What Is Inside Sales?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 18, 2021 | Published March 12, 2020

Updated March 18, 2021

Published March 12, 2020

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.

Sales roles are in high demand and can be very lucrative. One of the fastest-growing sales roles is inside sales, where you use technology to connect with leads to build business relationships over time. This position is ideal if you want to work in business-to-business sales, software as a service or high-end consumer goods. In this article, we describe what inside sales is, provide a list of strategies to use while working in inside sales and the advantages of working as an inside salesperson.

What is inside sales?

Inside sales is a growing sales model that builds relationships with potential customers through a variety of technological interactions, or "touches." A touch can include contacting customers through email, over the phone, through a chat program or in a virtual meeting space. Inside sales is most common 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 teams use leads from a variety of sources and nurture them into customers through regular and personalized 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 organize schedules.

How is inside sales different from telemarketing?

While telemarketers are known for their scripts and predictive dialing, inside salespeople focus on building an organic relationship with their clients and working to understand their needs, concerns and difficulties. Inside salespeople will often talk to their leads more than once using email, phone, chat programs or virtual meeting software. They keep their leads updated on special promotions and any changes to the service while answering their questions and building trust. Inside sales leads are usually generated 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 if they can't make a sale that day. Outside salespeople usually have limited points of contact, while inside sales representatives have multiple interactions with their leads.

Related: A Guide To Funnel Charts

Inside sales strategies

Inside sales is a growing component of many sales departments. These strategies will help you nurture leads into customers:

  • Become familiar with CRM software

  • Learn how to use online meeting services

  • Use sales intelligence tools

  • Engage in active listening and communication skills

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 organized and helps ensure you contact your leads regularly. CRM software also helps your team stay organized and 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 is a technology-driven field, so you may need to use online presentation platforms, meeting services and remote connections. Becoming comfortable with these products helps your presentations run smoothly and reflects expertise that will aid in transforming leads into customers. Understanding how these services work can allow you to reach a wider audience with greater flexibility.

Use sales intelligence tools

Sales intelligence tools help analyze the best ways to close deals, when is best to contact your customers and how to generate more leads. These tools give you the advantage of using conglomerate data that you can tailor to your company 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 and communication skills

Inside sales are more interactive than telemarketing and require you to understand your lead's expectations, goals and concerns. Using active listening and communication can help you build a rapport with your leads and make your contacts with them more productive than if you use a script. Active listening and engaging with your leads also allow you to expand on your lead's statements and help build on their existing knowledge and concerns.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

Learn everything you can about your product or service

Knowing how your product or service works and the features that set it apart from your competitors will help you close more sales. You can confidently answer questions and clearly explain what your company can offer your clients while building trust with your market. Many people respond positively to knowledgeable, friendly service, and inside sales representatives are often the most consistent point of contact for potential customers.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Advantages of inside sales

Some of the advantages of working in inside sales are:

  • You have a relatively predictable schedule. You reach your leads through email, video conferencing, chat programs and the telephone, so you usually work a set schedule at an office.

  • You develop subject matter expertise. When answering technical questions, you are expected to describe your product or service in great detail, especially in comparison to your competition.

  • You get to know your customers and market very well. Inside salespeople interact with their leads regularly, so they develop a direct and comfortable relationship with them, anticipating their needs in the current market.

  • You build transferable skills. An inside sales role helps you develop communication and business networking skills, technological skills, time management and presentation skills. Inside sales team members also develop an understanding of sales strategies and what drives buying decisions.

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