Inside Sales: Selling in a Digital World
- Inside sales is a method of selling remotely.
- Inside sales can be used to nurture and build relationships online.
- It relies on digital sales techniques and can reach global audiences.
- Inside sales should be integrated into your sales prospecting strategy as it is poised to grow from strength to strength in the coming years.
Inside sales, at its core, is all about remote selling. Instead of traditional face-to-face interactions, inside sales professionals use various digital communication channels to engage with potential customers, build relationships, provide information, and ultimately close deals. It's like bringing the sales pitch to your screen!
Imagine this scenario: You're a salesperson sitting in a cozy office, armed with a phone, email, video conferencing tools, and more. With these digital tools in hand, you can connect with people across the globe without the constraints of geographical boundaries. Inside sales isn't limited to a specific type of product or customer – it's used in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts.
The Evolution from Telemarketing
Inside sales emerged as a more sophisticated approach than the traditional telemarketing practices. Telemarketing, which took off in the 1950s with companies like DialAmerica Marketing, Inc., involved making outbound calls to sell products or services. However, it often centered on quick, high-volume sales and didn't necessarily focus on building lasting relationships.
Inside sales, on the other hand, delves deeper. It's not just about making a quick sale – it's about creating meaningful connections and guiding potential customers through a more involved sales process. This approach gained traction in the late 1980s and aimed to distinguish itself from the simpler telemarketing practices.
The Growth and Impact of Inside Sales
Inside sales have experienced remarkable growth over the years, outpacing traditional outside sales in terms of expansion. According to the latest Lead Management study, inside sales grew at a staggering rate of 7.5% annually, compared to the mere 0.5% growth rate of outside sales. This growth translated to the creation of around 800,000 new jobs. The reasons for this growth are multifaceted:
- Technology Empowerment: The advent of advanced communication technologies has paved the way for inside sales to thrive. With the rise of video conferencing, email marketing, CRM software, and other digital tools, sales professionals can seamlessly interact with potential customers from virtually anywhere.
- Changing Buyer Behavior: The way customers make purchasing decisions has evolved. Many customers now prefer to research and gather information online before making a buying choice. Inside sales caters to this trend by providing information and assistance remotely.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Inside sales can be a cost-effective strategy for companies. It eliminates the need for extensive travel and in-person meetings, reducing associated expenses. This is particularly advantageous for smaller businesses looking to make a big impact without breaking the bank.
- Versatility and Complexity: Inside sales isn't confined to simple transactions. It's suitable for both straightforward product sales and more intricate, consultative B2B sales. Complex products or services that require in-depth explanations and demonstrations can be effectively sold through inside sales.
Factors Influencing Inside Sales Strategy
The decision to adopt inside sales or a traditional outside sales approach isn't one-size-fits-all. Several factors influence which strategy a company should employ:
- Sales Cycle Complexity: How complex is the sales process? Are your products or services relatively simple and can be explained over the phone, or do they require hands-on demonstrations and face-to-face interactions? Complex sales might lean toward traditional outside sales, while simpler transactions can be handled through inside sales.
- Product Type: The type of product or service you're selling matters. Tangible products might require physical interaction for customers to truly understand their features and benefits. On the other hand, software, digital services, and other intangible offerings can often be effectively explained and demonstrated remotely.
- Customer Preferences: Understanding your target audience is crucial. Some customers may prefer the convenience of remote interactions, while others might value personal touchpoints and face-to-face meetings. Your strategy should align with what your customers prefer.
- Scalability: Inside sales offers scalability advantages, particularly for start-ups and smaller companies aiming to quickly expand their reach. It enables them to connect with a wider audience without the constraints of physical presence.
Adapting Inside Sales for Success
For inside sales to be successful, several elements need to come together:
- Technology Stack: Inside sales relies heavily on technology. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps manage customer interactions, while video conferencing tools facilitate virtual meetings. Email marketing and social media also play essential roles in staying connected.
- Skills and Training: Inside sales professionals need strong communication skills, the ability to build rapport remotely, and the knack for effectively conveying product information without face-to-face interactions. Sales teams should receive ongoing training to stay updated on communication techniques and product knowledge.
- Personalization: Despite the digital nature of inside sales, personalization remains key. Addressing customers by their names, understanding their pain points, and tailoring your pitch to their needs can make a significant difference.
- Listening and Adaptation: Inside sales is a two-way street. Successful salespeople actively listen to customer concerns, questions, and objections. This allows them to adapt their approach and address customer needs effectively.
The Future of Inside Sales
With the ongoing advancements in communication technology and the acceptance of remote work, inside sales is poised for continued growth. As companies strive to reach wider audiences, reduce costs, and adapt to changing customer preferences, the principles of inside sales – building relationships, understanding customer needs, and closing deals remotely – will remain at the forefront of modern sales strategies.
Whether you're a start-up looking to make your mark or an established company aiming to diversify your sales approach, inside sales offers a world of opportunities in our increasingly connected digital landscape. Hangar49 has a firm grasp of what inside sales could look like for your business. Contact our outreach specialists here.