Inside sales refers to the process of selling products or services using remote communication channels, such as phone, email, InMail, or video conferencing, instead of in-person visits. Most organizations, at some point in their growth, will have an inside sales team. For many businesses, especially in technology and software development, this is the standard model of closing new customers.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales is the process of conducting sales remotely or virtually, typically by a sales team operating from a company office, call center, or more recently, their home.
Inside sales, also called "remote sales" or "virtual sales," may involve third party vendors as part of the sales team.
The inside sales process removes the need for face-to-face meetings, allowing more frequent conversation and collaboration with marketing teams to nurture leads through the sales process.
An inside sales representative might use deep sales technology that translates comprehensive, high quality data into dynamic insights. Insights that empower sellers and sales teams to take the right actions, leading to better outcomes and generating initial interest. Additional product demos would be done virtually, using video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams.
They might follow-up with phone calls or emails, and when a deal is close to completion, contracts would be sent digitally and signed using e-signature tools. They can interact with a higher number of prospects in the same amount of time as their traditional sales counterparts, thus increasing the efficiency of the sales process.
Inside Sales vs Outside Sales
The term "inside sales" emerged in contrast to the term "outside sales."
In a traditional sales setting, the company's sales representative might travel within a specific territories to potential clients' offices for meetings. The sales representative would carry along a laptop or tablet to demonstrate how the product functions and its potential benefits. They might make several such trips to different prospects, spending a lot of time and resources on travel and face-to-face meetings.
Though outside sales predates inside sales, and may be seen as less "modern,” it still serves a strong purpose at many organizations, particularly for enterprise B2B companies.
Mature sales organizations often combine inside and outside sales to source, qualify, nurture, and close leads.
5 Benefits of Inside Sales
Traditional sales, characterized by physical encounters, often requires extensive travel and face-to-face engagements. Inside sales has emerged as a more efficient, digitally-driven practice that can help sales leaders scale their efforts with more agility. While both can serve a place in modern sales organizations, here are 5 benefits inside sales offers over traditional selling:
Inside sales reduces costs compared to outside sales, which requires travel expenses including lodging, dining, and client-related costs. Lower costs equate to better profit margins.
Inside sales reps using modern technology, and automation, can engage in hundreds of daily conversations allowing companies to gain more visibility in the early stages of the sales process, such as prospecting, nurturing, and qualification.
With various digital tools, such as LinkedIn InMail, SMS, phone calls, and email, inside sales can achieve higher engagement with prospects compared to outside sales. While outside sales benefits from face-to-face contact, inside sales tools allow reps to have more frequent touchpoints with prospects.
It also simplifies involving multiple stakeholders involved in the sale.
Synergy with marketing and customer success
Inside sales can effectively partner with marketing and customer success teams using their resources, including language, collateral, email templates, contacts, and leads.
Customer success teams can supply information on current customers through case studies and testimonials for potential sales opportunities.
Sales and automation tools enhance efficiency by scaling communications without sacrificing quality.
CRM (customer relationship management software) enables detailed tracking of sales touchpoints and forecasting based on deal flow, while sales automation technology helps identify and qualify leads at scale using lead scoring algorithms.
Data analysis allows inside sales reps to better understand their target market’s needs and tailor their pitch.
How to Make an Inside Sales Team Successful
For a successful inside sales team, there are several things sales leaders need to get right. Rather than approaching inside sales as a checklist or assuming that a single talented inside sales representative can build a successful program, sales leaders should build a process that is repeatable, scalable, and teachable.
1. The sales talent
Success with inside sales is hiring the right talent, as they are the most important factor in the success of a program. Inside sales reps of all roles need to think on their feet, be persistent, and keep up to date on the latest technology, tools, and advancements to enhance efficiency.
Inside sales has multiple role specializations:
Sales development reps can be categorized by inbound or outbound.
Inbound reps focus on qualifying and engaging with inbound leads from the marketing team while outbound reps proactively reach out to leads in their target customer profile.
Both aim to qualify and nurture leads before passing them to account executives and closers.
Account executives may be divided by region or by segment with, many B2B organizations having small business) and enterprise account executives. Many are also split by territories, such as having a sales team dedicated to EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
Account managers often bridge the gap between sales and customer success, leading cross-sell and upsell motions as well as promoting customer retention.
2. The sales process
The sales process specifies expectations at each stage and the relevant metrics to gauge success.
A sales process includes the order of operations that facilitates the sources of leads all the way through to the contract and close, and generally includes shared goals and SLAs (service level agreements) with marketing to commit to a predetermined number of qualified leads.
The sales process also defines what constitutes a "sales qualified lead," and when and how sales reps should reach out, engage, and pass leads to account executives.
Finally, an inside sales process also includes which channels – such as email, social media, phone calls, video conferencing, text messaging – to engage remotely with prospects.
3. The sales tool stack
Unlike outside sales, inside sales reps depend on technology for success, using CRM systems, email tracking tools, social selling tools, and more.
Inside sales goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing; therefore, inbound software can help marketing teams to drive traffic, collect leads, and measure results.
4. The sales training
Training inside sales reps includes many areas including the sales process, communication and persuasion skills, product knowledge, negotiation tactics, and the technology stack.
Training programs work not only for onboarding new inside sales hires, but for improving the existing inside sales team and providing career support and growth.
5. Sales Leadership
A strong sales manager is essential to coach and mentor the team, offering feedback and guidance for performance improvement.
6. Measure sales success
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can include the number of qualified leads, meetings booked, opportunities created, deals closed, and revenue generated.
By monitoring these metrics, sales leaders can make data-driven decisions to refine the sales process, team structure, and technology for improved results.
Sales Navigator and Inside Sales
Inside sales is a potent sales model for driving revenue, especially when done in conjunction with synergistic efforts like inbound marketing and outside sales.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator supports inside sales teams with several features like advanced filtering and targeting, arming sales professionals with company and prospect intelligence as well as giving them the ability to deliver personalized messages to nurture and close them.
By investing in the right people, processes, technology, training, and measurement, sales leaders can establish a successful inside sales team that promotes revenue growth and customer satisfaction.