As recently as a decade ago, field sales was the preferred choice for most companies. Today more and more businesses are utilizing an inside sales model or at least a combination of remote sales and outside sales. According to a study by Steve W. Martin, 46% of study participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model. There are many reasons for this change. Let’s take a look at the top causes of this trend.
Cost – Harvard Business Review reported that inside sales reduces cost-of-sales by 40-90% compared to field sales, while revenues may be maintained or even grow. This is due, in part, to the fact that base salaries of inside sales reps tend to be lower. Outside sales often includes the cost of rep travel, food, and lodging on the road. Utilizing an inside sales force eliminates these travel-related expenses.
Educated Buyers (or Buying behaviors) – It used to be that prospects relied on sales reps to educate them about their product options and guide them through the buying process. Today it’s much different. According to CEB, the average B2B buyer is 57% through the purchase decision before engaging a vendor. As a result, potential customers already know what they want and don’t require as much direction throughout the process.
Scheduling – Buyers do significant amounts of research on the internet before contacting potential vendors about their products or services. In almost 75% of sales situations, research by SBI found that prospective customers would prefer not to spend time meeting face to face. They have extremely busy schedules and often prefer a quick call or video conference. It’s easier and more flexible for all involved. Additionally, decision makers may work in multiple locations, making in-person meetings nearly impossible to coordinate.
Sales productivity – Even without using dialing technology, inside sales reps can dial more leads, connect with more decision makers, and take far more meetings in a single day than outside sales reps. Although 57.1% of salespeople make quota, The Bridge Group found that an average 64% of inside reps reach their quota. That additional productivity can have a substantial impact on a company’s bottom line. This is especially true when you consider the lower costs associated with inside sales teams.
Technological advances – Today there are many technological advances that facilitate inside sales processes. These include CRMs, web conferencing platforms, social media, email, video conferencing, phone conferencing, email tracking software, and the like. Plus, technology that enables inside sales reps to connect with more leads and have smarter conversations further increases productivity of inside sales teams.
Quality of life – Inside sales can promote a better quality of life. In contrast to outside sales, it doesn’t require days of travel and ensures that reps can be home for dinner with their families. It also allows them the opportunity to engage in a more consistent social life, the ability to attend local classes if desired, and to participate in their local communities. This promotes a better work/life balance, happier employees, and increased productivity, so it’s a win-win.
You can see why many companies are opting for inside sales teams. It’s beneficial to your sales reps and your bottom line. Perhaps you should consider making the switch as well.