The rising competition, complexity, and agile evolution across the tech landscape is what has been keeping IT enterprises on their toes to continuously innovate and restructure their products, services and overall strategies. This reinvention has found its own implications in the way they approach their sales operations as well. In addition to now heavily relying on social selling, investment in setting up remote or inside sales teams has been ramping up to achieve the much-desired momentum in account acquisitions, improved customer experience, and resulting revenue generation. As per Forester Research, inside sales roles are growing 15 times faster than outside sales today in the B2B space today.
In this article, we delve into why inside sales teams are gaining that kind of momentum lately and what are the considerations that need to go behind putting together a winning inside sales team for your IT company.
What Makes Inside Sales Relevant For Technology Companies in 2022?
Inside or remote sales models are fast turning into a preferred choice for enterprising IT companies with a fire to enhance their bottom line.
Reasons that can be attributed to the trend include –
- Significant Benefits in Resource Cost Reduction
As the competitive nature of the industry rises, it becomes important to keep the costs in check. More efficient sales processes in place automatically curtail the avoidable expenses, thereby helping in enhancing the bottom line. As tech sales cycles by nature are typically long and involve multiple stakeholders – segregating the responsibility between inside and on-field teams to communicate with them helps to enhance the efficiency, budgets, and effectiveness, while optimally leveraging the expertise and skillset of each group.
- Changing Realm of Market & Buyer Mindset
Today, the B2B buyer persona for technology products and services has evolved significantly. Business buyers have turned much more comfortable with purchasing and collaborating remotely via emails, conference calls, or social media – at least in the earlier leg of the sales cycle. This shows up well in their revealed preference to communicate remotely initially, while they do their product research online. Hence investing in physical meetings, and events right from the beginning may not always be necessary until a certain stage in the sales cycle is attained with the prospect.
Moreover, there is an instant gratification desire that has emerged in the fast-paced tech-powered world. Buyers now demand instant or to say the least, fastest possible answers to any of their queries or concerns – something that inside sales help to cater to more meaningfully on the scale.
Interestingly, as per research published on Spotio, 35% to 50% of sales tend to go to those organizations that are first to respond, and needless to say, an inside sales infrastructure helps in achieving this speed to set apart.
- Advanced Tech Stack Available for Making Telecommuting Simple
The toolkit available for supporting telecommunication has improved substantially with the easy availability and universal usage of online webinars and videoconferencing technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has further strengthened its acceptance levels and these have been embraced universally. The use of these modern tech tools helps to build buyer intimacy at the initial stages without necessarily engaging in conventional physical meetings – saving both resource time and costs.
As per a study conducted by Sales Benchmark Index, nearly 70 percent of customers today say that they don’t even want an in-person meeting if the sales professionals are equipped with the right technology tools to communicate remotely!
While on-field sales are indispensable for closing deals for B2B technology products and services, what’s required to optimize the procedure and attain efficiency is the right proportion of accompanying inside sales support.
IT Companies across the United States depending on their requirement, size, and budget are setting up their own remote sales teams or partnering with specialized organizations for talent to help them with carrying their out inside sales processes.
In-House Inside Sales or Delegated to Specialized Service Providers – The Better Pick?
There exists no definite answer whether the inside sales team put together will be best managed in-house or delegated to a specialized agency that manages pre-trained inside sales talent specially molded for selling technology. Both options come with their own set of pros and cons with governing factors such as –
Whatever be the choice that you end up making, clearly outlined expectations with well-defined KPI and reporting systems in place are what is needed to get the best results.
5 Considerations to Make for a Winning Inside Sales Machinery
Whether you choose to retain full control by setting up your own in-house inside sales team or delegate to a specialized partner with existing inside sales talent to simplify your remote sales functions, there are some pertinent considerations to make.
Here are the key pillars you must evaluate to reap the best results –
The Extent of Cost Reduction to Pursue to Conserve Efficacy
Cost reduction benefits form one of the key driving factors that make the basic business case for setting up an inside or nearshore sales infrastructure.
By delegating the tasks of initial communication for setting appointments or communication for account renewals to an inside sales force, there can be substantial savings on resource costs that go into maintaining and training the pool size of highly skilled sales personnel.
With an inside sales team in place, the mettle of the well-experienced sales rock stars can then be utilized more efficiently for exclusively closing more accounts and generating real business, instead of spending time on draining tasks such as early prospecting, building pipelines, or scheduling meetings that could be delegated.
If you plan to rely on an external partner for inside sales talent, you must make a strategic choice, evaluating their costs and the extra benefits you may get by hiring them. With cost reduction being the key guiding force, the extent of trimming you pursue on these costs must be thoroughly evaluated keeping in mind, the other accompanying critical aspects as well.
The Right Choice of Location for Setting Up the Remote Sales Team
Geographical proximity forms another significant considering factor when putting together an effective inside sales team.
While outsourcing sales functions to far-off locations in the developing world might be most beneficial in terms of reducing the costs, nearby or nearshore locations could have their advantages that offset the additional costs associated.
Nearshore could be interpreted as within the state, country, or even nearby countries – with each choice of location having its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
If the location in consideration to set up the remote team is nearshore, there can be a significant advantage in terms of minimal time zone difference. This time zone overlap could help to infuse tremendous ease and efficiency of operation and management of the sales team – thereby raising possibilities of reaping better and possibly much faster results.
Degree of Cultural Overlap in Team
Considering the degree of culture match of the inside sales team with the target buyer group’s culture is another key consideration to be evaluated deeply.
For the sales processes to go-ahead from the initial prospecting stage to stages of closing smoothly, what’s needed is a continuously seamless buyer experience. This usually doesn’t just come from hiring sales development representatives who are just compelling speakers, well familiar with the industry needs. What is also needed in those individuals is a natural familiarity with the professional and cultural nuances of the target buyer market.
The presence of socio-linguistic differences often introduces frictions in effective client interaction and comes in way of establishing the desired camaraderie with prospects. In that sense, considering talent based out of closer nearshore locations for handling inside sales functions may be more useful for the task of direct client interactions to generate greater sales.
The Extent of Specialized Industry Focus to Opt For
When you set up your inside sales talent pool, considering a talent provider with domain expertise also becomes very important While B2B sales do have universal commonalities, a good understanding of the software industry can be instrumental in making a substantial difference in results.
For instance, navigating IT sales often involves traversing through a common set of pain points such as a large cycle duration involving the consent of multiple stakeholders from different seniority levels. Having the experience of keeping the patient, while handling the diverse group of stakeholders involved does demand a skillset of a certain kind as opposed to selling B2B products with shorter cycles or lesser decision-makers.
In that regard, looking for a partner to outsource who has specific industry experience can amplify efficiency and results. Alternately, if you wish to set up your in-house sales team, it’s important to keep a close check on the profile of resources that you hire.
The Quality of Human Resources on Board
The general idea for most people who embark on setting up their first in-house inside sales teams is to go for a pool of entry-level candidates to cut costs steeply. Even most of the companies that offer inside sales services to their clients tend to hire beginner-level candidates without significant experience in inside sales or even sales for that matter.
This practice does not always work in favor of a standard formula for all industries, especially in the technology business where stakeholders on the buyer side are many, right from mid-level employees to C-level executives – each evaluating the purchase from their functional interest.
In that sense, for IT Sales, having in place, a more capable, experienced inside sales team or a partner who maintains a pool of seasoned sales professionals with some specialized industry knowledge or experience can help. Moreover, even if the individuals on the remote sales team are experienced, there will always be a need to continually enhance the skillset of the people, given the dynamism of the business landscape.
This necessitates the need to also invest in human capital up-gradation through sales training and coaching regularly to help them perform as per the evolving needs of the marketplace. This cost whether worthy to be incurred in-house, or can be mitigated by hiring an inside sales agency or talent provider that regularly trains their people is another strategic consideration to make.
In the fast-evolving IT business ecosystem, there are many strings to pull today as an ambitious CXO or a Sales Leader desiring to amplify revenues.
In that regard, a highly preferred route emerging over the years has been a partial shift to inside sales as opposed to complete reliance on field sales. This stems from its many benefits such as cost reduction, time-saving, and efficiency along with meeting the changing need and mindset of the buyers and the industry.
As a leader, if you do plan to go ahead with setting up a remote sales team, the first question that comes up is whether you should set it up in-house or delegate the function of providing the talent to a specialized agency. While both do have their flavors, for small and medium companies it could help by relying on external expertise and benefiting from their specialized knowledge and cost-saving benefits.
In either of the above two paths, there are several considerations to make to maximize the benefits of the evolution in the sales team structure.
The key pillars to evaluate in that respect include the extent of cost reduction that is ideal to pursue, choice of location, degree of cultural overlap in the location of choice, quality of talent, and their specialized expertise in technology sales.