Structuring an inside and outside sales team
Earlier, we talked about the cost and scalability of inside and outside sales teams, but what about when you need both teams to work together? How can you ensure they work in sync instead of stepping on each other’s toes?
The current impact of inside and outside sales in companies
The pandemic has forced sales teams to shift from in-person events to remote selling at a rapid pace. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 State of Sales Report, 34% of survey respondents say they will be hiring significantly more inside sales representatives.
Further, a McKinsey report on how sales has changed during COVID-19 found that sales leaders on average now consider digital channels twice as important than before the pandemic. This is reflected in the finding that 90% of B2Bs have transitioned to a virtual sales model.
The pandemic has overwhelmingly forced outside sales teams to adapt to inside sales technologies and processes. It’s possible that, for the next several years, a hybrid model could be the new normal. Keep this in mind when considering how to hire for, structure and manage your inside and outside sales teams.
Three ways you can structure inside and outside sales
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to structuring your sales team; it will always depend on your market, company goals, industry and many other factors.
There are only a few ways you can approach inside and outside sales for your team:
Separate inside and outside sales reps
Inside and outside sales teams working together
Hybrid sales reps that work on inside and outside sales
1. Separate inside and outside sales reps
In this setup, there’s no real overlap between your inside reps and field reps (outside sales representatives). Everyone works on their own leads. Each team has separate daily, weekly and monthly quotas.
If you choose to go this way, you enable everyone to do their best work without depending on the other team. You can assign leads based on their size, which is quite an expected approach in B2B sales.
You can assign small and medium-sized companies as leads to the inside sales team. These deals move through the sales pipeline faster and fit the nature of remote inside sales.
Large companies (with potentially large deals) can then be assigned to field reps who can invest more time into relationship building that requires face-to-face interactions.
2. Inside and outside sales teams working together
This approach still keeps the sales teams separate. All the reps still only do inside or outside sales, but they collaborate and help each other move leads forward and close deals.
For example, your inside sales team can work with leads that are located far from your office before outside sales reps plan to visit them. Inside sales reps have a refined process to identify more specific pain points and potential objections and help your field reps prepare (or save them a trip) if the lead turns out to be unqualified.
3. Hybrid sales reps that work on inside and outside sales
With outside sales teams spending almost half of their time selling remotely, a hybrid sales team seems to be the direction many sales organizations are taking.
So how do hybrid sales reps organize their time and take proper action with their leads?
When they’re in the office, hybrid sales reps make the most out of their time at their desk.
- They keep an eye on their pipeline and follow up in a timely manner.
- They monitor their inbound leads and prioritize reaching out to the hottest ones.
- They automate repetitive tasks and streamline their sales process to free up time for outside sales.
When they head out, they focus on the leads of highest value. They’re well prepared based on the pain points they uncovered when qualifying these leads, and they have a plan on how to approach them. They’re adamant about tracking their activities on the field the same way they do in the office.
Brian Forrester, the co-founder of Workshop Digital, an SEO and digital marketing agency, describes their hybrid approach to inside and outside sales this way:
“We don't need dedicated inside sales reps and we don't need dedicated outside sales reps, so consolidating the responsibilities allows us to operate a very lean sales team and still hit our sales goals. For our small business, this hybrid model is more cost-effective. Our internal sales are scalable as we close them entirely over the phone or via web conferencing, and we do this for about 80% of our new business prospects.”
“However, certain key accounts, as well as local businesses near Richmond, VA, require outside sales functions including more in-depth and personalized strategies and face-to-face meetings,” he added. “While we aren't "pounding the pavement" and knocking on doors to generate prospects, some of the prospects do require an outside sales approach. We've become more adept at assessing those needs and layering on the right approach over time.”
The tools to empower your inside and outside sales reps
Whichever team structure you decide is right for you, you need the tools that will allow your sales reps to work at their best and collaborate efficiently.
As Stan Masseueras, Intercom’s sales director for European region explained: “The democratization of productivity and communication tools has been extraordinary over the past five to seven years. It has never been easier and cheaper to sell to, manage and support your customers wherever they are and connect with them at a deeper level.”
“We’ve evolved toward a world where inside sales reps travel to meet customers strategically and field reps are boosting their productivity by making the most out of modern communication solutions,” he adds.
Here’s a list of our tool suggestions:
- CRM. With Pipedrive's features, you can work from a visual sales dashboard that enables everyone, both in the office and on the field, to keep track of their work and their goals. Our mobile CRM is a dream, even when offline.
- Lead generation. LeadBooster, enables your sales reps to react quickly to the warmest of prospects—those who visited key pages on your website—and make the most of their outreach.
- Sales calls. Streamline your call workflows easily with Aircall or Pipedrive’s CRM Email tracking and communications feature feature, which lets you avoid busywork and focus on engaging with customers.
- Email marketing and automation. With Autopilot, design and build customer journeys for specific leads in your team’s sales pipeline. They can use any channel where they talk to their leads to deliver personalized messages and close more deals.