What Is Inside Sales? (With Skills, Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 January 2022

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.

Inside sales differ from other types of sales because it includes selling the product remotely. Because inside sales professionals don't have face-to-face interactions with their customers, they focus on developing relationships with calls, messages and emails. If you're interested in working in inside sales, learning more about what it is can be beneficial. In this article, we explain the answer to the question, "What is inside sales?", detail the benefits of being an inside salesperson, describe how it differs from telemarketing, list important sales skills and provide helpful career tips.

What is inside sales?

Learning the answer to 'What is inside sales?' can help you determine if this is the right career for you. Inside sales is a sales model that builds relationships with potential customers through a variety of technological interactions, or touches. A touch refers to contact with customers through email, phone, chat programme or virtual meeting space. Inside sales is most common for business-to-business, software as a service and high-end business-to-customer products, but other industries also use it if they use customer management systems (CMS). A CMS is a programme that manages information about clients for inside sales professionals to utilise.

Inside sales teams use leads from a variety of sources and nurture them into customers through regular and personalised contact. As an inside salesperson, your goal is to build trust and direct relationships between your company and potential clients. People who work in this role use several tools to find leads, including sales analytics software, social intelligence software and email newsletters. Inside sales departments also use productivity software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to document interactions with leads, track sales and organise schedules.

Benefits of working in inside sales

Depending on your professional goals, working in inside sales may help you gain experience and develop relevant skills. Some advantages of working in inside sales are:

  • Predictable schedule: Inside sales professionals often have a regular schedule, which may be beneficial for those with other responsibilities to manage.

  • Market knowledge: As an inside sales professional, you may gain a lot of knowledge on the trends of the market for your specific industry. This knowledge may be transferrable to other roles within the industry.

  • Transferable skills: Working in inside sales can help you develop many transferrable sales skills, including communication, negotiation and presentation.

Related: 35 Sales Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

How is inside sales different from telemarketing?

While telemarketers use scripts and predictive dialling, inside salespeople focus on building an organic relationship with their clients and working to understand their needs, concerns and difficulties. Inside salespeople also often regularly talk to their leads. They keep their leads updated on special promotions and any changes to the service while answering their questions and building trust. Inside salespeople usually generate sales through more organic leads, like visits to a website, interaction on social media posts and sales intelligence tools.

Inside sales vs. outside sales

With inside sales, the primary contact with customers and leads is from an office. Outside sales representatives spend most of their time meeting with contacts and clients in person at trade shows, on location and in stores. Outside sales teams travel to where their market physically is to provide demonstrations, answer questions and get contact information. While inside sales representatives often have multiple interactions with their leads, outside salespeople usually have limited points of contact.

A company often relies on a collaborative effort between inside and outside sales professionals to secure customers. Some customers or organisations may prefer face-to-face meetings and others may prefer the efficiency of using communication tools.

Related: 20 Important Sales Skills and How You Can Develop Them

Important skills for inside sales

These are some important skills you can focus on to improve as a salesperson:

Communication skills

Communication is one of the most important skills for an inside salesperson. Communication is the ability to understand and convey information when interacting with another person, including both verbal and written communication. For example, an inside salesperson may call a potential customer or write them an email. The ability to persuade and negotiate can help inside salespeople sell their products and earn customers for a company.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to assess a situation, identify the potential causes for problems and suggest workable solutions. This is an important skill for inside salespeople because it helps them identify the reasons a customer may not purchase a product or service. By identifying these reasons, the salesperson can develop strategies for convincing a customer the service or product is best for them.

Related: How to Become a Sales Manager: Steps and Tips You Can Use

Organisational abilities

Organisational abilities allow you to keep items and spaces tidy, but it also applies to thoughts, ideas and digital spaces. Because inside salespeople often contact and communicate with their leads remotely, it's important that they can keep digital files and information organised and easy to find. For example, an inside salesperson may manage a database of customers or lead information that helps them connect with consumers and convince them to make a purchase.

Product analysis

The ability to research products, compare characteristics and assess quality is important for salespeople because this allows them to gain sufficient knowledge to effectively sell them to customers. This includes details about pricing packages, potential benefits and any risks. You may also provide any feedback to product development related departments on any issues you've found with a product or service. For example, if you're unable to understand a specific function of a product, a customer may not as well.

Time management

Sales professionals may manage several accounts and potential leads at a time, so time management can be a useful skill. Effective time management can involve prioritising and tracking tasks to ensure you meet deadlines or devising strategies to optimally complete your work. This can include batching similar tasks, like calling customers all at the same time or writing an email template to send to several customers. Some inside sales professionals earn a commission, which means excellent time management can help them manage more clients and potentially increase their earnings.

Related: Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work in Sales?

Tips for an inside sales role

Inside sales may be a growing component of many sales departments because it can take advantage of technology and the internet. Consider these tips to help you nurture leads into customers:

Become familiar with CRM software

CRM software helps track leads, including contact methods and service or product offers. This software is an important tool to stay organised and helps ensure you contact leads regularly. CRM software can also assist you in resolving customer enquiries and understanding trends in the market.

Learn how to use online meeting services

Inside sales is a technology-driven field, so you may use online presentation platforms, meeting services and remote connections. Becoming comfortable with these online engagement tools can help your presentations run smoothly and reflect expertise that can aid in transforming leads into customers. Understanding how to utilise these tools can help you reach a wider audience with greater flexibility.

Use sales intelligence tools

Sales intelligence tools help to analyse the best ways to secure customers, such as when to contact them and how to generate more leads. These tools give you the advantage of using conglomerate data you can tailor to specific products and customers. Sales intelligence tools also help you automate your touches, including scheduling social media contacts and emailing newsletters. Many of these tools can also integrate with your CRM to improve your success rate and meet your market's goals.

Engage in active listening

Active listening is a communication skill that allows a salesperson to focus on a speaker, understand what they're saying, remember the information and prepare a thoughtful response. You can assure customers you're paying attention to them by repeating their requests and asking relevant follow-up questions. By remembering details about customers, inside salespeople can use the information later to relate their product to the customer's life and make sales.

Related: 10 High-Paying Sales Jobs (With Salaries and Duties)

Learn how to compare a product or service to others in the market

Knowing how the product or service you're selling works and the features that set it apart from competitors may help you close more sales. By understanding which benefits that competing products don't have, you can confidently explain how it's a better option. Many people respond positively to knowledgeable and friendly service, and inside sales representatives are often the most consistent point of contact for potential customers. When comparing products, it's important to focus on the benefits a product offers over its competition, as focusing on the negatives of competing products may seem biased.

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