Inside Sales are in a new hugely pressurised era…and b2b organisations need to respond fast.

Inside and Field Sales – What’s the difference?

B2B Inside sales teams have always in many ways played second fiddle to the more glamorous and flamboyant field sales equivalent even in the digital era. Field sales roles are still perceived by many in b2b as being your traditional sales environment particularly for the enterprise prospect audience. It’s the role that has occupied the sales landscape for centuries.

Born out of strong relationship building, visual impression, eye contact, banter, and using proven sales psychology to convert the deal, field selling (with the right talent) in many ways theoretically should be that little be ‘easier’ than inside sales.

Inside sales on the other hand (or at least theoretically) are always facing a tougher challenge. Inside sales reps do not have the advantage of making eye contact or drawing upon the environment both they and the prospect see around them. Inside sales reps have a 15-25 second window for impact with the decision-maker, whereas in a face to face scenario you have got a few more minutes to make that same critical impact.

Perhaps more importantly inside sales reps have a much-reduced window to listen and react to the prospects buying behaviour. They need to inject personality, energy and deliver a punchy sales proposition in a shortened time window…with little room for error. And they must demonstrate unrepentant listening skills and portray your brand values and etiquette in a way which again is often different to field sales delivery, but which is driven by the same high knowledge levels your field teams possess.

In 2021 b2b selling is changing…possibly for good

The state of Field Sales is bound to look very different in a post-Covid-19 era. Not only will the must-have skillsets in field sales people need to evolve, to adapt to a virtual selling room as opposed to actually selling face-to-face, the ideologies and methods used by these teams will transform, making them adapt to a more digital-role.

Covid means that therefore that remote/inside selling across all parts of the sales mix is here to stay, more than likely for the long-term, therefore b2b organisations have some serious challenges to consider with regards to sales FTE:

– Have they got the correct inside sales infrastructure and resource? – and is this enough to perform successfully in a remote world (versus the office world where it may have originated) and handle increased volumes of marketing qualified leads that automation is creating? Is it sophisticated enough?

– How do they train their field sales teams to shift ‘field sales approach’ into the inside sales world? The two require both cross – over and differences in approach.

– How do they deliver effective and measurable remote training to these teams?

– How do they motivate; performance manage and incentivise?

– When a vaccine arrives how do they reorder the sales blend between field and inside – recognising it is still completely unproven how sustainable complete remote working is and that field sales will always (in my view at least) have a role to play but it will be more than likely be focused on higher margin enterprise opportunities.

Technology & AI will add to the pressure Inside Sales Teams are facing

AI powered automation will continue to increase its sophistication and presence in the overall b2b marketing mix and with the increased volume of highly targeted marketing qualified leads that it will generate, b2b organisations need to wake up fast to the need to have a robust inside sales team infrastructure in place to successfully convert the volume or growth plans and critical marketing investment will start to derail…fast.

Given this urgency b2b organisations need to work quickly to ensure they have a high performing inside sales operation, and this should include exploring outsourcing which may previously have been a no-go.  Sophisticated sales outsourcing can help organisations bridge any present gaps in their internal sales operations.

Reassuringly, outsourcing now represents a new era for b2b organisations to consider. Remote working has led to innovative pricing models being established and the opportunity for outsourcers to collaborate closer via video collaboration in alignment with internal inside sales teams with the result being a totally aligned best in class inside sales output that accelerates your critical growth plans.

Inside sales outsourcers are significantly more sophisticated than your standard telemarketing outsourcers and that starts with both their people who are more often than not, former field sales reps who are more suited to and prefer a more flexible remote working career, and a 21st century tech stack that incorporates voice with highly personalised and automated video and email cadencing.

The future is a new era of b2b marketing which gels intelligent data insight (utilising A.I technologies) and planning, sophisticated marketing automation, voice + 121 automated cadencing and remote collaboration to amplify inside sales growth and beat the downturn.

Get in touch today to discuss how Ampli can help you strategically link all these elements – at pace and with quality.

Jason Horsman
Founder & CEO