The Growing Power of Inside Sales appeared on the Harvard Business Review Blog on July 29. Overall, the article was quite good with valid sources and statistics. On the other hand, it was flawed in that, as usual with articles like this, it cited examples from only large companies (Astra Zeneca, IBM and SAP) leading most readers to come to one of two conclusions:
"This does not apply to us." or "We must follow because these industry leaders are doing it."
The authors listed four scenarios where a move to inside sales could be effective:
- By market segment,
- By stage of the buyer engagement process,
- By geography, and
- By product or service.
- By sales talent - What roles are your salespeople best suited for?
- By location of the sales talent - Where can you find the ideal sales talent for your company? It may not be where the territory is or where the company is located.
- By location of sales management - Do you have managers where the sales talent is located?
- By customer - Some customers want to see your salespeople - often - while others could not care less if they ever see your salespeople as long as they are getting their needs met.
- By season - Some businesses are oriented around large, one-time, seasonal orders where it is very important for your salespeople to be visible.
- By business model - Some businesses have a model where customers must be resold or renewed at the end of a contract period and, depending on the size and importance of the customer, a phone call may not be enough to justify the renewal.
- By product - But this is different from the author's definition. If a company is selling an expensive piece of equipment that must be demonstrated onsite, inside sales has absolutely no ability to execute on that milestone.
- By project - Some projects necessitate a salesperson working hand-in-hand with the customer to ensure a successful outcome. Most of these require salespeople to be onsite.