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The State of Call Centers & Inside Sales in Distribution

Survey: Proactive selling often takes backseat to administrative tasks

May 25, 2012
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Inside sales can be a powerful source of growth, especially when integrated with field sales, e-commerce and direct response marketing. This article provides a snapshot of how distributors who responded to a recent MDM survey use inside salespeople and call centers. A notable finding: Nearly half of respondents said that their inside sales reps proactively sell less than 10 percent of the time. The authors argue that this needs to change.

While social media and e-commerce are gathering increasing attention among distributors, some of the most successful have utilized call centers to support effective inside sales as part of an integrated multi-channel offering. However, in a recent MDM survey, the vast majority of distributors have limited inside sales functions or outbound-only telephone sales (see Figure 1) in large part because they may not understand the power of inside sales by itself or in conjunction with field sales, e-commerce and direct response marketing.

For many, inside sales involves ordering, technical support, returns handling and credit management. Rarely does it involve …

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