2017 is a year of disruption for many wholesale distributors and manufacturers. New technology and increased customer demand are causing companies to scramble to keep up with rapid change. While digital transformation is improving many aspects of the supply chain, the sales ecosystem remains an area that lags in innovating for superior customer service and overall business success. A 2016 Gartner Survey found 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.

In a traditional sales model, most customer relationships are owned by outside field reps. Refocusing on inside sales can combat the current issues of the traditional model, and the trend is playing a larger role in the B2B sales model. Here are key reasons why you should take a closer look at your sales model as inside sales can drive customer satisfaction.

New Workforce:

The new generation of young professionals working in the supply chain business may understand digital sales tools like the back of their hands, but what happens when trusted outside sales account managers retire? Key decision makers are apprehensive of what will happen should their Baby Boomers move on from outside sales. To minimize this risk, businesses are looking to expand their inside sales teams, allowing for multiple sales reps or customer service reps (CSRs) to manage the same account.

Slim Margins:

There is a tendency for outbound sales reps to focus on and maintain personal relationships with their customers, since revenue generated from these sales increases their commission. However, sales commissions are not sustainable with the slim margins that manufacturers and distributors now must maintain to fuel growth. A shift toward inside sales can deliver similar sales results without sacrificing profit margins. Increasing inbound staff numbers also provides outside reps with the opportunity to manage wider geographic regions.

How to optimize the inside sales team?

Typically, inside sales reps are responsible for the mundane task of data entry, which not only causes problems with employee productivity and satisfaction, but can also increase workplace error. Sales order automation can address this challenge by freeing up time and resources for reps to focus on value-added activities, while removing error-prone manual entry tasks. With the shift to automation, inside sales reps can become CSRs who now have the time to improve customer satisfaction and develop deeper customer relationships. Additionally, this means faster order cycle times and an improved bottom line. With automated order processing, POs can be processed 24/7 to keep up with customer demand, eliminating the need for the business to hire additional staff for key peak periods. By leaving manual labor to technology, inside sales reps can drive revenue increases and improve profitability by nurturing customer relationships and showcasing product knowledge.

With the proper solution and company strategy in place, capitalizing and expanding your inside sales team with the help of automation can drive success.