In the complex economy of today’s world that relies heavily on services, there are many different and constantly evolving ways to acquire and reach out to customers in order to pitch and make sales. With the advent of the internet in particular, competition is fiercer than ever before, and physical door-to-door sales, apart from local or start-up initiatives, have largely given way to online and international transactions. One such mode of making sales that has risen to prominence in recent years is in the form of what are known as inside sales.
Inside Sales vs Outside Sales
So what is inside sales exactly? To put it in the simplest possible terms, inside sales refers to sales that are done remotely or virtually. This is in contrast to so-called outside sales, in which a salesman or sales team seeks to make sales in person or on-site through face-to-face interactions. Inside sales are typically done by a team working together in an office or other workplace, where sales and business development representatives make warm and cold calls to those who have interacted with the website and for higher-end business opportunities, respectively. With modern technological advances in the realm of communications and conversions, most of today’s sales transactions qualify as inside sales, with outside sales having taken the ancillary role, a near reversal of how it used to be done before.
Advantages and Challenges of Inside Sales
The Inside sales methodology has multiple advantages over outside sales, including but not limited to cost-efficient leveraging, a greater amount of time saved for secondary tasks, predictability of revenue, role specialization, more coaching and collaboration opportunities, improved scalability, and greater adaptability to demographic changes. There are various challenges, however, including but once again not limited to difficulties in building relationships and trust with clients, discovering and developing talent, differentiating oneself from other competitors in the industry, acquiring a greater number and higher quality of inbound leads, and using technology effectively to manage the relationships with the clients.
Inside Sales & Outside Sales
Despite the seemingly intractable difference between inside and outside sales, the two are not mutually exclusive and possess various factors in common with each other. For both, it’s crucial to know what services and products you are selling and how they work and to have listening skills to optimize your relationship with your client and maintain their interest in your product. In addition, both use customer relationship management or CRM software, although outside sales representatives would use fewer but more specific features of CRM to conduct sales optimally compared to inside sales representatives. All salespeople, inside and out, pun intended, must be effective administrators, prospectors, and closers who log results and obtain approvals, decide who and how to contact, and make proposals and address criticisms and objections, respectively.
Steps & Skills for Implementing Inside Sales
The steps for a successful implementation of inside sales in your business should you decide to use them include but are not limited to finding the ideal software for effective and user-friendly targeting, aligning marketing and sales to create productive cooperation and synergy, properly laid-out roles and responsibilities for every inside sales team member, and a highly motivated and skilled team provided with ongoing support and training. The essential skills for inside sales representatives are listening to and fostering trust with the client in a way that compensates for lack of physical interaction and body language and prioritizes authentic specificity of working knowledge and consistent and realistic proposal fulfillment in order to build confidence and demonstrate reliability, as well as following one streamlined strategy as opposed to dissipating time and energy on managing and switching between multiple accounts and strategies.
While the information provided may seem to be slanted in favor of inside sales, the reality is that whether inside or outside sales are best for your business depends entirely on your and your company’s goals and ethos, not to mention operational considerations, the market, and services you provide. For example, certain costly enterprise sales may rely on outside sales for completion, while remote sales can allow consultation with the market of interest to evaluate the sales plan. After sufficient data has been collected and analyzed, both inside and outside sales can be used together to sell effectively and maintain brand recognition and customer confidence. The bottom line is that inside sales can be used as a stepping stone for increased sales and promotion of the growth of revenue.