Inside sales and field sales activities and roles have blurred, as both sellers and buyers enabled with digital tools have confirmed the physical and virtual boundaries that separate “outside” and “inside” sellers don’t matter anymore. Inside sales reps can close big deals — often more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional field sellers, and sales reps working from home are able to engage customers easier.
Forrester predicts remote work will settle at 3X pre-pandemic levels, forever changing leadership and hiring practices. But how should B2B organizations draw the line on the type of sales role needed? Organizations have had to adapt and rethink their current sales coverage to maximize customer lifetime value and manage customer acquisition and retention costs. So, what should guide the outside/inside sales coverage decisions?
The path to the optimum outside/inside sales mix begins with aligning the buyer needs and route-to-market preferences with the sales competencies and skills needed by segment. A strategic or enterprise account need for high-touch interactions, a long-term trusted relationship, and support for large and complex solutions is distinct from a smaller SMB account that may have more short-term transactional needs that can be fulfilled via low-touch or even no-touch ecommerce.
But the optimum sales coverage mix is not necessarily a binary choice between an outside or inside rep. In fact, the optimum coverage that drives the best customer experience and revenue growth at the same or lower sales expense is often in the right mix of both outside and inside sales roles that can team in defined ways to cover each market segment.
Taking a data-driven modeled approach to sales coverage enables optimizing for greater selling capacity and lower sales costs. By differentiating accounts by buyer needs and seller role requirements, together with an understanding of the seller activities and workload, organizations can determine the optimum mix.
This may result in a shift, split, or teaming of coverage that drives greater sales performance and a competitive coverage advantage. Successful sales organizations that optimize their outside/inside mix also align the sales coverage rules and compensation to drive the right winning sales behavior on partially or fully teamed roles.
To find out how to optimize your outside/inside sales mix and ensure your organization is setup to best cover your market, join me next week at Forrester B2B Summit North America, where I’ll be presenting “Inside Sales: Defining Optimum Coverage” on Wednesday May 5.