Difference Between Inside Sales and Outside Sales

What are inside sales and outside sales?

Inside sales are the sale of products or services by sales personnel who reach customers by phone or online, rather than travelling to meet them face-to-face. Inside relies on the phone, emails and the internet to reach customers and is common in the retail industry.

Outside sales are the sale of products or services by sales personnel who go out into the field to meet with potential customers. Salespeople often travel to meet customers face-to-face, as well as to maintain relationships with existing customers. However, some companies may consider telemarketing a form of outside sales as well.

inside sales vs outside sales


What are the Differences between inside sales and outside sales?

Outside Sales

  1. An outside salesperson basically have the following traits –
  2. Outside sales can be intense; reps often have a lot of preparatory work to do.
  3. They don’t have a fixed workplace. Regardless of the weather, traffic delays or car troubles, they must be resourceful, motivated and dedicated enough to travel to their appointments.
  4. Outside sales reps should also be able to adapt to new environments and people easily.
  5. They are responsible for making and keeping appointments. They are also responsible for reminding their clients about the meeting.
  6. Schedule of appointments are unpredictable. Sometimes, a delayed or cancelled appointment can ruin the entire pre-planned schedule.
  7. Maintaining an outside sales force can be expensive since companies typically have to compensate outside sales personnel for miles travelled, housing and food.
  8. In some industries, outside sales forces are the norm because customers will not move forward with a purchase solely through inside sales strategies.
  9. Outside sales focus more on complex quality products and services they can sell for a steeper price.
  10. They travel a lot, which adds to incidental costs and might create work inefficiencies.
  11. Outside sales reps may reach fewer customers, but they are likely to be very well-targeted ones.
  12. They prefer to meet their clients face to face in order to explain the intricate functionalities of what they’re selling and make sure the potential buyer understands them.
  13. Appearance matters in outside sales. They must always look as well as be ready to woe their clients no matter what mood they’re in.
  14. Outside-sales jobs may be more prone to distractions than inside-sales jobs because they won’t have anyone looking over their shoulder.

Inside Sales

An inside salesperson basically have the following traits –

  1. Unlike outside sales personnel, insides salespeople do not travel.
  2. Sales cycles are naturally shorter for inside salespeople because of the lesser likelihood of face-to-face interaction.
  3. They have the ability to pitch their product or service to a huge number of people every single day.
  4. Inside sales reps leverage cost-efficient technologies like web conferencing platforms, CRM databases, and analytics software to reduce the cost per acquisition.
  5.  A company may outsource its inside sales duties to a third-party instead of conducting sales in-house.
  6. They basically need to be on-call or behind a desk.
  7. They also don’t have to worry about travel impacting the time they have at their disposal, allowing them to maintain the number of people they can reach out to during office hours.
  8.  Their workplace is a definitive place that they would visit on a daily basis; as they don’t have to travel to meet with clients.
  9. Working in an office may entail office politics and collaborations with peers.
  10. They would be able to obtain new business on cold calls, without having a physical prototype of the product you’re selling, where applicable, or a visual to further explain the product.
  11. They need to be articulate on the phone and be able to give the customer a good enough description of the product to gain his business.
  12. Hence they only land lower quality customers, but rather that their sales cannot be classified as big-ticket purchases.
  13. More often than not, orders are for smaller quantities than sales made via outside sales.

inside sales vs outside sales

Similarities between inside sales and outside sales

To grow your business it’s considered better for both kinds of sales to work hand in hand. Whether you choose inside sales or outside sales, the following tips will help you get your clients’ business

  • Know your product well.
  • Keep learning by attending conferences and studying your trade.
  • Must possess great communication skills.
  • Be an ethical salesperson, and work to keep your customers loyal.
  • Sharpen your listening skills.
  • Keep a log of common customer questions and concerns, and develop solutions for these so you may respond to your customers on cue.
  • Learn how to manage your time effectively.
  • Learn from your peers and take advantage of networking opportunities.

The traditional divide between the two is slowly disappearing, with many companies adopting a hybrid form of inside and outside sales. For instance, salespeople may call from their company’s office and then travel to client locations to complete a deal.
In fact, current research shows that outside sales reps are spending almost half of their workday selling remotely.


Hence they’re considered as two sides of the same coin.
The lines between inside and outside sales are blurring, but it’s important to understand the distinction so that companies can decide which technique, if not both, would work out best for them.

About Navaneetha

Navaneetha, popularly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion. At AeroLeads, she manages Inbound Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

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