…sales tend to stay steady, but business development suffers. And the pipeline withers.

I’ve had owners in the past complain to me that their sales force were becoming mere order-takers. Recognition of why this behavioural shift occurs helps counter it. When senior account execs or business developers spend more time waiting for the phone to ring than beating the bushes, it’s usually because they get too taking orders – and creating routine quotes.

The simple solution I usually propose is to add a pure order-taker. Inside Sales. This is the junior sales person who reacts to opportunities – they need the skills required to quote effectively, and close business, so I don’t look down my nose at them. A good Inside Sales rep can take a lot of the plate of the reps who need to be out of the office.

There is usually some pushback though. When you get accustomed to reactive sales, the pro-active selling suddenly seems so much less certain. The potential commission loss can be hard to swallow.

This is why it’s important to establish expectations early on that Inside Sales handles whatever comes over the transom. Existing accounts don’t move over – they need somebody responsible for managing the relationship. It’s the relationship that differentiates the sales – and this makes it easier to explain. No relationship, and it’s not yours to close.

By differentiating the commission rates for typical Inside Sales business, you reinforce the value of relationship selling, and get your sales force back to doing what they should.

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