Gale force winds. A surging funnel whipping across the country. A twister topping the scale at Force 5. These may not the images that generally come to mind when thinking of the inside sales profession, but they do embody the strength, force, and momentum that is truly unstoppable in this incredible profession.
In his ELEVATE session, Bob Perkins, the founder and chairman of AA-ISP, shares the perfect storm that he sees brewing, which he describes as having three fronts that are all converging and gaining momentum together. Let’s take a look at each front:
Front 1 – The buyer expectation – Today buyers want to purchase on their terms. They don’t want a long drawn out sales cycle. Bob gives the example of an experience at Minneapolis airport, where he bellied up to the bar at a restaurant and quickly learned he would be ordering his food through a tablet-like device. Once he realized how it worked, it was a great experience, he found he was able to get what he wanted quickly and easily. Today’s buyers often prefer a similar engagement, a remote relationship, timely and attentive response, and a high-quality, seamless buying experience.
Front 2 – Inside sales teams are more equip to meet buyer need – “There has never been a better time in the history of our profession for the people part of the equation to meet the buyer’s expectations,” said Bob. “Inside sales invented modern day prospecting, they were the earliest adopters of social media, so they know how to do this well.” Bob notes that training has been a sore spot for many years, but is finally beginning to improve, with more sales leaders really taking training more seriously and preparing their front line reps for success.
Front 3 – Technology supports the virtual and digital way of selling – When people think of technology for inside sales they often think about it as helping the seller work more productively. It certainly does this, but it also has an impact on the buyer and meeting the expectations of the way the buyer wants to buy. Technology has already come so far and will continue to evolve, Bob predicts. He highlights a few key technology categories that truly enhance remote engagement with buyers, including web and video conferencing. He also calls out better applications of data and analytics that allow sales teams to identify top priority prospects, and engage in a more personalized and targeted way.
Despite this incredibly positive forecast, as a profession we still have work to do in order to continue this positive momentum and fuel the perfect storm. In fact, Bob highlights three major challenges. Given the incredible growth of the profession, hiring and finding talent continues to be a top challenge. This leads to the hiring of young professionals, which fuels our second challenge – training. And finally, quality and quantity of leads is the third challenge.
If you missed ELEVATE, and all the incredible content shared last month, it’s not too late to catch a few sessions and get your 2016 selling year off to an incredible start. Register now to hear insights from 40+ industry experts.
Alyssa Trenkamp is the director of marketing communications at Velocify and a 15 year veteran in the enterprise technology sector. Prior to Velocify, Alyssa spent nearly a decade as a marketing and public relations consultant for Microsoft. Alyssa holds a BA in Journalism from Western Washington University.