The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP), and ZoomInfo completed its sixth consecutive Top Challenges research in Q1 of 2017.
This research included over 400 completed assessments of leaders and individual contributors across all types of businesses and inside selling models. They were asked to rank their most pressing challenges. For the first time ever, the top frontline challenge mirrored the very same challenge which surfaced for leaders.
Through analysis of the research, combined with actual comments provided by respondents, we can draw some convincing conclusions:
- Leads pose a huge issue and was the number one challenge for both leaders and reps. This challenge moved up from previous years and indicates lots of work and change needs to happen to solve this issue.
- Recruiting and hiring remains in the top 3 and is still a big challenge as nearly 2/3 of organizations indicate they will grow in 2017.
- Training & Development, the leader’s “Top Challenge” in 2016, dropped just slightly to #3 in 2017. Interestingly, frontline reps chose this same challenge for the #5 spot showing some correlation between the rep and leader role. The AA-ISP continues to believe that the skills, competencies, and sales experience required for Inside Sales roles has outpaced our ability to both hire and develop individuals quickly enough.
- Inside Sales representatives are being required to carry bigger quotas (as indicated by reps stating they struggle to hit goals) yet perform at similar levels to a traditional field sales representative. 2017 will see nearly 2/3 of all organization grow their inside teams. When you couple huge hiring trends, with a less experienced talent pool, training and on-boarding becomes an even greater challenge.
- 2017 continues to see adoption and growth of digital/virtual selling processes. Evidence of this is in the fact that use of video is up significantly over last year. Texting, and other remote selling tools continue to rise as well.