Sales professionals are typically divided into two different groups: inside sales reps and outside sales reps.
They are both defined by the different sales activities they perform day-to-day as well as the industries and sales scenarios they are best suited for.
Traditionally, there has been a clear divide between inside and outside sales, though this line has continued to blur. That overlap is due to the increasing influence technology plays within the sales pipeline. It’s also common to see collaboration between inside and outside sales reps working as part of a larger sales organization.
As a company, you may be considering how to best structure a sales team and the proportion of inside/outside reps you employ.
Or, you might be someone who is considering a career in sales. You might want to better understand the sales processes and techniques of both roles.
Our blog will explore how inside sales and outside sales differ. We’ll also cover what is expected of sales professionals working in both roles.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales are also referred to as remote sales.
As the name implies, inside sales happen from inside a company’s offices or working from home. This is instead of dealing with clients in face to face meetings.
Is inside sales cold calling? It’s a common question many ask when looking into becoming a sales representative. To be clear, inside sales isn’t the same as telemarketing. Cold calling may fall under the list of activities of an inside sales rep but it’s only one of the ways reps use to communicate with buyers.
The primary contact methods used by inside sales reps include phone, email, and social media. There are video calls, online conferencing, and other channels too. It’s common to use multiple methods to connect with prospects as part of a “touch pattern”. This makes inside sales more dynamic and effective than simple telemarketing.
The role requires skills in research and being able to understand the needs of a business and challenges they face. Effective sales reps carefully plan their appointments and messaging by learning more about their prospects and where they work. This can be done by creating a BuyerDNA.
They also require confidence in pitching. Reps need to communicate the benefits of the products and services they are selling. Depending on your industry, this process will include remote demonstrations. This is particularly common in software sales.
To quickly recap, inside sales reps sell remotely. This should not be confused with telemarketing. Successful inside sales reps combine various tools along with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to nurture leads. This will help reach their sales goals.
In the next section we’ll be giving you an overview of outside sales.
What is Outside Sales?
Outside sales – also known as field sales – is the sale of products and services done in-person, face-to-face with a buyer. Outside sales representatives work out in the field as opposed to being in-house and working from an office.
This practice can be expensive and usually requires reps to travel. This is in order to attend talks, conventions, events, and appointments. As a result, outside sales are mainly used to close big deals sizes with high value target accounts.
Outside sales professionals need to be autonomous self-starters who can work independently. That said, they will still need to operate as part of a larger team. The role demands a different, more flexible mindset than inside sales though isn’t naturally more challenging. However, selling in-person can come with more pressure than doing so remotely.
There is an overlap with inside sales reps in terms of the tools and channels they use. While key sales chats and demos can be done in person, field sales reps will spend most of their time contacting customers via email and phone, as well as through video calls.