As I write, I’m flying back to LA after attending the Inside Sales Professionals annual conference in Chicago.
Today, I presented The Death of Field Sales, an introduction to our inside-out approach to the design of the sales function.
Here are my observations on state of the inside-sales community.
First, inside sales is exploding. A number of speakers presented data that showed that, as field sales teams shrink, inside teams are growing. But not just growing. Exploding! Some are reporting a 300% year-on-year growth in US inside-sales headcount. And I suspect the same is true of other developed countries too.
The other exciting thing is that the inside-sales community seems to be well aware of the power of inside sales. Many organizations have inside sales teams that are outperforming their field counterparts and a number are prosecuting major sales opportunities inside.
The other good news I can report is that, when I posited my two starting assumptions for the design of the sales function, I got immediate and unreserved agreement from everyone in my workshop:
- Sales is essentially an inside function
- Sales is a team—not an individual—endeavor
The not so good
The not so good news is that inside sales teams have adopted a number of practices from the traditional sales model that would have been better off left in the field (or, better still, eliminated altogether).
For example, although everyone seemed to agree that sales is a team endeavor, inside salespeople are being encouraged to own their own accounts, to prospect and to engage in social outreach (including publishing their own blog posts!).
Although, many in the community reject that inside salespeople are second-class citizens (relative to field salespeople) I still heard a number of industry leaders admit (from the stage) that they employ low-cost, less-experienced candidates and introduce them to a career path that starts inside and delivers them, at some point, to the field (where, presumably, real salespeople work?).
And, need I say, talk of commission-based comp plans was everywhere.
My deck. For more information, read this.
In my presentation, I lead audience members from the starting assumptions above through the process of reimagining their sales functions. Continue reading “The future is inside sales. It’s just not your momma’s inside sales!” »