Sitting in a cubicle making cold calls all day is not the way to make this year's sales quota. Sales is often thought to be a “black and white” industry, where representatives operate as either inside sales reps or outside sales reps. But as technology is constantly changing, so is the sales industry.
Modern sales is best defined as a hybrid approach of inside and outside sales.Combining these the two types of sales strategies can allow your company to maximize both productivity and profits. If you are considering whether this approach is right for you, think about the following key aspects.
- Inside vs. Outside Sales
- Mobile Tech: Empowering Outside Sales With Data
- How Inside Sales Calls Are Getting Colder
- Why Outside Sales Will Never Die
In the past, differentiating between inside and outside sales was never a difficult task. Simply put, inside sales are “virtual sales” by high touch transactions, traditionally done via phone or email. Inside sales reps work remotely, minimizing travel and maximizing time spent finding new prospects. With this strategy, inside sales reps can contact 7x more future customers on a daily basis than outside sales reps, according to sales guru Ken Krouge. However, quantity is not always the best option when trying to convert prospects into clients.
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For products that require a lot of attention and service, outside sales step up to the plate. Outside sales reps conduct personal meetings face-to-face with target customers to offer a better customer experience and more hands-on explanations if necessary. Their ability to network and build strong professional relationships is often why outside sales reps average a 40% prospects-to clients conversion success rate, according to Krouge. With both strategies possessing such major benefits, it is hard to see why they should not be executed together.
Thanks to aggressive technological innovation, the sales industry has come a long way since the days of telemarketing and door-to-door sales. With the help of innovations like CRM software and automatic dialers, both outside and inside sales reps are able to conduct business more efficiently than ever before. When you look at just how much technology has affected the way sales reps do their jobs, the line between and outside and inside sales reps only continues to blur.
Outside reps are now able to keep insights on individual customers with mobile CRM systems for real-time access. Such information was previously only readily available to inside sales reps who sat at their computers. Additionally, with the development of webinars and video calling, the possibilities for reps to maximize their profits are endless with multichannel prospecting. Only the sales reps that utilize all aspects of technology will be the most successful by constantly updating their skill set and accommodating new techniques.
Traditionally, outside reps were responsible for hunting brand new prospects, while inside reps focused on the customers seeking out business themselves. This custom, however, is now a thing of the past. Inside reps are already making their transition to outside sales by reaching out to completely cold prospects: “The fact that [inside sales reps] hunt and close new business makes them outside in the true sense of the word,” states Eliot Burdett, CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting.
Smaller companies have begun devising territories for each rep to manage, making incoming calls and cold calls a daily responsibility for all representatives. Reps are now expected to have both the interpersonal skills typical of an outside sales rep, as well as the ability to maximize prospects like an inside sales rep. Both are integral to closing a deal.
Even with all the technological means available to them, not all prospects are completely comfortable with conducting business transactions via telephone or email. On average, more than 20% of customers would prefer to spend time face-to-face prior to closing a deal, reported Launch Interactive.
“We have the emergence of the hybrid model where inside reps might do most of their work on the phone, but we don’t chain them to their desks. They’re allowed to go visit customers if it’s important to the deal and the margin supports that," states Anneke Seley, founder of OracleDirect, Oracle’s global inside sales organization. Modern outside reps split their time 50/50 between selling remotely and selling face-to-face. Creating a kind of personal availability for a prospect can have an overwhelming impact on whether a deal gets closed or not.
Ameyna is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. As a public relations professional, she is dedicated to providing readers with the original and compelling content. Ameyna is a DC-native always down for a game of hoops.