|Despite the turmoil in the economy, tech sales executives are cautiously optimistic regarding 2009.
However, success in 2009 will require some very different tactics, including substantially increased investments in demand generation, lead qualification, sales enablement and inside sales.
Interestingly, Lee & IDC present that:
Companies have cut T&E budgets deeply. Most will lose valuable face time with customers and prospects.
Those that shift headcount to inside sales with provide similar levels of customer touch at lower cost...and drive higher customer satisfaction
Technology companies are accelerating their movement down this path. In 2007, we found the average size of an inside sales team be 5 Reps. Our 2009 Report has the average size at 12 Reps - that's a 140% increase!
The question becomes not IF you should build an inside team but HOW. Inside sales is very much an umbrella term that covers many functions including:
- Inbound lead qualification
- Outbound cold calling
- Lead nurturing
- Revenue generation - new business
- Revenue generation - customer base
All these functions can all be supported by Inside Sales. The trick is to figure out which implementation is right for your organization. Here are several factors to consider:
- Your market
- Your name recognition and branded presence
- Whether you are selling to innovators/early adopters or more mature buyers
- Inbound vs. outbound strategies
- Products and price points
Although adoption of Inside Sales as a strategy has become much more widespread, it has to be supported by other tools that enhance its effectiveness. Examples include:
- Enhanced CRM Implementation
Your CRM must be easy to use, deliver additional tools within the application & provide management with reporting dashboards allowing them to identify repeatable success. If it is not user friendly you will lose productivity and visibility.
- Inbound Marketing Strategies
Does your marketing strategy revolve around prospects self identifying and is it targeted to specific buyer personas? Use your website as a lead generation tool and not as a brochure. Provide relevant content to educate the market and move the process along without involving a human touch at every step in the process.
- Social Media & Technology
Utilize new technologies like Jigsaw, ConnectandSell, Linkedin, Blogs, Facebook, etc. You are experts in what you do. Share your knowledge and build a community!
The net/net is that Inside Sales has arrived...no doubt about it! The challenge remains, just like with any sales & marketing strategy, that there is no one size fits all solution!
The selling climate has changed and now, more than ever, Sales & Marketing need to be on the same page when it comes to supporting this channel. Those companies that invest in designing the implementation that is right for them and building/using the tools and technologies to support their efforts are those that will win.
Find the full presentation here: