In the era of online meetings and tight budgets, sales professionals are no longer packing up and heading out on the road for sales trips; instead, they're firing up a smartphone and reaching out to clients remotely. It comes as no surprise, then, that inside sales are growing. By understanding the factors behind this shift in sales practices, you can adjust your business plan to meet the demands of the new economy.
Technology has been one of the major contributing factors to the changing face of the sales industry. As any salesperson can attest, the sales landscape is dramatically different than it was just 20 years ago. Instead of heading out into the field, a sales representative can conduct a live video chat with a client to resolved concerns or answer questions. They can take video tours of a facility, chat with clients at all hours via text messages and build relationships on social media sites. As communication technology becomes increasingly integrated into everyday life, more clients are becoming comfortable with remote sales. As a result, inside sales has seen a significant spike.
Economic conditions are another major driving factor in the growth of inside sales. After the economic recession of 2008 and 2009, companies around the country were forced to tighten their budgets. Non-essential costs, including travel, were cut. Many businesses began shifting sales to an inside model out of necessity. With no budget to visit clients, sales professionals developed ways to reach out to them and build relationships remotely. According to the Harvard Business Review, instead of bearing the responsibility for field sales support, inside teams have gained more autonomy for finding and closing business. The shift was successful, and even after the economy began to rebound, businesses did not return to their previous methods.
In 2013, long after the recession officially ended, a Velocify study found that between 2011 and 2013, 46 percent of participants had moved away from outside sales. This shift indicates that more companies are recognizing the cost-cutting power of inside sales.
For businesses who are concerned with growth and trimming the budget, inside sales is an enticing option. In many cases, it is more efficient and less expensive. Travel costs are drastically minimized, sales professionals can achieve more in less time, and companies don't need to worry about wasted travel time. Instead of cold-calling, salespeople can look to "Big Data" for specifically-tailored leads. In the ultra-competitive sales industry, this increased efficiency can be a major factor in long-term success.
As the economy continues to build to its former heights and technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, one thing seems certain: insides sales is here to stay. Though it is not a guarantee for success, a shift in your sales strategy can help with cost-cutting and future expansion.
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