Selling to customers directly when they want to buy from partners is a surefire way to miss the revenue goal. Selling to customers through partners when they want a direct relationship with your company is equally devastating. And within the direct and indirect channel model, there are multiple sub-models to consider. Coverage model decisions have never been this complicated for we live in the omni channel era. To follow along, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to pages 294 – 298 of the PDF to review the Channel Optimization phase of the workbook.
Perhaps you’ve tried putting more (or different) feet on the street. You’ve done things like:
- Adding new logo hunters
- Hiring people with industry experience
- Hiring people with product expertise
In the end, it’s not working. It takes too long to hire them. It takes too long to make them productive. It doesn’t make an impact on the in-year number.
You want to cover the market completely with direct and indirect sales channels. Maybe it’s time to re-think how you’re organized. But how? You’re wondering if your competitors are re-organizing to respond to these changes.
The answer is “yes,” but many aren’t putting more feet on the street. They are putting more feet in the building. Their own buildings. In the form of inside sales.
Get a jump on this by downloading the Inside Sales Test It has 5 critical questions to ask your customers about what they want. It will help determine if you should consider inside sales.
6 Reasons to Consider Inside Sales
- Market Growth – The role of inside sales has grown steadily over the past 5 years. A 2012 Pacific Crest SaaS survey shows most growth is coming from inside sales. We are seeing this more and more across all industries, not just SaaS. Your market is shifting. So should you.
- Market coverage – In a global economy, coverage to distant territories is increasingly important. Businesses from rural communities to foreign continents need a better way to be served. Inside Sales allows you to drive up productivity by entering markets that had seemed less than ideal just a few years ago.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – The cost to acquire customers is a huge focus of B2B companies and investors. The below image is from Matrix Partners. Notice field sales isn’t recommended until you hit a $25K CAC. Using expensive field resources drives up CAC and extends your time to break-even cost. It’s a fact: Inside sales costs less and reduces CAC.
- Speed – Coupled with CAC is time to respond to active demand. That is, leads and customers actively looking for solutions like yours. Marketing is working harder (ie spending more) to compete for your buyer’s attention. Yet, field sales often ignores these leads. A December, 2013 study by marketingcharts.com proves the need for speed. Your chances of qualifying a lead increase by 30% if contacted within 5 seconds. Wait > 30 minutes and you are 13% less likely to qualify a new lead.
- Changing Buyer – Your buyers want to engage with field sales reps less and less. They don’t have time. Many buyers are on the road constantly. Or, there are multiple buyers in various locations. Recent SBI research reveals customers increasingly prefer to buy virtually. Technology and buyer location enables this. Companies are embracing these changes with inside sales.
- New Hire Ramp-to-Productivity – New hire ramp is becoming more challenging. Reps are hired, put on an island and expected to produce. Ramp time is taking closer to two years when it should be less than one. Managers don’t have time to spend with their reps. Enablement in a decentralized field breaks down.
Centralized inside sales increases field adoption and execution. You have a captive audience. Training, process improvement and enablement can be done daily, if needed. Ramp-to-productivity is shortened, getting you results faster from new hires.
What to Do Now
50% of solving a problem is defining it correctly. If you’re seeing some of these signs, it warrants further investigation. Start by downloading the Inside Sales Test. The customer is the #1 indicator of a market shift. You should start with them before thinking about re-organizing. This should take you about 3 weeks.
If the test approach validates your assumptions, you’ve now defined the problem. With your competition having already done this, you have catching up to do. If you would like a hand with this topic, visit us in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.