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Need Some Proof that Outside Sales Reps are Becoming an Endangered Species?

11 December 2019 | Norm McConkey



Salesperson on the phone in an office

According to Hubspot (March 5, 2019), 47% of all sales professionals in the U.S. are now inside sales reps. What percentage of your sales team are inside vs. outside? There are some great statistics here that can help your business increase sales in 2020.

One statistic that jumps out is that “outside” reps now actually spend almost 50% of their time “inside” instead of being out on calls; the prep work and activities related to sales have increased by an astounding 88% since 2014.

Take that in for a second. If you think your outside sales reps are making less face-to-face meetings, they are! Need more insight on why inside sales are growing? 

  • Sales organizations primarily made up of inside sales reps made 42.5% more dials, left 10.2% more voicemails and sent 8.8% more emails than organizations with primarily outside sales reps. 
  • They also focused more on social media, with 49% more social touches than outside sales reps (18.1% vs. 12.1%).
  • Overall, companies with sales teams dominated by inside sales reps have a 9.8% higher quota attainment than companies dominated by outside sales reps.

In the imaging channel, our fixation on outside sales is a big issue. In 2020, the outside salesperson doesn't exist, since very little of their activity is outside—everyone is inside in 2020!

Instead of inside vs. outside, let's define sales as transactional vs. contractual. Let's draw that line financially at under or over $10,000 per sale. Transactional sales have been demeaned as a commodity sale.

If your sales culture views transactional sales as commodities, your future will be painful.

Imagine thinking that Amazon is the biggest company on the planet because people buy commodities and don’t appreciate value, convenience, and service?

Amazon is the biggest company in the world because they take advantage of industries that have not recognized the possibilities of digitally connecting with their customers. Obviously, customers place a premium on digital interactions. Imagine setting a customer up with a beautiful new MFP, then telling the customer to call or email when they need supplies? Crazy, eh? In the office print industry, companies can do just that. Every day. 

If I owned an imaging dealership, I’d find this insight liberating, not frustrating. Do you still need contractual (OK, call them outside!) reps? OF COURSE. You just don’t need nearly as many, because there aren’t that many face-to-face calls anymore. What if you kept half of them? Your revenue will increase because now your best reps manage the best opportunities. Your sales expenses will decrease—resulting in higher profits and a higher company value. If you invest some of that money back into transactional reps, revenue will also increase. 

If you’ve started to accept declining revenue as the new normal, you need to make a change. We can help





About the Author

Norm McConkey

Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (, is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.


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