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Digital transformation of enterprise sales force and the need for reskilling

Sales force is dramatically changing due to various reasons. Digital enterprises have shifted from outside sales strategy to hybrid sales strategy where a mix of inside and outside sales reps drive the client acquisition process. This hybrid structure is expected to evolve further towards inside sales only structure due to the evolution of technologies and changing customer preferences.

The continuous growth and transformation of the digital era have placed a pressing demand for an industry-wide evolution of sales processes. Traditional methods of cold calling and passive promotions have been replaced by the demand for new-age sales executives. Basically, they are skilled in social selling, digital literacy, data analytics and visualization, content development strategies, prospecting and key account management.

This evolution of sales processes to suit the digital needs calls for complex operations. Correspondingly, the need for a highly skilled talent pool, capable of combating the complexity of virtual sales is rapidly growing. These challenges include understanding the digital-savvy customer buying behavior, planning an effective sales force, data-driven sales transformation and automation of traditional sales workflows. Sales leaders, in recent times, have found answers to this challenge with the generation of specialized roles such as:

  • Market Response Representative
  • Inside Sales Execs
  • Lead Generation Specialist
  • Product Specialists
  • Account Managers
  • Partner Managers
  • Customer Success Managers

While the creation of these specified roles can prescribe the requirement of digital skill sets to specific individuals, proper ‘capacity planning’ truly enhances its effectiveness. However, major sales corporations have been adopting digital tools and automation solutions in order to remain at the front of the line and to supplement their efforts in creating a workforce of the future. Some of these targeted tools and solutions used by modern sales team include:

  • CRM Software- Lead scoring, predictive dialing
  • Sales Intelligence- Precise targeting, behavior assessment
  • Sales Gamification- Employee scoring, Sales performance dashboarding
  • Sales Analytics- Sales path forecasting, Scenario analysis, Risk analytics

While these sets of tools and skills ensure the best practices for sales in place, B2B companies have walked an extra mile. They are seen to be redirecting their efforts towards evolving inside sales roles from mere supportive status to process ownership and collaborative performance in the name of ‘Hybrid Sales Strategy’.

With nearly 75% of the clients preferring virtual meetings; advanced meeting and video conferencing tools, this hybrid structure too, is expected to evolve further towards ‘inside sales only’ structure in the future. Functioning in favour of this transformation is the increased outside sales cost and the advantages of the emotional and relationship intelligence of inside sales representatives. As a result, sales corporations have been doubling their inside sales team size.

A survey by HubSpot revealed that out of the 5.7 million professional salespeople in the U.S., approximately 47.2% are inside sales professionals. Similar statistics suggest that outside sales representatives operate remotely on 45% of the occasions. As a result, digital enterprises are recognizing this to be a constructive trend and are actively marching towards hybrid sales strategy. Such hybrid sales representatives are expected to be effective in bringing high revenue with their ability to convert both Transactional and Relational sales models.

Draup’s reskilling suggestions for outside sales representatives to adopt hybrid sales practices include:

  • Social selling
  • Data Analytics and visualization
  • Content development and targeting
  • Lead and opportunity scoring
  • Qualification questioning
  • Virtual product demo

Draup’s analysis of recent trends indicates that the evolution of digital tools and virtual meeting technologies is expected to increase the demand for inside sales representatives. This suggests reskilling as an imperative solution and facilitate employee training to evolve their high capacity outside sales reps with critical inside sales skills to build a hybrid sales structure.