While some companies prefer face-to-face sales models, others opt for virtual ones. Which model is the most effective? Discover whether inside sales or field sales is best for your business.
As Ken Krogue, contributor with Forbes, notes, “inside sales is remote sales.” It’s also referred to as virtual sales or “sales in the cloud.”
Digital connectivity is one of the primary benefits of going with an inside sales team model. As Will Humphries with Internal Results, explains, “The majority of a business buyer’s journey is now completed online prior to communication with a provider.”
As Matt Heinz with Heinz Marketing articulates, modern customers increasingly prefer convenience rather than face-to-face communication with sales reps. They tend to desire a quick video conference or live chat rather than an in-person meeting with a field sales representative.
Another key strength of inside sales is that it maximizes a business’s time and cuts expenses. Inside sales reps remain largely in-office rather than travel to meet clients, thus reducing travel-related expenses. Furthermore, since inside sales reps aren’t traveling, they can allocate more time to planning for and executing sales conversations, as Humphries states.
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “field sales” is defined as “the activity of selling a company's products or services outside the office.” In other words, a business that has a Field Sales team has employees that engage clients and capitalize on sales leads in a face-to-face setting.
The most obvious benefit of going with this sales model is that it’s more personal than the inside sales model. In a world where the majority of businesses use remote sales teams paired with virtual communication methods such as email, live chat and social media, you might prefer to have a field sales team to stand out from the crowd.
Another perk of the field sales model is that it allows sales staff to have more in-depth conversations with current and potential customers. As Humphries says, “[field sales] reps meet with prospects longer to discuss their business problems and to present information about the business and solutions.” This customized, face-to-face approach to sales lends to this model’s success.
A modern shift in sales models
Some experts claim that field sales teams are a dwindling phenomenon. As Krogue articulates, “True door-to-door field sales is almost extinct, and has of necessity become a hybrid by our definition.” If a contemporary company even possesses a field sales team, it’s usually just an auxiliary, smaller part of the larger inside sales team.
On the other hand, some statistics indicate that the field sales model is still going strong. In 2017, field sales comprised 71.2 percent of the sales force, while inside sales comprised just 28.8 percent, as confirmed by Forbes. Large companies tend to rely on field sales, while smaller companies tend to rely on inside sales.
Still, inside sales seems to be a growing trend. A recent study by Lead Management indicates that internal sales forces are growing at a rate fifteen times higher than outside sales. Since inside sales reps aren’t required to be on the road as much as field sales reps, it’s no surprise that this role is more favorable for those desiring more of a work-life balance and for those who value spending more time with their families.
Since both models have unique strengths, perhaps the best business model is a combination of inside sales and field sales. By implementing both models, you can have the best of both worlds and enjoy reaching more clients than ever.