There has been a perceived shift in distribution of sales staff from field to inside salespeople, and a new Velocify study [download page] conducted by University of Southern California professor Steve W. Martin quantifies the change and the factors driving it. According to the survey of more than 100 senior-level sales leaders from high technology and business services companies throughout the US, 46% describe a slight (34%) or significant (12%) redistribution of sales staff from field sales to inside sales over the past 2 years. It hasn’t been a wholesale shift, though – as about half as many have actually redistributed in the opposite direction: 21% report a slight (8%) or significant (13%) shift from inside sales to more field sales.
Nevertheless, the balance is generally towards greater use of inside sales staff – and respondents generally expect revenue generation to shift in that direction also. For example, half of telecom companies currently derive more than 90% of their revenues from field sales – but only one-quarter expect to do so in 2015.
So what’s behind the shift? The most commonly cited factors by respondents were an increased business focus on margins (60%), technological advancements (54%) and buyer acceptance of remote selling processes (47%). Sales leaders also attribute a range of advantages to inside sales teams, including the ease of onboarding new salespeople and sharing best practices, allowing sales organizations to scale faster, enabling sales organizations to increase call activity and selling volume, and providing a better strategy to penetrate SMB and mid-market accounts.
Those perceived advantages can help sales leaders tackle their biggest challenges, described as the long ramp up time before new reps become effective, generating enough leads, hiring and retaining sales talent, and lengthy sales cycles.