Inside sales jobs across the US will grow from 800,000 to 2 million positions between 2009 and 2013 (or 300% growth), according to a 2009 MIT and SKKU study. According to Vorsight, 9 out of 10 sales jobs filled during a recession are Inside Sales. B2C E-commerce was virtually non-existent 15 years ago and is forecasted to reach $279 B according to Forrester Research.
Why this evolution? Organizations are looking to take cost out of the business while maintaining (or increasing) revenue as they face increased cost pressures.
When faced with the decision on what type of new business acquisition sales role(s) to deploy there are two important factors to consider.
1. Customer Acquisition Cost – Customer acquisition cost is the cost associated with convincing a consumer to buy your product or service, including research, marketing, and advertising costs
Average Cost by position:
- No Touch (Amazon, Netflix) – $50-$200
- Inside Sales (Low Touch) – $1000-$2000
- Inside Sales (High Touch) – $3K-$8K
- Field Sales – $25K – $75K
- Field Sales (High Support) – Intel, Boeing – $75K-$200K
2. Complexity of Sale – Many factors can contribute to the complexity of a sale
- Number of stakeholder involved in decision
- Length of Sales Process
- Product support requirements
- Buyer integration requirements
- Level of customization
- Budgeted vs. non-budget expense
- Level of buyer knowledge
There has been a migration towards the bottom left hand side of the graph as buyers become more educated and sellers utilize technology to become more efficient. Think about the way you buy versus 20 year ago. If you are like me, most of your holiday shopping is performed online. When is the last time you visited a book store? Based on Borders recent bankruptcy, not recently. Buyers in B2B and B2C environments have multiple resources that can be utilized to eliminate unpredictability in the buying process. More information is available to buyers with just a click and many are utilizing lower cost channels that keep prices low by reducing their Customer Acquisition Cost.
This evolution, combined with the increased cost pressure organizations face points toward the decline of field sales forces. Will field sales become obsolete as Sales Leaders continue to endorse efficient sales channels as part of their Go to Market Strategy?