What Is Inside Sales? (With Strategies for Success)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 3, 2022 | Published September 7, 2021

Updated September 3, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales jobs are becoming more lucrative as most companies need sales personnel to help them reach their business goals. One of the most relevant sales positions is inside sales, which relies on technology to improve customer business relationships. Understanding what inside sales involves can help you understand whether you suit for the role and what you require to excel in the field. In this article, we answer the question "what is inside sales?", explain the difference between inside sales, telemarketing and outside sales, provide some strategies to improve your success, and highlight the advantages and skills for a career in inside sales.

What is inside sales?

Inside sales refers to a sales model which involves building relationships with likely customers using various technological tools and interactions. For example, an inside sales team identifies leads from various sources and converts them into clients through personalized and regular contact. This model is growing, and it includes contacting potential customers through the phone, via email, using chatbots, and through virtual meetings. While other industries also rely on inside sales, it's now a common approach for high-end business-to-customer, software as services, and business-to-business products.

Inside salespersons build direct relationships and trust between a company and its clients. They use various tools, such as social intelligence software, email newsletters, and sales analytics to locate leads. They then apply customer relationship management (CRM) systems and productivity software to track these leads, interact with them, and document the interactions and eventual sales.

Related: Top Degree in Marketing Jobs

Inside sales vs. telemarketing

Telemarketing and inside sales are similar because they involve communication over phones to market products to potential clients. They differ in that, while telemarketing involves scripted or predicted marketing, inside sales is more organic. For instance, companies usually adopt telemarketing for low-ticket items where multiple contacts are rarely important. In contrast, inside sales involve multiple contacts and inside salespersons seek to understand the needs and difficulties of clients before recommending relevant products that can help.

Inside salespersons are highly trained, creative, and adept salespersons with an in-depth understanding of converting leads into clients. They maintain a long-term relationship with leads, inform them of special promotions, answer relevant questions, and inform them of changes in service offering. Inside salespersons also focus on organic leads, such as website visits and social media interactions using various sales intelligence tools.

Inside sales vs. outside sales

The main difference between inside and outside sales is where the role requires you to work. Inside sales involves contacting and converting leads virtually using technological solutions. Usually, an inside salesperson works from the comfort of an office, as the word "inside" implies. In contrast, outside sales involves meeting and converting leads through physical contacts. Usually, outside salespersons attend trade shows and stay in stores to meet potential clients. They provide physical demonstrations, respond to questions, and maintain a relationship with potential clients if they are unable to convert them on that day. Usually, inside salespeople have wider contact and communication channels as they use the internet, while outside salespersons have limited contact points.

Inside sales is advantageous compared to outside sales, and some of these advantages include:

  • Inside sales is more cost-effective compared to outside sales.

  • Most customers prefer inside sales as it allows you to reach them in the comfort of their homes.

  • Inside sales encourage improved and better collaboration.

  • Inside sales offers sales representatives comprehensive tools that improve productivity.

Best inside sales strategies

Here are some inside sales strategies you can adopt to improve performance:

Understand your service or product

To complete sales, you need to understand your service or product and how it differs from your competitors. This ensures that you can answer questions confidently and correctly and let customers know the value proposition of a product or service. Usually, when a potential client realizes you understand the service or product and you're confident about it, you're more likely to convince them about purchasing the product themselves. In addition, when you understand the product or service, you are ready for any questions, which allows you to maintain a friendly and positive attitude that clients typically appreciate.

Learn about CRM software

Customer relationship management systems allow you to track leads and add contact methods for a company's product or service offering. This software allows you to remain organized in your interaction with existing leads. For instance, it allows you to identify popular or likely questions and features that clients want. You can then prepare for these questions and identify the best ways to market or present these features to convince clients to purchase your product or service.

Learn the use of virtual meeting services

As an inside salesperson, you depend on technology to achieve your marketing targets and connect with your leads remotely. You need a thorough understanding of online presentation programs and meeting services to ensure you can easily communicate. Get comfortable using these platforms and practise using them regularly. This ensures that you can display expertise and technical know-how when communicating with clients, increasing your chances of impressing them. Also, improving your understanding of these platforms makes it easier and faster to reach a wider range of people and market your products and services.

Maximize sales intelligence tools

You can also maximize sales intelligence tools to help improve your performance. These tools provide insight into the best strategies to identify leads, the best means to contact leads, and the best option to convert them to customers. In addition, these tools provide access to large data that are customizable to your company's needs. These tools support automation, such as scheduling newsletters or social media contact. Finally, you can integrate some of these tools with your customer relationship management systems to improve the likelihood of marketing success.

Develop and use active listening and speaking skills

Being an inside salesperson requires considerable interaction with leads and potential customers. You need to contact them and seek to understand their needs, goals, expectations, and concerns. This requires active listening skills rather than just reading from a script. You need to develop excellent communication skills to understand your clients and inform them of the solution your product or service provides. Engage your leads and communicate with them calmly and authoritatively.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: A Key To Effective Communication in the Workplace

Skills needed as an inside sales representative

Here are some skills you need to excel as an inside sales representative:

  • Computer skills: You need computer skills to deliver on the job. For instance, you need to prepare contracts, use word processors, spreadsheet software, and presentation programs in this role.

  • Confidence: You need a high level of confidence to approach leads and sell your product or services. You need to be confident in your ability and the usefulness of the product or service.

  • Customer service skills: You need customer skills to approach leads and maintain a positive relationship with customers. For instance, you need to make them comfortable when answering their questions and convince them to choose the product or service.

  • Research skills: You need exceptional research skills to identify potential clients, understand their needs, and recognize how you can meet these needs. You can also combine this with networking skills to perform your tasks.

Related: Key Marketing Skills for Your Resume (With Examples)

Advantages of being an inside salesperson

Working as an inside salesperson has some benefits, and they include:

Predictable schedule

One of the benefits of working as an inside salesperson is that you enjoy a predictable schedule. Usually, you work from an office and use technological solutions to contact and convert leads to customers. This ensures you can plan your day, month, and even year easily. In some cases, you can even work remotely, depending on your company's policies.

Improved subject matter expertise

As an inside salesperson, you need to understand your product and service thoroughly to help convince leads to become customers. While trying to achieve this, you gain technical knowledge on various related subject matters. This allows you to become a subject matter expert, helping you advance in your career or make you a valuable member of your team.

Improved interpersonal relationship

Being an inside salesperson involves constantly communicating with clients to understand their needs and expectations regarding your product. This involves creating a comfortable and direct relationship with clients. Constantly working with many clients can help you build your interpersonal skills to an impressive level, making you ideal for any team.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Increased skill set

Working as an inside salesperson requires you to demonstrate a considerable number of skills. For instance, you need good communication skills when talking to leads. You also need organizational skills to ensure you can manage multiple clients. Time management, presentation, and technological skills are also needed as an inside salesperson.

By constantly performing this role, you get to practise these skills and improve your proficiency. You can also develop other related skills, such as business networking skills, understanding buying decisions, and sales strategies. Along with your analytical and creative skills, all these ensure you become a better and more valuable professional.

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