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Partnering Inside Sales & Field Sales

by Debbie Boucher on Thu, Sep 18, 2008

During my career in sales, I've done both inside sales and business development.  What's the difference?  With inside sales, I was responsible for my own destiny (i.e., closing deals, carrying quota).  In business development, I sold as part of a team, typically partnered with field sales (aka outside sales) and a sales engineer. 

I am often asked, "What's the most effective way for inside sales to work with field sales?"  I can sum it up in one word: COMMUNICATION. Communication is the key to your success and your team's success.

So here are 3 tips for getting your inside & field teams aligned:

  1. Establish territories - don't do round robin. Inside reps need to have a set territory to effectively start building pipeline. It can be based on geography, vertical, etc. This way inside sales will take pride in building their territory and benefit from working with the same field reps on a consistent basis.

  2. Weekly sales call with the aligned field rep(s). It's critically important for the teams to talk every week. Inside sales should:
      -  get feedback from meetings or calls they've set up
      -  ask if there is something they could have done differently
      -  get input from the field on where to focus calling efforts

    Let's face it; you don't want an inside rep calling into John Doe of XXX Corporation when the field rep is already in the account.  It's a waste of everyone's time.

  3. Make the most of your CRM. No matter which CRM you use (e.g. Saleslogix, Salesforce or even an Excel spreadsheet). Every time you pick up the phone, document it. That way everyone is aware of the progress made on any account.

    I also recommend using tasks to track conversations on key accounts. If you're like me it's hard to remember every detail of every conversation. By completing tasks when reviewing important accounts, inside sales can record the task as an internal call with the field partner's feedback and directions as notes.

Remember, selling is about building relationships whether with the prospect or your own internal team.  

As always, if you have any tips for how inside sales can most effectively work with field sales, please post them!

Topics: inside sales motivation, sales tips, best practices

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