Sales leaders are focused on channel to market alignment. Which markets should be pursued by which channels? Over the last 5 years, our clients have seen 40% growth in Inside Sales. As a guide to determining the right channels, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Flip to the sales strategy section of the PDF and review the Channel Optimization phase on pages 290 – 298 of the workbook.
A major buyer behavior aspect that has escalated the growth of Inside Sales is the rising preference of prospects and customers to engage business virtually. It can be a win-win since Inside Sales is a virtual channel employed to increase the effectiveness of the sales force. Additionally, Inside Sales opens new markets that previous channels could not support. VPs of Sales have seen Inside Sales deal sizes going up year after year. All of these points are leading VPs of Sales to wonder, “How far up market can I take this?”
Typical markets to employ Inside Sales against:
- Prospects and inactive segments: High activity sales center
- Renewals: Current customers on service contracts: High activity service renewal center
- SMB segment: Prospects and accounts likely to spend $100-$10,000
- Mid-Market segment: Account growth in 200-300 named accounts
- Enterprise segment: Team selling to handle low cost, high volume
These models are being disrupted by a few key trends today: What is driving this shift?
- Buyer comfort buying virtually: In a recent buyer survey, 6% of respondents required face to face selling
- Improved technology – Skype for Business and other platforms to improve client intimacy and activity tracking
- Sales enablement growth: Investment in tools and processes can be optimized in centrally located sales team
- Pressure to drive down cost per sales resource: VPs of Sales are finding new ways to reduce cost to acquire customers
These trends are leading to sales forces pioneering Emerging Best Practices:
- Insurance carriers going direct to groups, saving broker fees and improving retention
- Manufacturers transforming renewal centers into organic revenue generation centers with cross-sell upsell
- A communications sales force is moving up-market to own Mid-Market and Enterprise accounts
- Advertising platforms increasing Customer Life-time Value through thoughtful virtual selling motions and business cases
- Technology companies penetrates rural and international geos that the field team has not served
So what methods have these sales orgs used to drive their decision making?
- Determine how comfortable buyers are buying virtually
- Quantify what premium buyers will pay to see a seller face to face
- Understand the largest purchases clients make virtually
- Identify under-performing markets, and considering Inside Sales ability to help
- Determine the risk of testing Inside Sales in larger accounts
And how are Sales VPs executing on these initiatives?
- Begin with a pilot to test these methods in low variable settings
- Build out a communication strategy so other channels understand the goals and expected outcomes
- Determine the potential in the markets we are pursuing and incenting the right activity
- Assess the current team to determine whose competencies fit which Inside Sales roles
- Build onboarding and training programs focused on quick results
- Define KPIs for activities, leading, and lagging indicators
There is no argument that Inside Sales continues to grow in prominence. That we are asking these critical questions shows how refined Inside Sales has become. Across industries, Inside Sales Average Sales Prices are rising. This increased productivity per head is making VPs more and more bullish on this channel.
Access a comprehensive resource of emerging best practices by downloading our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. It’s the guide top sales leaders use to contribute to revenue growth in a consistent, predictable way.