The shift from having salespeople in the field to maintaining and inside sales force has been going on for years.
It’s a simple matter of ROI. Inside salespeople cost less to employ and the constant introduction of new communication technology allows inside salespeople to acheive similar results. Communication technologies like the telephone, CRM, email, and even videoconferencing bridge geographical barriers and allow inside salespeople to build rapport close to that enjoyed by field salespeople.
In some instances, the more frequent interaction between inside salespeople and clients can result in event stronger relationships than was ever possible for salespeople where the size of a territory often meant infrequent visits.
Social media is newest technology to impact sales relationships. In a social selling pilot by IBM’s Cloud Services group, inside salespeople increased lead generation using Twitter and LinkedIn. The pilot demonstrated a 400% sales increase and resulted in a decision to move forward with a full roll out to all 1,700 inside sales people.
Here are three reasons why social selling is well suited to inside sales:
1. Inside salespeople are desk-bound. Yeah, I know. In this era of smart phones and iPads, field sales reps are more mobile than ever. But they are still in meetings, flying, or driving (no texting!) much more that their inside counterparts. It is simply easier for inside salespeople to participate.
2. Inside salespeople are skilled at building virtual relationships. With in-person meetings removed from their repertoire, inside salespeople have learned how to listen/read between the lines and communicate effectively via phone/email. The first rule of online community involvement is listen before posting. Inside salespeople know how to play that game.
3. Inside salespeople are used to juggling. Often inside salespeople will cover a larger number of smaller accounts or be responsible for renewal business. They are used to quick interactions with large numbers of accounts. This is the ideal skill set for the 140-character world of social media.
What other ways are inside salespeople well suited to take advantage of social selling?
To read the article on IBM’s Social Selling pilot, click here.