Inside Sales

What is Inside Sales?

Inside sales is a term used to refer to the sale of products or services by inside sales reps or in-house sales teams who reach customers remotely via phone, email, or online platforms. It’s also popularly known as virtual sales or remote sales. 

Inside sales is used by sales teams in SaaS, tech, and B2B industries. It’s also a preferred sales model for a number of B2C industries that sell high-ticket items.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

Outside sales is a sales model wherein sales teams do sales transactions in person. As such, outside sales reps don’t spend much time inside the office and travel time often becomes a significant part of their schedule. Outside sales is also known as field sales due to the sales reps spending most of their time off-site or “in the field.”

Some businesses may require face-to-face interactions with clients, in which case, outside sales will make sense. Otherwise, you can focus on inside sales, especially if you’re selling a product that can be sold remotely like software and online or SaaS services.

What are the Benefits of Inside Sales?

One of the main benefits of inside sales is it eliminates travel time and other logistics issues involved in in-person meetings. Inside sales reps can focus on selling and increase their productivity. Available digital tools have also made scheduling meetings and product demos easier and quicker. Below are the other benefits of an inside sales model.

Quicker Response Times

Inside sales reps can respond to leads quicker because they don’t need to set a meeting with them to answer their questions or concerns. They can start and continue conversations through phone, email, or online.

Often, customers don’t expect in-person meetings to address a few simple questions. In such cases, a simple email or chat message would suffice. Social media channels are also excellent avenues for keeping the conversations ongoing and maintaining brand presence online.

Without an inside sales team, sales reps would need to communicate back and forth until a meeting schedule is confirmed before a sale can be completed.

Reduced Sales Cost

Because sending emails or making phone calls is quicker and easier, sales reps can spend more time doing actual selling. This helps reduce sales costs, saves time, and ultimately increases potential revenue. Inside sales reduces costs with each contact with a new lead compared to the costs of an outside sales team.

Selling vs. Setting Meetings

At times, outside sales reps spend a large chunk of their time scheduling meetings instead of selling. Because inside sales reps don’t need to travel to meet with clients in person, they can spend their time on more important things like following up with leads and prospecting.

Improved Collaboration of Sales Teams

The efficiency of your sales process depends largely on how you structure your sales teams. Inside sales makes it easier to set up your sales teams for effective collaboration. Ideally, you assign different team members to different stages of your process.

For example, one sales rep can do the prospecting while another does the first contact. Outside sales, in contrast, is more of an independent role wherein a single outside sales rep handles the entire sales process.

Easier Scaling of Sales Teams

Compared to an inside sales team, outside sales teams can be difficult to scale because hiring outside sales reps is location-specific. Experienced sales reps from another location may be reluctant to relocate, making it harder to source talent and making the hiring process longer.

Sales reps will also need knowledge specific to the location in which they want to work and will need to build new customer relationships.

How Inside Sales Can Improve the Sales Cycle

The sales cycle of B2B businesses vary significantly depending on the type of product or service being sold. SaaS and software companies that sell products requiring little to no customer interaction have shorter cycles than those who offer enterprise solutions like a digital adoption platform or CRM software.

Typically, inside sales cycles last approximately three months, while bigger transactions handled by outside sales reps last anywhere between six to nine months. Setting best practices for sales reps is ideal to optimize the sales process, but this can be challenging when it comes to outside sales teams.

With an inside sales team, scheduling and conducting training sessions is simpler because sales reps are on-site. the introduction of new tools is also easier because most inside sales solutions are digital and online. The team also has the added benefit of being together more often, allowing them to help each other out and simplifying information dissemination.

Scalability is another benefit offered by inside sales because it relies less on customer relationships and more on efficient and reliable sales processes.

Challenges of Inside Sales

The main challenge of inside sales is the fact that in-person sales still bring in the highest-quality leads compared to phone, email, or chat conversations. Building trust without face-to-face interactions can be challenging, especially when it comes to big-ticket purchases and transactions.

Below are the main challenges of maintaining and developing an inside sales team.

"Reading the Room"

When sales teams are face to face with clients, it’s easier to grab their attention because they’re focused on the presentation. Sales reps can also cover more ground by meeting with several clients at the same time and being able to “read the room,” helping them determine next steps by reading body language and behavior signals.

Inside sales teams make up for this by doing in-depth research about their clients beforehand. They can also handle a larger volume of customers because they don’t need to travel and schedules are more flexible.

Hiring and Developing Sales Reps

In most organizations, an inside sales rep overtakes an outside sales rep in sheer numbers because phone calls and online meetings are quicker to schedule and more flexible. Meetings can be done anywhere there’s a phone line or an internet connection.

The challenge is in finding the most capable inside sales reps because they’re currently in demand, so much so, that the demand for inside sales professionals has exceeded that of outside sales reps. Once you find the right people for your organization, you also have to invest in their onboarding and sales coaching for further development.

Choosing the Right Tools

Despite the availability of different tools both online and offline, businesses still face the challenge of finding the appropriate solutions that will both simplify and accelerate the sales process. Maximizing productivity of sales teams means investing in the tools that fit your business needs—and these tools don’t come cheap.

Inside Sales and High Velocity Sales (HVS)

High Velocity Sales (HVS) from Salesforce is a solution that’s designed to help sales managers manage their teams remotely and effectively. The shift to remote and hybrid working arrangements has significantly increased the demand for inside sales reps, and organizations with standardized sales processes and large volumes of leads have the opportunity to boost the productivity of their sales teams without a significant increase in onboarding and training costs.

HVS brings together the core technologies of Salesforce with a number of its newest features to provide sales teams the power of sales automation, accurate reporting, and omnichannel capabilities.

Sales Automation

Sales automation helps sales teams process data and transform them into actionable insights by providing a dashboard where sales data is presented in the most efficient manner possible.

Accurate and Detailed Reporting

Detailed, real-time reports help sales reps ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of outreach actions that are part of a sales cadence. It also enables remote call monitoring that helps identify conversation trends and find coachable moments during sales calls, which ultimately helps in the continuous development of sales reps.

Omnichannel Capabilities

HVS allows sales teams to automatically get leads acquired from different channels and provide a personalized approach to customers via sales cadences. Sales cadences are a sequence of specific actions a sales rep can take depending on what stage they’re in during the sales cycle. It’s a path sales reps can follow or personalize as needed depending on which customer they’re engaging. Branched sales cadences allow for more customization and a different set of actions depending on how a conversation takes place.

Updated: September 11, 2022

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