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Inside vs Outside Sales Jobs | Sales Career Advice
Inside vs Outside Sales Jobs
There are two types of sales jobs that you will see posted in sites like monster.com, craigslist or other job boards. This will lay out the advantages and disadvantages of inside vs outside sales.
Depending on your experience and personal profile, you will fall into one of these two sales jobs. You may even end up in a hybrid like being a financial advisor or insurance agent that has a little bit of both types. And at different points in your career, you may get to experience both kinds.
Knowing the difference between inside vs outside sales jobs will help you make a decision on which kind of sales opportunities you want to take advantage of. Each option has it's mix of advantages and disadvantages that you'll want to consider when you are weighing inside vs outside sales job opportunities. Here is some sales career advice that will help you decide which way to go.
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I will layout a description of each type and will help you find out which one is better for you or at least will give you a layout of these so you can make an informed decision on which one would be a better fit for you. Or how you think you'd like to mix it up between the two depending on your own preferences.
Sometimes, you just can't know unless you start doing it. Some people love staying indoors and hate being outside, but when it comes to work, you may decide you it like the other way around.
Inside Sales Jobs
Inside sales jobs require them to mostly stay in the office and call sales leads over the phone and internet. They also include handling questions and complaints about the products or services as well. Inside reps generally do not leave the office and usually have a phone attached to their ear.
One of the characteristics of these reps is that they don't involve travel. So depending on what you'd like to have in job, this may or may not be for you. Inside sales jobs can get very repetitive in that you are doing the same thing over and over again everyday. That may sound boring, but it may actually entice some.
They can also allow you to be more efficient in your sales efforts. For the time it takes for one appointment that an outside sales rep makes, a sales rep can probably make 40-60 phone calls. These jobs also require less paperwork, and may involve less hours as an outside sales rep as well.
Additionally, a lot of employers let you wear whatever you want. As long as you sound professional over the phone, who cares if you're wearing shorts, a t-shirt and slippers? Many companies, especially young high tech start ups, don't require their sales reps to wear suits and ties.
Honestly, when it comes to inside vs outside sales, I really don't have a strong preference to either one. Most find inside sales jobs boring and repetitive, and I do at times as well. But I love the aspect of this being a numbers game and if it's a good company with a good product and a good sales model, the numbers usually work out.
You see, in the software industry, inside sales is more pervasive than outside. That is because companies are starting to realize that you can generate almost as much revenue at the fraction of the cost of doing outside sales.
Most software companies now do 80-100% of their business with inside sales. And they are saving a ton of money doing it.
Outside Sales Jobs
Outside sales jobs are usually done by more experienced sales reps. Reason being, outside sales reps don't get much supervision so they have to be self-managed and have a track record of getting results without management or supervision.
Outside sales reps typically spend most of their time outside of the office. They are also known as field sales reps. They will travel most of the time to visit prospective clients as well as current customers. During a visit, these reps will sit down and discuss the prospective clients' needs and will suggest products and services they can offer to meet those needs.
These jobs may require the sales rep to make presentations to groups of people as well. They may use powerpoint presentations, samples, or catalogs to present their products and services.
Because of the travel, outside sales jobs will require more hours of work to get the job done. Although, unlike in inside sales, the traveling and in person meetings will break up the monotony of doing one phone call after another. Additionally, face to face meetings almost always have a higher closing rate than inside sales jobs although it takes more time.
But although it takes more investment, because outside sales is more relational in nature because you're seeing them face to face, they tend to make more money in the long run and have repeat business.
Many sales jobs are a hybrid of the two kinds where some sales is done inside over the phone and Internet sales presentations as well as going out to see prospects in person. For example, selling insurance is a hybrid sales job. Other than the fact that this is the best way to learn the difference in inside vs outside sales, there are some other great benefits to this.
For inside sales reps, it can break up the monotony of doing the same routine of phone sales everyday, in the same way constantly. It can burn a guy out. So it's good for a rep to go out to see prospects in person to just break that up and to get some fresh air.
In addition, it help inside reps to get a better grasp of their prospects and their environment. It's one thing to always be talking to them over the phone and another to actually see their face and their workplace. There is something that is intangible that can never be taught just by going out to see clients and prospects face to face.
If an outside rep incorporates inside sales, it can increase their efficiency dramatically. You can do the initial cold calling and sales presentation over the phone and Internet, then go to see them face to face to close the deal. This will save them possibly several trips to see them in person, which could save a lot of time and money.
Sales a Gateway Opportunity
Sales in general is a great way to make a lot of money without much education, experience or credentials. I remember one of my first sales jobs in a software company.
There was no discrimination based one age, experience or degrees. It was all about getting the job done and I found that to be so refreshing. I remember that some of the top sales reps never finished college and the president of the company didn't have an MBA. They just worked really hard, hit their goals and brought value to the company and that's how they advanced their career.
In addition, most top level business professionals use sales skills all the time. Even if you're not in sales, if you want to move up in the business world, you will need sales skills.
The same tenacity, perseverance, eye for opportunities, persuasion skills, interpersonal skills and public speaking skills that you need to be successful in sales are the same skills that all business people need to have to be successful.
My advice to you when you are considering inside vs outside sales jobs to makes sure the opportunity includes a little bit of both. Cold calling skills, video conferencing skills, phone sales skills, in person meeting skills, live presentation skills are all things you want to have in your tool belt as you seek to be successful in business.
For more information on the highest paying jobs, you can read my hub on that as well. You'll be interested to know which industry dominates the top 10 jobs in the US. Since the list is dominated by so many from one profession, I also included a second top 10 that excludes that industry.
This information comes from my experience in sales. I have done both inside and outside sales jobs for a breadth of companies.