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Difference Between Inside Sales and Outside Sales

Difference Between Inside Sales and Outside Sales
Inside sales refer to sales conducted via tele-media, while outside sales refer to sales conducted by meeting people and selling the product (outside the office, while on travel). Buzzle outlines the difference between inside sales and outside sales.
MarketingWit Staff
"The Laboratory Testing Inc. sales team continues to expand rapidly. LTI customers will benefit from the two-pronged approach, with inside and outside sales working together to bring a new level of service and satisfaction."
Brad McVaugh, Customer Service Supervisor, Laboratory Testing Inc.
To be honest, the definition of 'sales' cannot be summed up in a couple of well thought-out lines. Sales is an abstract, dynamic term, covering a broad spectrum of profiles and duties. You might opine that a salesman is an individual who knocks at your door and persuades you to buy his products. You are not wrong, of course, but sales encompasses more than selling products door-to-door. In fact, this is a part of what is called 'outside sales'.
Besides the above mentioned way, other modes of selling products and services is by meeting prospective customers, conducting presentations, conversing over the phone, sending mails, etc. The last two modes are examples of 'inside sales'. To understand the terms better, an in-depth inside sales vs. outside sales comparison is given below.
Inside Sales
  • As the word implies, 'inside sales' are done inside; meaning, within an office or enclosed surroundings.
  • Most entry-level profiles in the sales department are believed to be jobs in inside sales.
  • Here, a sales professional sells his services/products via a telephone or through the internet.
  • How well he performs will be determined by the number of successful connections he is able to introduce to the organization.
  • To succeed at this job, exceptional communication and interpersonal skills and convincing abilities are required.
  • As an inside sales representative, your job will be provided with a detailed description about the product.
  • Besides, you also need to retain old businesses as well as obtain new ones.
  • Your compensation would depend a lot on how much your organization earns through the work you have done for them.
Outside Sales
  • Again, the word here is 'outside' meaning, your work will mostly take place outdoors.
  • It is also called 'field sales'.
  • Unlike inside sales, outside sales does not include convincing clients on the phone; instead, it includes talking directly to the customers and physically exhibiting your product.
  • Your success rate and remuneration, again, depend on the revenue you generate for your employer, the new contacts you develop, and the volume of sales you manage to achieve.
  • You will actually be meeting clients face-to-face; therefore, maintaining a calm and composed demeanor is very essential.
  • You also need to be patient, optimistic, and possess outstanding communication and people-to-people skills.
  • As an outdoor sales representative, it is your duty to highlight the best of the product and retain your client.
Factors of Differentiation
Inside Sales Outside Sales
Work Environment
You will be working in an office environment at a desk. Since you will be attending calls or working online, you will be required to be well-versed in using a computer, telephone, fax, and other essentials. You will be working outside the office; in fact, there is no fixed place you can call a 'workplace'. You would be traveling all over to sell your products to potential customers.
Schedule
You will have a fixed work schedule, that will involve appointments, meetings, etc. You are to manage your own schedule here. Of course, you will have to report to someone regarding your progress, when you work for a company, but otherwise, for the entire day, you have to decide whom to meet and when. You have to schedule your appointments, so it is quite possible that you may get distracted and focus less on your work.
Appearance
Since an inside sales representative does not physically see or meet his/her clients, his appearance doesn't matter too much as long as he sounds courteous and attentive to his customer. An outside sales representative has to appear happy, clean, and presentable at all times. His customers may very well judge him on his appearance; therefore, irrespective of how he feels, he has to remain on his toes all the time.
The Product
Your product here will be your description; rather, the way you market it to your customer. To be precise, your customer is not physically viewing the product, he solely depends on you to explain what the product is all about. If you are working online, you can mail him a picture, ask him to go to your official website, yet, it will not compare to actually viewing the product. Therefore, you have to describe the product in a very positive manner. Your product can be physically displayed to the customer, this can be a huge advantage while trying to convince an undecided customer. Of course, you will have to highlight its strong points and benefits to help the customer decide.
The Verdict
  • One cannot accurately pinpoint which is better among inside and outside sales.
  • They are both equally important for the success of your product.
  • While inside sales give you an advantage of not having to actually travel to meet your customer, this can be a huge hindrance as you have to convince him/her them solely via the phone or online.
  • Outside sales, on the contrary, can be even more challenging, given that you have to actually face the client and convince him in the most pleasing manner possible.
  • You must strike a balance between 'convincing', yet 'persuasive' attitude.
  • To sum up, both are equally important for an organization.
Deciding when to employ inside and outside sales is important. You must know exactly how well the product is placed in the market, and revising customer feedback (via promotional campaigns) will help you decide when to use inside or outside sales.