Field sales teams have often been considered the predominant workhorses of sales organizations (and in some cases represent the entire sales team), but due to several shifting trends, by 2015, the number of companies that derive more than 90 percent of their revenues from field-related sales will decrease dramatically, according to a recent Velocify-underwritten study conducted by Steve W. Martin, thought leader and professor at the University of Southern California.
To better understand the sales migration trend reported in his study, “The Trend Changing the Sales Landscape”, Martin interviewed more than 100 top sales executives, and found that many are starting to move more heavily toward a phone-based or inside sales strategy.
This may seem a bit odd at first given that traditionally, outside sales professionals have not only been considered the best in the business but also have been known to generate most revenue. However, this historical disposition is being offset by three main factors that are giving momentum to inside sales models, according to the study:
- Increased Margin Focus: Businesses today feel increasing pressure to maximize profits and are seeking more efficient ways to sell. The cost of having a large, field-based sales force can be expensive, including higher base salaries, and additional compensation and travel expenses. But what if the sales traditionally made from the field could be replicated in the office – revenues being made without all the additional expenses? Many organizations are finding that many traditional field sales engagements can indeed be done using inside sales resources, and the bar for max size of deal an inside sales rep can tackle continues to rise.
- Technology Advancement: The second factor driving the migration from outside to inside sales teams is advancement in technology. When you take into account that traditional face-to-face meetings with remote buyers can now be done via web conferencing, and other related applications, the shift towards a remote sales model starts to make more sense. Sharing and conversing remotely has never been easier. Inc. Magazine recently reported that “…the shift away from face-to-face selling is driving many top companies to hire and cultivate people who can become subject-matter experts and communicate with customers with a combination of email, phone, texting, social media, and Web conferencing.” Likewise, Bob Perkins, Founder of AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) says in a recent blog post: “We see the two different groups almost coming together. The line between inside sales and outside sales has become blurred.” Because customers can glean much of the information they need online or with a quick phone call, “…many field sales professionals have been forced to adopt inside sales techniques,” Perkins added.
- Buyer Acceptance of Remote Selling Process: At the end of the day, it all comes down to what your buyers want. And today’s buyers are more comfortable purchasing and communicating remotely. Buyers research products and services over the internet and use social media, chat, email, web-based conferencing and the tried and true phone as tools to deepen knowledge and perspective prior to purchase. And other recent studies show that salespeople who do meet with customers face-to-face are doing so considerably less frequently than in the past.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into this subject, you can download the report, The Trend Changing the Sales Landscape, for free from our Website.