It’s one of the stock pieces of advice given to small providers: to grow your business you need to develop an indirect channel. All the arguments about scale and reach get trotted out, as though they were a universal law that all companies are obliged to follow. Based on 200 small and medium software businesses that we’ve studied over the past few months I’ve developed a different view (see Marketing Essentials: Benchmarking Software Sales Performance).
Inside Sales are highly effective in delivering growth
What I found was that using an Inside Sales team was one of the most effective ways to deliver sales growth.Of the different channel choices available (field sales, inside sales and partner sales) Inside Sales were the sales team that was most likely to deliver their sales quota or over-achieve against those targets. Their sales cycles were shorter and they had a better win:loss rate that other sales colleagues.
Partner Sales are more unpredictable
In contrast the Partner Sales teams were the most likely to fail to achieve their sales targets, their sales cycles are longer and their win:loss rates are poorer. However, there were two distinct communities within Partner Sales teams. First, is a group of relatively poorly paid and relatively inexperienced Partner Sales people, and these people have comparatively low levels of performance. On the other hand a second group of Partner Sales people were much more experienced and much better paid, and delivered much better results.
What does it mean?
If you are going to invest in a low-cost sales channel to drive growth then a low-cost Inside Sales channel is likely to out-perform a low-cost Partner Sales channel. If you’ve decided to invest in a Partner Sales team then you should either finance it properly and hire more experienced partner sales people… or you shouldn’t pick this option. For most providers… unless have the maturity and management competency to manage a complex and multi-faceted channel program… the recommendation is that you should grow your Inside Sales capabilities.
Read Complimentary Relevant Research
Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is changing the way in which organizations innovate and communicate their processes, products and services. Practical...
View Relevant Webinars
The Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016
Strategic technology trends are rapidly changing disruptive trends with significant potential for enterprise impact over the next three...
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.