What tangible expectations have been changed as "Outside Sellers" have become "Inside Sellers"?

Alex Gershman
Alex Gershman Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

The vast majority of our Services salesforce are "outside" sellers -- who are quickly learning the ways of the "internal seller" world. We've been working to rapidly evolve expectations (and processes) without changing the core of the role. Looking for tangible practices being deployed by others in similar situations.


  • Steve Frost
    Steve Frost Member | Guru ✭✭✭✭✭

    Alex, let me post your question to Martin Dove, our head of Subscription Sales research. He may have some insight for you.


  • Alex Gershman
    Alex Gershman Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Thanks, Martin. Certainly a couple of helpful insights - appreciate it. As you note (and I agree), fundamentally, the sales job doesn't change, but there are clear changes to expectations of both sales motions and outcome expectations that need to be set. We've been trying to use the "shock to the system" of the grounding of our outside sellers as a way to evaluate many of our processes, and using the situation to accelerate the digital transformation among our outside team. Still early days -- but we're finding the shift to be less traumatic than maybe we initially expected. Hoping for more engagement on the topic among the membership!

  • StephenSpence
    StephenSpence Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    The other, slightly broader, consideration here is the role of services staff on expand selling in light of the importance, particularly during the Covid-19 recovery "Pitstop" phase, of focusing on existing customers vs new logos. We don't have a formal Customer Success team (although we have experimental pockets) but the closest we have are Service Delivery Managers who serve a similar function. They are customer-facing and, particularly for MS customers, better engaged with customers in the day to day than our outside or inside reps. There has been resistance however from these SDMs to "sell". This comes from a fear that it will dilute their value to the customer. They are quite willing to listen for new opportunities and then alert the Account Exec but reticent to proactively engage in anything that could be perceived by the customer as selling. It's important that we help them realize two realities: 1. customers expect their SDMs to spot and call out opportunities where we can improve their operations, whether with new tools, processes, or services. In fact, when we don't do it we are dropping the ball; 2. To consider selling to be a business skill, not only something done by a colleague in the Sales department. In professional services (consultants, lawyers, accountants, etc) those with the ability to sell themselves and their ideas rise rapidly in their careers. And besides, the best sales people are those who do NOT appear to be selling.

  • Spencer Hancock
    Spencer Hancock Moderator | mod

    @Stephen Spence you raise an excellent point for our current business climate and the headwinds that Sales Professionals are undoubtedly facing. This idea of Services Teams using their interactions with customers to drive customer growth is covered in depth in TSIA's Expand Selling research practice. @Steve Frost's recent webinar the A New Approach to Customer Growth: The State of Expand Selling 2020 provides a lot of insights and data on Services Professionals owning and driving growth with existing customers. I'd recommend sharing the webinar with your Service Delivery Managers. And after they watched that webinar here's a Research Paper Steve published that would help as well - How Support Services Can Safely Help Sales.