Just a few years ago inside sales was the runny-nose little brother when compared to field sales. This meant getting the hand-me-downs of field sales technology and being an afterthought in sales process and enablement.
Fast forward to today…..the inside sales has “grown up”. In the 2017 InsideSales.com research report the following trends were highlighted:
- Inside is 28.8% of the sales forces for companies with $500M or more in sales, but expected to grow to 40.3% by the end of 2018
- Small companies (<$50M rev) have are much higher rate at 47% of the sales force inside vs. field in 2017
- A surprising insight is that field reps are now spending 45.4% of their time selling remotely, nearly 90% more than four years prior
- Average number of sales technology solutions companies utilize in 2017 was 5.8 but expected to be 6.15 by end of 2018
These trends are largely driven by five factors:
- Improvement in video conferencing
- Changing buyer preferences with acceptance of virtual interactions
- Availability of social profile information
- Cost savings
- Seller preferences of increased flexibility.
Download the Sales Technology Assessment Tool to receive help with quantitatively assessing and evaluating a new technology solution, quantify the benefits of your new technology solution, and build a business case with an ROI.
The Growth of Inside Sales Has Left Large Cloud Providers Playing Catch Up
The old environment dominated by B2B field sales was one where large cloud CRM providers built their empire. This empire has been focused on accounts and opportunities with lead management and high-volume activity enablement an afterthought. Lead management has been a burden and tracking “conversion” from lead to opportunity and contacts has been clunky at best. There has been little or no integration with social platforms.
With This Migration to Inside Sales the Technology Buying Power Has Shifted
Along with the trends to inside also come the increasing ownership of the virtual & digital channel. Dialing, texting, social media, video, blogs, chat bots, and many other methods have been mastered by inside sellers and sales development representatives. This omni-channel approach is becoming the envy of traditional field reps who commonly hit barriers getting people to meet face to face (one channel).
The demand for cutting edge technology for inside sellers has dramatically increased, so has their budgets. An estimated $6,181 is spent on technology for each inside sales person per year and expected to increase 6.5% in 2018. With this increasing demand new markets catered to inside sales and lead generation have emerged. There are many ways to categorize the technology landscape, my preference is five categories: Engagement, productivity, sales intelligence, analytics, people management.
Here is a deeper dive into solutions in each category. Warning, this can be overwhelming:
- Engagement: CRM, online meetings & sharing, email tools, sales dialers, lead distribution, proactive engagement, social engagement, sales activity logging
- Productivity: content collaboration, content sharing, sales orchestration, scheduling, CPQ (configure, price, quote), contract & signature management, partner management, sales gamification
- Sales intelligence: database and list services, account intelligence, company financials, technographics, buyer insights, contact information, call tracking, visitor intelligence, social prospecting
- Analytics: pipeline management, performance management, conversation analytics, price optimization, data visualization, predictive analytics, machine learning, account-based planning
- People management: onboarding, training, sales coaching, sales appraisal, incentives, territory & quota management
How to Evaluate New Technology Solutions for Your Sales Team
With this sea of sales solutions there is a method to evaluate how to choose solutions that will provide a positive ROI and a more positive employee experience for your sellers. This method is based on the fact that there are only two ways to increase sales revenue from a sales team. First, make each seller more productive, measured by revenue per head. Second, hire more sellers. This evaluation method includes ten questions that should be answered prior to pursuing a new sales technology.
Each of these questions addresses the first lever of increasing sales revenue: making sellers more productive.
- How many minutes will this solution reduce per interaction? (time savings in calling, communicating, etc.)
- By what percent will the solution increase my conversion ratio? (from any stage to the next, for example MQL to SQL)
- By what percent will the solution increase the average deal size? (by utilizing the solution I can better bundle products or increase number of licenses of each sale)
- By how much time will the solution reduce the overall sales cycle length? (by increasing qualification with each interaction or moving more quickly through objections, etc.)
- Does the new solution embed qualification into the sales process? (i.e. BANT)
- Does the solution decrease the onboarding time of new sellers?
- Does the solution increase seller acumen of account or contacts?
- Does the solution provide performance management capability?
- Will the solution increase the quality of the seller’s experience and therefore reduce turnover by x%?
- Will the solution increase the quality of the buyer’s experience and decrease buyer churn by x%?
All ten of these questions capture ways to calculate a tangible benefit of the solution. You may have noticed the last two questions may have a more qualitative or “fuzzy” benefit. There has been extensive research connecting employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) to hard financial benefits.
Download the Sales Technology Assessment Tool. It will help you quantitatively assess and evaluate a new technology solution. By utilizing this tool for each potential technology purchase you can quantify the benefits of the solution and build a business case with an ROI. This business case can be socialized internally for approval of the new solution. As you follow a quantitative approach to assess each new solution you will decrease the likelihood of technology overinvestment. This in turn will increase your ability to make your number.
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