inside sales vs outside sales

Inside Sales vs Outside Sales: What’s Best for Your 2022 Marketing Strategy

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If your sales team is struggling to get people to buy your product or service, comparing inside sales vs. outside sales is likely to get you in the right direction moving forward.

Both methods have pros and cons, but if you’re only using one method, you might be missing out on plenty of potential customers and sales.

Read on to learn about these two types of sales and how they can help your business.

What Is Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales?

What Is Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales?

Inside sales is when you sell remotely, such as online or over the phone. You can conduct inside sales calls from your desk or even your home.

On the other hand, outside sales involve meeting clients in person. It can take a lot of traveling, depending on where your clients are.

An example of inside sales would be an eCommerce business. You might have a website where people can buy your products. The customer could live anywhere (as long as you’re able to ship to them), but you can sell from your main office.

One example of outside sales would be a craftsperson. They may sell online, but they might also set up a booth at a craft sale or fair. People can come up to the booth and buy a product then and there.

Which Is Best for Your Business?

An inside sales team may work well if you sell to people and businesses outside your local area. 

Who is involved in an inside sales team?

  • You can have someone work as the sales development representative to qualify leads before sending them to an account executive to close the deal.
  • The team can also include an account manager to work with customers after closing a sale. 
  • A customer success manager can help with customer support. 
  • You can outsource any part of this team, but you may want to keep the account manager in-house to make sure they follow your company’s policies.

B2C (business to consumer) SaaS (software as a service) is probably the most common industry for inside sales. You don’t usually need to travel to their home or location when selling to consumers, though some industries require that. In the case of selling software, the customer just needs a computer to use it.

Outside sales can work well for B2B (business to business) or B2G (business to government). If you can visit the business or government you want to sell to, you can build a good relationship with your point of contact.

With outside sales, you can outsource some of the team. 

Then, you can reach customers in areas besides the city where your business operates. But having some of the team in-house can help you offer a consistent sales experience for customers.

Inside Sales Strategies

When looking to get sales, inside sales can be an excellent option, especially when automating your sales process is an easily available option.

But you need to consider a few strategies to make sure this method will help you meet your goals. Many inside sales strategies work regardless of your location and that of your ideal customer.

You can start with just one of these strategies, from direct mail marketing to a cold call to one of your customers, depending on your goals.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing

As the name suggests, content marketing uses content to promote your business and get people to buy what you are selling. Two popular content marketing strategies are blogs and YouTube videos, and you can use either to educate your audience on what you offer.

For example, you can find a profitable niche and start writing blog posts and optimize them for SEO. When someone searches for the topic of your blog post, such as dessert recipes, your blog post may come up. 

Then, you can convert that visitor into a customer and sell them a recipe book or cooking class.

If you create YouTube videos, you can follow a similar strategy. Your videos may appear both in YouTube search results and Google search results. Then, you can get people to watch the video and click on your website to become a customer.

Other types of content marketing can apply to inside sales and outside sales. For example, you may send a pamphlet or whitepaper via email when conducting inside sales. However, if you do outside sales, you may print out the whitepaper during the meeting.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to marketing that you do on social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. You can post content to these platforms to attract leads and customers.

With 4.55 billion active users, social media is an excellent place to capture the attention of your ideal clients or customers. 

Which businesses can use Social Media Marketing?

  • Any industry can use social media marketing, and it’s a low-cost way to get sales.
  • However, some industries do far better than others on social media. 
  • Travel, entertainment, real estate, and education are some of the industries that can get the most out of using social media for marketing.

Because of its digital nature, social media marketing is primarily for inside sales. 

However, you might include the names or handles of your social accounts on your business cards. Then, you can give the card to clients when conducting outside sales.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is part inside sales and part outside sales. 

What is direct mail?

  • It involves physical media that you print and mail to potential customers, such as postcards or letters. 
  • In some cases, the direct mail you send may be a physical version of a digital item, such as a promotional poster.
  • However, you can also use direct mail marketing to send your customers gifts and other tangible items. 

For example, you might send someone an extra gift when they place an order. That small gesture can encourage them to shop from you again.

If your customers show off their gifts, they may convince their friends to buy them from you. Then, you can get even more customers and sales. Direct mail marketing is an inside sales method because you send it from your office, but you may bring gifts on an outside sales call.

Cold Calling

cold calling

Another popular inside sales strategy is cold calling, where you contact people or businesses that you don’t have a relationship with yet. In the B2B sales industry, you may call a company and schedule a sales call where you visit them in person.

Press companies may use cold calling to contact newspapers and other publications to get press for their clients. While cold calling isn’t as popular in B2C industries, you may be able to use it if you can get a hold of someone’s phone number.

You can use cold calling to tell someone about the business or offer you have. 

Then, you may convince someone to schedule a visit or a demo. You may have people go door to door, which is the in-person version of cold calling when it comes to outside sales.

Either way, cold calling can be an excellent way to get people to learn about your business. Even if they don’t buy something, you can add them to your list of leads. You’ll be able to follow up with them later, and you may get a sale out of it.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when you work with influencers in your niche. These people usually have big followings or highly engaged smaller followings, and their followers will be in your exact target audience.

This type of marketing is similar to using outside sales reps, but they don’t work for your company as an employee. Instead, you pay them a set rate to create a post on their social channels where they talk about your product or service.

These influencer posts are an inside sales strategy because the post and any sales it gets happen online. 

If you want to turn it into an outside sales strategy, you may have a local celebrity, such as an athlete, going door to door to promote your business.

Whether you use it as an inside or outside sales strategy, choose influencers carefully. Ask them about their audience’s interest and engagement rate. Then, you can make sure your influencer marketing campaign will reach the right people.

Pay Per Click Marketing

Pay Per Click Marketing

If you want to get more traffic to your website, you may pay for ad space and use pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. You can optimize ads for different platforms, and you only have to pay something when you actually get a click.

For example, you might create a PPC ad for your business name. 

Then, whenever someone searches for your company on Google, you can make sure your business comes up first. You might also do this for the type of product or service you sell.

Pay-per-click marketing can fit into your outside sales strategy as well. You can use PPC ads to help get qualified leads to click on your site. Then, you’ll be able to move those leads through your sales funnel.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an excellent inside sales strategy, and it can help you get a high conversion rate. You can create a sign-up form to place on your website or link to your social media, and you can offer a discount or a free download to get people to join.

The average email open rate is about 21.33%, and the click rate is 2.62%. 

Those numbers may seem low, but you can use email marketing to build authority and get people to trust you. And you don’t have to worry about social media or search engine algorithms.

Email marketing is excellent for all sales funnel stages, from awareness to conversion.

You can even create campaigns to turn one-off customers into loyal fans. It’s one of the best inside sales strategies, though it doesn’t have a clear outside sales equivalent.

However, you might use outside sales strategies to promote your email list. For example, your business card may include a link or QR code to sign up.

Affiliate Marketing and Referral Marketing

Two very similar inside sales strategies are affiliate and referral marketing. Affiliate marketing is where you give your customers a special link to promote your business. If someone clicks on an affiliate link and buys something, you will pay the affiliate a small commission.

Referral marketing is similar, though it works differently. 

You might include a section on your client’s onboarding form asking if someone referred the new client. If the new client fills in that section, you can contact the person who referred them and give them a flat rate bonus.

This marketing type differs from outside sales reps because affiliates and referrers don’t work for you. In some cases, they may be individuals who want to share the products or services they love.

But outside sales reps are an excellent alternative to affiliates if you want to focus on outside sales. You can outsource your team of sales reps. Then, you’ll be able to find people in various cities who can share your offers in person.

Outside Sales Strategies

While inside sales strategies can help you get clients, so can outside sales. 

  • Before choosing one method over the other, you should consider some popular outside sales methods. 
  • Then, you can decide if you want to incorporate both types of strategies.

Outside sales involve a lot of in-person work, but they can also include gifts and other physical marketing materials. Here are some popular outside sales strategies you can test in your business.

Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet

A meet and greet is an excellent outside sales strategy where you visit a potential client in person. When selling B2B, you might visit the office, while B2C sales reps may go to someone’s home.

You may conduct a meet and greet at a networking event as well. 

Then, you can introduce yourself and your company to potential leads. When scheduling a meet and greet, beware of clients who insist on a specific time. After closing the sale, they may be picky, which may do more harm than good to your team.

If you want to use meet and greet as an inside sales strategy, you might conduct a live video. Then, you can chat with people in the comments, and they can get to know you and the business. And you can conduct the live video from any location so that all of your customers can participate.

The Conference Booth

Many industries have annual conferences or conventions, and many of those events have exhibition halls. You can sign up to rent a booth for the conference, and you can have someone on your sales team run the booth.

As people walk by or come up to your booth, you can greet them and ask them if they have any questions. 

This strategy is an excellent way to find qualified leads because you know they are interested in your industry or even your business specifically.

Unfortunately, about 54% of marketers find it hard to calculate the ROI of conferences. But as virtual and hybrid conferences gain popularity, it can be a good strategy. Then, you can still connect with customers without having to travel to the conference location.

Whether you set up a physical or virtual booth, attending a conference is great. You don’t have to waste your time speaking to people who aren’t your target customers.

The Pitch Meeting

A sales pitch meeting is an excellent outside sales strategy for B2B and B2G companies. You can meet clients in person and pitch them your products or services.

During the meeting, you’ll be able to answer any questions from anyone in attendance.

In-person vs online:

  • Going in person to pitch your business can also help you make a stronger connection. 
  • You can pitch to someone over a video call, but you may experience technical difficulties. 
  • An in-person meeting may help reduce some of that stress.

For example, you may want to pitch a new printer to a business. If you go in person, you can ask to see their current printer. Then, you can examine it and compare it to the printer you have to sell, making it easier to point out where yours is superior.

You can show the prospective client the value of what you have to offer and how it will help them specifically. That’s a lot harder to do when you don’t get to see more than their face on a computer screen.

The Close

After a pitch meeting, or after getting someone into your sales funnel, you may want to go in for the close. The close is where you get someone to purchase your product or service. In the case of outside sales, you would typically visit the company or person.

In the past, going in person was the best way to get someone to buy something. You can talk through their concerns and help them understand the value of your offer. However, you may be able to do the close remotely.

When closing remotely, you can think back to that visit when talking about the client’s office or home if you’ve gone in person before. 

Then, you can send any contracts or other documents via email or a document-sharing service.

The client will be able to sign the documents and send them back to you virtually. The ability to e-sign documents can be convenient if you have bad weather and can’t travel to the client. It’s also nice if the client is currently traveling but doesn’t want to wait until they get back to the office.

Great options for eSignature software include DottedSign that comes with eSignature API and extra security, PandaDoc, or DocuSign.

The Maintenance Meeting

The sales process doesn’t stop when you get a client to book your service or buy your product. After you close on a sale, you may have your customer success manager visit the client to see how they’re doing.

If you sell a product, the manager may check on it to ensure it’s still in good condition. You can also use that time to fill up on ink, for example, if you sell printers. You can also bring gifts that will help the client use your product.

Businesses that sell a service may have the manager meet with someone from the client’s company to see how well the service is working. 

Like a product-based business, you can give gifts that will help, or you may provide quick training to any new employees.

You’ll also have the chance to gauge if the customer may need another product or service you offer. Even if you don’t sell that to them immediately, you can put them on your list, and contact them later. If you can’t visit in person, you may conduct a virtual meeting and send gifts in the mail.

The Upsell

Another excellent outside sales strategy to try is to upsell your clients. Taking the prior example of a printer company, you might choose to offer a client your ink subscription service. Or you might have noticed that their computers are old, and you also sell printers.

Make sure the client would be a good fit for your other products or services. Then, you’ll have an easier time selling to them, and you won’t have to feel as pushy. Instead, you can share the value your products and services offer and how they’ll help your current client.

Industries that can benefit from an upsell strategy include commercial real estate and industrial equipment sales. 

However, you may also use this strategy in any industry where you have a suite of products or services that work well together.

Before you schedule a time to upsell to a client, consider when they bought the product (or service) from you. While you may know they need the next new thing, you don’t want to sell too often. If you do, you may push away a client who would have otherwise wanted to buy something else later.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales in Review

When deciding how to market your business and get sales, you should compare inside sales vs. outside sales. 

Inside sales are an excellent option if you want to sell from anywhere. But if you’re going to build better connections and learn about your clients, outside sales is better.

Fortunately, your sales strategy can include inside and outside sales. That way, you can sell to your ideal clients and customers in different ways to make them the most comfortable. 

Check out some social networks and email software for inside sales, and use a GPS to get to meetings for outside sales.



Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.

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