Companies typically run their sales operations on either model. Inside sales have sales people report daily to their office and make sales via phone or web. Outside sales includes reps that travel for more personal face to face meetings.
Which one do you use and why? – This was the question posed to members of the Business Exposure Group at their last meeting.
There are pros and cons for both inside and outside sales. Should you choose one model or have teams doing both.
A sales rep can only do so many appointments in a day. Is it about quantity v quality and the size of the sale.
Inside sales teams are centered around low cost products, lower complexity, small scale orders. An inside sales rep makes 7+ more pitches but an outside sales rep converts 40% of prospects. Inside sales reps close new business 18% of the time and for every one field rep hired, 10 inside reps are hired.
Small business customers can react badly to having to take time out of their day for face to face meetings. 75% of buyers would prefer not to spend time in meetings. Therefore do inside sales better cater for today’s customers?
Customer acquisition costs money, inside sales teams can bring in new customers for 40%-70% less than a field rep. If you spend more time in the office you can deal with all the admin of the sales process quickly so you are more efficient, but is it different if you are going for major accounts as the core of your sales commitment.
Is the field rep an outdated sales approach? Outside sales require far more business intelligence, situational awareness and planning. Inside sales, whilst equally demanding, requires persistence, research and back end work.
Many of our members thought that their inside sales may be underutilised as traditionally the field rep drove strategy and execution of the account and inside sales reps provided the support function. But recently has the emphasis of sales changed, particularly with the impact of PPC technology on the buying process.
The sales model that a business adopts is often influenced by the business owners’ perception of which sales model would be the most effective. Is inside sales telemarketing or something more? Nowadays inside sales people are highly skilled and knowledgeable. Yet they get paid a fraction of their higher paid, harder to manage colleagues in outside sales. The average B2B deal takes an average of 5 decision makers – so inside sales allows the business to touch base more times with email, etc and keep the prospect warm. No longer is the quarterly call by the sales rep fit for purpose.
In our meeting 80% of business owners said it is easier to take on board new sales people and share best practice with an inside sales team.
But one of the biggest challenges is how do you get the two different sales teams to work together? The answers from the Group were as follows –
Define the differences / support each other on different size of deals / reward fairly / have a common sales manager / have all-inclusive sales meetings with both teams so that they are not in conflict competing for the same customers.
This discussion left the members of the Business Exposure Group with food for thought as to the future role of their sales operations.