What Is Inside Sales? Definition, Benefits, and Strategies

Inside sales is an essential part of any successful selling strategy, and the tactics discussed in this blog post can help you become more effective and successful in closing deals. By mastering these tactics and applying them consistently, you can become a top-performing sales professional or business owner.

But what is inside sales exactly, and how does it differ from outside sales? This article will discuss inside and outside sales, benefits, challenges, and strategies for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Inside sales vs. outside sales: Inside sales refers to selling products or services remotely using digital channels such as phone, email, and video calls. Outside sales focuses on in-person meetings and interactions with customers.
  • Working on an inside sales team involves lead generation and nurturing, sales pitching, and closing the deal. 
  • Essential skills for inside sales representatives include excellent communication, time management, adaptability, persuasion, negotiation, and technical proficiency.
  • The benefits of inside sales include cost-effectiveness, faster sales cycles, and wider customer reach. The challenges include a lack of personal contact and reliance on technology.
  • Inside sales will continue to thrive, offering numerous career growth opportunities for sales professionals.
what is inside sales

Defining Inside Sales

Inside sales (also called remote sales) refers to selling products or services remotely without meeting customers face-to-face. As an inside sales rep, you primarily use digital channels such as phone, email, and video calls to engage with potential clients and close deals. Inside sales teams are becoming more popular thanks to technological advancements and the increasing demand for remote work.

Several industries, such as software, technology, and telecommunications, use inside sales reps. Companies such as Salesforce and HubSpot have successfully adopted the inside sales model, demonstrating its effectiveness in driving sales growth.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

There are key differences between inside sales vs. outside sales. Here’s a quick look at how they differ:

  • Inside sales: Reps reach customers by phone, email, chat, or video meetings.
  • Outside sales: Reps reach customers through in-person meetings, demonstrations, conventions, and conferences. Since they spend more time in the field, outside sales reps rely more on technology, such as mobile customer relationship management (CRM) and territory mapping software.

 The choice between inside and outside sales teams depends on many factors. These include the nature of the product or service being sold, the target market, and the company’s sales strategy.

Benefits of Inside Sales

While outside sales has its share of advantages, inside sales offer more potential benefits. Inside sales can significantly improve your business’s bottom line for the following reasons: 

  • Cost-effectiveness: Inside sales reps don’t travel as much as outside sales reps, reducing travel expenses and overhead costs.
  • Faster sales cycles: Inside sales allow quicker communication and decision-making than outside sales. Instead of hours traveling to clients, sales reps reach their prospects via phone, text, and email. This enables them to respond to customer issues and questions faster, leading to more immediate solutions. 
  • Wider customer reach: Inside sales reps connect with potential clients from anywhere, expanding their customer base.

Challenges of Inside Sales

Despite its advantages over outside sales, inside sales has its share of challenges. However, there are ways to overcome them to help make the sale. 

  • Lack of personal contact: Sales reps lack personal contact, making building strong client relationships difficult. To overcome this obstacle, use video calls for face-to-face conversations whenever possible and invest in reliable digital tools to enhance communication.
  • Not able to meet with all decision makers: A workaround is inviting all key team members to a demo or conference early in the sales process. This way, all questions and concerns are covered by ensuring all decision-makers are part of the process. 
  • Not having enough time: Between scheduling meetings, sending emails, and nurturing leads, inside sales reps often find there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. One way to overcome this challenge is to use an efficient CRM platform to help organize and automate many mundane tasks. 

What Does an Inside Salesperson Do?

inside sales reps

How do inside sales reps succeed at converting leads into customers? Inside sales reps are specially trained to use their skills to work with clients and boost sales.

They use the following inside sales model that begins with identifying their customers and ends with making the sale:

  1. Lead generation: Finding the ideal customer is the first step in the sales process. With today’s digital technology, online research, social media, and email campaigns help identify potential customers. 
  2. Cold calling: Inside sales teams use cold calling to generate qualified leads. To succeed in cold calling, research your prospects thoroughly, develop a compelling pitch, and practice active listening to address the potential client’s concerns effectively.
  3. Qualification: Once potential customers are identified, inside sales reps qualify them to ensure they fit the product or service well. This includes matching customers based on location, industry, and company size.
  4. Reaching out: After qualifying leads, inside sales reps contact customers via phone and email to introduce them to the product or service they offer. By reaching out, inside sales reps provide valuable information about the product or service that the customer may not have known about.
  5. Lead nurturing: Inside sales reps use lead nurturing to build long-lasting relationships with potential customers. This is done through personalized emails, phone calls, and social media messages. This helps develop a bond and allows customers to build their trust.  
  6. Sales pitch: After the customer has been identified and is interested in the product or service, the inside sales agent makes the sales pitch. The pitch highlights unique features and benefits with a demo or sales presentation. Explaining how the product or service meets the customer’s needs and solves any pain points is also a part of the sales pitch. 
  7. Closing the deal: After crafting the perfect pitch and answering all of the customer’s questions, the final step is negotiating and finalizing the sale. This includes laying out the terms of the agreement and listening to customer concerns. 

Inside Sales Skills and Qualifications

Excelling at inside sales is not just about having a good product or service. Inside sales reps are on top of their game and possess qualities and skills that make them successful.

The following are some key traits that inside sales reps possess: 

  • Excellent communication and active listening: Inside sales reps are active listeners who understand their client’s needs and wants. They also effectively communicate how the product or service can solve their problems. 
  • Time management and organization: Juggling incoming calls, responding to emails, and researching prospects takes effective time management and organizational skills. Finding a system to stay on top of everything is vital to hitting sales targets.
  • Adaptability and resilience: Inside sales reps work tirelessly behind the scenes and are prepared to handle anything that comes their way. From a difficult customer to adapt to new sales strategies, they roll with the punches to succeed.
  • Persuasion and negotiation: The art of gentle persuasion is essential in an inside sales rep’s day-to-day work. They are also keen negotiators skilled in finding common ground to close the deal that benefits both sides. 
  • Technical proficiency: Inside sales reps require certain technical expertise. Knowing how to navigate around sales software platforms and troubleshoot minor issues are vital to the job.

To ensure you set each sales rep up for success, sales training and development are essential to developing the above skills and staying updated on industry trends.

Career Paths for Inside Sales Reps

If you hire or manage sales reps, presenting them with a clear road map for advancement is crucial to their long-term loyalty and satisfaction. Luckily, strong performers will have various career paths and growth opportunities in most businesses.

Here’s a look at advancement opportunities for inside sales representatives:

  • Sales development representative (SDR): Focuses on generating leads and qualifying prospects for account executives.
  • Account executive (AE): Manages the entire sales process, from initial contact to closing the deal.
  • Account manager: Responsible for maintaining and growing relationships with existing clients.

To help advance your inside sales representatives’ careers, consider encouraging them to pursue certifications, such as the Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP) or Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP) from the AA-ISP. Offer annual professional growth allotments so each inside sales representative can attend industry conferences, webinars, and networking events to stay informed about the latest trends and news.

How to Generate Leads Through Inside Sales

Various lead generation methods are available to the inside sales team to identify potential customers. Some of these methods include:

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a powerful way to generate leads. By creating valuable, educational content that addresses the needs and concerns of your target audience, you can position your company as an industry standout.

It’s important to create content that is useful to your prospects, like white papers, webinars, blog posts, or ebooks. Doing so can help attract and engage potential clients. Tailor the content to your target audience’s needs and interests, so your company is seen as a trusted expert in your industry. By developing an email list, you can promote your content and attract potential buyers.

Paid Advertising

Use online platforms like Google Ads and social media ads to reach a wider audience and generate leads. Target your ads to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors to reach the right potential clients.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of the best places to find new leads. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are popular among B2B decision-makers and excellent opportunities to connect with potential customers. LinkedIn is a great platform to research prospective clients and reach out to them directly via InMail. By creating a LinkedIn Group in your industry, you can also position your company as a thought leader, attracting more potential leads to your business.

Actively engage with your target audience on social media platforms where you have a presence. Share relevant content, participate in industry discussions, and use social listening tools to identify potential leads.

Follow-Up Emails

Follow-up emails are a great way to stay top of mind with potential customers. You can increase your chances of closing a sale by sending personalized emails to individuals. Ensure that your emails are relevant and timely, and include an enticing call to action.

Use Sales Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools can help your team work together more efficiently, increasing lead generation. Tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack can help you manage sales pipelines, track performance metrics, and stay organized with customer data. Collaboration tools also enable you to share best practices and strategies with your team, ultimately increasing productivity.

Best Practices for Inside Sales

inside sales

Inside sales is a dynamic and exciting way to grow your business. But it takes more than just making phone calls and sending emails. The following are best practices for inside sales success.

Personalize Communications

Personalization is a crucial factor in building strong relationships with clients. When you personalize your message, you show them you care about their needs and goals. Instead of generic or canned emails, you should use clients’ data and preferences to craft personalized messages that speak directly to them. This helps you connect with them emotionally and build rapport that leads to long-term relationships.

Tailor your messages to the client’s needs, interests, and pain points. Use their name and reference specific details from previous conversations to show that you’re attentive and genuinely interested in helping them. Use concise language and tailor your message to the client’s needs.

Be Responsive and Empathetic

When responding to inquiries or questions, being prompt and empathetic is crucial. Most clients seek real-time support and don’t want to deal with waiting times or unresponsive sales reps. Use a CRM system to manage customer interactions and take a systematic approach to follow up with clients.

Be empathetic to their concerns, and try to understand their pain points. Empathy shows that you care and can help build trust and loyalty. Try to understand their perspective and offer solutions that address their unique challenges.

Share Client Testimonials and Case Studies

Sharing testimonials and success stories from your clients is another great way to build trust and credibility. Use real-life examples and highlight the results your clients achieved. Create case studies that detail how your product or service has helped clients solve their problems or meet their goals. These examples can validate your claims and show prospects the value they would get from working with your company.

Stay Informed

Hold Regular Team Meetings

Hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss progress, share leads and resources, address challenges or concerns, and celebrate successes. Use meetings to brainstorm ideas and strategies, set objectives, and review progress regularly. When working virtually, use tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to facilitate real-time communication and collaboration among team members.

Support Professional Growth

Inside sales is a rapidly changing industry, and it’s important for professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, tactics, and technologies. Encourage your inside sales team members to share their knowledge, attend training sessions, and pursue certifications to continuously improve their skills and expertise. Providing ongoing training opportunities, such as conferences, webinars, or skill development sessions, can help salespeople stay informed and current on the latest industry developments.

The Best Software and Tools for Inside Sales

Customer relationship management (CRM) software and social selling tools are essential to managing your inside sales pipeline and effectively engaging with your potential clients. Some popular platforms used by inside sales teams include:

  • Salesforce: A comprehensive CRM platform that offers lead management, contact management, sales forecasting, and reporting. Salesforce also integrates with numerous third-party applications to enhance its functionality.
  • HubSpot: A CRM platform that provides tools for marketing, sales, and customer service. HubSpot offers email tracking, meeting scheduling, live chat, lead management, and analytics.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: A social selling tool designed specifically for sales professionals, offering advanced search capabilities, lead recommendations, and insights into potential clients’ activities on LinkedIn.

To get the most out of these tools, keep CRM data up-to-date, use automation features to streamline their workflow, and regularly review analytics to identify areas for improvement.

How to Measure Inside Sales Success

As an inside sales professional, track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your success and identify areas for improvement. Some common KPIs to track include: 

Set realistic goals for each KPI and regularly review your progress to ensure you’re on track to meet your targets.

Summing Up

As a sales professional, understanding inside or remote sales is crucial to excelling in today’s competitive landscape. Now that we’ve answered the question “What is inside sales?” you can develop a strategy for your team.

By adopting the right strategies, leveraging technology, and continuously learning, you can harness the power of inside sales to drive success and grow your business.