What Is Inside Sales? (With Sales Strategies and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 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.

One of the fastest-growing areas of sales is inside sales, where you sell remotely by using technology to connect with leads and 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. To understand what inside sales are and how it applies to you, it is beneficial to look at its definition. In this article, we describe what inside sales is, how it differs from other sales models, inside sales strategies and the benefits of inside sales.

What is inside sales?

If you are pursuing a career in sales, you may wonder 'what is inside sales' during your job search. Inside sales is a fast-growing sales model that involves selling products remotely via technology, or 'touches'. A touch is when you connect with a potential customer through email, over the phone, through chat software or in a virtual meeting space. Inside sales are the most common sales model 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 reps gain leads from various sources and foster them into business relationships and customers through frequent, personalised contact. As an inside salesperson, your goal is to build a rapport and a direct relationship between prospective customers and your company. An inside salesperson may use various tools to find their leads, including sales analytics software, social intelligence software and email marketing. They may also use productivity software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to record interactions with leads, track sales and organise schedules.

Related: How To Write a Sales Cover Letter (With Examples)

How do inside sales differ from telesales?

Although both roles rely on remote contact to engage with prospective customers, they have several key differences. Telesales employees use a scripted, single-call close, normally selling a lower-end, business-to-consumer (B2C) product, whereas inside sales don't use scripts or predictive dialling. Inside sales normally require a much more complex and longer sales cycle, as it requires well-trained employees to nurture and strategically target prospects.

Working as an inside salesperson often means you build an ongoing business relationship with your client by speaking to them more than once on the phone or on other virtual platforms. They typically generate leads through more organic means, such as visits to a website, interaction on social media posts and sales intelligence tools.

Inside vs. outside sales

Inside sales typically happen remotely via technological tools, often from the office or home desk. Outside salespeople conduct their sales by meeting contacts and clients face-to-face at trade shows, on location and in stores. They spend a lot of their time travelling to meet with clients to provide demonstrations, answer questions and get contact information if they could not make a sale that day. Outside sales reps often have limited points of contact, while inside salespeople have more frequent interactions with their leads.

Modern-day companies recognise the benefit of enhancing customer experiences with technology and many salespeople are evaluating if a traditional sales model can function in our modern society. Outside sales can still provide several advantages, and many companies continue to use it as part of their sales strategy. Face-to-face exchanges can allow for direct communication and trust-building, which are not always possible through online interactions. Outside sales can also be an ideal fit for those who like to work independently and manage their own time.

Related: 10 Sales Interview Questions and Sample Answers

The salary of an inside salesperson

The average salary of an inside salesperson is £26,289 per year. Your salary can differ depending on your experience level, geographic location, the size and type of employer and whether you work on commission. Consider your interests and expertise when reviewing roles in inside sales and if they fit your goals.

Inside sales strategies

Inside sales is a pivotal part of many sales departments. Here are some sales strategies and tips that can help nurture leads into customers and profit:

Become familiar with CRM software

Companies may use CRMs to help organise and access customer data and manage customer relationships. This helps in finding the right clients and speeding up the sale process. CRM software also assists your development team in finding answers to your leads' questions while understanding what features your market wants.

Learn how to use online meeting services

Inside sales may be more efficient when you incorporate technology, so you may use various meeting and sharing tools like online presentation platforms, meeting services and remote connections. Being comprehensive in your ability to use these tools can help your presentations run smoothly. It also reflects professionalism to help transform leads into sales.

Related: IT Skills: Definitions and Examples

Use sales intelligence tools

Sales intelligence tools can give salespeople access to certain data such as the buyer's consumer behaviour, the technology used by prospective leads, and forecasting how reliable a sales pipeline may be. This generated information gives the advantage of using conglomerate data you can tailor to your company and customers. Sales intelligence tools can also help in touch-point automation, such as personalised web content, customer service chatbots and automated email newsletters. Many of these tools can also integrate with your CRM to improve your sales turnover and to help meet your market's goals.

Practise active listening and effective communication skills

Unlike telesales, inside sales are much more interactive and personalised for each customer. It requires that you understand your lead's expectations, goals and concerns. Practising active listening and effective communication can help in building a rapport with your leads and contact them more productive than if you were to use a script. It can be more difficult to build a rapport over the phone or through online services, and showing excellent customer service skills can help with achieving and maintaining customer trust.

Active listening and communication with your leads also allow you to work off your lead's statements and help build on their existing knowledge and concerns.

Related: How To Improve Your Communication Skills

Learn everything you can about your product or service

Having a thorough knowledge of how your product or service works can help to set you apart from your competitors. You can confidently answer questions with informed replies while also showing your professionalism. People often respond positively to knowledgeable, friendly service, and inside salespeople are often the most consistent point of contact between a company and its customers.

Ensure sales and marketing work seamlessly together

The overall sales team ensures they optimise alignment with the marketing team and vice versa to attract, advise and maintain customers. It may help if both teams jointly discuss goals, strategies and processes, as centralised communications are very important for profitable alignment. Utilising this strategy can help both teams work seamlessly and efficiently.

Continue to develop your skill set

Learning new software and virtual services can help as you progress in your career. You can achieve long-term sales success by implementing ongoing training and nurturing sales and personal skills. Consider researching programs and courses that offer supplemental training to increase your knowledge and expertise.

Related: What Are the Most Important Sales Skills?

Advantages of inside sales

Inside sales can lead to more clients for the same cost as other sales methods because of greater cost efficiency, a grower number of B2B customers and faster response time. The role can also provide several advantages that relate to skill development and work-life balance such as:

  • Structured and relatively predictable schedule: As they gain their leads through email, video conferences and virtual meeting platforms, you usually have consistent working hours from an office or a home desk. Plus, compared to outside sales reps, you rarely deal with unpredictable factors such as traffic, travel time, weather, cancelled meetings and flight delays.

  • Dedicated time to selling: As you work remotely instead of travelling for face-to-face meetings, you can work quicker and with greater efficiency. Communicating with clients through technological interactions allows means that inside salespeople can speak with several potential clients at once.

  • Gained expert knowledge on your subject: When liaising with customers and answering their questions, they expect you can provide comprehensive knowledge of your product or service, especially if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

  • Learned about your industry and customers: Inside sales reps have frequent communication with their prospective customers, meaning they develop a direct and familiar relationship with them and can expect their consumer needs.

  • Developed transferable skills: An insides sales job can help you build on a range of beneficial skills, such as communication and business networking skills, technological skills, organisational and problem-solving skills. Inside salespeople also learn how to execute effective sales strategies and what motivates a customer's buying decisions.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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