Part One of a Series Focused to Inside Sales
Inside sales positions are among the most commonly sought sales positions for many reasons. Employers are trending towards hiring more inside sales reps than outside reps due to the ability to cover or "touch" more accounts per day as well as lower total costs associated with an inside sales force. Sales professionals are turning towards Inside sales positions not only because there are more positions available than compared to outside sales, but also because of many other benefits to Inside Sales Positions.
If you are new to sales or considering moving to an Inside Sales position, you may be wondering what to expect, what not to expect and what "proactive" actions you can take to increase your chances of success. This series of articles looks at several factors and "thought points" those looking at Inside Sales should be aware of.
The first factor that Inside Sales Reps should consider is where they will be working. Essentially, expect to work in one of three locations: A call center, a branch office or from the comfort of your own home.
If you will be reporting to work in a call center, don't expect to be lonely. You will either be working in a very large office area with a lot of other Inside Sales Reps or will be grouped according to a particular set of criteria.
Often times, employers group their Inside reps according to their specific focus products. For example, if you are employed by a large IT Services distributor to sell hardware, you may find yourself working in an area filled with other reps who sell IT hardware while those reps who sell software are located in another area.
This "focus area grouping" works well for many reasons. One reason is that a "focus area" specialist can also be located in a specific area to provide an advanced level or "Tier 2" support to sales reps. Using the IT call center example, a group of Inside Sales Reps who work together in a group often will have a IT engineer who specializes in IT hardware providing support to the reps in their area.
Call centers often have a bad reputation. They have been referred to as "cattle rooms," "warehouses," and a few other unflattering names. While you will still find call centers that are a bit challenging to work in, more and more employers are making their call centers as enjoyable and as comfortable for their workers as possible. For those considering an inside sales position in a call center, your work environment should be a major factor in your decision process.
If you are located in a Branch Office, you should expect to either support a team of Outside Sales reps or to be part of a much smaller team of Inside Reps than those found in call centers. In general, Inside Reps who office in branch offices are less specialized in the products they sell. This means that you will be expected to sell more products or services and will have additional training and knowledge expectations.
While many Inside Reps who work in a branch office sell a broad portfolio, don't be surprised in your employer still branch office reps focused to specific focus products. The focus products may be based on the region or area the branch office is located in or simply based on what your employer want to focus to.
Lastly, while most employers that have branch offices have both inside and outside reps, not all do. Some employers have branch offices in different areas to increase local or regional exposure, to help control distribution costs or simply to provide more "area specific" coverage. So don't be surprised to find an employer who has branch offices but employs very few outside sales professionals.
The term "virtual" is a fancy term that means you will be working out of your home. While working from home is a "dream job" for many, others struggle with not having a supervisor "looking over their shoulders" while at work. And do not expect that your expectations will be any less than the expectations placed on those in call centers or branch offices. Many employers consider working from a home a privilege and have strict expectations for both activity and results.
Those working from home need to be self-motivated, self-driven and a strong work ethic. The allure of being unsupervised has been the downfall of countless sales reps. If you are not certain you can handle the freedom of working from home, do yourself, your employer and all Inside Sales Professionals and search for an office-based position.