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Inside Sales - Outside Sales Teaming Models

Updated on June 29, 2011

A hot topic in sales strategy discussions is teaming Inside Sales Reps and Field Sales Reps.

The concept or belief is… if the two Reps work together to cover sales opportunities, the firm will generate more sales. (Note: This post focuses on Teaming between two, quota bearing sales reps and does not touch on inside customer or admin support for Field Sales.)

In this challenging selling economy, organizations must adjust their selling approach to stay afloat. Teaming could be a tactic to better penetrate accounts and increase sales, when used wisely.This article will provide guidelines and best practices for planning and implementing a successful teaming model.

Business Conditions That Align With Teaming

The most common business conditions that align well with inside/outside teaming are:

When an Inside Sales Rep is managing a prospect or customer account, and both the business and the customer would benefit from having a face to face visit. This could be to help introduce a new product, engage in complex contract negotiations or to strengthen the relationship with your firm.

When an Outside Sales Rep is managing a customer that has multiple locations and can’t “cover” them all via face to face visits. Before adding “inside Reps” or more Field Reps to the process, it’s important to consider how the customer buys- and whether it’s centralized or decentralized. More and more companies are moving to a centralized buying structure to help streamline practices and reduce costs- and prefer dealing with only one salesperson to handle their buying needs.

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Before You Implement Teaming, Get Answers To These Questions

* What is the objective of teaming and how will you measure the results?
* How you will compensate 2 Reps managing the same account? In most cases, this will add cost to your models so- what is your required ROI?
* What is the expected impact to the customer? It could actually disrupt the customer relationship when you introduce additional employees into the discussions.
* What is the impact to sales roles? If two Reps are managing an account- who owns it? Who is primary and who is secondary?

FYI…. In my experience Teaming is something that often sounds great to management but is not often supported by the sale reps themselves. They take pride in individually managing a customer relationship and get concerned about others “messing with” their accounts. They also get concerned about how this change in dynamics will impact their roles and their pocketbook.

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Teaming Model Approaches

There are several ways to approach inside/outside teaming that range from very formal, to informal. The approach you use should align with your teaming goals. Here are some teaming approaches:

-- Your firm could align Inside and Outside Reps by geographic territory and have some percentage of the Reps’ and/or Managers’ goals and compensation tied to the teamed portion of their activity. Reps would work together, as appropriate on accounts in their shared regions.

-- Your Sales Managers could hand pick accounts that they feel would benefit from a teaming approach and Reps could be aligned on a per account or per deal basis. The accounts could be picked based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative factors. For example- accounts in growing industries whose spend falls at certain levels and who only buy one of your products, might benefit from teaming.

-- Your firm could change their organizational structure and have sales leaders manage and hold the number for both inside and outside resources. Teaming would simply become a part of how you do business every day.

-- Your Sales Reps could raise their hand, when they feel there is a need for teaming and then the firm could pay the teamed Reps on some type of ad-hoc split. Quota may or may not be shared depending on the circumstance.

--You could run contests and spiffs that promote teaming- then publicly reward Reps for supporting the teaming approach.

Other Resources You May Find Helpful

Considerations in creating an Inside Sales/Field Sales coverage model
, from Blue Tide Management

Inside Sales with Outside Sales Delivers Efficiency and Customer Intimacy Needed in Challenging Markets, from CRM Today

Teaming Online and Direct Sales Channels, from The Sales Operations Blog


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    • SalesMarketing profile image

      SalesMarketing 6 years ago from Phoenix,AZ

      We rolled out "teaming" at 2 of the companies I worked for in the past and both were a tremendous success! Great article and spot on.

    • profile image

      Dan 8 years ago

      great ideas and great articles,

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I've never done "teaming" before as my past sales jobs have been either commissioned based or reward based in which numbers had to be "hit." Everything fell on the shoulders of each individual salesperson. Sales relies on so much aggressiveness in order for it be effective. Thanks for the article. I'll definitely keep this in mind.

    • profile image

      Anthony James Barnett - author 8 years ago

      Seems logical and sound advice, Reynolds_Writing