Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?


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Salespeople have plenty of opportunities to master their skills and select the working approach in their industry. Moreover, the industry itself is evolving and provides new tricks and methods of selling. However, we will take a closer look at the two main business models. Knowing what is inside sales and outside alternatives you and what is the difference between them, as a salesperson can enhance your results by choosing the most suitable option or to mix them in your work. This article will disclose the main differences and benefits of each variant, so you will widen your knowledge on this topic.

What Do We Understand Under the Terms Inside and Outside Sales?

It is known in a business world that higher success can be achieved thanks to the combination of various methods and approaches. So you need to learn what specifications inside and outside models have in order to implement them in your work.

How Do We Define Inside Sales

As we can see from the definition, such activity is conducted in the office or another working place. It also can be called virtual selling:

  • you do not have to have face-to-face communication with a potential buyer;
  • the selling process can be done via phone conversation or online meeting;
  • you sell in a comfortable environment you know and get used to.

Anyway, such they provide 15 times more results compared to another method. So what does inside sale mean for the salesperson? He or she has everything required for the product presentation on hand and, if needed, you can use the assistance of other team members. However, with time such activity has become more like consultations. In some cases, salespeople of this kind are needed for generating leads for the further outside meeting. But today we more often can observe the combination of teams with various tasks and purposes.

Definition of Outside Sales

Now we know what inside sales are, so it is time to learn about the opposite approach. The name tells all the meaning: you go out of the office and conduct your selling activity somewhere else. It can be your client’s office or other place and time he or she prefers. In most cases, this model is used for with expensive deals when you need face-to-face communication with the person to show all the aspects of your product or service. This helps to build relationships with the buyer and seller.

As you can see, in inside vs outside sales competition the second ones can be more convenient for you or your client as there is no need to stick to working hours or the place and you can adjust meeting up to the person’s preferences and abilities. You can provide a quality and expressive presentation of what you sell as well as demonstrate the features and advantages, and highlight the most important aspects of your offer.

Difference between Inside and Outside Sales

Now we will show what elements differ inside sales vs outside sales. The list will be the following:

  • what tools are used for closing deals;
  • what sales cycle does each option have;
  • what costs they require;
  • what scaling capabilities they have;
  • what skills needed.
  1. Tools. One of the most important ones in insider selling is CRM. It helps to manage your deals, track calls and deliver SMS, emails and other messages. At the same time in outside selling process you do not rely much on CRM, but use other tools required for presenting product on site and in real life at meeting and conferences, for instance.
  2. Cycle. When you sell from your office, you have shorter cycles as your work is more aimed at lead collecting, presenting offers and creating a base for the future relationships. In the field, you work on this previously created base.
  3. Costs. Outside sales vs inside sales are more expensive. There are many requirements for providing a decent working place for every member of the selling team like computers, internet connection, CRM systems, and software. But when you sell outside, you need to pay for transport like a company car, lunch costs if the meeting is set at that time, membership for various closed clubs where businessmen can make deals etc.
  4. Scaling capabilities. Thanks to technologies, special software, and services, salesperson in the office can communicate with multiple customers at the same time and close more deals in case of successful communication. While when we schedule a meeting outside, we pay our attention to the one person, often for many hours.
  5. Skills. Both models have pretty same requirements for salesperson’s skills: effective communication, aiming at results, understanding of the problems of the target buyers etc. The only difference is that when you communicate in the office via phone or email, you have more freedom on how you look, sit, and manage your body language. While when you are in a field, you need to control all these aspects.

Outside vs Inside Sales: Pros and Cons

Taking into account differences mentioned above, let’s think of what advantages and what disadvantages each model has. This will help you to make the right choice when picking the strategy and combine approaches in your selling activity.

Outside Model

Pros:

  • opportunity to travel and see the world or at least your country;
  • you can eventually receive special discounts at hotels you often stay in;
  • commission from such deals can enhance your salary;
  • personal relationships can provide you with future business opportunities.

Cons:

  • outside versus inside sales require more of your time;
  • traveling is connected with a risk of delays etc.;
  • fewer people now want to conduct business in real life;
  • you need to take with you samples if you sell physical objects;
  • the risk to be decreased in favor of inside salespeople.

Inside Model

Pros:

  • more freedom in scheduling meeting;
  • a comfortable working place with all required equipment, objects, samples, CRM system;
  • opportunity to communicate with multiple customers or one at a time but in the same place;
  • you do not have to worry about travel issues.

Cons:

  • you do not travel for work, as it is obvious from the inside sales definition;
  • less money from the single sale;
  • you cannot close serious deals by phone;
  • less prestigious position in the marketing world.

How to Make the Most from Inside and Outside Sales?

There is always a space for improvements, so no matter what model you choose or with what you work with, you can learn some good tips on how to get more results and make your work more effective in general and pleasant for you and your customers.

Inside Sales Tips

Here you can get many benefits from the proper usage of the email option. Sending regular letters to your prospects and clients will warm up their interest in your offer and will help in maintaining the relationships. Here are some inside sales solutions:

  • create short and easy readable emails;
  • work on catching subject line that will be relevant to your message and follow trends;
  • be aware on spam filters;
  • base your emails on the researches about your receiver to highlight the current pain points;
  • the call-to-action section will make the purpose of your email clear;
  • add testimonials as a proof of the benefits of your offer.

Recommendations for Outside Model

Considering the specifications of this model, we need to look at the selling process from the different perspective. Here we will point out some tips that deal with communication aspect:

  • read the reactions of your client to adjust your words and statements to the changing course of the conversation;
  • role-playing exercises will help you to be prepared for the typical or extreme situations;
  • create a net of your customers and prospects and work on creating new connections using the existing ones.

What is Better: Inside or Outside?

There is no the right answer to this question, as we have shown, the difference between inside and outside sales is significant, but the importance of each model cannot be compared. Both have their place in the business today, as we can see from the best practices. The choice is up to the company, its course of business and specifications of the target buyers. So you need to count pros and cons and come up with your own unique selling model.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?
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