The Disappearing Inside Sales Team
The inside sales team has always been a key element to the success of any business. There are many ways to sell a product or a service. You can run advertising campaigns – online and offline. You can use marketing strategies through social media, email marketing, newsletters, brochures and even trade shows. All of these options can help get the brand out there and raise awareness for your business. But, there must also be a core strategy that centers around the sales team – inside and outside. The 2 areas work together to create sales opportunities and close deals. It is a process that has worked well for many years. You still need this one-two punch to make sales happen, but the look of the inside sales team has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.
That was then…
Many of us remember the days of the large, lively inside sales teams. In a midsize to large company, you would have a bullpen-like environment of 20-30 inside sales people all sitting in the middle of the office layout. You would have a constant buzz all day long as the inside team hit the phones and email – on the hunt to get as many meetings as possible for the outside sales team. They would have daily call goals and sales opportunity goals. You might have a bell nearby that would ring as each meeting was booked. Their titles were business development rep (BDR) or sales development rep (SDR) – and many of them were fresh out of college, eager to prove themselves and learn the business of sales. It was an amazing process to see in motion.
This is now…
Today, the role of the inside sales team is still a key component of the sale process. You still need to reach out into the market to find and drive the creation of sales opportunities – this will not change for a long time. You still need outside sales teams to pitch and actually sell the product or service – this will not change for a long time. However, over the last 5 years, we have seen the size of the inside sales team get smaller. This is due in large part to the advance of sales technology. It is very common now for companies to use automated email tools to send out emails. Because of these tools, we have seen a direct impact on the size of inside sales teams. If a tool can send out 100, 200, or 300 emails per day, as an example, then you need less actual people to send those emails out.
As these auto email tools become more intelligent and easier to use, we are seeing a major shift in the role of the inside sales team. Small companies no longer need to hire many sales people – they only need 1 person to manage the auto email tool. Midsize and large companies don’t need to build out those growing inside sales bullpens anymore – they can set up 1-2 inside salespeople to run the auto email tools and the CRM. When leads come in, they can easily send those leads to the outside sales team to set up the meetings or use a calendar link to check calendars for availability. This is good news for companies in terms of saving money on human resources, but not so good for all those college graduates that aspire to start a career in sales.
Bottomline: Because of advances in email technology, you don’t need to hire large numbers of inside sales people anymore. This means that even a 1 person company can use tools to replace sales staff to reach a national market!
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