The changing nature of technology and buying processes have contributed to an increased focus on inside sales vs field sales activities within many organisations. Therefore, determining whether to focus your efforts on inside sales or field sales may seem complicated without careful comparison of the two approaches.
But many B2B companies are making inside sales a priority:
– Microsoft published back in February that they are hiring 500 inside sales people in Ireland, and have this month announced 200 additional roles;
– Vodafone announced its expansion in 2015 of a five year, €60 million investment to secure 200 new positions for their initiative.
Inside sales has moved on considerably over the past decade. It is no longer considered the poor relative of field sales.
The following is a look at pros and cons of inside sales versus field sales, along with a perspective on which model makes more sense for your business.
Inside Sales Benefits
Improved Collaboration – Inside sales leads to more significant opportunities for collaboration and immediate internal feedback. With field sales, reps are spread out across a broad territory, and collaboration is difficult until reps return to headquarters at the same time. With inside sales, an inside sales representative works out of an office and has meetings and opportunities to discuss strategies. Leaders can include input from reps when developing and executing core sales strategies.
Time and Cost Efficiencies – By reducing outside sales activities, your organisation cuts down on travel costs and time. The time reps spend on the road and away from contact with prospects is more critical than the direct transportation expenses. It allows your reps to spend more of their time planning for and executing sales conversations.
Digital Connectivity – The shift in buying processes to the digital world has fueled much of the transition to inside sales. The majority of a business buyer’s journey is now completed online prior to communication with a provider. Inside sales enables your team to react more quickly and effectively to demand generation opportunities initiated by prospects. It also allows you to design your content marketing strategies around what intent data shows you about your prospects.
Adaptability – Because of its utilisation of technology, inside sales activities offer more versatility and agility to your team. You can quickly identify changes in marketplace trends and adjust your marketing processes and activities to match. Closer management access to sales personnel is one reason for improved adaptability. Managers can spend time training, developing and coaching reps more frequently when they work inside the company.
Field Sales Benefits
More Personal – Inside sales processes and technology do provide strong interpersonal opportunities. However, you could argue that a field sales representative builds more personal connections with prospects. It allows reps to converse face-to-face, and to use emotional intelligence in presenting information and responding to a prospect’s needs.
In-Depth Conversations – Similarly, field sales typically allows for more detailed conversations. Inside sales conversations are often more efficient. In field sales, reps meet with prospects longer to discuss their business problems and to present information about the business and solutions.
As the personalisation of inside sales continues to improve to match its technology advantages, companies move more toward this model. The pace at which industry competitors can address evolving needs of the marketplace places more pressure on your firm to conform. Furthermore, even if your business does not have the infrastructure and comfort with implementing inside sales, you can outsource this part of your business to an expert partner.