Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: Which Is Best for You?

Have you ever thought about what happens when you call in an inside sales rep for a product or service? Or, maybe you’ve already called an outside sales rep for the same product or service. Are you any better off than if you had called an inside sales rep? Well, here’s the thing. Outside sales reps are trained to sell to the end user, and therefore they do a great job. They have the sales skills to close a deal.

Think your next career move can’t be figured out with a few facts and figures? Think again. A lot of companies would like you to believe that the best career path for you is one that involves an outside sales role—but research says that isn’t the case. In fact, some people like you may be better off doing an inside role, where you get to do your job the way you want—without the constraints of the outside sales culture.

Inside sales and outside sales are both proven sales training methods. They are both effective in getting your name out there and getting your business moving. So which one is best for you? The answer: both.

One of the most important choices you’ll have to make when forming your sales team is whether to prioritize internal or outside sales. Almost all salesmen are selling remotely right now because of the epidemic. But, as we look forward to a more normal world, which model will businesses default to?

They seem to be at conflict, with one focusing on customers with a high acquisition cost and ACV (annual account value) and the other on sales velocity.

The reality is that they’re simply two sides of the same sales coin, and you’ll almost certainly need both in your business to thrive. We’ll go through the benefits of each kind of salesperson, why you need both on your team, and how to find the right mix for your business.

Then we’ll go into the specifics of what you should look for in salespeople to fill those holes in your team.

What Is Inside Sales and How Does It Work?

Inside sales is sometimes known as remote sales since it takes place completely in the office, at the sales representative’s desk. Instead of selling face-to-face, inside sales use all of the communication technologies available to contemporary salespeople:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • VOIP
  • Platforms for CRM
  • plus a lot more

Any sales team may utilize inside sales, but it’s one of the most popular sales methods in B2B, particularly for SaaS and IT.

There’s a widespread misunderstanding that inside sales is basically telemarketing that’s slowly beginning to disappear. The opposite could not be farther from the truth.

Telemarketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it is scripted. Anyone, even a computer, can accomplish it. Inside sales, on the other hand, necessitates the use of a trained salesman. It may be done by phone, Skype, email, or a web conference…. It makes no difference.

Inside sales is sales performed remotely by a trained salesman using a CRM platform and outbound tools.

RELATED: How To Create A From-Scratch Inside Sales Team

What Is Outside Sales and How Does It Work?

The selling of goods and services via in-person, face-to-face encounters is known as outside sales. Outside sales representatives, often known as “field sales,” do not work in-house. They meet with prospects outside of the workplace instead.

Outside sales typically requires a great deal of travel, independence, and emotional intelligence.

Outside sales representatives are frequently regarded as the company’s superstars since they deal with bigger and more costly clients and goods than inside sales people.

A significant part of the work may be done from the office using today’s sales enablement technologies, such as Skype and Zoom. Outside salespeople, on the other hand, are distinguished by their adaptability and readiness to make sales in person whenever and wherever they are required.

RELATED: How to Sell Like an Entrepreneur: A Simple Mindset Shift That Will Help You Close More Deals

What are the roles of inside and outside sales reps?

Inside sales representatives work remotely, selling over the phone, the internet, or through video call. Inside sales representatives are increasingly focusing on the burgeoning area of social selling. Inside sales professionals make 45 percent more phone calls, send 8.8% more emails, and have 49 percent more social interactions than outside sales representatives.

Inside sales representatives are much more likely to have a set amount of work to do each day, with figures to reach for phone calls made, meetings scheduled, and proposals submitted.

Outside sales representatives spend much more time selling at conferences and trade fairs, as well as delivering speeches and visiting customers’ workplaces. They do, however, spend almost half of their time marketing remotely. Even before the 2022 pandemic altered representatives’ selling patterns, the amount of time an outside sales rep spends on remote selling had risen by 88 percent. In 2022, there will very certainly be significant increases in distant selling time.

Should You Sell From Inside Or Outside?

Companies have always concentrated on outside sales, but the sector is changing.

Inside sales is expanding at a 15x quicker pace than outside sales.

The majority of companies are now aiming for a 50/50 split in their teams. According to data from 2019, it would take approximately four years for inside selling to become the norm, although this trend is expected to accelerate in 2022.

The majority of companies are now aiming for a 50/50 split in their teams. This is mainly due to the internet’s impact on how most people purchase goods. People are less willing to be marketed to in person than they have ever been.

Only “27.9% of their Buyers chose to purchase face to face,” according to a study conducted by SBMI for one of their clients.

The importance of face-to-face sales has not diminished. People prefer to spend huge sums of money or make significant purchases in person, but increasingly, virtual transactions are more convenient for everyone.

Your company’s balance of internal vs. outside sales will be determined by your goods, your organization, and your sales strategy.

The End-Result

One of the most important factors in determining the best combination of internal and outside sales is the goods you offer.

“Is our product something we’d be likely to purchase on impulse, say in reaction to a Facebook ad, or is it more like a costly technology that would alter the way our business operates?” is a smart approach to think about it.

The following items sell well when advertised on Facebook:

  • Products that are small in size
  • Products containing a tiny amount of ACV
  • Products that address a single, urgent issue
  • A one-time investment
  • Something that appeals to a broad audience.

For certain goods, using inside sales will be more cost-effective. The ease of the purchase will be one of the most significant elements to your client since the price and commitment are reduced. The sales velocity has increased significantly.

Most individuals, on the other hand, prefer to purchase bigger, more costly items in person.

For example, you probably don’t want to purchase an enterprise CRM over the internet. You typically want to see how something works in person, have the product personalized for your brand, and shake a person’s hand when making a purchase.

You’ll probably trust the salesperson’s suggestion to purchase the product if you trust them. If you don’t, you’re unlikely to succeed.

Outside sales thrives in this situation.

These are the ones to look out for:

  • Products that are large and costly
  • ACV-rich products are those that have a high ACV.
  • Products that address a more difficult issue or provide a wide range of possible advantages
  • Products that need a long-term commitment, payment, or have a significant impact on the future

When it comes to these kind of goods, your customers will want to take their time and consider their options, and they will appreciate the personal touch. These clients generally have a significantly higher CAC, so spending the effort to see them in person will result in more money flowing through your business.

This is, however, changing.

People are growing more at ease with making big purchases on the internet. It wasn’t long ago that purchasing a vehicle via the internet was unimaginable. It now occurs on eBay and other sites on a pretty frequent basis.

That is why, regardless of your product, you must have individuals on your team that are capable of both inside and outside sales.

inside vs outside sales

The Corporation

The ratio of internal to outside sales that your team employs is influenced by the type of your company. Similarly to how your goods may be more suited for inside or outside sales, your company may be better suited for one or the other.

If your company fits the following criteria, inside sales may be a suitable match for you:

  • It’s mostly digital.
  • Dedicated to achieving a high sales velocity
  • The goal is to reach out to as many new people as possible.

If your company meets the following criteria, outside sales will be a better fit:

  • Sells tangible goods or sophisticated technologies.
  • Is aiming for a more affluent clientele.
  • Is committed to building long-term, mutually beneficial connections with your customers?

The Plan of Action

In establishing your sales technique, your sales strategy is critical. You’re in danger if your approach doesn’t fit your team’s strengths. Here’s how to figure out the skills your sales staff will need.

If you have the following sales model, inside sales is a suitable match for you:

  • Transactional in nature
  • Digital funnels automate the process.

Outside sales may be a suitable match if your sales model is as follows:

  • Is primarily relational in nature
  • Demos, meetings, and other high-touch engagements are required.

What’s the difference between them, and how might that help you?

Inside and outside sales have a lot of overlap in today’s environment, yet they still have distinctions.

On the surface, they seem to be quite different – one is an office profession, while the other requires a lot of travel and face-to-face interactions. Their real sales procedures, however, are almost similar.

So, what are the key distinctions, and why do they matter?

Cycle of Sales

The duration and complexity of the sales cycle are significant differences between the two.

Inside sales has a significantly shorter sales cycle than outside sales. It follows the same stages as outside sales, but it moves at a considerably faster pace.

inside sales process

SMB and mid-market customers are the emphasis of inside sales. Customers don’t have to think as much about the goods, and they don’t have to make as many decisions.

Because the profit margin is already razor-thin, you can’t afford to spend a lot of money and effort acquiring these clients.

Inside sales is, as a result, a numbers game. The emphasis is on quantity.

Outside sales, on the other hand, focuses on large clients with greater ACV. As a result, the client will need extra time to make this significant choice.

To establish the trust and connection required to take the prospect through the sales process, you’ll need a customized touch and plenty of face time.

Outside sales have a significantly high CAC compared to inside sales because of this, as well as the expense of travel. As a result, high-quality, high-value accounts are prioritized.

An inside salesman may complete the whole sales process in a matter of hours, if not minutes. And, if they’re conducting a webinar or a group call, they might be pitching to a large number of people at once. Outside sales, on the other hand, may have week- or month-long sales cycles.

Rate of Closure

Another significant distinction is their close rates. Outside salespeople have a significantly greater close rate than inside salespeople, on average.

This isn’t because outside sales representatives are better at their professions; rather, it’s a result of their various tactics. One is concerned with volume, economies of scale, and slim profit margins. The other, on the other hand, is entirely concentrated on the polar opposite.

The average cost of an inside sale call is $50, compared to $308 for an outside sale. That implies it’s not a big issue if you lose an inside sell. When compared to outside sales, the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) of inside sales is extremely cheap.

Finding another prospective client may take you a day or two at most. In fact, letting the tough client leave will likely result in greater income since you may make many additional sales in the time you would have spent dealing with the one problematic customer.

The CAC for outside sales is considerably greater. If you lose a deal here, you may be out of business for weeks or months, costing you thousands of dollars.

It’s more cost-effective to engage with a tough customer for as long as it takes to win them over if the account value and CAC are both high.

RELATED: How Today’s Top SaaS Sales Teams Are Increasing Closing Rates

What Are Some Ways Inside And Outside Sales Can Collaborate?

At the strategic level, internal and outside sales work together to improve your bottom line in the most apparent manner. You may prevent lost chances by using both models, as I stated before.

  • Small to mid-sized companies – the customers that are more transactional — are the primary emphasis of inside sales.
  • This frees up outside sales representatives to devote the time and resources necessary to bringing in bigger customers with higher ACVs.

However, this isn’t the only method the two branches may collaborate. They may also provide tactical assistance to one another.

When we contacted Mark Kosoglow, he informed us:

“Inside sales teams work together and exchange best practices with much less friction than outside salespeople. When you sit next to a peer, it’s natural to hear how they overcome an issue on a live call.

A short discussion while you wait for the individual to attend the meeting may help you understand how to position value to a certain persona you’re going to call.

As a consequence, once a critical mass of effectiveness has been reached, the concepts that representatives like may proliferate and be pushed out as sales enablement to outside reps.”

It’s also essential to note that your customer’s preferred method of interaction with your business isn’t fixed.

Your client may prefer the in-person sales presentation the first time they purchase from you, but after they trust your business, they may prefer the ease of purchasing remotely.

It’s also possible that the reverse is true. During the same sales process, their preferred way of communication with your sales team may vary.

Both inside and outside sales must collaborate. Only then can they direct leads to the appropriate department, ensuring that you’re engaging with customers in the most efficient manner possible.

Inside Sales Requires the Following Skills and Qualifications

One of the most challenging aspects of inside sales is explaining the goods. Without the use of images, the salesman must often explain the product through email or phone, but this is becoming simpler with the use of video conferencing and other technologies.

They must be excellent at research and communication to combat this. Inside sales requires someone who can break down complex subjects into simple terms and use words to paint a picture for the customer.

They, like all salesmen, must be convincing, but they must be as compelling in paper as they are in person.

The ability to establish strong connections that lead to sales is another essential talent for inside salespeople. Inside sales may not require the same degree of connection as outside sales, but it does necessitate some level of relationship, and establishing that through rather impersonal media in a short period of time is difficult.

To get around this problem, the role necessitates social listening and a friendly demeanor.

Inside salesmen must be patient and have a thick skin. Inside sales is, after all, a numbers game. They’ll have a low close rate and often hear “no.” They must be able to recover and go on to the next sale with the same vigor as they did the first.

The goal of inside sales is to make the customer’s life easier. Flexibility in terms of hours and techniques may be a huge advantage.

Other essential talents include technical sales abilities such as:

  • Making an appointment
  • Templates for emails and tracking
  • Analytics that predicts the future

As well as company growth abilities such as:

  • Make contact with sources.
  • Coaching and education
  • Engagement with the content

Education and Experience

Other than a high school diploma, most inside sales positions do not need any special schooling.

Inside sales may be an excellent entry-level sales job if the candidate has the required sales abilities.

Inquiries to Ask During an Interview

  1. What words would you use to describe X product?
  2. How do you keep up with your target market, or how would you keep up with it?
  3. How do you determine what your client requires?
  4. How do you respond when a client complains about a flaw in your product?
  5. Are you confident in your ability to generate leads on your own? If that’s the case, how do you go about doing it?
  6. Are you able to work with a quick sales cycle?
  7. How do you go about doing market research for your product?
  8. Take us through the steps of your sales process.

Outside Sales Requires Specific Skills and Qualifications

Outside salespeople will meet with C-level executives and work with them to create strategies for using your goods to help them accomplish their objectives. This requires a great deal of knowledge, self-assurance, and inventiveness.

Most importantly, your outside sales representatives must have high emotional intelligence, or EQ. They must have excellent social skills and be at ease conversing with and presenting to others.

RELATED: The 30+ Most Desirable Sales Skills & Traits You MUST Develop To Become An Unstoppable Rep

They’ll be on the road a lot, so they’ll need to be able to establish their own schedules and flourish on their own.

With outside sales, losing a transaction is a lot larger issue. As a result, your sales representatives in the field must be proactive problem solvers who can find a method to close the deal.

They must be totally adaptable, ready to travel and meet with a prospective client at any time. Because of their high CAC, they must take advantage of any chance that comes their way.

They should also be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • Customer service
  • Development of new businesses
  • Management of accounts
  • Sales of accounts

Education and Experience

Outside salespeople often have a little more experience and education than inside salespeople. A marketing, business, economics, or communications degree may be very useful.

Any prior sales experience that includes in-person contacts, a high closing rate, or a significant degree of autonomy is beneficial.

In an interview, you should ask the following questions:

  1. How do you keep up with what’s going on in your target market?
  2. How confident are you in your ability to travel for X length of time?
  3. How do you demonstrate the worth of your product?
  4. Tell me about a moment when you managed to win over a difficult customer.
  5. What is the average length of your sales cycle?
  6. What are the most frequent causes of deal failure?
  7. How do you usually establish rapport with potential clients?
  8. What part of your sales process does social media play?
  9. How do you determine whether or not a candidate is qualified?
  10. What would you say is the best way to characterize your negotiating style?
  11. How do you collaborate with the rest of your team?
  12. What are your time management strategies?
  13. What methods do you use to do research and prepare for meetings?

Compensation

So, how much do you pay them now?

According to payscale.com, the typical outside sales compensation is approximately $50,000. Some earn up to $80,000 a year, but commissions and incentives account for a large portion of their earnings.

Inside sales jobs pay less on average, about $40,000, although this varies by region, industry, and seniority.

They also earn a lot less money through commissions and bonuses.

RELATED: [Templates] How to Create Effective Sales Compensation Plans for Any Customer-Facing Role

As with other disparities, this one is narrowing. Salaries and incentives are increasing as more businesses recognize the importance of inside sales.

Who is the most suitable candidate for the job?

Inside and outside sales representatives are more similar than they are different, which is one of the most essential things to remember. They’re all experienced salespeople with one objective in mind: to sell.

Inside and outside sales are two distinct tools in your sales toolkit, and you should be using both of them to ensure that you convert as many potential sales as possible.

In your business, there shouldn’t be a black-and-white distinction between inside and outside sales. It’s a slider, and you’ll need to discover the right mix for your business.

So, which is the best option?

Whichever one gets the job done.


Also available on Medium.

When it comes to selling, the conventional wisdom has long held that it is easier to sell to people who you know and have some type of relationship with. After all, you already know their name, you might have been to their house, and you have a bit of history with them. So, when it comes to selling, the conventional wisdom has long held that it is easier to sell to people who you know and have some type of relationship with. This is true for many things, but it is not true for all things.. Read more about what is outside sales and let us know what you think.

{“@context”:”https://schema.org”,”@type”:”FAQPage”,”mainEntity”:[{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Which is harder inside or outside sales?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
Inside sales are harder because you have to deal with customers and the public. Outside sales are easier because you can work in a more isolated environment.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is Inside sales easy?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
Yes, it is easy to sell inside.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”What are the benefits of inside sales?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
Inside sales is a type of sales in which the company that sells the product or service does not have to pay for advertising.”}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is harder inside or outside sales?

Inside sales are harder because you have to deal with customers and the public. Outside sales are easier because you can work in a more isolated environment.

Is Inside sales easy?

Yes, it is easy to sell inside.

What are the benefits of inside sales?

Inside sales is a type of sales in which the company that sells the product or service does not have to pay for advertising.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • inside sales vs outside sales salary
  • what is inside sales vs outside sales
  • what is inside sales
  • inside sales vs outside sales
  • inside sales definition