I was at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in Chicago the past few days. AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) is the group driving and pushing this burgeoning space called inside sales.
Inside sales is growing like a frickin’ weed. It is substantially outpacing outside sales. More and more organizations are embracing inside sales because of the financial benefits. Inside sales saved companies a shit load of money without much disruption to revenue production. It’s a model that is gaining in traction and it should be.
I hugged a lot of people at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit because it had been a long time since I had seen many of these folks. A lot of my relationships are created online. It’s fair for me to say, that I have met as many people online in the last 5 years than I have met in person, if not more. Of those people I’ve met online, I’ve met many in person and thats where the relationship really goes boom!
Inside sales is without a doubt a viable, real, beneficial structure to driving revenue but it lacks the in person touch that transforms relationships, business or personal. I found it oddly paradoxical that here we are, all talking about the value of inside sales and reducing outside sales channels, travel, and face to face interaction while we were sitting next to each other listening to presenters, having drinks and having dinner. The in person engagement was alive and well during the summit.
As valuable as inside sales is, I think the organizations who are able to maintain the person interaction that makes relationships go boom are going to win. It shouldn’t be inside sales vs outside sales or virtual selling vs in person selling. It’s not black or white. The key will be for companies to leverage the benefits and efficiency of inside sales with the personal and engaging nature of outside sales. I think there are a million ways to do this, each one being unique to the business, product, strategy and structure, but the key is to find ways to accomplish both.
I met EVERYONE of these people online first; Ken Krogue Koka Sexton, Sean Burke, Lori Richardson and Jaime Shanks but I got to hug them all at dinner this week. It’s dinners like this one we had last night that makes the relationship go boom!
Inside sales is awesome. It’s growing and provides tremendous value. But, I think we will all be served well to remember, sales is still a people business.
I had a great time a AA-ISP and it was fun to hug some friends I haven’t seen in a while.
Go hug a client today.