With the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) comes a growth in the inside sales model for B2B technology vendors. Inside sales has always been part of the software industry but a common approach was to sell expensive, installed enterprise software with territory field reps and use inside sales primary in an appointment-setting function or for low-dollar deals. Well, many SaaS products act like lower-dollar deals because bills are paid monthly or quarterly and contract terms are often for one year so the deal value and structures don’t support an expensive customer acquisition process — enter inside sales as the dominant sales approach.
As the startup grows and expands it can be difficult to build out the inside sales team fast enough internally. The next logical step is adding remote inside sales reps or opening up a separate inside sales office in a different geographic location. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Inside sales is often a more junior position, so the camaraderie and peer pressure from team members can be important
- If the criteria for the inside sales position is extremely specific, having a larger geographic area to draw from provides more options
- A popular strategy for inside sales departments is to have sales development reps that just set appointments, and also act an in-house farm system/minor leagues
- As the compensation for the inside sales position becomes more lucrative, remote sales reps with experience become more available
In general, either approach is difficult but startups I’ve talked to have had more luck with a separate, dedicated inside sales office where teams of reps can work together compared to having remote inside sales reps. For remote inside sales reps to be successful, the reps should be strong, independent self-starters and additional effort should be placed on collaboration tools like video conferencing (I like Google Hangout with video).
What else? What are your thoughts on remote inside sales reps vs dedicated inside sales offices?