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What Is Inside Sales And How Does It Compare To Outside Sales?

Inside sales is a remote selling strategy. Learn how it compares to outside sales and the skills you need to be a successful inside sales rep.

The success of your business depends on your ability to sell. Whether you sell products or services, you may need a sales team to help find prospective customers and convince them to spend their money. Unfortunately, many small businesses find it difficult to sell products through their websites, especially high-ticket items, to businesses and individuals.

If you sell expensive products to other businesses, retailers, or individuals, you may need a dedicated sales team to help convert interested parties into paying customers. While your website can be an effective sales and marketing tool, it’s sometimes not enough to build relationships with prospects and convert them. Luckily, you can use several sales strategies to build more personal relationships and increase sales.

Inside sales refers to a sales team or salesperson who sells products remotely instead of going door to door or meeting potential customers in person. Also known as remote or virtual sales, inside sales can complement your sales strategy by helping customers through the customer journey with the help of a dedicated representative. But what is inside sales, and how can it help you grow your business?

Inside sales is when a sales team or salesperson sells products remotely instead of in person.

What is inside sales, and how does it work?

Inside sales refers to a company’s sales strategy. Inside sales representatives sell products and services remotely instead of meeting with customers in person. Instead, they may use various tools like email, phone, and video conferencing for a more streamlined sales approach. Inside sales is popular for many industries that sell high-ticket items, especially those in the B2B and tech spaces.

Of course, inside sales is more than simply calling a prospect and converting them into a paying customer; it complements your marketing strategy using similar tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and social media to drive more sales in any season.

Inside sales representatives don’t travel for work. Instead, they may work remotely or in an office, writing sales emails, answering customer questions, and calling prospects to discuss their needs. Businesses may also choose to outsource inside sales to a third party instead of hiring and training in-house staff.

Advantages of inside sales

There are several benefits of inside sales for businesses, especially those with customers who may need more convincing before making a purchase. The advantages of inside sales include the following:

Cost-effectiveness

Inside sales is relatively cost-effective when compared to outside sales. Inside sales representatives can do their jobs from one place, allowing them to accomplish more and talk to more leads in a single day.

This increase in productivity means that companies can get more done in less time, ultimately saving money.

Faster response times

It’s much faster and easier to write a sales email than it is to visit a potential customer’s location. Every business has a unique process for obtaining, vetting, and nurturing leads. For example, one business might engage in cold calling while another operates through referrals or forms on their website.

Whatever the case, inside sales offers faster response times to leads because the technology used allows reps to communicate with prospects without traveling.

Customer preferences

Customers typically prefer inside sales because they don’t have to meet with anyone in person. Instead, all communications can be done remotely, so they don’t have to spend too much time out of their day talking to a salesperson.

Remember, decision-makers are busy; they may not have time to grab a coffee to learn about a product, but they can read their emails or make phone calls while on the go, making it easier for them to enter and move through the customer journey.

Increase sales

Inside sales can help you increase online sales faster than using a website as your primary sales tool. With an account manager or sales rep for every customer or client, you can give them access to someone who has the answers to all their questions and can follow up with them on a regular basis for a more personalized approach.

While many products don’t require sales reps, high-ticket items like appliances, machinery, and tech products require a more personal touch because they’re higher-cost items.

Easier sales process

Inside sales allows you to thoroughly serve your customers by giving them access to a real person. Instead of contacting customer support, they’ll build a relationship with sales representatives or inside sales teams when they have questions or concerns or when they want to make a purchase.

In addition, since your customers already know their sales reps, they’ll be easier to sell to in the future because they’ve already built trust with your business.

Improved collaboration

Closing deals may require teams of sales representatives to work together. While many inside sales representatives have a list of their own customers, new prospects may have to talk to multiple reps before becoming a customer.

Of course, it can be difficult for sales reps to work together to close deals without the right technology. These individuals will need to know about past interactions and conversations to drive sales seamlessly. Inside sales technology, such as CRM software, can help representatives collaborate by logging important details about prospects and customers.

Inside sales tools include phones, video conference software, call tracking software, customer relationship management software & reporting dashboards.

Inside sales tools

Inside sales wouldn’t be possible without the right tools. As we’ve mentioned, this type of sales complements your overarching sales and marketing strategy to improve lead generation and nurturing.

Tools used for inside sales typically include the following:

  • Phone: Inside sales can happen through online communication, but phone conversations are typically best for building relationships. Many inside sales representatives use phone calls to set appointments and have follow-ups with prospects.
  • Video conferencing software: While inside sales reps don’t need to meet with customers in person, they may need to have face-to-face conversations. Video conferencing software allows them to meet with customers to show them the product or simply add a more personal touch.
  • Call tracking software: Salespeople and marketers need to determine which campaigns drive the most calls to the business. Most companies invest in at least a few different marketing tactics, and call tracking software will allow you to determine which has the best results to help you better allocate your marketing budget.
  • CRM software: CRM software can keep your sales information in one place and allow for streamlined communication and collaboration. CRM software enables you to stay on top of customer communications and create internal and external automation to save time and effectively build relationships. It can also integrate with the tools you’re already using, including spreadsheets, email marketing software, and even social media.
  • Reporting dashboards: Depending on how robust your CRM software is, you may be able to generate reports with it. However, you may also choose to invest in additional reporting tools to track sales performance metrics like the number of sales, follow-up sequences, and monthly targets.
Inside sales rep duties include demonstrating product knowledge, building relationships with prospects, nurturing leads, closing deals & reaching and reporting on sales goals.

What is an inside sales representative?

An inside sales representative is someone who drives sales for the business by communicating remotely with prospects and customers. Many inside sales reps work in an office or from home and have experience in customer support or telemarketing.

Depending on their background, outside sales representatives may also transition into inside sales reps throughout their careers.

Inside sales vs. outside sales

Throughout this article, we’ve mentioned outside sales a few times because it’s the other strategy companies can choose for building relationships with prospects and obtaining more customers. Inside and outside sales are two different sales models, but they have the same goal—to increase sales for the business.

The most significant difference between inside vs. outside sales is that outside sales requires its representatives to travel to meet with prospects and customers in person. Outside sales reps may meet in offices or restaurants, knock on doors, or attend conferences and trade shows, while inside sales reps work from home or in an office without the need for traveling.

Inside and outside sales reps use similar tools, and many sales jobs overlap, with inside sales reps going outside the office to meet with customers and outside sales reps working from their desks.

In general, inside sales focuses on acquiring leads and has a faster sales cycle, while outside sales focuses on nurturing leads and converting them. However, both can accomplish the same tasks, and as customers look for faster interactions and time to sales, they may prefer one over the other, so it’s best for businesses and sales reps to be flexible.

When choosing between inside sales vs. outside sales, it’s always best to consider the customer. Some customers may prefer in-person interactions, while others are too busy to meet with representatives and would prefer to do business over the phone or computer.

Reaching your customers

Inside sales can help you increase sales while building valuable relationships with customers through personalization. With the right tools like phones, email, social media, and robust CRM software, you can start to close more sales online.

Mailchimp’s CRM platform makes it easy to keep track of your most important sales conversations and build targeted email campaigns to sell more, build relationships, and improve your sales and marketing strategies.

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