The shift from Field Sales to Inside is rocking B2B go-to-market strategies. Traditional sales forces are being replaced (not augmented) by virtual teams. Human interaction is being replaced by ecommerce and automation. 30% of Cost of Sales is being taken out – without negative impact to revenue. But how do CEOs determine which channels can most effectively serve each segment, and how does your go-to-market strategy drive value in each account?
Consider your accounts on a Pyramid. Another term for this is account stratification. The top tier consist of your major accounts served by a dedicated resource or team of resources. The middle tier accounts are served by a traditional field seller. The bottom tier accounts are served through website or a channel partner. Which accounts are touched, then, by Inside Sales?
Inside Sales traditionally serves accounts in three areas of the pyramid:
- Creating opportunity with new accounts across all tiers
- Managing accounts in the bottom tier
- Managing renewals and upgrades across all tiers
Leading organizations are shifting this approach by turning it on its head. Here, major accounts expand down the pyramid to high value middle tier accounts. Ecommerce, automation and channel partners take ownership of the Low bottom tier. The emerging best practice is to leverage Inside Sales to three major changes:
- Assign the Low middle tier accounts to Inside Sales
- Shift out of the Low bottom tier accounts to be served with ecommerce or through a 3rd party channel
- Eliminate the traditional field sales force to cover the vast middle
The big question for executive leadership is, “Where do we apply Inside Sales?” There are 6 steps for making this decision.
- Prioritizing accounts based on their potential to spend and propensity to buy virtually: Determine and prioritize factors that indicate high potential. Segment the accounts on the pyramid to visualize our focus. Consider the goals of the business, in terms of renewals, up-sell, new business, etc.
- Determining the buying journey for each segment: Conduct touch-point analysis to map the customer experience by industry and product. Identify the critical moments along the journey and each buyer. In Win Loss reviews of middle and top tier accounts, identify engagement preferences.
- Build Go to Market channels that allow us to sell the way buyers want to buy: Take the analysis from the above activities and identify all channels that can serve the market. Is each channel enabled to serve the customer? Some accounts will have high potential and prefer belly to belly interactions.
- Determine the ROI of each account based on the Cost to Acquire a Customer in that segment: Some accounts will have high potential and prefer belly to belly. If the Lifetime Value is 5x the Cost to Acquire, send the field team. But the complexity of deal being sold online is increasing. The size of deals sold over the phone is growing. Look to improve ROI by assigning higher potential accounts to the Inside team.
- Ensure that Corporate, Marketing and Product strategies are focused on the same account segments: Setting the strategy without input from other functions will doom the initiative. The Inside team must have products to sell into their accounts. They must have marketing material for different touches in the buying journey.
To determine how big of an account needs to be to assign to Inside Sales, you need to run tests. Give some Low and High middle tier accounts. See what can be produced through Inside Sales. Compare the revenue impact and the cost takeout implications. Assume that the trend is showing Inside moving the line up on account size.
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