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Outside Sales Is Coming In: A Hybrid Approach To Sales Success

Field sales has long been the de facto king of the sales ecosystem with undisputed dominance of the profession. Now field teams are going back to the drawing  board to find ways to use new sales technologies and maximize their yield. 

BY Zen Newman, MARKETING ANALYST AT PIPELINEDEALS

Field sales is coming inside with the arrival to digital tools. 

Most field sales reps are familiar with the added stress of being in the office for too long. On top of the knowledge that the field is where they make their money, there is often a strong stigma attached to not getting out the door fast enough.

 

Within the existing methodologies of most field reps, the imperative to “get out the door” is understandable. Even so, this operating structure limits reps by reducing their flexibility. This ultimately reduces the quality of their presentations and in some cases hinders their productivity and response rate to new opportunities.

 

In response to these limitations, and in the face of the tremendous strides enjoyed by inside teams in recent years, many field teams are moving towards an increasingly hybrid approach to selling.

 

Sometimes a face to face meeting is more effective

The truth is that there are certain situations where a face to face meeting is overwhelmingly more effective than other methods. There are many other customers, however, who would just assume deal with sales through other channels. Meeting in person is time-consuming and often inconvenient for today’s busy leaders.

 

Traditionally, field reps engaging the later will still push for a face to face meeting. While less useful in this case, that is what they are optimized to do.

 

In addition to the organizational and cultural constraints preventing field reps from utilizing other channels, there is often a technological element as well. Remotely presenting requires additional tools to become effective. Inside reps are well acquainted with programs such as screen sharing and calendar scheduling tools. While not often utilized by field reps, they can be added to their arsenal to broaden their ability to operate remotely.

 

These tools are exactly the direction that many field sales teams are beginning to go. Technology is changing the game across the sales profession. For roles like field sales where customer face time has always been the barometer of success. Now, new tools are changing the game and along with it, what activities contribute to success.

 

With multichannel prospecting tools such as Salesloft, reps aren’t limited to pounding the phone and going door to door as their only means of demand generation. Likewise, remote presentation software like Join.Me and GoToMeeting give salespeople the ability to tailor their presentation methods to the needs of the client.

 

These technologies also give salespeople the ability to maximize their productivity. Email and social prospecting provide the capacity to automate multiple touch points on leads even without committing to a block of time for cold calling. Even better, once those leads have been contacted a couple of times by email, they become more likely to engage positively when phone outreach does occur.

Inefficiency has always been the enemy of sales. Driving everywhere for meetings is a serious constraint on available time in the day for selling. Veteran reps develop, out of necessity, the ability to schedule appointments that are geographically close to minimize windshield time and maximize their productivity. The ability to also handle meetings remotely give salespeople added flexibility in responding to customer needs.

 

As with many professions, technology is blurring the line between different sales functions. The salespeople who will inherit the earth will be those who can quickly adapt their selling activities to utilize new technologies as they emerge.

the ability to utilize new technologies will be a major determinant of success. 

 

For salespeople, this means updating their skill sets and being willing to step outside their existing mode of operation to quickly accommodate new strategies and techniques.  

 

Managers play a central role in supporting the transition of field sales teams. They are well positioned to guide their teams towards utilizing multiple channels of sales growth by equipped to be ambidextrous between presentations face to face and remotely. Equipping teams with the right skills, tools and culture is a vital part of guiding this transition.

 

The teams who manage to make this transition have a lot to gain. Recent advances in effectiveness by inside teams show the impact that these new technologies can have. The sales professional that will continue to emerge as the dominant player in the coming years will be the one who can blend these methods to maximize their impact across a territory. Likewise, succeeding at a team level is now about finding and empowering these individuals to do what they do best.

 

 

 

 

 

Digging in with Matt Gitzlaff

Digging In is a “no holds barred” series of sales interviews presented by JP Werlin, Co-founder, and CEO of PipelineDeals. The series is intended to be a candid look at the world of selling from the perspective of those who do it every day. With each episode, you’ll leave with at least one real tip, trick, or strategy that will help you improve your game. 

In this next installment of Digging In, JP dives into what it takes to build trust and manage a territory with veteran sales rep and the recently promoted sales manager of Wil-Kil Pest Control, Matt Gitzlaff. Their conversation dives into what it takes to provide world class customer service and what it takes to get the sale.

Matt started his career on the factory floor for a multi-state manufacturer, before quickly moving onto the sales team. Over the next eight years, he proved he knew how to manage a territory and build relationships through what he calls “friendly persistence.”

Maintaining ongoing contact with a wide array of contacts over a huge geographic area required both organization and tenacity to cultivate the relationships, but for Matt it paid off with him being relied upon as a reliable top performer.

We need to keep the funnel full and keep prospecting or it is going to be too late.

For Matt, the next jump in his sales career came when he joined Wil-Kil Pest Control to Manage their eight sales people and rapidly expanding territory. Now learning to use his sales experience to coach other salespeople on his team, his presence is already being felt.

Throughout the interview, JP explores Matt’s experience and insights into the sales process, and making the jump from active selling to management. Watch the full interview to get Matt’s take on the what it takes to make it in the selling profession today.

Catch the full interview on Grow University and take home insights that will remind you why we all got into the business of selling.

It’s Not The Software, It’s The Salespeople

Today's salespeople and their managers are unequipped to work with the tools that off them a competitive advantage. 

BY Zen Newman, MARKETING ANALYST AT PIPELINEDEALS


Sales needs to partner with technology

Many words have been written on the topic of how sales software can be made to support the day-to-day activities of salespeople better. Whether in the field or on the phone, there’s no denying that today’s teams struggle with incorporating software into their daily routine. While software can, and should continue to be the focus of refinement, there’s a second area that needs attention to maximize the potential of sales augmentation.

Much as today’s schools struggle to equip their students with the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st-century economy, veteran salespeople, and their managers received training at a time when close collaboration with technology was not essential to sales success. Maximizing sales effectiveness in today’s connected world requires more than software that supports humans. It demands salespeople who can partner with the machines that underpin their efforts.

More than a craftsman and his tools

Sales teams have long prided themselves on the development of their craft. The ability to execute in a quota-driven sales environment have consistently relied upon skills that separate sales from other professions. Lately, however, the focus on selling skills has shifted because of the increasing prevalence of sales technology.

While there’s been a growing call for a renewed focus on selling skills, sales now, and increasingly will depend on salespeople’s ability to harness resources beyond their person. Leveraging these resources means that for the first time, sales depends as much on what you know as on skills you have.

Recognizing that sales is the latest profession to take on the characteristics of knowledge workers means leaders need to change the way they think about sales activity and training. While customer-facing time will continue to be the staple of selling, there is an increasing range of activities that now contribute to meeting quota. 

Recognizing the difference

It’s not enough for managers to recognize that new strategies are required to continue succeeding. Salespeople need to accept the that the landscape is changing and adjust their daily practices accordingly.

For most salespeople, engaging in their company’s annual training conference and reading a couple of books on sales over the course of their career has been sufficient to allow them to remain competitive and enjoy an above average income.

By contrast, professions that rely on technical knowledge often see their participants regularly engaging in career development actives. From following blogs to taking courses, adding to their knowledge is essential for remaining competitive in their field.

Sales is transitioning into a field that requires similar upkeep.

Salespeople who intend to remain competitive in the face of these changes need to make a fundamental shift in how they approach work. For teams attempting to navigate the transition, guiding current reps will be as important as being on the lookout for new blood to bring into the team.

The salesperson of tomorrow needs to be able to understand and navigate a delicate balance between technological know-how and interpersonal sales skills. Today selling requires a diverse skill set and the ability to tie together threads from marketing, social selling, and solution selling into coherent and effective outreach effort.

Simply put, refining sales technology isn’t enough. To build a 21st-century sales force, companies, need to look for reps who can partner with the technologies at their disposal to maximize their reach. The result is a sales team who can run leaner while producing a bigger impact on their market.