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
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.
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.
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.