With the advancement in technology and rapid expansion of digital age, inside sales is gaining momentum over outside sales. Technology is surely giving an edge to the inside sales reps and allows them to be much more efficient than their field counterparts by doing almost everything remotely. An inside sales representative can make numerous calls during the time when outside sales rep will be able to complete just one onsite meeting. And in the same time, customers nowadays are busier than ever and hence prefer to hop on a virtual meeting.
According to a study, Inside sales teams continue to grow at 15% each year and are growing 3 times faster than traditional field sales.
In my opinion, there are a variety of reasons because of which this shift is happening. Here are 5 of the most prevalent ones:
Improvement in Web and Video Conferencing
Communication through internet is quite flexible, convenient and cost-effective. Web conferencing tools like Skype, JoinMe, GotoMeeting and WebEx have made virtual meetings easy and allow customers and sales reps to communicate effectively, hence making face-to-face sales obsolete. Both the parties can meet each other conveniently and at their own preferred time.
Online Availability of Customer/Prospect Information (Social Media)
It is easier to understand who the prospect is, what are his requirements or interest areas by going through their LinkedIn Profiles or other information available over the internet. It helps in building relationships with the prospects which is a key asset in the sales process. The information available online will help you create an impressive sales pitch that would work in your favor and you can have a personalized conversation understanding their business operations and pain-points.
Better Work-Life Balance
Outside sales reps have always had complaints that they rarely were able to reach home for dinner. Stretching for long surely earned them high commissions but hardly had a work-life balance. Sometimes, too much traveling takes quite a toll on their health as well. With rise in technology like CRM solutions and inside sales trend, that is longer a case. They will no longer have to worry about traffics or flight delays and have the meetings on-time through virtual platforms and at a convenient time that suits both the parties.
With Inside Sales, the cost-per-contact has reduced to a considerable degree as compared with an outside sales call. Organizations have started implementing effective and efficient tools to communicate with clients and prospects. Costs of sales are reduced by 50% – 90% with inside sales as compared to field sales. As long-distance telephone calls and internet charges have become quite affordable, companies have really started re-evaluating their sales deployments as they can’t afford to ignore these savings.
Changing Buyer Behaviors and Preferences
Buyers complete most of their research through internet and other review sites, even before contacting a company. They have enough clarity in their minds about the product and also have a very busy schedule, therefore, they prefer a quick call or a video conference vs a face-to-face meeting. According to Sales Benchmark Index study, more than 70% customer prefers inside sales instead of meeting up with the sales person.
For example, to schedule an on-site meeting with the committee of decision-makers is almost impossible as it consists of more than 10 people and most of them are located at different locations.
Inside Sales reduces cost to a great extent but still many companies assume that meeting in-person with the prospect, drives greater success and it is easier to build long-term rapport and close deals. However, that no longer holds true and inside sales teams globally are proving their competency every day.