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inside salesToday, only the most experienced sales reps are in field sales, meeting the customers in person. The junior salespeople are placed in inside sales, tied to their phones and emails for all customer and prospect communication. In theory, this makes sense, after all, most organizations want their best salespeople sitting in the room with the prospect. However, in reality, it's actually more challenging to close a deal over the phone or web conference than in person. 

In sales, if you had to choose to communicate by email, phone, web conference or face to face, you'd choose face to face every time. There are many levels of uncertainty with email, leaving room for potential misinterpretations. Often times enough email confusion causes us to pick up the phone. If that doesn't work, and we need more insight, we sit down face to face. 

Face to face communication is the most effective. So why do the junior level salespeople get stuck in front of those phones? Why are the rookies put in inside sales?

I've spoken at three AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) events over the years, and I always propose a new approach to sales rookies and inside sales.

Put your best salespeople on inside sales 

It takes more skill to command attention via phone or web conference than in person. Via phone, it takes more communication skills to set the stage, ask the pertinent questions, listen to the responses, use tonal cues, gather commitment and consensus and agree on a course of action. Sometimes all of this takes multiple phone and web conference conversations. To anticipate and manage objections, negotiate terms, draft and deliver proposal and execute agreements via digital mediums is far more challenging to manage than in person. 

Use inside sales as a way to challenge your strong reps

Nothing challenges your skills in executing sales presentations, building relationships and securing agreements like inside sales. I have closed a lot of deals in the past 25 years. But in the past 11 years, I have contributed to over $17 million in B2B data mining, research and sourcing software and solutions; with several 6-figure agreements. All of my success occurred via phone and web conference demonstrations. 

Put sales rookies face to face with prospects

The first sales job is the one that puts the aspiring sales professional face to face with prospects. Putting the sales rep in front of the prospect enables the salesperson to learn all of the verbal and non-verbal responses and cues. As they start closing deals this way, they can be invited to join inside sales. Eventually, they'll get to execute large transactions and large revenue targets all via the phone and web conference.

As you can imagine, this position and projection receives a rousing response from the members of AA-ISP. Let’s see how long it takes for organizations to move their rookies out of the office and into the field.

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The author:

Dan is a Data, HR, Search Technologies and Content Co-Founder, Executive, Advisor and Social Entrepreneur.