Choosing between outside vs inside sales is an important decision for all sales organizations. This choice impacts both philosophy and strategy, as well as tactics and operations.You’re constantly hustling to make quotas and hit targets, all while trying to build relationships with potential customers.
Both inside and outside sales techniques have their pros and cons, so it’s important that you weigh your options before making a decision. If you’re still on the fence about which type of sale is right for you, then this blog post is for you. We’ll debate outside vs inside sales, the pros and cons of each type of sale so that by the end, hopefully, you’ll have a better idea about which one suits your skillset and goals best.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales means that it is done remotely from the sales rep’s desk. Inside sales is a way to sell face-to-face.
Although inside sales can be used by any sales team and is a great sales model, it’s especially popular for SaaS or tech.
A common misconception is that inside sales is just telemarketing. This is slowly changing. It is impossible to be more wrong.
Telemarketing is scripted. This is what makes it different. Telemarketing is possible by anyone, even a computer. However, inside sales requires a skilled salesperson. It can be done via phone, Skype, email, or web conference . It doesn’t really matter.
Inside sales is the sales of a skilled salesperson remotely using a combination of a CRM platform and outbound tools.
What is Outside Sales?
Outside sales refers to the selling of products and/or services by face-to-face interaction. Also known as “field sales”, outside sales reps aren’t employed in-house. Instead, they meet prospects outside of the office.
Selling outside often requires a lot of travel, autonomy, as well as emotional intelligence.
Because outside reps often deal with larger, more expensive accounts and products than inside reps, they are often viewed as the company’s stars.
With today’s sales tools, Zoom and Skype, a lot of the work can be done remotely. Outside sales are distinguished by their willingness to travel wherever and whenever necessary to make the sale.
Where is outside sales better prefered?
While inside sales teams are able to easily reach a large number of people, they typically don’t have the ability to form strong relationships. Outside sales, on the other hand, are able to reach fewer people, but they are able to forge deeper connections with them.
When you’re meeting with someone in person, you can gain trust by paying attention to their non-verbal communication. For example, you can tell a lot about a person by noticing what pictures they have on their desks. This can help you build strong relationships.
Outside reps can build relationships and get a sense of how interested different individuals in an organization are in a product. This can help mitigate the risk of a sale falling apart.
Relationships with enterprise customers can help mitigate the risk of a sale falling apart.
At Orum, the ability to demonstrate its software to potential buyers in-person often makes the difference when it comes to closing an enterprise deal. Being able to troubleshoot and personally coach the buyer on the software is integral to demonstrating how the product works and making sure that it’s a good fit for them.
Nothing beats having 40 or 50 sales reps all using your product at once. It leaves an impression on buyers and really makes an impact on them.
“If the contract was worth more than $100,000, our sales reps would visit the client in person.”
What factors should you consider when determining which team to start off with?
While it’s true that building an inside sales team is the logical first step, it’s not necessarily the only step.
She explained that many consumers are already comfortable buying products without talking to a salesperson, and that they prefer to do their research on their own.
Inside sales teams often use video-streaming and presentations tools to give a more personal feel to phone sales calls.
Salespeople are increasingly turning to inside selling, which has grown 15 times faster compared to traditional outside sales methods. The coronavirus pandemic has widened that gap in growth even more.
While it may be true that more companies could benefit from having salespeople in the field, this depends on the size of the deals and the type of company.
It’s usually based on the size of the sale and the type of product.
If the contract is for a smaller company, then inside sales might be the way to go.
For large, complicated sales, having a face-to-face meeting with the client can shorten the sales process.
“It became part of our sales motion. If the contract value was over $100,000, the field sales teams went on site.”
When deciding which sales team to build first, you need to consider the contract value. If the contract value is over $100,000, the field sales team should go on site.
Inside Sales is more efficient than field sales and is more cost effective.
While field sales cannot reach as many people as inside reps, they can make up for it by closing larger, more valuable deals with their in-person interactions.
The best way to approach sales is to ask your customers how they like to buy. Then, build your entire process around their preferences.
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How do you organize your outside sales team?
Structuring your outside sales team means striking a balance between territories and existing customers.
Your sales reps may be assigned to cover specific regions, such as “any company east of the Mississippi River” or “all companies within a 3 digit area code.”
When deciding how to organize your outside sales force, it is important to consider the customer base, revenue potential and number of potential customers in each region. Tools, such as eSpatial or Badger Map, can help a sales manager organize their sales territories by syncing with a CRM system.
If you’ve worked with a client for five years, but they’re not in your region, then that’s a tricky situation.
It can be beneficial to allow salespeople to maintain relationships with customers even if it isn’t the most efficient use of the sales team, according to Benson.
At Orum, we have three offices located in San Francisco, LA and Detroit. This gives us the ability to service clients in each area, as well as maintain relationships.
Field sales reps need the freedom to operate as independent business owners in their assigned territory. This will allow them to build strong relationships with customers, which is the key to growing your business.
Each rep has the freedom to prospect and form relationships in whatever way works best for them.
How do you organize your inside sales team?
An Inside Sales team usually consists of SDR’s, Sales Executives and Sales Managers. These individuals typically work out of an office, but can also be divided into teams by territory or a specific set of clients.
At Patient Pop, the 30 Account Executives are split into two groups. The 30 Account Executives handle the entire sales process, while the 35 Sales Development Representatives support them on larger deals. This tiered system gives reps the opportunity to advance their careers and take on more responsibility.
Account executives 1s are in charge of the entire sales process, while 2s have support from SDRs for big clients.
An advantage that an inside sales model has over field-based models is that more accounts can be covered, but with less reps. This is because all meetings and negotiations are completed over the phone, and there is no need for traveling.
Outside vs inside sales: Whats the difference?
The main difference between outside and inside sales is where the sales process takes place.
Outside sales generally takes place in the field, at the customer’s business or home, while inside sales takes place in a controlled environment, such as a retail store or office.
Because outside sales require more travel and customer interaction, they are often more expensive than inside sales.
However, outside sales also tend to be more effective, as customers are more likely to make a purchase when they are face-to-face with a salesperson.
In most sales process, the qualification process is pretty much the same. Whether you have an outside or an inside sales team, all qualifying starts with researching companies and their buyers’ LinkedIn profiles.
Personalizing your outreach to customers, including information about their mission and values and sprinkling in personal details, makes the communication more effective.
To set up a meeting or to get on the phone with someone, it takes 12 to 14 messages.
Most salespeople can close deals from remote locations, and, in fact, it’s best for reps to only visit a prospect’s office when a deal is all but done.
Orum’s sales process begins with a field sales representative qualifying an opportunity. They will speak with all stakeholders involved and only travel to the company if they meet an internal threshold.
The visit’s purpose is to run a trial and close a deal with a potential client. This saves on travel costs and proves that a face-to-face approach works for a fledgling startup.
Inside and Outside Sales Can Work Together
In his opinion, the best sales teams combine both inside reps and outside ones. The two groups complement each other, making for a more unified team. By sharing information and pooling resources, they can work together to achieve more.
Inside salespeople have the ability to cover more ground than field sales reps. The latter are able to go on-site and close larger deals. By combining the two, you create a sales team structure that is much more effective.
The optimal ratio of an inside sales rep to an outside rep is 80:20, according to Jason Dorsey, CEO of LeadGenius. This would allow the company to still reach more potential customers, while also having enough high touch deals for outside sales.
Important skills that your inside sales reps should have
When an Inside Sales Rep reaches a potential customer, they have about 10 seconds left before the prospect hangs up. They need to be quick on their feet, building interest and curiosity in 10 brief moments.
It’s tough to build trust, curiosity and interest on the phone when you can’t use body language. But in-person, you can show enthusiasm, warmth and positivity to help customers feel at ease.
A sales rep can notice when a prospect is rolling their eyes, shrugging their shoulders, or leaning in.
“Even lowering your voice brings someone in and it implies importance to what you’re about to talk about.”
If you lower your voice, it will bring the person in and make them more interested in what you have to say.
Listening skills are incredibly important for an inside sales rep. If the customer sounds off, the reps need to be able to pick up on that and respond appropriately.
If a prospect sounds unenthusiastic, you need to ask them about it.
At PatientPop, Dorsey’s sales reps have taken the time to name different tones they hear from customers. This helps them better understand how the customer is feeling and what they need. By learning to listen for these cues, the sales team can more effectively help each customer.
Some of the top skills needed for an inside sales rep are learning to use downtone and shifting the conversation flow. Too often, they resort to being positive, even in the face of customer pain.
What you need to do is respond to a prospect’s question by intoning downwards on words such as “huh”, “oh”, and “ah”. This will make it sound like you’re genuinely interested and want to help.
“Some key skills that all successful salespeople have are the ability to create a sense of uncertainty and intrigue in potential clients, and to use a friendly, approachable tone. Lowering one’s voice can be an effective way of drawing people in and making them more receptive to your message.”
Mastering your tone over the phone or in-person is even more important.
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Important skills for outside sales representatives
Where inside sales requires careful listening and tone, field reps need to be skilled in reading and interpreting non-verbal cues.
A salesperson needs to be able to quickly respond to different client needs.
For companies looking to promote their sales reps to outside sales positions, having those employees develop their skills on an inside team first can help them build their presentation skills and relationships.
Role-playing with coworkers can help a sales rep gain confidence.
The best way to describe outside sales is that you’re doing everything you do in inside sales, except you also have to be able to present yourself well.
An inside sales representative needs to be able to read a room to thrive. This ability will help them to close higher value deals with clients.
Face-to- face meetings are much different than phone conversations, and you also need to have those interpersonal skills.
Hope you have a better understanding outside vs inside sales strategies. While both types of sales have their advantages, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which one is right for you. If you’re still undecided, why not try out both and see which one suits your skillset and goals best?