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A Comprehensive Guide to Inside vs. Outside Sales

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One of the prominent arguments that arise while setting up a sales team is to build an inside or outside sales team?

But what is the difference between inside vs. outside sales? And how exactly will it impact my organization? 

If you are confused with either of these questions, then you are not alone! Every month, nearly around 2,000 people search the internet for ‘inside vs. outside sales. 

Well, lines really are blurry! 

Understanding the difference between them can benefit B2B organizations to generate potential leads. Both of them are the two different sides of the same coin. The ultimate goal is the same for both, i.e., to forge more sales. 

Both have their own pros and cons and thrive organizations in their own way by achieving sales targets. 

Let’s dive deep to explore the difference between inside and outside sales. 

Inside Vs. Outside Sales- Do you know the difference? 

So, you are setting up your sales team but aren’t sure which module is best for your organization. 

Well, the primary difference between inside and outside sales boils down to the mode through which products are sold, i.e., via modern-day technology or old traditional in-person modules. 

We have precisely explained the difference between the both after meticulously researching contributing factors. 

What are inside sales? 

To put it simply, inside sales refers to the process where sales teams sell the product/services remotely via digital platforms. 

The inside sales team ditched the ancient face-to-face sales strategy. This sales model is popularly adopted in the B2B sector, especially in the tech and SaaS industries. 

Inside sales reps focus more on social selling. The inside sales team makes 45% more dials, sends 8.8 more emails, and makes 49% more social touches than the outside sales team. 

This means to be an inside sales rep; you need to be a social butterfly! 

80% of the prospects prefer speaking to the sales reps over a phone rather than an email. 

However, you can choose the preferred communication channel after analyzing what works best for your business. 

However, we will happily burst a myth around inside sales that ‘it is just telemarketing.’ 

Telemarketing is scripted and can be done by anyone, including a computer. 

However, being an inside sales rep requires skills in sales and can be performed across various digital channels. 

Inside Sales Model process 

We have mentioned a typical inside sales model process that organizations typically follow:

  • Prospecting 

Prospecting is the initial step where the sales cycle starts. 

In this step, sales reps will identify the potential customer and bring them further down the sales funnel. 

  • Qualifying Leads 

Not every potential prospect is your ideal customer. In this step, the sales reps will identify the qualified leads and move them down the pipeline. 

  • Product/service demonstration 

In this step, the sales team will set up a virtual demo to demonstrate the product/services offered by the organization. 

  • Closing 

After all the hard work and handling all the objections by the client, the time for closing the deal has arrived. The only work left to do is sign the agreement and kick-start the delivery process. 

Responsibilities of the inside sales team 

An inside sales rep is entrusted with the following responsibilities: 

  • Nurturing leads to becoming the prospect’s best friend. 
  • Achieving the monthly sales goal. 
  • Collecting the relevant sales data that can be further used to make informed decisions. 
  • Exhibit superior service/product knowledge to handle customer inquiries. 
  • Acquiring leads via warn sales calls and cold emails. 
  • Perform extensive research before making a sales pitch. 
  • Identify the prospect who is actually interested in buying the products. 

Benefits of inside sales

Here are some key benefits of onboarding an inside sales team: 

  • Instant response time 

An inside sales rep will respond much sooner via social platforms. 

Rather than taking the trip to visit the customer to answer the queries, your sales reps can save time by answering the team via a communication channel. 

  • Scalability is much easier

We are not lying when we state this. Hiring an individual who would be comfortable switching locations is not a piece of cake. 

Many candidates will be reluctant even to think about it, whereas inside teams are far more scalable as they need to work from the office. 

  • Better teamwork 

The infrastructure of the inside sales team is robust as it encourages collaboration between the organizational hierarchy. 

For instance, one team member is responsible for conducting introductory calls, and then they need to pass the prospect to the technical team for a demo. 

On the other hand, outside sales is an independent role as he needs to manage everything. 

  • Shorter sales funnel

Customers take less to get from the top to the end, and their customer journey gets shortened with the inside sales model. 

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What are outside sales? 

The outside sales model requires the sales reps to travel frequently to meet the customers. 

This is the ancient sales module and requires face-to-face meetings for detailed product/service demonstrations to build healthy business relationships. 

Companies worth $500 million and more have sent 71.2% of their sales team outside to achieve sales goals. 

Outside sales include more traveling and dealing with significant prospects. 

 However, this sales model provides customers with a personalized sales experience which increases the conversion rate. 

Outside Sales Team Process 

  • Traveling to the prospect 

The first step of the outside sales process is different from the inside sales process. In the outside sales process, the sales reps have to travel often to meet the clients. 

  • Product demonstration

Instead of a virtual product/service demonstration, the outside sales team needs to perform the demonstration face to face. In this scenario, sales reps need to possess more knowledge as clients would require answers on the spot. 

  • Closing the deal 

This is our favorite step as, finally, hard work pays off. This step includes signing the contract and confirming the deal. 

  • Post-closing phase 

In the post-close phase, you nurture your relationship with the client and foster healthy relationships with them. 

It is a crucial step as this step ensures ultimate customer satisfaction. 

Responsibilities of the outside sales team 

Here are the tasks performed by outside sales reps: 

  • Travel constantly with the assigned tasks to meet the clients. 
  • Perform in-person demonstrations and negotiate to close the deals. 
  • Keep a record of the qualified leads and existing customers. 
  • Contributing to marketing strategies by providing specific insights on the locations and demographics. 

Benefits of outside sales 

Let’s have a look at the perks of an outside sales module: 

  • Higher conversion ratio 

According to research, it is stated that outside sales teams convert leads 40% more than the inside sales team. 

We are not outcasting the inside sales, but outside sales are a better option when you are chasing a large or dream client. 

A face-to-face meeting will be much more influential than a phone call or an email. Involving the decision-makers make the task seamless. 

  • Establishes a substantial client relationship 

Developing a robust relationship with the client can be tricky over a phone call. Outside sales allow your sales reps to build a healthy relationship with the customers. 

  • Commissions work as driving forces

Now let’s get it straight who doesn’t like a little monetary benefit upon reaching the end goal. Many outside sales teams work on the commission-based payment mode. 

Higher commissions can be a driving force for the sales team to close more qualified leads. 

Inside Vs. Outside sales: which one should I choose? 

Both inside and outside sales models have their own advantages and disadvantages. Whether you should choose one or both totally depends on your requirements. 

However, 68% of the business leaders reported that they would adopt a hybrid sales model. With this in mind, we would suggest organizations adopt the combination of both: inside and outside sales. 

Striking the right balance between inside and outside sales can drive great results. It will not only cost less but will bring benefits to both sales models. 

About the author

Piyush Shah is a 6 figure affiliate marketer and has helped grow multiple businesses from nothing to making insane business figures. He is currently working as Head of SEO at Dukaan.