Inside Job: Migrating Field Salespeople to Internal Teams

Companies are taking advantage of social technologies and remote selling strategies to develop inside sales teams that cut costs without compromising customer relationships.

While sales was once an outside-in affair, many of today's many successful sales teams have begun to shift to an inside-out approach. Leaders are starting to migrate their field salespeople to an internal workforce that allows them to bring their operations back into the organization. Though slow-moving, this trend has gained considerable momentum over the past two years, as companies begin to recognize the benefits of an inside sales model.

Conducted by Steve W. Martin, professor at the University of Southern California Marshall Business School MBA Program, and sponsored by Velocify, "The Trend Changing the Sales Landscape" report explores how sales leaders are embracing economic and technological advances to create an inside sales team that meets quotas and drives the bottom line. The survey, which polled more than 100 senior-level sales leaders from high technology and business services companies throughout the U.S., found that companies that currently derive more than 90 percent of their revenues from field-related sales predict a dramatic decrease in dependence on this method by 2015.

The following statistics explore the benefits of an inside sales model and the factors that continue to drive this trend forward:

  • Forty-six percent of participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model over the last two years.
  • While 34 percent of respondents only saw a slight shift from field sales to inside sales, 12 percent say the shift was significant.
  • When it comes to the skill sets and characteristics that make for a great inside salesperson as opposed to those in the field, 53 percent said these qualities were significantly different, while 45 percent said they were only somewhat different.
  • Marginal focus of the business (60 percent), technology advancement (54 percent), and buyer acceptance of the remote selling process (47 percent) are the top influential factors for migrating from field to inside sales.
  • The inside sales model offers numerous advantages over field sales, including making it easier to onboard new salespeople and share best practices (83 percent), allowing the sales organization to scale faster (79 percent), and enabling the sales organization to increase call activity and selling volume (78 percent).
  • Long ramp-up times before new representatives become effective (79 percent), generating enough leads (72 percent), and hiring and retaining sales talent (71 percent) are the leading high-level challenges that currently plague the average sales team.
  • Last year, only 26 percent of sales leaders reported that more than 70 percent of their salespeople met their annual quotas, while 54 percent made between 50 and 69 percent of quotas.

Key takeaway: With great technological advances are gaining traction, sales teams are now embracing remote selling and social techniques that allow them to bring their primary workforce inside the organization. This shift in perception brings about an emphasis on increased efficiency as sales leaders begin to see the added benefits of an internal team. Inside sales models allow businesses to cut costs and drive greater call activity and selling volume in an effort to boost the bottom line. They also have the power to onboard new salespeople and share best practices in a way that strengthens effectiveness and builds employee empowerment, thereby furthering the selling process while refining their strategy to meet the demands of an evolving sales landscape.