Inside Sales vs Outside Sales: A Complete Comparison Guide

Picture this. Your company has launched a new CRM. You are excited about it. But what next? Marketing. Lead Generation. Customers. And that’s where you incorporate the two sales strategies and create your sales funnel: Inside sales & outside sales. But which one is right for your business?

For this, you need to understand inside vs outside sales before implementing them into your sales organization.

In this comparison guide, we dive into the inside sales vs outside sales model and understand which model works best for your business.

What is Inside Sales?

Inside sales happen when the representatives reach out to leads, nurture, and convert them into customers remotely.

Let’s say a customer follows you on a social platform like LinkedIn and enquires about your product. When your company’s sales team responds to the customer, it is inside sales.

The most common ways a representative engages with leads in inside sales is through calls, messages, and emails.

What Do Inside Sales Representatives Do?

Inside sales representatives work with potential customers and guide them through the sales process. The aim of these representatives is to help their customers find the right product or services and solve their problems.

The key responsibilities of the Inside sales representative include:

  • Explaining the product knowledge to answer the customer’s queries
  • Building relationships with potential customers to build trust and nurture a professional relationship along with managing referrals from existing customers
  • Reaching their monthly targets by closing potential leads aligning to business growth
  • Reporting and analysing relevant sales data

Does Inside Sales Mean Cold Calling Your Clients?

Inside Sales will soon surpass field sales. The only question is: Are you ready?

— Josiane Feigon, Founder, Tele Smart Communications

As inside sales is a remote process, the tools used to communicate with customers and prospects. Most of the time, cold calls are made to prospective customers in this process.

But does it mean inside sales solely mean cold calling?

Well, no! Inside sales calls also include calls from your prospective customers.

Inside sales involves, but is not limited to, engaging and interacting with your prospects and customers via multiple channels. This includes cold calling, sending and replying to emails, chat messages, and answering inbound queries.

What do Outside Sales Representatives Do?

Outside sales representatives sell products and services to potential customers by traveling and demonstrating the products to them. Outside sales representatives meet their customers face to face and educate them for converting business deals.

For example,

Samantha is an outside sales representative for a company that offers CRM solutions. She travels and meets her customers every week. In her meeting, she explains about the features and benefits of using the CRM solution to her customers.

The key responsibilities of an outside sales representative includes:

  • Conducting face-to-face meetings with potential leads and demonstrating the product or service benefits to the customer
  • Monitoring and reaching sales goals as set by the company executives

Inside Sales vs Outside Sales

1. Sales Cycle

Inside sales are shorter than an outside sales cycle. This sales cycle involves the same process that the outside sales cycle involves, the only difference being the inside sales works quicker.

Inside sales do not consume much time for decision-makers to make their final decision. This sale focuses on the volume of customers converted.

Outside sales is a longer process as it involves dealing with high-ticket customers. For this, you need to personalize your business relationship by meeting them face-to-face. The focus of these sales is high-quality customers.

2. Conversion Rate

According to Spotio, face to face or field sales teams make up 71.2% of the sales force. Outside sales are likely to convert at a higher rate than inside sales as they focus on nurturing customer relationships by personalizing them with a human touch.

According to Charlie Cook’s Marketing Success, cold calling has a success rate of 2%.

Inside sales focus on cold calling and connecting with prospective customers, which has a lower rate of converting. Inside sales show effective conversion through cold calls and cold emails when done strategically.

For inside sales, make a streamlined sales process that focuses on conversion, reach out to your customer through all your inside sales channels (emails, calls, messages).

Follow ups are the key to success in driving inside sales conversion rates.

Should You use Inside Sales or Outside Sales?

According to Spotio, companies that use outside sales strategies have a 30.2% higher closing rate than inside sales.

Sanjana works for a company that sells CRM products. She travels every week to meet three customers and explains to them how they can use the product. She also explains to them how the product can rescue their manual work and improve their productivity. Through her interaction and way of demonstration, Sanjana converts two out of three customers every week.

Because face-to-face meetings provide a human touch and help in building a more effective professional relationship rather than virtual deals, people prefer to convert using outside sales deals.

Decoding which type of sales model you should include in your business depends on your business.

What Does Your Product Say?

The first step to determine the type of sales is based on your product. Is your product a high-end technology? Or is it something that can be bought impulsively? Is it expensive?

Define your product. If it is a smaller product, opt for inside sales. If it is a high-end product, opt for outside sales. You can also combine the two sales methods for better conversion results.

Suppose your company offers a CRM solution to businesses, for this, you offer a 7 day trial to the customer. Once they have tested your product and the trial has ended, you can engage with them through emails. If they have queries, you can further connect with them over a call.

If they still have doubts about how to use the product, send a sales representative from your team to engage with them and help them understand the technicalities of the software and how the software can improve their business productivity.

What Does Your Strategy Say?

Both inside & outside sales focus on strategy. If you use the right strategy, you will convert your prospects into customers.

Strategy is about choosing what not to do as well what to do. A business until needs to decide what need it aims to satisfy in what group of people and with what value proposition that distinguishes the business from its competitors.

— Philip Kotler, Marketing Author & Consultant

Inside sales will be a good fit if your sales strategy involves:

  • More transactions
  • Automated digital funnel for sales

Outside sale is a good fit for you if your sales strategy involves:

  • High end and multiple interactions and demos to convert the prospect into a customer

Both inside sales and outside sales are worth the time invested but it is important you know which one works best for your business and which to use when.

Key Takeaways

..let’s focus on inside vs outside sales for one last time:

  • Instead of focusing on one, use strategic inside and outside sales to generate leads
  • Before the lead generation process comes your product. Analyse what kind of process works best for your product: inside sales or outside sales

When you know your product better, you can understand which sales process could work the best and leverage it with the best marketing strategies.

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