Episode #86 of the B2B Market Research Podcast – Inside Sales Needs Ammo – Are Competitive Intelligence Teams Listening?
- Why competitive intelligence teams should pay attention to inside sales teams.
- Why B2B inside sales isn’t the telesales of old.
- Why your “competitive” content needs to have the right structure and information to help inside B2B sales reps.
- Why many inside sales teams are true end-to-end sales team in their own right and what that means for competitive enablement.
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Welcome to another episode of the B2B Market Research podcast. In this episode we’re going to talk about an audience that competitive intelligence professionals need to get to know better, and some of the benefits of engaging with that audience. That audience is the inside sales team.
Before we get into the reasons for that, a few brief programming notes. This podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights. Cascade Insights specializes in competitive intelligence services and B2B market research services for B2B technology companies. Our specialization in this space helps us to deliver detailed competitive intelligence insights that generalist firms simply can’t match. To learn more about us go to our site. To ensure you don’t miss out on a future podcast, article, or blog post, subscribe to our newsletter. With that let’s go ahead and get into the podcast.
Why competitive intelligence teams should pay attention to inside sales teams.
The fact is, sales today is an inside endeavor supported in some cases with discrete field activities.
One of the quotes that I want to focus on comes from a blog called The Sales Process Engineering Blog. The quote is, “The fact is, sales today is an inside endeavor supported in some cases with discrete field activities.” When you play that quote back in your mind, what’s your reaction? Do you feel that you agree with it or are you somewhere in between?
Here are a couple other data points to help support the argument that the Sales Process Engineering Blog is making. I came across a quote from Steve Richard in an article. Steve is a co-founder of a company called Vorsight and works with Verizon Communication and a few other different folks. His quote is, “…data shows that for every person hired today for an outside sales role, 10 are being brought in for inside sales.”
There are also stats that show that an inside sales person might cost the company 25 to 30 dollars for an individual call, versus 300 to 500 dollars for a field sales person.
Steve also said, “There are also stats that show that an inside sales person might cost the company 25 to 30 dollars for an individual call, versus 300 to 500 dollars for a field sales person.” You’ve lived this I know.
When you bought your last car, how much of the analysis did you do online? When you hired your last vendor, did you actually meet them in person? Or when you interacted with other colleagues, how often did you meet them in person? How often is the work force that you work with inherently global, and not necessarily based locally in your region?
Why B2B inside sales isn’t the telesales of old.
Your customers are having the same experience. Your competitors’ customers are having the same experience. The bulk of their interactions are through the web and email and phone, and with inside and not outside sales teams. If field sales is getting smaller, either in terms of its impact or total head count, and inside sales is growing stronger, and inside sales is in essence then, handling an end-to-end sales cycle …
…in short inside sales in 2015 is not the telesales of 1990.
It’s not people interrupting you at your dinner, it’s a professional sales person dealing with another business buyer on the other end of the line, and their handling the entire sales transaction without ever being physically present.
Why your “competitive” content needs to have the right structure and information to help inside B2B sales reps.
What does this mean? If you’re in a competitive intelligence role, it means a couple different things, all of which are pretty significant. One, do you have a relationship with the inside sales team, or do you have somewhat of a set of blinders on and think of inside sales as just telesales?
In other words, do you think that the inside sales teams don’t need real intelligence – they just need talking points? Even then it’s not even really intelligence-driven talking points, in terms of competitive intelligence, it’s just talking points that are designed to drive the conversation forward until they talk to a “real sales person.” Given that’s changing, do you know folks in your inside sales team?
If you don’t have a relationship with the inside sales team, and you don’t know what competitive intelligence they’re using, and they’re owning the sales cycle in some cases from end-to-end, for even very complex B2B products – aren’t you missing out on a big audience?
Do you know what competitive intelligence content they’re using today? What competitive insights do they have to drive their sales cycles forward? Do they see the competitive intelligence team as an asset or resource that they’re even aware of or can draw upon?
Also as a competitive intelligence team, when you build competitive content, are you building battle cards that almost presume that the field rep is viewing it in their hotel the night before? Or preparing the morning before a day of actual in-person meetings? Is this your perception of the situation? Well if it is, the reality is the content you’re producing might not really be aligned to drive meaningful impact. Even if sales is not the primary audience you interact with, it’s typically at least the secondary audience.
Somewhere along the way your efforts are designed to drive sales forward for the company. If you don’t have a relationship with the inside sales team, and you don’t know what competitive intelligence they’re using, and they’re owning the sales cycle in some cases from end-to-end, for even very complex B2B products – aren’t you missing out on a big audience? Aren’t you missing out on ability to drive impact?
What about the Future?
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather go to the sales leadership today and ask them, “How can we help, what is the inside sales team doing, what kind of competitive intelligence do they need?
Isn’t there also potentially going to come a day where someone’s going to ask you, perhaps a sales leader, “Why haven’t you done anything for our inside sales team? Why haven’t you reached out to us? I see no impact from your efforts on our inside sales team.”
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather go to the sales leadership today and ask them, “How can we help, what is the inside sales team doing, what kind of competitive intelligence do they need…?
Spend some time with your own sales leadership. Ask them how they look at inside sales versus field sales in 2015. Ask them if they see inside sales as telemarketing, or if they see inside sales as a true end-to-end sales team in its own right. And finally, ask them what kind of competitive intelligence that team needs so they can be successful.
With that I want to thank you for being along in the podcast. If you want to find out more about us, go to cascadeinsights.com. Again, to not miss out on any feature podcast episodes, blog posts, or articles, please subscribe to our newsletter. Thanks for listening.
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