Down through the years I have sold everything, Flowers, Cars, Advertising Space, Food, Computers, Software, services, you name it I’ve sold it. I have done door to door, I have worked in Call Centres, I have worked selling on the road, and now I work in Inside Sales. Each of the Sales methods mentioned above have their own plus points, but why is it that Inside Sales is the one that is on the rise while other methods have started to decline in popularity from both companies and customers alike.
Inside sales is gaining momentum over outside sales by the day. We are living in an age where people want things done quicker and more efficiently. Technology now means that you no longer have to choose between being efficient by doing business over the phone but losing the personal touch of face to face. We now have the option and ability to use Skype for Virtual meetings and Social media to show the people behind the calls, after all the old saying of “people buy from people” will never change. According to Forbes Inside sales is growing 15% year on year.
We have all used Skype to talk to a friend who is in Australia, but now it is also the place where business is done. You don’t lose out on the personal interaction with a customer, they can see you smile, you can build rapport and you don’t have to spend 1 Cent on Diesel. Inside Sales meetings can also be set up at the last minute, it means the customer does not have to drop everything when you arrive at the door, he can send you an email whenever there is a window in his day if things suddenly get busier than anticipated (And that’s nearly always). B2Bs are now looking to keep costs down and with that are looking for the most efficient way to sell that they can while still providing a great service.
With LinkedIn and Sales Navigator you can find out pretty much everything you need to know about your customer. You can find out what’s important to them, understand their business and identify pain points, all from the comfort of your warm office. You can build relationships by offering solutions and support when it is required.
The cost of fuel continues to rise, but at the same time Internet and phone charges have never been better value. The price of calling a customer compared to trekking half way across the country is not even close. For example, to schedule an on-site meeting with a group of decision-makers can become a very difficult task as a lot of the time people are working at different locations. This is where online webinar and videoconferencing services, make it easy for inside sales reps to host meetings with all parties with little or no fuss, and little or no cost.
So what does the future hold for Inside Sales and Outside Sales? I think there will always be room for both, some customers will always like the old school method of agreeing on business with a hand shake, and the days of deals being agreed on the 19th hole of the golf course (that is the bar for anyone who has never played golf), well they will always exist. However, as customers become more comfortable with modern technology, and see the benefits of using such technology to conducting and concluding business deals, I can see the Inside Sales growth becoming even larger.