What is Inside Sales?


by Mike Murphy on June 5, 2020

Inside sales is growing in popularity in large and small companies in the B2B sales world. And it has some advantages including reduced travel costs and the ability to make more touches and sales calls in less time. It also meets buyer preferences for fewer meetings or phone calls. According to Hubspot, “And customers don’t want a salesperson to come by unless they conclude that a face-to-face visit is absolutely critical.”

At one time inside sales was associated with small or simple deals, renewal acquisition, and lead generation with handoff to outside sales for nurturing and closing. Now in the digital age, inside sales is responsible for the same types of large accounts, complex products, and sales work that their field rep counterparts do.


Is inside sales part of your sales department structure? Are you up to speed on the tech tools that can make inside sales an indispensable part of your organization? Contact us today to learn more!

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Isn’t inside sales the same as telemarketing?

This is a common misconception. Inside sales reps conduct research on the segments, industries, and contacts they contact, developing tailored talking points and anticipating the unique needs of different personas. They’re also involved in the entire sales cycle. they do prospecting and lead generation but they also do the nurturing and ongoing outreach, by phone or email, to see each contact through to closing a deal and beyond into customer retention. Salespeople will leverage the computing power of CRM and other tools to track interactions with contacts.

In contrast, telemarketing generally involves cold calling from a list (though the list may be vetted to include those in certain industries or roles but the telemarketing team is usually not involved in the research and list building portion of this outreach). The goal in telemarketing is usually to generate leads that are then handed off to the sales team. they may use the CRM to create or add to records, but they’re not doing the actual selling.

Clearly inside sales is distinct from telemarketing, but does it work in manufacturing and industrial sales? Yes, if you know the techniques and tools to do it right.


Different means to the same end

The biggest difference between inside and outside sales is that one tends to work in an office and the other travels to customer sites and events in a geographic territory. But in day to day operations, inside sales professionals are able to accomplish many of the same goals using different methods, such as:

Virtual or online site visits. Even without the physical opportunity for a handshake or facility tour, it’s still possible to connect with buyers remotely using conference calling and video meetings. Inside sales reps can introduce themselves and their product and build that relationship with the buying team. Even at a distance, the ability to see each other and interact (or take a webcam-guided virtual tour), enhances the connection. You can even create a virtual lunch and learn session by coordinating with a food delivery service

Product demos. Demos can be done on the fly over video calls or pre-recorded and uploaded to your company’s Youtube channel. And augmented reality is an emerging technology for creating videos and apps to mimic the user experience with a product. Even more important than technology; however, is a rep’s ability to explain in words and communicate clearly how product works and answer questions in detail.

Trade shows. True, there is no substitute for the full trade show experience, at least not yet. But your company can reach a large live audience through well-promoted webinars. An added bonus is that by completing your registration form for the webinar, they’ve provided contact information and shown interest in receiving information from you in the future. Many remote and video meeting platform also allow for an interactive experience where participants can ask questions with a chat feature.


Tools of the inside sales trade

From prospecting to communications to sales cycle tracking, technology is really the key to remote sales, including:

CRM. A CRM is powerful software that keeps all of your client-facing employees in the loop. As a central place for account and individual prospect or customer information, everyone involved in marketing and sales can easily see where prospects are in the sales cycle, add notes about a demo outcome, or update records with the names and numbers of referrals. Inside sales reps use the CRM for research and to share the info they gather with the rest of the team.

Internet-based phone and calling software. This allows for faster dialing and is compatible with a headset and microphone for hands-free calling.

Web-based meeting tools. Options like Zoom, Uber, Microsoft Teams and more offer a flexible format for formal meetings, quick check-ins, and presentations or webinars. Show your slides or edit documents to all participants easily with built-in screen sharing features, and record your presentation to distribute later.

Appointment and scheduling software. If you’ve ever received an email with an offer to “book an appointment with me” you know how this works. Many sales and marketing platforms have features for linking your calendar to an email template, allowing recipients to schedule meetings during blocks of time you have defined.

Augmented reality. This technology allows companies to recreate a virtual product experience with 3D interactive demos and the ability to superimpose a product into the customer’s facility. It lets you show how your product could work for their application and quickly understand the value it brings. You can also create videos and apps that let users interact with products through touch screens, as described here by Leeway Hertz.

Social media. Sites like linked in, industry discussion forums, and even Twitter and Facebook help inside sales reps research on companies and individuals, as well as industry trends. Company and product directories like Thomasnet.com and trade association  websites are another great resource.

Automated workflows. Many sales and marketing software packages allow you to streamline operations by creating if/then conditions to automate tasks. For example, if you change a customer’s status category, then the software automatically sends that customer a templated email with their name and other details filled in on the fly, then sets a callback reminder task for two weeks in the future.

Reporting and dashboards. Your CRM can provide metrics that keep sales on track and help with forecasting, nurturing, and lead management. You can also create customized reports with your chosen time frames and other parameters to see the bigger picture of how sales progress, how close you are to a quota, and where things fall through the cracks. Consolidate and visualize data for different audiences or purposes with dashboards too.


Is inside sales part of your sales department structure? Are you up to speed on the tech tools that can make inside sales an indispensable part of your organization? Contact us today to learn more!

Reach Out Now!






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