HBR Article On The Move To Inside Sales

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Following in the theme of my last post, I ran across the results of a survey done by Harvard Business Review on the move from outside to inside sales. You can find it here.

The writers surveyed over a hundred companies in high tech and business services. Over fifty percent say they are moving from an outside (field) sales to an inside sales model.

I found a few of the other conclusions interesting.

Inside sales is the favourite among early growth stage companies – it’s cheaper to get your message over to more potential customers.

Field sales is more effective for complex sales with long sales cycles, and inside sales better for Cloud delivered standardized package sales.

Reasons for the movement from outside to inside sales models were thought to be:

  • More pressure for business performance and profit.
  • Advances in technology – I assume with products like Webex for online meetings and demonstrations.
  • A perception of increased customer contact and selling volume.
  • Better penetration of small business and mid-markets.

This report is a couple of years old, and there is nothing surprising in it, other than the effect is moving fast, that is, the swing in momentum toward inside sales in one form or another.

One of the drivers for this rapid movement may be the fact that very successful high tech companies in the internet space were the very early adopters, such as Salesforce.com and Hubspot. The founders have written books about it, and we all know it was successful for them.

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