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MG Sales Talent Network 5th February - Report

Feb 18, 2016
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Inside Sales – Is your sales organisation fit for 21st century selling? 

When the world’s leading brands (Microsoft, IBM, Astra Zeneca) transform their sales organisations to Inside Sales, the rest of us have to sit up and take notice.

So what is Inside Sales (and it’s not just glorified telemarketing!)?  What are they doing and why?  Are you an informed sales leader or hiding in the dark with no idea how Inside Sales is transforming the way that B2B companies interact with their customers?

These questions and others were asked at the MG Sales Talent Network on Friday 5th February.   

MG Sales Talent Network 5th Feb

 l-r: Mark Gallen, Luke Goggin from BA (speaker) and Joanna Fisher from Kew Green Hotels

 Here’s what our speakers said: 

Martin Moran, GM and SVP of EMEA, Inside Sales.com

Martin kicked things off by defining Inside Sales as remote or virtual selling. He described the old model of telesales where people were employed to make appointments for field sales people to close.  “Today”, he said, “organisations have realised that restructuring and enabling an inside sales team to take these conversations to their logical conclusion, is a more effective process”.  He went on to say that there has been an evolution in how people buy with 60% of the buying decision being made without talking to the vendor.  With almost all purchases being researched and validated on the internet, there is huge amounts of data available for organisations to interpret customer behaviour and patterns. “It’s about connecting the dots”, he said, “to determine customer personas and preferences.  How does the customer like to interact, at what time, when did they last buy X and based on market trends when can we predict that they’ll buy again?”

Martin explained that changing economics has resulted in an increased cost of sale so that smart organisations are using technology to accelerate the sales process and introduce greater efficiencies.  He continued saying that sales leaders need to regard Inside Sales as a machine that requires highly defined processes and metrics.  “Selling is a sport”, Martin pronounced, “and top sport is won off the field as much as on the field.”

 

Luke Goggin, Head of Global Sales Strategy & Operations, British Airways

Luke had an interesting story to tell.  British Airways has been looking into the opportunity that Inside Sales offers, and as a result of the research led by Luke, is considering trialling the approach.

He observed that in most large B2B sales teams you often come across Account Managers who describe they are managing 50+ accounts, and that with the best will in the world this is not sustainable in proving the relevant level of attention needed to each one of those accounts.

He continued by saying that for certain segments of a company’s sales effort, Inside Sales appears to maximise efficiency at a consistently lower cost and at IBM, for example, it’s been stated that the Inside Sales team accounts for something in the region of 65% of their total revenue across Europe.

Luke has spent time looking at other industries leading the way with Inside Sales, one in particular being Vodafone.  He described an Inside Sales team member he met with recently working off three screens and databases feeding him detailed buying activity, customer insight and trends. “This chap had eight high level meetings that day”, Luke announced, “and interestingly he sees the field sales team as supporting him in the field by carrying out face to face meetings when needed.  He felt that they were supporting him, it’s a whole new way of thinking and working”. 

He cautioned however that sales leaders must be mindful of what they’re trying to sell as the approach will need to be aligned to the product.  Careful customer segmentation will determine where Inside Sales has its place.  However Luke is excited by the prospect of British Airways being able to identify, or even predict, customer opportunities earlier and then ensure the relevant products and services can be put forward accordingly.

 

END



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