What Is Inside Sales (Including Advantages and Disadvantages)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 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 roles are in high demand and can be very lucrative. One of the fastest-growing sales roles is inside sales, where you use technology to connect with leads to build business relationships. This position is ideal if you want to work in business-to-business sales, software as a service or high-end consumer goods. In this article, we describe what inside sales is, provide a list of tips you can use while working in inside sales and the advantages of working as an inside salesperson.

Related: What Is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

What is inside sales?

Inside sales is a growing sales model that builds relationships with potential customers through a variety of technological interactions, or "touches." A touch can include contacting customers through email, over the phone, through a chat program or in a virtual meeting space. Inside sales is most common for business-to-business (B2B), software as a service (SAAS) and high-end business-to-customer (B2C) products, but other industries use it as the technology becomes available. Inside sales teams use leads from a variety of sources and nurture them into customers through regular and personalised contact.

As an inside salesperson, your goal is to build trust and direct relationships between your company and potential clients. People who work in this role use several tools to find leads, including sales analytics software, social intelligence software, and email newsletters. Inside sales departments also use productivity software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to document interactions with leads, track sales and organise schedules.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)

Inside vs. outside sales

With inside sales, the primary contact with customers and leads is from an office. Outside sales representatives spend most of their time meeting with contacts in person at trade shows, on location and in stores. These sales teams travel to where their market physically is to provide demonstrations, answer questions and get contact information if they can't make a sale that day. Outside salespeople usually have limited points of contact. This is different from an inside salesperson, who is establishing a pattern of connection with their leads through mostly digital means and reaches out to multiple leads at once.

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Inside sales vs. cold calling

Cold-calling is the practice of calling leads on the phone with no introduction to pitch your product or service. Cold callers typically have a list of leads who may not have expressed interest in their product. Most cold callers are establishing a single point of communication before they move on. This differs from the organic relationship building that is involved with inside sales. Inside salespeople talk with their leads more than once using the phone, email and social media. They use their contacts, not to make a pitch, but to understand the needs of the customer, to build a bond.

Related: 30 Common Sales Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Inside sales tips

Here are some inside tips tools that you can use to help your sales team incorporate nurturing relationships with their clients:

Utilize CRM software

Customer relationship management software is software that is designed to help companies keep track of where their clients are in the sales funnel. It has helpful functions meant to organise your outreach and use your salesperson's time productively. You can plan out how you want to reach out to your client and even schedule different touches so that you send them out regularly. You can also keep track of what leads you convert and what leads you need to continue to reach out to.

Analyse sales intelligence

Sales intelligence tools can help you determine the best ways to close deals. They collect information about how many touches leads had before your sales team could convert them into sales. This can help you figure out how many touches you should expect to make with each customer. You can also track information about the lead that may show what approach to use. Analysing sales information can help you strengthen your sales procedure to improve your team's performance.

Engage communication skills

Inside sales depend on the salespeople establishing a bond with their clients. Salespeople can do this by listening to their clients and asking them follow-up questions about their needs and their disappointments with the services they already have. To build these relationships with their leads and provide a meaningful service, inside salespeople use their communication skills to listen actively and communicate effectively. By speaking with leads authentically with valid interest, they can garner more positive results than simply reading off a script.

Develop knowledge about your product and service

Knowing the particulars of the product you are selling can help you speak about it and share information more easily with your leads. If you seem like an expert in the subject, your leads may trust your opinion and recommendation more. Develop an understanding of your product's advantages and disadvantages, as well as what situations they are most appropriate for, so you can accurately assist leads in addressing their problems. Besides knowing your own product, get to know your competitors as well. Understanding your company's place in the market can help you speak from a place of knowledge when selling.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of inside sales?

Here are some advantages of inside sales:

  • Faster response times: Using technology to automate a lot of the contact between you and your leads can result in a faster response time. This increases the likelihood that you can provide quick and accurate service to your customers before they move on to your competitors.

  • Reduced cost: While inside sales technology and software may have a high initial cost, the ultimate reduction of travel, personnel and time can save money. Inside sales is a less expensive form of sales than outside sales.

  • Easier to scale: An inside sales team develops and uses the same process. This means that they use the same system of touches and usually much of the same content to convert their leads to sales. This makes scaling the team and process to encompass more sellers and more clients easier than when individual salespeople are using their own techniques.

Here are some disadvantages of inside sales:

  • Lead quality: It can be hard to establish which leads have the potential to be converted and which leads do not in a digital space. Inside sales is more personal than cold-calling, but can still involve speaking with clients who may not buy your product or service. Salespeople can overcome this by using their communication skills to listen to the needs of their leads and determine if they have the potential to make a sale.

  • Differentiating yourself: As inside sales become more and more popular, it may become hard to differentiate yourself from your competitors. More and more digital spaces have ads, so to differentiate your product or service, prioritise the connection you can make with your leads and the knowledge you can bring to your interactions.

  • Staying motivated: Inside sales is a more structured environment than other types of sales. To stay engaged, remember that every interaction with a lead is a new chance to make a sale and, though you are guiding them through a process, you are also establishing a real connection with them.

Is inside sales a good career?

Depending on your preferences, inside sales can be a good career move. Here are some reasons inside sales may be right for you:

  • Location: Inside sales typically take place from inside a salesperson's office, because they are reaching out via digital means. Outside sales traditionally requires a lot of travel and in-person meetings with leads.

  • Interdepartmental work: Inside sales teams work across departments to improve their sales process and the overall service or product. They can work with marketing to develop assets and communication channels like social media and they can also work with research and development because they have feedback directly from the customer about how the service works and what customers are looking for in the market.

  • Consistent schedule: Inside salespeople are typically working from a sales process that determines their schedule. This means they have a more consistent schedule than outside salespeople. Their lack of travel also makes their schedule more predictable. If you have family obligations or are not interested in travel, then inside sales can be a splendid position for you.

  • Performance reviews: Inside sales depend on technology to make sales and to track their progress. Salespeople who want to progress their career can use sales analytics to show their improvement and value to the company. Traditionally, promotions may have gone to those who had relationships with their managers or the best clients but, with inside sales, your high performance is easily quantifiable.

An inside sales representative makes an average of ₹20,711 per month. This is more than a standard sales representative makes in a month by around ₹3,000. This salary increase shows that inside sales is a good job in sales.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries vary depending on the hiring organisation and candidate experience, academic background and location.

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