Telemarketing Software Featured Article

The Shift from Face-to-Face to Inside Sales

October 06, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Today, technology has brought huge changes in the way inside sales are managed, monitored and automated. It’s appropriate, since inside sales is a changing profession. Once upon a time, inside sales’ job was simply to take orders and finish paperwork on sales that had already been made by the outside sales team. This is no longer the case.

Inside sales – the word “telemarketing” is still used sometimes – is about a lot more than taking orders. It’s about account management and maintenance, prospecting and qualifying, customer support, appointment setting, customer surveying and actual selling. The Internet and social media are helping to drive sales inside more often. Because it’s a more complex process today, it’s increasingly necessary to support inside sales with better telephony and process management solutions.

In a recent podcast by sales expert Andy Paul, VanillaSoft CEO David Hood said with the different technologies now, we’re seeing a lot more end-to-end sales over long-distances, which almost always involves the telephone. People’s perceptions of purchasing remotely are also changing.

“Unless it’s an Internet order, any other sale without a visit is going to involve phone conversations,” he said. “As people have gotten used to the idea of purchasing something without meeting somebody, I think this has opened up a lot of opportunities for companies to not only be selling products that are only $20 a month or $100 total, without ever having a personal encounter, we’re now seeing people selling products that are $60,000 or $100,000 where there may never actually be a personal meeting.”

But while face-to-face sales may be on the decline, buyers do still want to feel that there are “real people” at the other end of the telephone, the email, the SMS session or any other channel that might be used by inside sales today. It’s particularly important for products or services that are more complex and require a more hands-on approach.

At the same time, the shift to inside sales is offering companies an opportunity to automate more, build more efficiencies into their process, and make sure that no steps are ignored or dropped. There is where a good telemarketing software solution comes in…it can help you replicate the best practices of your best sales team members.

“Your best sales people are more productive not necessarily because they have more activity, but those who are able to come to a close more quickly,” Hood told Paul. “The productivity comes from not just the activity, but how long it takes to get there.”

Inside sales doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it relies on other departments and individuals to bolster the process. Automation software can ensure the steps to a sale are followed, which can both speed up the process and increase the chances of a sale. It can also help improve sales adaptability. Not all sales tasks can be automated, of course, but for the ones that can, a good telemarketing software solution can eliminate errors and duplicated effort and allow inside sales people to spend more time selling and less time dialing, documenting and analyzing.

Edited by Alicia Young