You should never underestimate the power of sales in your organization. A sales team can make or break your success as a manager or business owner, but finding and training the right employees can often be a daunting task. Should you use outside or inside sales?
Once you’re ready to bring a sales team on board, you need to consider the following factors:
- What type of sales team would best suit your business?
- How will you train your sales team?
- Should your team focus on inside or outside sales? Or a combination of both?
This guide will explore the differences between inside and outside sales, as well as the sales techniques used for each method. Plus, you can find out how to build a sales team from scratch and train your employees.
What are Inside Sales?
Inside sales occur when your sales agents engage with prospects virtually or remotely. Agents carry out these interactions via phone, email, or live chat, instead of face-to-face. Inside sales agents might work from your office or home and learn a number of selling techniques for your business. They will usually focus on cold calls and emails, or use other digital channels to move prospects through their sales pipelines.
“In recent years, inside sales has become one of the most popular sales models in high-value industries as buyers have become more comfortable purchasing and collaborating remotely,” says Close.com. “In many ways, the evolution of technology is what has made these possible and armed companies with the ability to embrace inside sales.”
Inside sales agents have access to a wide range of technology in order to carry out their duties. They might use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to find out about prospects or use predictive analytics and other metrics to forecast sales trends and other information.
What are Outside Sales?
Outside sales are completely different from inside sales. Instead, agents carry out face-to-face interactions with other agents and prospects in order to sell products and services. Another term for outside sales is “field sales.”
Unlike inside sales agents, outside sales agents tend to operate outside of the office at events like trade shows and conferences. Some outside sales agents might go door-to-door and generate leads. However, they will still work remotely, usually outside of an office. They will maintain relationships with clients in their roster from remote locations.
Outside agents have flexible schedules and might be busier at certain times of the year.
Outside sales agents will still use the latest technology to improve their selling techniques. This might include CRM systems and analytics and metrics that provide valuable insights into customer behaviors and other trends.
“Field salespeople typically spend a lot of time traveling within their given sales territory,” says Hubspot. “Outside reps typically have more autonomy (not to mention, their manager might see them as infrequently as once a quarter).”
So, should you use inside or outside sales agents? It all depends on which of these professionals suits your business better. You might want to employ both inside and outside sales reps to maximize potential. However, this can be a difficult process.
You will probably find it easier to manage inside sales teams because they typically produce results quickly. Outdoor sales teams often have to wait for trade shows and conferences to produce high-value long-term sales deals, so this can take longer.
Different Selling Techniques
Inside and outside sales agents will use different selling techniques. These include:
Transactional sales model: This happens when agents make lots of sales in a quick timeframe with minimal or no interaction with customers. Customer support teams might carry out further interactions with customers after sales have taken place. As you can tell, inside sales reps typically use the transactional sales model.
Relational sales model: This happens when agents build interactions with customers and your business. This model will mean it takes longer to move prospects through sales funnels, but agents often generate high retention rates. As you can see, outside sales reps often use the relational sales model.
How to Build a Sales Team
Now you have decided whether you are going to focus on inside sales or outside sales (or a combination of both), you need to assemble a sales team. Follow these simple steps:
Create a hiring and onboarding process: Proper hiring and onboarding are important. Find talented sales agents in your niche and welcome them into your company. Sales jobs in the United States have an attrition rate that’s as high as 27 percent — twice the rate of the overall labor force. Proper onboarding will prevent new hires from leaving your organization too soon.
Come up with employee incentives and compensation: Motivated sales agents will work harder for your company and generate more leads. Develop employee incentives and compensate staff when they meet targets.
Provide employees with the right tools: Whether it’s software, smartphones or analytics, give staff the tools they need to carry out their sales duties.
How to Train Your Employees
Training your sales teams is very important. They will need to know about your company culture and values, understand your product and services inside-out, and know how to use your software and other digital tools.
Training employees might require an initial outlay, but it will provide you with a significant return on your investment. You could train employees on-site or ask them to learn via e-learning modules from the comfort of their own home.
Whichever training methods you choose, don’t give up:
“Without adequate sales training, your team will flounder and business growth can become stagnant,” says Entrepreneur. “This can turn into a domino effect as the more experienced members fall into a slump and newer members will not be exposed to quality leadership.”
Inside sales and outside sales are two very different methods, but both of these techniques could prove lucrative. Decide which sales method is right for your business, then build your team and train your employees properly. Do this all correctly, and you could increase sales and expand your business.