Management thinks sales people should prospect & close deals

It’s hard to come up with an analogy of inside (prospectors) versus outside (closers) sales people without offending someone. In my experience, inside versus outside is generally compared as “low paid” versus “high paid”. The assumption is that outside sales people undergo years of training to perfect their skills and have complex issues to deal with along the sales cycle.  Prospecting is just a branch of this training. Yes, that can be true. But I argue that inside sales people also undergo continual training to perfect their craft and possess special skills required for the “hunt”.

Rather than use the argument of higher versus lower pay to prove the point that sales people (outside sales people) should not prospect, let’s examine cats versus dogs. Inside sales people are cats, outside sales people are dogs.

Cats are a great combination of hunter/gatherers who can also be domesticated.  Dogs are domesticated creatures who are really not wired for the hunt the way cats are.  Full disclosure – I don’t own a cat – have 3 dogs and my husband is allergic to cats so we’re never going there…

Inside sales people are fabulous prospectors – they go out into the cold, unknown 2.0 world and spend their time chasing the perfect qualified opportunity. As their skillsets improve, they become more efficient at the hunt.  They sharpen their tools, invent new strategies for conquering their prey, watch the way the herd is moving, and practice their craft every single day looking for ways to be more efficient with their time while meeting the daily goals they’ve set for themselves.  They search for the qualified prey, not the sickly or inappropriate prey. Inside sales people thrive on starting new conversations every day.  And, their day doesn’t really fluctuate all that much.  Hunt & gather.  I guess another analogy is that job of an inside sales person is similar to “duty dating”.

Outside sales people prefer a warm connection  – a friendly pat on the head lets them know they are welcomed into the start of the sales cycle.  The outside sales person ebbs and flows with their master’s wishes, concerns, likes and dislikes.  Every day can be different for the outside sales rep. They are good at reacting to their masters’ needs.  Finicky is not a trait I’ve ever seen.  We typically respect the one who feeds us and gives us water.  All for one, one for all, generally we’re a bunch of enablers who do what we can to keep everybody happy & close the deal.

Now let me ask you, can you visualize a domesticated dog proficient at the hunt?  Or are they more about a continual relationship -long lasting and profitable (in terms of food & treats)?

For those of you with NO imagination, the bottom line is that the skillset of an inside rep is unique and process driven.  The skillset of an outside rep, while we’d like it to have more process, has too much human intervention to make it anything other than a wild, unpredictable ride.

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