Tapping inside potential

Digitalization, combined with a worldwide pandemic, has caused significant disruption in distribution sales, especially inside sales. Advice on how to succeed on the new playing field, particularly in regard to servicing your 80/20 accounts (the 20% that generate 80% of your sales), is plentiful. I have written recently on the importance of using Enterprise Selling techniques to retain and gain customers in this digital age. However, there is also a wealth of information on another approach for distribution account retention — boosting sales from the inside.

Blending sales techniques

While each offers a different approach to sales, Enterprise Selling and Inside Sales Management, can work well together. By blending these two models, company assets can be coordinated to boost sales. Campaign coordinators and field specialists can offer support to the inside sales team. Project leaders can work with customer service and business development staff to improve results. In addition to supporting Enterprise accounts, this blended model puts resources into mid-size, high profit accounts and encourages more effective prospecting activity.

The inside sales team and digitization

While the pandemic temporarily closed the door to servicing customers in person, it opened wide another. Today, the level of communication between rep and customer can be far greater with virtual face-to-face call activity. Digitalization also provides better access to account information. To take advantage of new digital tools and boost sales, you need a well-developed team making outgoing calls.

Focus on customer interaction

The inside sales team should focus on these types of interactions:

  1. Next tier territory accounts – Direct your sales team to work with outside sales territory managers to focus on building business in the group below the 80/20 accounts.
  2. Attend to the In-store customer – Lead generation and midsize account development can originate from customers who regularly stop by a branch office. These clients may be picking up a purchase, renting equipment, or just visiting your showroom. The inside sales department needs to engage with the customer to see what additional products or services they might use.
  3. Marketing department – Social Media is now a major means of marketing.  Make sure your social media team works in sync with the sales team to capture new business leads.
  4. Business lists – Make a focused effort to have your inside sales team develop leads from vendors, SIC/NAICS coding, social media, website data, etc. To make these lists effective, have inside sales reps qualify listed leads before sending them to the outside sales team.

Be strategic

Be strategic with a blended sales model that works to retain existing customers and penetrate new accounts. Using Enterprise Selling and refining the efforts of your Inside Sales Team, you can boost sales and stop losing business to alternative channels.

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