Outside Sales Versus Inside Sales

Last Updated Apr 29, 2010 6:51 AM EDT

I've been talking to various market researchers who study the sales business and everyone seems to agree that inside sales teams are growing much faster than outside sales teams, the traditional "road warriors."

According to Dr. James Oldroyd, the hiring of outside sales personnel recently stalled out, while companies were adding new inside sales departments at a rate of 7.5% annual growth. In fact, Oldroyd predicts that by 2012 nearly 800,000 companies are expected to add inside sales departments where they weren't there before.

This bothers me a little bit, because the kind of selling that's taking place in the business world is simultaneously getting more complex, with more consensus building required to close a deal. I wonder whether it's possible to do that kind of work effectively.

In defense of the shift in hiring patterns, Oldroyd points out that, according to his research, fully 41percent of outside sales activities takes place over the phone anyway. But I can't help but think that the other 59 percent just might be important, too.

I'm curious what you guys think, so here's a poll. Comments welcome, because this kind of hiring pattern is one that's likely to eventually affect nearly every sales professional who reads this blog.