Inside sales versus field sales
How can you increase the chances of your product or service being purchased? Would you choose inside sales or field sales as your vehicle? Is field sales (or outside sales) dying due to the digital revolution?
Enterprises have different options as they build sales strategies. A key decision to make is to go for inside sales or field sales. Before understanding the benefits each strategy offers, let us understand them in simple terms.
Inside sales are done “virtually” from a single location. Inside sales are not conducted in person. They involve interactions via phone calls, emails, chats, social media, and texts.
Inside sales is a highly efficient strategy. They can be conducted from anywhere, anytime; the sales reps can contact customers across geographies; they can quickly move from customer to customer without traveling between customer locations – with the entire sales process being managed from the same location.
Field sales is selling through in-person, face-to-face interactions with the customer. They include door-to-door sales, sales made through visits to customers’ homes, offices, and local businesses, or retail sales.
Field sales has proven to be highly effective. As the sales reps make personal contact with customers, they have a greater chance of converting leads into sales. The sales reps make product presentations, share collateral and other visual aids, and build a strong interpersonal connection, which helps them in influencing buying decisions.
The impact of technology like field assist app and the ever-changing buying processes have resulted in an increased focus on inside sales vs field sales. Some even argue that field sales will soon be out of business altogether.
Let us look at the benefits of both strategies.
Inside Sales – Besides cost efficiencies, that we spoke about, inside sales have other significant benefits
- More collaborative: As inside sales teams work out of the office, the opportunities for collaboration among the team members as well as with other departments is more.
- Aligned to today’s business: The shift to online has made inside sales more effective when selling to digitally active customers. The ability to react quickly and design marketing strategies around what the customers are demanding makes inside sales more attractive.
- Adaptability: Closer management access to sales personnel – enabling training and developing – leads to improved adaptability. Further, inside sales provide more versatility and agility to the organization’s sales process.
Field Sales – Besides their high success rate, that we spoke about, field sales have other benefits
- Relationship building: Field sales reps can build relationships with the customers, which is crucial to close the sale and even extend the business.
- Solutions approach: Field sales reps can have detailed, in-depth conversations with the customers on their business challenges and propose the right solutions than merely position their products.
Should you really choose one over the other?
Whether it is using a storytelling approach to position how your product or service helps unlock new opportunities or making a hard-hitting pitch on how you are going to solve a pertinent challenge, the key is in addressing a market need with the right solution at the right time with the right approach. The reality is that by leveraging both inside and field sales, you can enjoy more flexibility in reaching out to the target audience at diverse touchpoints and in multiple ways.
At the end of the day, customers are also individuals and they respond differently. By using both the sales strategies, you can increase your sales funnel, gather valuable customer insights, and provide the customer with more information and more options. When optimized, inside and field sales, working in tandem, can help improve conversion rate, earn greater revenue, and build stronger relationships.
For example, a customer, who is first contacted by a field sales rep, may have some interest in a product or service but has not decided on making a purchase. The inside sales rep can follow-up to offer additional information and help influence a positive decision. That’s not all. The inside sales rep may also be able to present an alternative to the customer, like a different service package, that better fits the customer’s needs. In other situations, when the inside sales rep works with an existing customer, the opportunities to build opportunities for upselling and cross-selling are easier than when done with just inside sales or field sales is chosen as the structure – thanks to information sharing and multiple touchpoints with the customer.
In a different scenario, the inside sales rep can make initial contact with a prospective customer and refer them to the field sales rep. This prospect has already been given a picture of the product and the company, providing a platform for the field sales rep to build a relationship faster.
Are you using a combination approach or a singular approach? What is your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
A fast-growing technology solutions organization, we have been recognized as one of the leading digital transformation solution providers. We have built a new age, flexible Field Force Automation Tool – Happisales – that greatly enhances the productivity of field sales organization.