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Wednesday, 23 August 2017 00:00

How to Integrate Field and Inside Sales and Win More Deals

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The field sales person used to be a lone ranger. He operated beyond the walls of the corporation, with his own schedule and tactics. Yes, he’d call in once in a while for help from customer service and marketing, but his efforts were not part of a finely orchestrated sales strategy.

Today the tides have turned. Technology has enabled inside sales people to be more efficient and successful in working with prospects and customers. CRM keeps the sales process organized, the Internet provides ready access to research, emails and social media aid in communication and online meetings can often achieve as much as the face-to-face alternative.

At the same time, field sales people earn 12-18% more than inside sales people. Plus, there are associated costs of travel and downtime while en route to the next client. Therefore, it’s not surprising that inside sales is growing at an average rate of 7.5% a year while outside sales is barely holding its own with an average increase of 0.5% a year.

That, of course, brings up the question of how to integrate inside sales with field sales to get the best of both worlds. After all, despite all the efficiencies of an inside sales team, there is still something incredibly powerful about face-to-face meetings.
Here are some insights to help you maximize sales results:

  • Management Matters

    Start at the top, recognizing that whether generated inside or in the field, sales are sales. Someone needs to be accountable for the big picture. For example, you might want to have a field sales manager and an inside sales manager who both report to a sales director or sales integration director.

  • Who Does What?

    The sales director is responsible for working with both sales managers to determine who is responsible for what and why that’s the best use of resources. After all, there are many ways to climb a mountain, and you want to find the easiest, most efficient way to get to the top.
    For example, it may be wise to have your inside salespeople work with out-of-the-way accounts because of the cost and time of a field rep traveling to those locations. Alternatively, you might decide to have your outside salespeople focus on more complex sales activities while the inside reps handle maintenance activities within the same accounts.

  • Roll-Out Rigor

    When you roll out your sales integration plan, you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, it’s better to take it one bite at a time. Such a process enables you to take care of any issues that crop up before you go nationwide. Also, you’ll learn about the financial impact of your new sales model. If it’s successful, that provides you with success stories. You can use them as ammunition to motivate other sales territories to embrace the change in how they do business.

  • Compensation Consistency

    While you don’t have to pay inside and outside sales people the same amount of money, it’s helpful to structure their compensation packages in similar ways. For example, if the field sales reps receive salary, commission and bonuses, so too should the inside salespeople. Also, the same goals should feed into the bonus structure, providing all salespeople with a reason to march forward together.

    Also, if inside salespeople are responsible for some of the accounts within a field sales rep’s territory, the field rep should also get credit for those sales. Likewise, they should both have the same sales goals for the territory. Shared goals and recognition are essential for encouraging teamwork.

  • Respect for All

    Even though they play different roles, it’s important to treat inside salespeople and field reps as equals. Inside sales reps are not a dumping ground for field sales’ administrative tasks. It’s like inbound and outbound marketing. Each serves an important function. They work together synergistically. So make sure both groups attend the same meetings and receive similar training.

  • Automate Inside and Out

    Providing automated tools for inside salespeople is natural. After all, they are working at a desk with easy access to the computer. However, automation should also extend to the field sales force. They can, for example, use their mobile devices to input updated contact information and keep track of their sales activities. If they do so, inside salespeople will have up-to-the-minute information, allowing them to follow up at the right time with the right people.

Get started with sales integration by putting one person in charge of both inside and field sales. Then do some brainstorming about the responsibilities of your inside and outside teams. Once you’ve figured that out, roll out your new sales model to a small geographic area and debug it. Your sales model should include a compensation plan that rewards reps as a team as well as automation for all your salespeople. Finally, make sure you treat all team players with the same level of respect. By implementing these tips, you should be well on your way to sales integration success.

Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how you can outsource your inside sales and get rapid results.