Are you more of a sedentary or field salesperson? This is a debate that has agitated sales departments for a generation. Since the development of sedentary sales forces that appeared with the generalization of the telephone as a sales tool in the 1970s. On this subject, we are today analyzing in THINK & SELL an article from the Harvard Business Review, written by Steve W. Martin and published in November 2013, titled The Trend that is Changing Sales.

Steve Martin is a professor at the University of South Carolina – Marshall School of Business Sedentary sales representatives or field sales representatives Scotland Email List We are interested in the big question of sedentary salespeople or field salespeople who are often put in opposition. The article is particularly interested in the transition of many companies (in 2013) from a model based mainly on field sales teams to sedentary sales teams. Until then, says Steve Martin, sedentary salespeople have supported field salespeople in their daily tasks.

But many companies are transitioning to a model

where sedentary salespeople work independently from their field counterparts. They are responsible for closing business by phone or email. Thus, studies conducted by the HBR reported in 2013 that in the last two years, 46% of respondents believed they had moved from a field model to a sedentary model. 46% of organizations have moved from a field model to a sedentary model There are, according to Steve Martin, 3 determining factors to know if a company will adopt a field model or a sedentary model: the stage of development of the company, the complexity of the products sold, and the perception of the models by the leaders.

stages of development of business organizations Steve Martin details 5 stages of development of commercial organizations: Construction? Competition? Maintenance? Extension? Decline. Construction Competition Maintenance Extension Decline Push the product to market Organize the competitiveness of the teams Maximize Sales Productivity Make the solution a standard Revitalize the sales force These five stages directly influence not only the commercial organization but also the adoption of a field or sedentary model.

The complexity of the sales cycle According

To Steve Martin, sales cycles can be of three different types: Complex ( Enterprise ), Digital ( Platform Cloud-based ) or Specific. Each of these cycles has its own constraints: number of people involved in the act of purchase, size of the purchase, level of sophistication of the solution. Enterprise Digital Specific Long sales cycles Internet sales Few decision-makers Several departments involved Direct sale Only one department concerned Terrain model

Sedentary model No favorite model Perception of role models by leaders 96% of participants in studies conducted by the Harvard Business Review reported that field salespeople and sedentary salespeople do not have the same skills. Thus, field salespeople would be better sellers than sedentary salespeople. All this because Field Sales would be more “strategic” and “relational”. Please note, these are the results of the study, not the opinions of the author! Leaders of sales organizations are therefore strongly biased and prefer field salespeople.

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