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With COVID-19, the advancement in technology, and rapid expansion of the digital age, inside sales are gaining momentum over outside sales. Technology is giving an edge to inside sales reps. This allows them to be much more efficient than their field counterparts by doing almost everything remotely (especially during COVID-19). Customers nowadays are busier than ever and hence prefer to hop on a virtual meeting.
But making the shift to inside sales can be a daunting task. Most executives aren’t prepared to embark on such a drastic change. Consider these tips for a more smooth transition:
B2B Crisis Management Tip #1: There is no replacement for personal, face-to-face contact
Uh, yeah. Just ask your mom, kids or relatives when they FaceTime, Duo (Android) or Skype with you. Face-to-face does not mean in-person. Would you hop on a plane for a one-hour conversation with uncle Bob? I doubt it.
Face-to-Face no longer means in-person. This is why inside sales teams are deploying at an accelerated pace across all industries (not just for software sales).
Inside sales also can be a replacement for outside sales in many instances depending on your typical client. For example, unattended small customers or new customers that would generate transactions are simply valued too low to justify an outside sales visit.
B2B Crisis Management Tip #2: Inside sales teams are not just for lead generation.
Lead generation activities have been conducted “inside” for decades. Today, inside sales are professional sales done remotely or virtually.
However, most B2B selling models include both inside and field sales. This is why it’s essential to determine the sweet spot for inside sales within an overall selling model.
B2B Crisis Management Tip #3: Effective use of inside sales requires (1) partitioning the sales job and (2) dividing it among inside and field salespeople according to:
Market segment (industry or client size)
Stage of customer buying process
Products or services
Territory (geographical typically)
So should your organization shift a portion of its sales organization to inside sales teams to manage your B2B crisis?
More than likely, there is an opportunity to shift some of the sales efforts to an inside sales organization. But don’t think small on the approach. Earlier this month I signed a five-figure opportunity with a new client with over $8 billion in annual revenue. I met with them a handful of times only via desktop video conferencing, and we signed our SOW via an e-signature tool.
Even if you don’t think an inside sales team will work in your company or industry, could you challenge your company to conduct a 90 day or six-month pilot?
Contact me if you’re looking for some guidance.