The Complete Inside Sales Guide That Will Make You An Expert

Inside sales is a science. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned seller, there’s always more to learn.

The industry is constantly evolving, growing at a rate 15 times faster than outside sales.

Why? New technologies keep popping up to help companies 1.) automate their processes and 2.) better understand prospect behaviors.

This guide will give you the background you need to truly understand inside sales.

What Is Inside Sales? The Definition You Need

Inside sales is a type of selling that relies on technology to sell products or services remotely.

As inside sales tools continue to adapt, the sales process becomes easier. You can put your outreach on autopilot and focus on reporting to help you make decisions.

All in all, inside sales is the future.

On The Rise: The Growing Interest In Inside Sales

Interest in inside sales continues to grow.

Inside Sales Vs. Outside Sales: The Key Differences

So, why is inside sales growing so quickly compared to outside sales?

It all comes down to time and money.

According to the Harvard Business Review, inside sales costs 40-90% less to bring in new customers than outside sales.

In outside sales, you have to travel to meet prospects and customers. This means paying for transportation, meals, and hotels. Not to mention the time you’re wasting while traveling.

Inside sales reps are able to complete their tasks remotely while staying in the same place.

So, what’s the sweet spot? Instead of putting it as inside vs. outside sales, use both together.

For example, Some companies will use Sales Development Representatives to do cold outreach and book meetings while having outside sales reps take it from there to make the sale.

So, What Are Some Inside Sales Jobs?

We pulled a list of Yesware users who have “inside sales” in their job title and this is what we found:

Note: There are even more people who work in inside sales but do not have the keyword “inside sales” in their title (think Account Executives or SDRs).

How To Put Your Prospect Front-And-Center With 8 Actions

1. Thoroughly Understand Your Product Or Service

If you’re pitching your product or service and don’t know what you’re talking about, your prospect will see right through you.

How can they trust you to be an expert when you can’t answer simple questions or if you stretch the truth and make promises you can’t follow through on.

Don’t do this. To convince your prospect you’re worth their time, you need to have the confidence and knowledge to sell your product effectively.

How to do this:

  1. Take the extra effort and meet with different departments (product, marketing, engineering) to understand their perspectives on the product.
  2. Meet with more experienced sales reps on your team to do role-playing exercises where they can throw prospect FAQs your way.

This will help increase your confidence so you can sell smarter.

2. Build A Profile Of Your Ideal Customer And Their Pain Points

How to do this: The Director of Enterprise Sales at Box.com has a few suggestions for understanding your ideal customer and their pain points.

Two questions to ask when building a profile of your ideal customer:

  1. What’s the ideal use case?
  2. Have they used similar tools in the past? If so, which?

Three questions to understand their needs:

  1. What’s the specific goal your ideal customer wants to achieve?
  2. How will they measure these goals internally?
  3. What are the needs of the individual, the team, and the company?

Understanding Your Ideal Customer

Question Answer
What’s the ideal use case?
Have they used similar tools in the past? If so, which?

Understanding Your Customer’s Needs

Question Answer
What’s the specific goal your ideal customer wants to achieve?
How will they measure these goals internally?
What are the needs of the individual, the team, and the company?

3. Use Customizable Templates To Personalize Your Outreach In Seconds

When you live inside your inbox, you tend to use the same emails over-and-over again.

Using email templates makes this a hell of a lot easier.

How?

Instead of taking ten minutes out of your day to find an old email and sub in your new information, save the email (with placeholders) into a custom library that lives in your inbox.

You can share templates with high reply-rates across your team so that everyone can press send with confidence.

4. Don’t Just Send Cold Email—Build Rapport

Just because you’re not meeting face-to-face doesn’t mean you get to stop being personal.

As humans, we love the personalization. In fact, the sound of hearing our own name brings us joy.

Instead of sounding robotic, show them that you’ve taken the time to get to know them.

How to do this: Build trust with your prospect by:

  • Researching their likes, dislikes, and pain points. Hint: Here’s a free research template to plug prospect info into.
  • Making your cold email all about your prospect. After all, you’re asking for their time to read your email — the last thing you want to do is bore them to tears.

Have a prospect who’s interested in sports? Use this template:

Subject Line: The {!player} of {!industry/market niche}

Hi {!First Name}, 

I see that you’re a {!team} fan, so you must be excited about {!player} {!player’s achievement}.

As {!company} continues to scale, your {!department} team needs {!pain point that you solve for} just as {!how same point applies to team}. We’re the {!player} of {!industry/market niche}…{!funny comparison}.

{!First Name}, I’d love (if possible) to be referred to the best person on your {!department} team to introduce {!Your Company} as a mean to hit your {!goal}.

Best,

Hungry for more? Here are 6 other cold emails to stand out.

A cold email template makes everything less awkward.

Because we all know that “just saw someone in the grocery store” feeling.

cold-email-template

Below are 7 templates (with examples) that pave the way so you can focus on what matters: personalizing the details and winning the reply.

Don’t just send your cold email. See when they open.

1. The Beyonce Effect: Compare Their Hero To Your Product

Yesware SDR Saniat Sheikh leveraged his prospect’s interest in Beyonce to book a meeting. By comparing Yesware’s service to an idol (and adding humor) he got a response.

 cold email template

cold email template for beyonce fans

Here’s Stephanie’s response to the cold email template:

cold-email-template

Cold Email Template:

Hi {!First Name},

Based upon your {!social media}, you’re a fan of {!idol} – inspiring me to reach out to you here.

What would {!idol} be without {!point of relation}? {!Funny commentary}.

{!My company} is the {!idol} of {!industry or market niche}. Our platform provides {!benefit 1} and {!benefit 2}. Features like {!feature 1}, {!feature 2}, and {!feature 3} make your team {!benefit 2} – making them ready to boost their fame (much like {!idol} and their team).

{!First name} – might you be willing to connect for just a few minutes to talk about how we can get your team onto {!idol}’s level?

Best,

2. Use Their Sports Enthusiasm To Your Benefit

Sports are a simple metaphor for success. You can get more replies by grabbing their attention with their favorite team and then looping it back to what you’re emailing about.

Here’s an example that scored Sales Manager Dave Saccardo a reply when he was an SDR:

cold email template for prospects who love sports

And here’s the response Dave got:

cold-email-template

Cold Email Template:

Hi {!First Name},

I see that you’re a {!team} fan, so you must be excited about {!player} {!player’s achievement}.

As {!company} continues to scale, your {!department} team needs {!pain point that you solve for} just as {!how same point applies to team}. We’re the {!player} of {!industry/market niche}…{!funny comparison}. 

{!First Name}, I’d love (if possible) to be referred to the best person on your {!department} team to introduce {!Your Company} as a mean to hit your {!goal}.

Best,

3. Catch Their Attention By (Acknowledging and) Breaking the Norm

As soon as buyers recognize the typical cold email, they delete it from their inbox. To avoid that fate, you need to avoid that type of messaging.

One way is to acknowledge the reality while explaining why they should stop and listen to your outreach when they’ve deleted so many others.

Here’s an example of a prospecting email Content & Engagement Manager Elise Musumano received. Watch how Haley breaks the norm to make her cold email stand out:

cold email template that gets replies

What to do:

  1. Don’t beat around the bush: Direct communication has benefits and can result in quicker action. By laying your cards out on the table, you get faster results.
  2. Personalization: She includes intricate details that help Elise envision working with Haley because of their similarities.
  3. What’s in it for them: Haley offers a leftover Bluetooth speaker in exchange for a call with Elise. Why? People are more likely to act when they know it’ll benefit them.

Cold Email Template: 

Hi {!First Name},

{!Your Name} reaching out from {!Your Company} – {!Shared detail}.

Yep, this is another #coldemail that says who I am and asks for a meeting; but I’ve {!specific research you’ve done on person}.

{!Connection/uncommon commonality}.

{!Details of your service} – does this sound like something of value to {!Company} or maybe something you’re actively looking for?

Here is {!piece of content}.

Are you open to chatting next week? {!Incentive to call}.

Thoughts?

4. Save the Day By Stepping Up When Competitors Aren’t

Take your competitor’s weakness as an opportunity. If you see that a competitor is having issues, show up as their knight in shining armor to help.

Here’s an example how you can use the power of persuasion (and good timing) to grab their attention:

cold email template - competitor takeaway

What works:

  • Hitting a pain point: Justify their frustration with the competitor and alert them there’s a solution.
  • Social proof: Naming other well-known clients builds your credibility.
  • “Stability, security, and reliability”: Use words that will make them feel safe.

Cold Email Template:

Hey {!First Name},

We’ve been hearing from several existing {!Competitor}’s customers that they’ve been experiencing significant application performance issues recently. We can imagine your team would be getting frustrated if that’s also happening at {!Company}!

We’ve developed our solution to support leading enterprises such as {!Customer 1}, {!Customer 2} and {!Customer 3} with stability, security, and reliability in mind so you won’t have these problems with {!Your Company}.

Are you available early next week to discuss why companies like {!Customer 4}, {!Customer 5} and {!Customer 6} moved from {!Competitor} to {!Your Company} this year? If not, please let us know when’s best to reconnect.

Best,

5. Send Your Recipient Help (But Don’t Bombard Them)

Here’s an example of how a little help goes a long way:

no pressure cold email template

Techniques that make this email work:

  • Addresses recipient’s concerns: What better way to show someone you know them than to state outright the questions that keep them up at night? Hint: use “we” only if you’re in the same department as your recipient. If you aren’t, use “you” instead.
  • Shares helpful content: When you do something for someone (direct them to content that helps them in their job), they feel obliged to do something for you (reply to you).
  • Leaves communication open: Emphasizing that something (in this case, having a call) is optional actually increases people’s desire to agree. 

The Cold Email Template:

Hi {!First Name},

As we look to {!year or quarter}, our {!team recipient is on} has a lot to think about and prioritize. {!Question 1} {!Question 2} {!Question 3}

Since so many of the companies we work with are asking the same questions-I thought you would appreciate a couple of articles on building on those strategies:

  • {!Link to content 1} – {!type of content}
  • {!Link to content 2} – {!type of content}
  • {!Link to content 3} – {!type of content}

{!Pain points} (Grab 15 minutes on my calendar here this week for a free trial of {!product} if interested – {!link to calendar}.)

Thanks!

6. Use Statistics in Your Cold Email Template To Show Them They’re Not Alone

Research proves we’re more motivated by pain than pleasure. First, use statistical evidence to hit your prospect’s pain point. Next, help them envision how your product will help them solve it.

Here’s a sales email that shows how you can use statistics to persuade:

how to start your email with a statistic - cold email template

How it works:

  1. Statistics: Performance statistics catch our attention and give whoever uses them an aura of authenticity. Here, they serve as the hook and introduce the problem.
  2. Reality about most teams: Here, you use another statistic to show that you aren’t alone. Times are tough for most teams. But they don’t have to be; there’s a way that you can come out ahead of the rest…
  3. Includes benefits: Then, pose your benefits so they become the easy way out of tough reality. Like when you see a Sarah McLachlan commercial and feel the impulse to sign up for a monthly donation. Case in point: that commercially raised $30 million dollars.

Cold email template:

Hi {!First Name},

On average, {!pain point statistic}. Is {!Their company} achieving its goals? 

{!Statistic about most teams}. 

{!benefits of your service}. {!pain points company relieves}.

{!accomplishments of company}. If you are looking to {!achieve what product serves}, it would be great to connect for a 15 minute call next week.

Best,

7. Do Their Homework For Them To Win Their Trust

We listen to those who know us well.

Use this to your advantage by doing some quick homework on your prospect to show them you know them. If you’re in the SaaS space, Ghostery shows you which tools they’re currently using. Your email should refer to a specific tool in your first paragraph (“JayBase” in the example below — names are changed).

Then, it should segue into the “easier way to manage things” end picture, painted with a customer story, a description of benefits, and what’s in it for the team.

cold email template that shows youve done your homework 

Why this sales email example works:

  1. Identifies service that company uses: This establishes familiarity. It’s scientifically proven that we give preference to things and people we’re familiar with, which leads to comfort.
  2. Envisions the end picture: Like a fortune-teller, help them glimpse to the future. Show how great their life will be with your product. Note: This persuasive technique-only works if you have the right claims and credentials. No grasping at straws.

Cold Email Template:

Hi {!First Name},

This might sound impossible but this is {!service} made easy. {!What you do + hyperlink}.

You can {!action your product allows}.

In addition to this {!benefit of product}. This will {!pain point relieved}.

If this sounds like something that will make your life a whole lot better let’s chat for 15 minutes this week. How does your calendar look this {!day of week}?

Best,

Takeaways

  • Always personalize No shame in owning up to your research. Flattery is always well-accepted whether it’s sincere or not.
  • Grab their attention: Use their interests, idols, or favorite sports teams to stand out.
  • Use tools to your advantage: Save templates and one-click insert them into emails. Right from your email compose.

Want to save yourself hours of time and try automating an entire drip email campaign in minutes, right from your Gmail or Outlook inbox?

  1. Just go here to start a free 28-day Yesware trial.
  2. Then, open a new Mail Merge (you’ll see a button at the top of your inbox).
  3. Paste a template from above into the email body.
  4. From there, use a CSV file like this one to organize the custom fields and tie them to your email (note: you can insert entire customized sentences like in the examples above).

tool to personalize a cold email template to 200 people at once

5. Stop Wasting Time Logging Info to CRM With A Salesforce Sync That Does It For You

A recent study showed that sales reps were spending an average of 4 hours per week updating Salesforce. The worst part? They only updated 40 percent of the total data they were supposed to upload.

The teams that are ahead of the game use automation instead. Salesforce Sync logs your emails, attachments, calls, and meetings to your Salesforce record in real-time.

Not only that, but a bi-directional Salesforce sidebar lives in reps’ inboxes to 1.) pull in contact activity so they have the right context when they send an email, and 2.) create new tasks or edit contact info based on email replies.

Here’s what Yesware user Courteney McDonnell, Director of Customer Engagement at Placester had to say about Salesforce Sync:

Yesware has easily saved each CSM 30 minutes each day. Before Yesware, we had to bounce between Salesforce, Google Sheets, and a customer’s account just to identify which would be most relevant. Yesware’s Salesforce sync reduces the number of clicks we need to review a customer account and send up-to-date information.

6. Keep Tabs on Your Competition

Your competitor should be your biggest motivator.

It’s a complicated relationship: You have the same goals for your customers, but you’re stuck going head-to-head to prove your worth.

To better understand your competition, keep tabs on them.

How to do this:

  • Set up Google alerts for competitor news to understand where they are headed and what kind of improvements their product/service will have.
  • Follow them on Twitter for big announcements, content posts, and to track their customer’s complaints. Hint: You can even use a tool like Tweetdeck to track when a competitor is mentioned by customers having service issues — there’s no better time to slide in with an alternative product.

Here’s a template for cold email heroes:

Subject Line: {!Pain point}? We can fix that

Hi {!First Name},

We’ve been hearing from several existing {!Competitor}’s customers that they’ve been experiencing significant application performance issues recently. We can imagine that your team would be getting frustrated if that’s also happening at {!Company}.

We’ve developed our solution to support leading enterprises such as {!Customer 1}, {!Customer 2}, and {!Customer 3} with stability, security, and reliability in mind so you won’t have these problems with {!Your Company}.

Are you available early next week to discuss why companies like {!Customer 4}, {!Customer 5}, and {!Customer 6} moved from {!Competitor} to [!Your Company} this year? If not, please let us know when’s best to reconnect.

Best,

7. Step Out Of Your Element And Social Sell Like A Boss

Can I let you in on a secret? Social selling works.

According to a study, LinkedIn InMail’s response rate is 3x higher than a regular email.

If you want to social sell like a pro, you’re going to need to make connections that catch your recipients’ attention instead of annoying them.

Here’s how to spark a connection with LinkedIn InMail:

  1. Do your research: Just like your average cold email, you’ll want to understand their pain points, needs, likes/dislikes.
  2. Before pressing send, ask yourself: If I were the person receiving this email, would I say “yes” to this request?

Here’s a LinkedIn InMail template that warms up a cold connection:

Subject Line: {!How You’ll Solve Pain Point} 

Hi {!First Name},

{!Positive Connection To Their Company}.

Working at {!Their Company} you must experience {!Pain point} quite often.

At {!Your Company}, we help our customers {!How You Solve Pain Points} and have achieved great results. {!Fact or Statistic About Your Company}.

I’d love to chat more with you. Does this sound like something you might be interested in?

Talk soon,

{!Your Name}

8. Persistence Pays Off: The Importance Of The Follow-Up Email

Sending follow-up emails can feel awkward. You’re intruding back into someone’s space after an immediate rejection, hoping for something better.

But taking the minute to not skip this step puts you ahead of the game.

Yesware data shows that 70% of unanswered sales email chains stop after the first attempt. Which means when you do follow up, you stand out as someone who cares to keep trying.

If you don’t receive that first reply back, try again.

How to do this: Yesware’s Mail Merge lets you send automated email campaigns based on your recipient’s engagement.

So you can send emails (to up to 200 people at once) without relying on your own memory.

Takeaways

Inside sales are constantly growing thanks to the productivity software that puts your work on autopilot and helps you understand prospect’s behavior. When you have the right tools and data, you can sell smarter (no matter where you are) and keep your customers happy.

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