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Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Creating an Inside Sales Career Path

by Patrice Murray on Thu, Apr 14, 2011

The number of Inside Sales departments is projected to grow from 800K (in 2009) to over 2M (in 2013) - according to SKKU/infoUSA research (PDF).

Steve Watts from The Sales Insider argues:

A 300% increase isn’t a “minor trend,” or a “significant shift.” It’s a Revolution.

But what happens when an Inside Sales Rep is ready for something new and different? 
Does their career path always mean staying “inside?”

Some view Inside Sales as a stepping stone. But the days of "hungry", first job out of college-Reps pounding the phones are largely gone.

In order to be effective in today's B2B climate - companies are investing heavily in training, enabling & equiping Inside Reps. Why would you then let someone with a solid understanding of your products/services, value proposition, messaging as well as buyers leave your organization? 

With average tenure for Inside Reps at  2.9 years (see our research), companies need to have an action plan for transitioning these valuable resources. Having a well thought out career path is a key component of that planning.  Here are some thoughts around career pathing:

  • Provide professional development tools
    Give the team great books on selling, marketing, time management or work/life balance.  Those that care about their careers will care about personal development. Help them figure out what they want their next step to look like.
  • Encourage them to attend relevant webinars and events
    There are great events such as local AA-ISP Chapter meeting or their annual Summit. Sales & Marketing conferences are also a great place to talk shop and hear speakers that are on the cutting edge.
  • Implement a mentoring or leadership program
    Let your more experienced Reps work with new hires, partner with existing hires or spend a day every quarter shadowing you so they can see what it is like to be a Sales Leader.
  • Marketing and Sales are intertwining
    Allow your reps to work more closely with marketing to gain a better understanding of marketing roles and opportunities as a possible career path.  A solid foundation in sales is great experience and translates well into effective marketing skills.
  • Get out there and get face to face
    Consider having your Inside Sales Reps work alongside your Outside Reps on client visits or sales presentations to gain firsthand insight into field sales and the skills required.

Finding and keeping great personnel is a key component of any business. You are still going to have attrition, but having a career path plan will limit your exposure. And that's a good thing.

How have you implemented effective career pathing in your organization?


Patrice Murray is an Inside Sales Consultant. She works with Bridge Group clients maximizing their inbound and outbound calling campaigns to build robust pipelines.

(Photo credit: pedromourapinheiro)

Topics: inside sales management, best practices, mentoring

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