When I talk to Accountants and Small Businesses about their sales strategy and activity, there’s one question that crops up time after time; it’s the question of whether sales teams should be office based (Inside Sales) or out and about meeting existing and potential customers (Field Sales).
The answer is…… It depends.
It depends on the type of product or service you’re selling.
It depends on how complex the sales process is.
It depends on how large or small your sales team is.
An Inside Sales model, where sales people communicate primarily by phone and email enables the sales person to “talk” to significantly more prospects than the Fields Sales model where face to face meetings are the chosen communication method.
So if the volume of sales calls is the critical element in meeting sales targets, then the inside Sales model is probably preferable….. the cost per sale will undoubtedly be lower. Technology certainly helps with arranging calls, emails and web based product demonstrations. However, if the sales process is more complex, and requires a more in depth understanding of the customer’s issues and challenges, then taking time to meet the prospect in person and build a stronger working relationship might mean that the Field Sales model is more appropriate, providing of course that the value of the sale is high enough to justify the additional time and expense required to close it.
For larger organisations, it’s common to run the two models as separate teams; one handling the initial prospecting and filtering, the other getting involved once prospects are partially qualified. But for smaller organisations, this often isn’t feasible, so some form of mixed approach is required.
The issue of which approach is right… Inside, Field or even a combination, will be unique to your business, and the only way to find the right approach is to try them all and carefully monitor the results.