article | February 12, 2018
Rethinking Inside Sales – Don’t Be Left Behind
The business world is rapidly changing, rendering past experiences less and less valuable. Old thinking is dead and new thinking has arrived. The days of staffing Inside Sales with low tenured and low cost resources is over. Pointing these resources at small accounts and unsophisticated buyers is a thing of the past. The smart and relevant Chief Revenue Officer understands the importance of deploying resources that align to the experience the buyer desires.
Buyers are more comfortable then ever buying digitally. Examples of this are all around us and they are not limited to company size. Industry giants are selling sophisticated products and services with telephone based, web enabled sales teams. Virtual buyers are comfortable making large purchase decisions with limited or no face to face involvement. Mature sales organizations have successfully adopted this innovative route to market. Young organizations are rapidly scaling with highly effective and efficient inside sales teams. Download the Inside Sales – Customer Fit Question Guide to evaluate your customer fit for virtual selling.
Based on SBI research, the top 5 reasons companies are migrating to Inside Sales include:
Determine whether to invest in inside sales by following these four steps.
Step 1 – Segmentation and Planning:
The first step in determining whether or not to invest or double down on Inside Sales is Segmentation and Planning. A deep understanding of your markets, accounts and buyers is a requirement. First, you most divide the market into segments that can be served by Inside Sales representatives. This will require deep market, competitive, customer and prospect research.
Next is account segmentation, which will determine which accounts will generate the most amount of revenue through Inside Sales efforts. The balance of accounts remain with the field organization or another indirect route to market.
Now focus on buyer segmentation and user segmentation. The outcome desired is to understand how both buyers and users make purchase decisions. This also requires an outside in discovery approach and time spent researching and speaking with the market, field, customer and prospects. Expert panels are also an excellent way to extract key insights into both buyer and user purchase decisions. With this wealth of critical information, the planning phase is born.
Customer Experience is a hot topic today and for good reason. Here we set out to define the presales, sales and post sales motions to apply against the buying journey.
A touchpoint analysis will shine the light on areas that need attention and will help ensure a positive customer experience at every turn. This is a key competitive advantage and a powerful way to accelerate revenue growth.
Once the touchpoint analysis is complete we turn to Data Planning. This will determine the data and information needs required for the Inside Sales organization. This is a crucial step that has massive downstream affects.
The last step in the planning process is Revenue and Budget Planning. This requires one to define where Inside Sales will generate revenue from and how resources will be allocated. We now have the necessary inputs to design an Inside Sales Organization.
Step 2 – Organizational Design
The second phase in the SBI Inside Sales framework is Organizational Design. If you currently have an Inside Sales team, we recommend a Gap Analysis to determine where you stand related to standard operating procedures, best practices and emerging best practices. You can get a list of emerging best practices by reviewing pages 381 – 385 in the SBI 2018 How to Make Your Number .
Those thinking about setting up Inside Sales for the first time will go straight to organizational structure. This is where you start to leverage the segmentation and planning work to determine the optimal organizational model. Considerations include centralization, headcount needed by role, responsibilities, support staff and span of control to name a few. This phase also includes designing territories and aligning a set of customers and/or prospects to each Inside sales representative. Compensation planning and defining an “A” player profile also fall into the second phase.
Step 3 – Intelligence:
With the foundation laid and the right team assembled it is time to focus on Intelligence. Having the right technology stack will assist the Inside Sales team in optimizing performance. This includes prospecting and lead management, automation platform, content management, collaboration, engagement, prospecting data and analytics.
Keep in mind the setup and configuration is equally important to the technology chosen. With the right team, tools and resources in place sales funnel management design allows for proper pipeline and forecast management. Dashboard and reporting is then architected to manage productivity and revenue growth. Last by not least is gamification to help create an environment which fosters positive internal competition.
Step 4 – Vendor Management:
The last phase is Vendor Management which includes selection, assessment, sourcing, onboarding, enablement and relationship management.
Follow the four steps above and begin by evaluating your customer fit by downloading the Inside Sales – Customer Fit Question Guide. As an additional resource, here is an that will help you evaluate your Sales Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices.
© 2017 Sales Benchmark Index (SBI)
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© 2018 Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), B.V.
A Business Strategy Consulting Company
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands