The Great Migration to Inside Sales - Will You Get it Right?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

migrationThe 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:

  1. By market segment,
  2. By stage of the buyer engagement process,
  3. By geography, and
  4. By product or service.
Maybe.
 
How about these:
  • 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.
In summary, I agree that there is a significant trend toward moving salespeople to the inside.  But in general, every company needs to conduct a case justification and every situation should be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Making broad statements, that define the general scenarios where sales should be moved inside, simply won't work for most companies because there will be more exceptions to the guidelines than those that fit.
 
Should you consider moving some or all of your sales to the inside?  It's not a quick or simple answer.  Many factors must be considered and outside expertise is required to provide objective, non-biased perspective. Of equal importance is the necessary science and data about your sales managers, salespeople and their capabilities.  There is nothing worse than putting people in a role that doesn't position them for success.  Some on the outside would not do well on the inside while some would do much better.  Do you know which ones?
 
Take this change seriously!  It has the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, increase effectiveness, and grow sales.  But only if you base your decisions on sound best practices, data and objectivity.
 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales leadership, move to inside sales, sales assessments

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader