scientific about it and actually study the characteristics of your top performers and use those as benchmarks to assess your candidates. Your top salespeople will likely exhibit a number of common traits that make them succeed month after month, year after year. Find out what those are and look for them in your candidates. It’s highly likely they will be the same factors that will potentially help your new hire succeed in an inside-sales role.

Challenge #2: How to Coach

First off, who has the time? Between your myriad of responsibilities and your sales rep’s list of calls to make, any conversation you will have together will be time away from both your other priorities. But coaching is an essential part of your role as leader. Consider it an investment to talent development. Feedback, when done right, will have a significant impact in productivity and performance. Scott Edinger, in his Forbes article titled, “How Great Sales Leaders Coach,” provides practical insights on how to coach right.

Challenge #3: Keep Them Motivated Enough to Stay

It’s not all about the money. At some point, your inside sales reps may feel that the money is not worth the stress. Consider alternative ways to motivate and inspire.

  • Look at their sales quotas. You want your sales reps to stretch, not snap. Putting goals within reasonable reach will help keep your sales reps aspiring to attain them.
  • Acknowledge that they’re doing a good job. And we’re not just talking about a pat on the back. Schedule a session for a lagging sales rep to listen in on a call with your top performer.  This accomplishes two things: it provides that all-too-important validation for your top performer that he’s doing a great job and he is appreciated; and it provides additional training to your rep needing improvement.
  • What do they hold near and dear? Different individuals value different things. Provide a buffet of incentives that your reps can pick and choose from.

Of course, these are not the only challenges inside sales leaders face. There are also issues on technology and lack of qualified leads, for example. But that’s a topic for another post. 


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