Inside Sales - What it is, How does it help and, Why it is good for your business?
Inside Sales has transformed how businesses sell today.
Inside Sales could win a high close rate at one-third the cost and in one-third the time.
But is Inside Sales for everyone? Probably no!
Have you tried it yet? Check if you should try it for your own business.
Assess it for yourself by answering these:
What products are you selling? One or many? - What are the channels, target geography, etc
Who is your customer/prospect—are your sales business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C)? - For B2C - we need to understand Gender, Age, Demographics, Value prop, where they shop and what is the distribution model. For B2B, What types of companies, Verticals, Ideal Customer Profiles, Price points, deal sizes, length of deals, how to sell and channel strategy.
Who is your competition? - SWOT them!
What is their “go-to-market” strategy? - Know how they are selling
What is their competitive advantage? - How are they better, USP?
What is your competitive advantage? - How do you stand as against the competition
Once you answer these questions you can begin to design a sales strategy, position your company to go to market, and win the game.
Armed with this information you will be able to determine if it makes sense for your company to build an inside sales team.
Inside sales teams are typically used in the following situations:
To uncover and qualify leads for outside sales, an inside sales team that closes business, or recruits and manages channel partners.
To close deals over the phone (typically up to $50,000 but this is not a hard and fast rule, but has been followed since 10 yrs+) with direct customers or through channel partners.
To team with an outside sales team to advance larger deals (greater than $50,000) through the sales cycle.
To qualify marketing leads through the first touch.
Many new-age Tech and SaaS companies use Inside Sales to begin sales.
One of the first companies to do so was Salesforce. Big companies have also championed the function since the mid-2000s.
So would Inside Sales work for you?
As a rule, any company can benefit from the economics of an inside sales function. The lower the average deal size and the shorter the sales cycle, the more it makes sense to utilize an inside sales team.
Inside Sales has become more specialized!
When Inside Sales had first started, they did all sales tasks:
Lead identification and qualification, Selling new business and Managing installed base accounts.
Over the years, Inside Sales has become more specialized due to targeted results and the different skills to perform the various functions.
So, what are the different types of Inside Sales teams you can build to ensure high returns?
Sales or Business Development - the purpose is to identify and generate qualified opportunities to build pipelines.
Channel Sales Development - Like Sales Business Development above, they do the same tasks for Channel development, perform channel-specific campaigns, helping onboard new partners and support existing ones with qualified opportunities.
Inside Sales - the purpose of inside sales is to remotely generate revenue for the company by closing deals. They multi-task as they can support channels, remote sales for shorter deal size and sales cycles, Install bases or renewal sales.
Sales Enablement Reps - They help in cleansing data mainly to help offload operational work.
A company should consider these options in defining a clear team based on the strategy.
So, what type of Inside Sales teams are you building?
Why Inside Sales is good for your business?
Here are some examples of why Inside Sales has worked for other companies and might work for your business as well.
Most Industries - has not yet matured in some industries, but most of the industries based on technology and selling through technology have adopted it.
Reduces Cost - 40-90% cost of sales can be saved when you opt for Inside Sales. It includes travel and other costs of outside sales but also can reduce the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) by focussing on transactional sales.
Educated Buyers - Gone are the days when a buyer needed to be educated and hence Field rep had to visit and explain the solution/prod. Today, most buyers are educated.
Technology Advances - which have now given us CRM, Social Media, Web Conferencing tools, Video Conferencing, ensures higher productivity and a strong case for Inside Sales.
Sales Productivity - The productivity goes up as Inside Sales teams are able to connect with more prospects on a per-day basis along with providing greater reach, more meetings at lower costs.
Leaner and Automated Approach - Offers a more leaner and automated approach than the traditional methods.
Quality of Life - Inside Sales unlike the field operate from the confines of the office or homes (Centralised or remote). There is minimum travel and improves productivity.
Check out the White paper on "11 Key Metrics That Improve Inside Sales".
The author is a Business Development and Inside Sales veteran with over 14 years’ experience and helps small companies with Inside Sales Consulting.
Book a free consultation session with him if you are facing challenges in setting up Inside Sales Teams, Sales Training and, Coaching.