In December of 2013, the sales automation company Velocify released a study about the migration to inside sales in the United States. For businesses contemplating a sales department reorganization, the study provides valuable insight into the shifting sales landscape.
The Velocify study, which was based on feedback from more than 100 sales professionals, found that more companies are moving away from outside sales in favor of an inside sales model. In fact, 46 percent of participants stated that their companies had already begun the shift in the past two years. Many respondents also stated that by 2015, their companies expect to move away from an outside sales business model. The study indicates that when it comes to sales trends, the move away from field sales seems to be here to stay.
According to the Velocify study, one of the main drivers in the shift away from outside sales is an improvement in sales technology. Companies no longer need to depend on salespeople to find and connect with potential customers. Instead, they can use video conferencing technology, automated marketing software, and social media applications. Sales staff members can stay in touch with clients on the phone, over email, and with Internet-based meeting software.
Economic factors also impact the shift from outside sales. The United States economy is still struggling to rebound from the 2008 recession, and many businesses find that an inside sales team helps cut costs. By eliminating the bulk of sales travel costs and investing in new technology, a company can save a considerable amount of money without losing real-time client interaction. What's more, because inside sales staff can work from home without losing productivity, according to Yahoo Small Business Advisor, they are less likely to work through sickness just to meet sales targets; as a result, illness is less likely to spread and companies can save money on sick pay.
In the age of GoToMeeting and FaceTime, clients are increasingly comfortable with new sales technology. According to the Velocity study, 47 percent of participants stated that their clients find remote selling technology an acceptable way to do business. Clients can access thousands of customer reviews with a simple Internet search, so they don't necessarily require the hard sell. In fact, the Velocity study found that many people prefer communicating remotely rather than face to face.
In many industries, changing demand forces companies to respond quickly. With an inside sales team, the Velocity study found that a company can act faster when it comes to training, handling call volume, and scaling operations. As a result, businesses may find it easier to survive in tough economic conditions.
For businesses that can no longer sustain the high costs of a field sales team, the Velocity study offers hope. The study's findings make it clear that the move to inside sales is more than one of the fleeting sales trends that come and go each year; by all indications, it has the potential to be a long-term shift in the industry.
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