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Sales

  1. Outside Sales
  2. Sales Lead
  3. Indirect Sales
  4. Inside Sales

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Outside Sales: Definition And A Complete Guide

Updated: November 18, 2022

As a small business owner, it’s important to make sure you have as many streams of revenue as possible. Diversifying your income can go a long way to ensuring the health of your company. 

One way of gaining income is by sending your sales staff out into the field to drum up sales from potential customers. This is what’s known as outside sales.

But why is employing outside sales such a benefit to your business? And what is the best way to conduct outside sales? Read on as we take a closer look at everything to do with outside sales, and how you can use it to your advantage.

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    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • The process of outside sales is sending out sales staff to bring in business for a company. 
    • Outside sales take place when a member of the sales team engages in sales activities with clients or customers in the field.
    • They will often travel to meet a prospective customer or client face-to-face. 
    • Outside sales employees tend to not work within a conventional office setting. 
    • Instead, they will spend most of their time traveling to various clients. This is with the aim of selling them a product or a service. 

    What Are Outside Sales?

    Outside sales take place when a member of the sales team engages in sales activities with clients or customers in the field. Employees that are part of the outside sales team are rarely a part of a normal office environment. Instead, they will spend most of their time traveling to various clients. This is with the aim of selling them a product or a service. 

    Outside sales are often referred to as field sales. They offer employees a more flexible work schedule. But it also means that the salesperson would be on call a lot of the time. This means that they may have to meet the demands of a customer with very little notice. 

    An outside salesperson’s job will entail maintaining a schedule of meetings with various different clients in person. They will have to be flexible and adjust their demands to keep up with the requirements that the company will set for them. 

    Field sales reps have to do a lot of networking. There will be a lot of entertaining clients, so they have to make sure that their social skills and presentation are up to scratch. They rely on everything from basic sales tactics to more complex sales cycles to close deals. 

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    What Are the Responsibilities of Outside Sales?

    The responsibilities of an outside salesperson include:

    • Carrying out a number of sales calls and face-to-face meetings with clients and customers on a daily basis. 
    • Traveling within the company’s sales territory. This is to meet with various different customers and prospective clients. 
    • Both build and maintain a number of relationships with new and repeat customers. 
    • Showing a high level of product knowledge. This helps to effectively answer questions and inquiries from customers. It’s also important to be able to educate the customers on how the product or service can benefit them.
    • Maintaining detailed records. This is for all of their sales leads, as well as their customer accounts. 
    • Effectively sell the product or service to customers within the given territory. 
    • Keep a close eye on the business’s competitors. As well as any new products and market conditions. This helps to build a strong understanding of the specific needs of the customer. 
    • Building the brand of the business. This is achieved by working closely with the marketing department. 
    • Being the face of the business. By meeting with clients, you are responsible for representing the company. 
    • Having a high level of social skills to entertain clients. This helps to build strong relationships. 
    • Reaching the weekly, monthly, and yearly sales goals set by the company. 

    The Key Benefits of Outside Sales

    1. A Better Ratio of Closing

    Research has shown that outside sales reps have a much higher closing rate when compared to inside sales. If you’re focusing on sales of products with a high price point, then a customer may feel more comfortable meeting face to face. This is because meeting customers in person can be far more influential than a simple email or phone call. It is also much easier to manage difficult sales processes when you are with the client. Especially any process that requires a lot of decision-making from the client. 

    2. Higher Motivation to Make Sales

    The majority of outside sales teams work on the basis that they will receive a commission for each sale. A commission is when you receive an added monetary bonus when you make a sale. This could be a set amount or could scale depending on the size of the sale. This, therefore, gives outside sales reps a high incentive to make as many sales as possible. And also encourages high ticket sales as they would receive a better commission. 

    3. Building Better Client Relationships

    Building strong relationships remotely can be difficult. You can only do so much through emails, and phone calls can at times be quite impersonal. Outside sales teams often therefore create much stronger relationships with their customers. Many sales teams will take clients out for drinks or lunches, and strong relationships can be built. This also leads to better sales as you’re far more likely to make a deal with somebody that you trust. As well as somebody whose company you enjoy.

    What Is Inside Sales?

    When you’re setting up the sales team for your business, it’s important to know which sales team structure to employ. It’s important to remember that each team has different needs.

    In order to fully understand outside sales, we need to understand inside sales. Let’s take a deeper look at what inside sales is, and what the unique benefits are.

    What Are Inside Sales?

    Inside sales are the process of remotely selling to a customer or client. An inside sales person are sales professionals who would typically use phone calls and emails to reach new customers. They may also use a number of other different digital channels. An inside sales person may also receive various leads that are generated by the marketing department. Though this is dependent on the structure of the company.

    Inside sales representatives tend to work within a team-based structure. They also tend to have direct supervision. 

    An inside sales rep will rely on cold calling to earn new qualified leads and new business. They also have to be comfortable with explaining the product or service to customers to a highly detailed degree. 

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    What Are the Responsibilities of Inside Sales?

    The responsibilities of an inside salesperson include:

    • Building relationships remotely with existing and potential clients. This is to help to establish a high level of support and trust. 
    • Nurturing potential leads. This is with the eventual aim of converting them to customers and sales. 
    • Closing deals with various different clients and customers. 
    • Showing a high level of product knowledge. This helps to effectively answer questions and inquiries from customers. It’s also important to be able to educate the customers on how the product or service can benefit them. 
    • Reaching the weekly, monthly, and yearly sales goals set by the company. 
    • Gathering and reporting on any sales data that is relevant to the sales process. 
    • The ability to cold call clients and deal with inbound leads and qualifying leads. 

    The Key Benefits of Inside Sales

    There are a number of unique benefits that utilizing inside sales channels can have for a business. This is especially true if they are selling a product that can be easily sold remotely. For example, any type of software is easily sold remotely. 

    Let’s take a look at some of the best benefits for a business that utilizes remote selling.

    1. Faster Response Time

    An inside sales team has the benefit of being able to instantly respond to customers. They can easily answer any questions or queries the client may have via email or a quick phone call. In the modern business day, they can even set up a visual communication channel with the help of video conferencing software. This is in comparison to an outside sales team member who would have to make a trip to visit the customer to answer any questions. 

    2. A Reduced Sales Cost

    The cost per sale of your inside sales team tends to be much lower than outside sales. This is because the sales reps can communicate with more clients at a faster rate. This is in comparison to having to meet them in person. 

    3. More Time Actually Selling

    An inside sales representative would be able to spend far more of their time actually selling. This is because they don’t need to spend any time traveling to and from various different clients. Instead, as soon as they are done with one sale, they can simply pick up the phone and start on another. This saved time can be better spent on following up with more leads. 

    4. Better Team Cohesion 

    Having an inside sales team allows for better teamwork and encourages collaboration. Each member can have a different job and start a sales cycle. So for example, one salesperson can make introductory calls, then pass them on to the account representative to make the sale. This is in comparison to an outside sales rep which tends to be a one-person operation. 

    5. Better Scalability

    Inside sales teams are quite easily scalable. This is because they don’t require as much location-specific knowledge. They also rely far less on customer relationships. Scaling an outside sales team can be difficult. This is because everything to do with outside sales is very location-specific. A sales representative may be reluctant to change territory. This makes any form of expansion a drawn-out process. 

    The Difference Between Inside and Outside Sales

    After considering everything that we have laid out above, the answer to this question becomes quite clear. 

    Inside sales is made up of in-house teams that focus on bringing in new leads and selling remotely. The inside sales workforce has a sales approach based on emails and phone calls.

    Outside sales is an individual that travels to meet existing and prospective clients. They follow a field sales model that focuses on in-person meetings and do a fair amount of traveling.

    Summary

    Having an outside sales department is a great way for sales organizations to connect with new and existing clients. The added sales benefits of being able to meet face-to-face has an effect that simply can’t be achieved over the phone. At least not to the same extent. 

    However, outside sales teams are becoming less frequent in modern sales teams. This is being accelerated with the introduction of communication tools such as video conferencing and virtual meetings. Inside sales representatives are more cost-efficient. This can lead to a growth in sales which means more consistent money for a business. 

    Some businesses will no doubt have their field reps take on a hybrid approach within a hybrid model. This would mean that field reps would split their time between traveling and taking on virtual meetings. 

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    FAQs About Outside Sales

    How Can I Be a Good Outside Sales Rep?

    Sales leaders are able to effectively build relationships with clients and make sales. The sales role is for someone who is smart, punctual, and has good communication and social skills. They also have to be able to work within the sales organizations’ model

    What Is an Outside Sales Executive?

    An outside sales executive is the same as a representative but at a higher level. They will meet with large clients and have more of an impact. This is because they are of higher standing in their company.

    What Are Examples of Outside Sales?

    The main example of outside sales is a traveling salesman. They will visit clients to make sales that occur outside of the office.

    Is Outside Sales Door-To-Door?

    Outside sales include door-to-door salespeople, but it is not exclusive to door-to-door sales. 

    Sales

    1. Outside Sales
    2. Sales Lead
    3. Indirect Sales
    4. Inside Sales

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