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Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

The Great Misconception about Inside Sales That’s Hurting Your Results

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There’s a misconception about inside sales that I believe is rooted in its name. And it’s hurting many businesses. It’s the “inside” that leads people astray. Too many people think that it must mean that the salespeople are within their company’s walls. This belief is understandable, but it’s not always true. Inside salespeople are simply the opposite of field salespeople. They are not road warriors. They sell remotely and work inside an office, however, that office doesn’t have to be within your company.

Why is the idea that inside sales must take place within the organization hurting some companies? Because inside sales is more important than ever and many companies don’t have the skills or resources to institute or support a robust inside sales department. So they either go without this valuable function, or they stitch one together and limp along.

The B2B Sales Landscape Is Shifting

In recent years, a tidal wave has overrun the B2B sales landscape, changing it forever.

Sales organizations have shifted resources from field sales to inside sales. That’s according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). They conducted research with over 100 vice presidents of sales in high-tech and business services companies. While some are moving resources to field sales (21%), more than twice as many (46%) are moving in the other direction. 

Other figures are even more startling. An InsideSales.com study of sales and marketing managers in 30 non-retail industries shows inside sales growing 300% faster than field sales.

Why Inside Sales Is More Important than Ever

What’s driving the change? It’s all about technology, competition, scalability and results.

  • Buyers Are Educated
    Because of the internet, buyers have access to more information than ever before.

  • Technology Is an Enabler
    They can be more productive than ever due to technology such as CRM systems, dialers, predictive analysis, marketing automation, online conferencing, social media platforms, appointment setting software and more. All these tools help inside salespeople develop intimate customer relationships even though they do not have face-to-face meetings.

  • Inside Sales Is Cost Effective
    The pressure to be competitive is ever-present, and inside sales people cost less than their on-the-road counterparts. When companies analyze return on investment, inside sales often proves to be the winner.

  • It’s Easier to Scale
    HBR also discovered that sales leaders felt it was easier to bring new inside salespeople onboard than field sales people, train them and scale their organizations.

  • It Gets Results Because companies can increase the number of calls they make, inside sales results increase sales volumes.

Inside Sales: Keep It in or Send It Out?

Given the advantages, going without an inside sales team or using one that’s not up to par, can put your organization at a significant handicap.

So, should you build up your inside sales organization or outsource the function?

First, you’ll want to consider the costs. The investment in an inside sales organization goes beyond salaries, benefits and commissions for agents. You also have management, recruitment and training expenses. Then there’s the infrastructure: phone systems, CRM solutions, office space and computers.

It adds up.

But that’s just one side of the equation. You also have to think about the productivity of doing the job internally. After all, is inside sales a core competency of your organization? For companies that offer outsourced inside sales, it’s often their entire focus. They have the know-how and the systems in place to optimize results. This foundation enables them to make more calls and set more sales appointments. Also, since they qualify the leads better, the appointments are likely to result in higher sales close rates.

How about inside sales turnover! When an inside sales person leaves, you are left with a huge hole. That hole can be even greater if you have a team with multiple languages. If you lose an inside sales person who was responsible for a specific language, you are in trouble. This is mitigated when you outsource to a professional, international outsourced provider. They will have qualified replacements ready to jump in when needed. Scaling is not a problem, and you never lose the business intelligence.  

When you crunch the numbers, you’ll discover that in many cases, outsourced telemarketing is less expensive and produces more closed sales, thus delivering a higher return on investment.

To learn more, get our free white paper, “Telemarketing Execution: In-House or Outsource?” Find out how to evaluate the cost and ROI of outsourcing inside sales.