If you’re considering starting up an inside sales department within your company, hopefully you’re doing the research needed to be successful. If you’re at the point where you are trying to decide what type of selling model you want your sales reps to take then this blog is for you.
There are two selling models companies can use: the generalist model and the specialist model.
The differences between the two models were explored in a research study conducted by Dr. James Oldroyd and XANT. The one with the greatest close rates was astonishing. But before we reveal what this great difference between the two was, we need to go over the basics.
The first thing that was looked at about the two models was how they function.
What they are:
A generalist model is one where the sales rep has the sole responsibility to find and qualify the lead, close the deal and deliver customer support. In other words, they’re doing it all.
A specialist model is when there is a different inside sales rep handling each step in the process. The different areas that specialized sales reps would cover would be finding and qualifying, closing deals and delivering to customer support. Think of an assembly line. Each person working the line has a specific task they are responsible for in contributing to the finished product.
When all was said and done with the study, XANT and Dr. Oldroyd discovered that there was a seven point difference between the two models when it came to close ratios. As noted by Ken in the eBook, “Attract the Ultimate Executive to Run and Build Your Inside Sales Team,” co-written by Ken Krogue and Trish Bertuzzi, “That means if the average generalist is getting a twelve percent close ratio, a specialist model in the same space is getting a nineteen percent close ratio,” the book reads. “So that’s not seven percent, that’s seven points.”
When looking at how to start a sales department in your company, you can also consider a hybrid model that incorporates both specialists and generalists.
At XANT we like to use the specialist model and have teams with an experienced regional sales manager, an account executive and two or three business development reps. Other employees of the company (like engineers, developers, and implementation managers) help support these roles and are able to help these specialists succeed.
If you already have an inside sales team, do you have them divided up in into specialists or do you have generalists? What works best for you and what industry are you in?
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