I'm reading this article with a sense of "well, you would say that" because Microsoft owns LinkedIn. It has a vested interest in talking about the success of the Sales Navigator product but there are quite a lot of lessons to be learned in this story.
Insights are a modern sellers secret sauce.
As more buyers are searching online and self diagnosing their issues, inside sales teams are engaging further up in the buyer journey through digital connections.
Smart sellers will be laser focused, use insights to guide their outreaches and utilise digital tactics to engage buyers via referrals and content.
Building relationships online is a skill. If you're ever experienced SPIN selling, Sandler, Challenger or SNAP selling you'll know what I'm talking about.
Social Selling is another technique that can help sales build long-term relationships.
What I find interesting about Microsoft, is that they've switched their focus from field sales to inside sales.
They've recognised that location isn't the priority when it comes to solving customer issues.
Serving their digital customer from 8 key hubs around the world has allowed them to focus their skills, enable their teams in one place and accelerate adoption.
The Covid-19 situation also allowed them to pivot quickly:
When people had to quickly adjust to COVID-19, Microsoft sellers were able to continue supporting customers without disruptions, helping those in critical roles—from medical centers to educational institutions and researchers to suppliers of essential goods—forge ahead and accelerate key digital initiatives.
So it will be interesting to see how sales models adjust over the coming months and years.
Will we see more inside sales teams enabled to have global conversations?
Will we see field sales teams reduce in size?
Microsoft has flipped the traditional sales model over the past few years, from inside sales teams supporting field sales teams to those inside teams now outnumbering their field counterparts. Today, more than 2,500 digital sellers serve customers from eight sales centers around the world. As more customers move to digital buying, the volume of leads generated has grown exponentially.