Sales Typecasting: How to Move from Inside Sales to Outside Sales

My last post outlined some concrete steps to increase the probability that you will not only become an elite lead gen rep, but one worth risking an inside sales closing role on.

Now that you’ve shed the lead gen label and established yourself in an inside sales closing role, you face your next hurdle: climbing into an outside sales role. Moving from inside sales to outside sales comes with increased freedom and earning potential, as well as increased responsibility. Hiring managers may be skeptical of your ability to move outside the office and handle your own territory as a field sales professional.

So how do you overcome inside sales typecasting?

You have to prove you can run your own show.

First, demonstrate that you can close by becoming a top performing inside rep with the numbers to back it up. ‘Nuff said.

Look for opportunities to meet face-to-face with your top prospects.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a local territory, make the case to your sales manager to go meet with your largest forecasted opportunity. If you handle a remote territory, lobby sales management for a quarterly barnstorming trip into your territory where you meet with some of your strongest prospects. Some sales managers will deny your request, citing the costs associated with business travel. On a couple of occasions, I’ve seen determined inside sales reps overcome sales management resistance by offering to personally fund the trip.

Closing these deals shortly after the trip will provide your manager with compelling evidence that you’re ready to elevate into a field role.

Be like Ike.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Showcase your planning skills and present your manager with the most detailed territory plan he or she has ever seen. Make friends with someone that has managed a territory successfully, either inside or outside your company, and solicit ideas on what to include in that plan.

The good news is that once you crack into a field role, you’re basically behind the velvet rope. Assemble a highlight reel of sales accomplishments in the field and you’re typically set to stay in the field—the top rung of the high tech sales career ladder—for as long as you want to remain an individual contributor to the sales team.

The challenge is that most lead gen and inside sales reps are gunning for a limited number of field roles.

Economics teaches us that where there is scarcity, there is value. Elevating into a field role is difficult; however, it’s lucrative for those that do.

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