Inside sales is the dominant sales model for reps in B2B, tech, SaaS, and a variety of B2C industries selling high-ticket items. Put simply, inside sales is sales that is handled remotely. It routinely involves high-touch transactions over phone and email. Contrary to telemarketers, inside sales professionals are highly skilled and knowledgable. Thanks to advances in communications technology, inside sales reps can give presentations, conduct demos and perform most of the functions traditionally handled by reps in the field. What is Inside Sales?Over the past decade there has been a massive migration to the inside sales model. How massive? In an HBR article, sales coach and author Steve W. Martin cites a survey in which twice as many participants reported moving to an inside model. This article explores the history and evolution of inside sales, reveals the reasons that inside sales has become the dominant B2B sales model and offer some predictions for how sales will continue to evolve.
The Evolution of Inside Sales
There are two primary ways that inside sales has evolved. First, it has grown more prevalent. An MIT Lead Management Study reports that inside sales hiring is outpacing traditional (or outside) sales hiring 15:1. In fact, many designated field reps are still spending time in the office closing deals, returning phone calls and sending emails. And for that matter, since the corporate landscape is moving away from traditional hours, many inside sales reps are closing deals from their mobile devices or homes after hours. Another way that inside sales has evolved has to do with advances in technology that enable inside sales reps to connect with more leads and have smarter conversations based on real-time contextual prospect data.
The Future of Inside Sales
So how will sales continue to evolve? It seems clear that the future of sales will be invariably linked to buying and selling technology. As an example, Google reports that mobile searches have overtaken searches from browsers in the U.S. and several other countries. Thanks to click-to-call technology, companies should expect a growing number of inbound sales calls. This will require companies to invest more on inbound sales teams.
Selling technology will also become increasingly important. We predict that the most successful companies will be those that can not only capture the most data about prospects, but also crunch that data and deliver it to inside sales reps in the right context. As sales acceleration technology continues to grow more powerful, reps will be able to get better at knowing who to sell to, what to sell them and when to sell it. So if you haven’t already begun outfitting your reps with a powerful sales technology stack, it’s well past time to begin.