The Death of Field Salespeople

I'm probably not going to win any popularity contests with this statement, but let's explore this for a moment. You must have realised that creating new sales opportunities have become increasingly difficult. Most don't reach sales targets; spend more time in the office than in-front of new clients, and getting new meetings with business owners are tricky.

Justin Roff-Marsh makes this statement in his book "The Machine" and when you really drill down to what's happening around us, it rings true in many instances. Aaron Ross of SalesForce, also had some incredible results after adapting his sales strategies.

If you want proof of this, follow one of your field sales people around for a day. What you will likely discover is that he or she spends less than 10 percent of their time in the field. The balance will be spent in an office of some kind or a coffee shop. You will then realise that your field sales person is not really a field sales person at all! It takes a lot more research, office work, admin and other dedicated task to create sales opportunities or face-to-face meetings.

Download your copy of "The Predictable Sales Revenue Machine"

Ask yourself this question: If you are looking at making a purchase of some kind, is your default starting point to look for a person whom can come and visit you in the field? Probably not! It's more likely that your first approach will be to turn to a medium that enables you to purchase or research without human interaction.

If you need to communicate with a human to make a purchase or get more information, you would probably prefer to have a phone or email interaction rather than a face-to-face meeting? Now you would, depending on what you want to buy, interact with a person, but only after collecting some data and doing some homework.

When we then look at the Outside In Sales Approach, the is where most companies and sales people fail or struggle. When it comes to meeting and selling face-to-face, they are really good and add loads of value. The problem is they don't know how to get enough meetings and how to approach sales in this era. There is no real methodology behind sales strategies than sales managers pushing field sales people on pipeline and deals. That the metrics we gauge them on whether they are successful or not. (I am not pointing fingers at sales managers but this is unfortunately the cards they are dealt)

Outside In approach to sales

Many executives are uncomfortable to re-structure their teams and make way for inside sales professionals, because it's based on the assumption that inside sales people are capable of making many of the sales currently made by field sales people. This is a very valid point and there are many situations where face-to-face meetings are critical. The point is, each business should have specialised teams. In-fact when you have your team setup as below, you would probably triple sales over the next year:

  1. BDC - Business Development Coordinator - This individual/s pushes work to your Field Sales people. They manage diaries, prospect qualifications and all other relevant duties that distract Field Salespeople from selling.With proper training, this is a professional prospector that ensure that your field sales people see more qualified prospects on a regular basis. (3 meetings per day) These teams use email, telephone and many other techniques to approach, qualify and set meetings for field sales people.
  2. Campaign Coordinator - This person preferably comes from you marketing department but is located with the sales people. They must understand promotional processes. Their sole existence within the business is to maintain a queue of sales opportunities to the Business Development Coordinator.
  3. BDM or Field Sales/Closers - These individuals work in the field and not in the office. (Face-to-face meetings with pre-qualified prospects) It makes sense to have BDM's work in the field. These are a select number of closers or Field Sales People. They focus on face-to-face, advising, adding value and closing deals. There is no distractions, or minimum amount of time spent in the office with duties they DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PERFORM. If we are going to spend huge amounts on employing enterprise -class-salespeople, it makes sense to have them selling in the field!

Most leaders think that adding field salespeople solves their problems.This could not be further from the truth. If you have to start with only one type of sales person, start with the BDC and not field sales.

Cold calling is dead

The harsh reality is that cold calling is, and has been dead for many years. When examining those that still engage in cold calling, you will realise that they spend an enormous amount of time on the phone to generate very few opportunities. When I speak of opportunities, I mean actual business closed from cold calls.

The problem with cold calling is that is simply doesn't make sense for your clients!

There are more effective ways to engage new clients and structure your company in such a way that cold calling is not required. When you follow the Predictable Sales Revenue Model, this is a system with a pre-determined outcome and not a guessing game

Today I will share a strategy that will impact your sales today:

  1. There is a new methodology a small number of companies, across three continents have implemented and seen massive sales performance improvements. Download your copy of "The Predictable Sales Revenue Machine" and find out how they tripled sales in just a few months.

I trust you will find it insightful, and should you require more information on how to implement these strategies, let's talk.

About Riaan

Over the past 20 years, Riaan has been working with leading Sales Organisations, Sales Managers and select Individuals who want to improve sales performance, design and implement winning strategies and sales cultures that leads to more deals.

 Since 1985, Riaan has been in Corporate | B2B | High-level Sales and led teams to maximise performance. He provides strategic oversight and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations.

His experience has allowed him to work with organisations and executives within entities such as Old Mutual, Sanlam, the Telecoms Industry, Siemens, Capgemini, Accenture, BWI in Hong Kong and many others, to help them improve sales performance.

riaan@blue-oceans-consulting.co.za