The May 25, 2012, issue of MDM featured an article on the state of proactive selling in distribution on both outbound and inbound calls. Proactivity was defined as making planned outbound calls and/or leveraging inbound calls using a variety of techniques such as cross-selling and probing for additional needs. Nearly half of all respondents to a recent survey of MDM subscribers said that their inside sales reps proactively sell less than 10 percent of the time.
This article examines how a proactive inside sales force can be critical to serving mid-market and small customers as part of a broader multichannel strategy; it includes steps for initiating an effective program.
If created and managed well, outbound and inbound calling programs can be very effective. What’s more, implementation does not have to be expensive or overly complex.
Proactive inside sales is essential for channel alignment and ensuring effective channel coverage.
Figure 1 (below) shows a mapping of different sales and customer service representatives to market segments. The largest accounts have field sales representatives assigned to them. The smallest accounts are serviced by customer service representatives and e-commerce as appropriate. Mid-market accounts are handled by proactive inside sales representatives and customer service representatives. This approach aligns the …