How Do Outside Sales and Inside Sales Differ?

outside sales and inside sales difference


Inside and outside sales aim to sell the products to customers and increase sales. However, different sales methods work better for various products and companies. The company will decide whether to use inside or outside sales based on their industry, workflow structure, product development, and pricing. 


Here, we’ll explore the critical distinctions between inside and outside sales. Read on to learn more!


Defining Outside Sales and Inside Sales


Outside Sales


Outside sales are when a salesperson sells a product/service to potential customers. This can also be called ‘field’ sales because the salesperson works outside the office. Since proper physical interaction is involved, it helps maintain a healthy relationship between salespersons and customers. 


Inside Sales


Selling products and services remotely within an office environment is called inside sales. This process can occur over the phone, email, or online chat. It is cost-efficient and increases productivity. Nowadays, most businesses rely on inside sales to generate leads.


Also Read: Rules of Engagement Between Inside and Outside Sales


Difference Between Inside Sales and Outside Sales


Sales cycle


For outside sales, the sales cycle is longer than inside sales. It has six steps: researching sales, connecting with prospects, scheduling meetings, demonstrating products, assessing products, and closing the deal. This cycle leads to higher Annual Contract Value (ACV) and increases the complexity of the sales cycle.


The sales cycle for inside sales is shorter than that for outside sales. It has four steps: lead generation, nurturing/calling back the leads, making demonstrations/assessments, and following up, such as closing deals. This cycle leads to lower ACV and decreases the complexity of the sales cycles. 




The skill set of an outside salesperson should have higher EQ, better communication skills, global and local language knowledge, good negotiation skills, interpersonal and customer service skills, and adaptability.


An inside salesperson’s skill set includes complete knowledge about the products, automation skills, social media skills, availability, task management, rapport building, communication and negotiation skills, and learning about the company’s software.




Monthly, quarterly, and annual reports assess outside sales metrics. The following factors measure these metrics: number of meetings held, number of events organized, financial statements, capital invested, revenue earned, and target/quota achievement.


Daily, weekly, and monthly reports assess inside sales metrics. The following factors measure these metrics: hours worked by individuals and teams, calls/meetings attended, streamlining of the workflow, target achievement, and emails sent.


Also Read: Inside Sales KPIs That Every Inside Sales Team Should Track


Tools used


Outside sales representatives use Google Maps to navigate places, Emails to stay in touch with clients and team members, Sales Navigator tools, and document scanners.


Inside sales representatives use various tools such as:


  • Customer Relationship Management(CRM) tools
  • Lead generation tools
  • Sales intelligence tools
  • Meeting tools (Zoom, Google Meet)
  • Automation tools
  • Calling and emailing tools. 

Job activities


The job activities of an outside sales rep differ from those of an inside sales rep. The outside sales representative performs the following duties:


  • Contacts the lead and schedules to meet their leads in person. 
  • Stays in touch with leads throughout the sales workflow. 
  • Feeds sales data to the CRM and reports their activities to management. 
  • Tries to close the deal to maintain their sales quota. 
  • Attends various events organized by the company.

On the other hand, the inside sales representative performs the following duties:


  • Reports to the management software on time. 
  • Checks the daily tasks their manager assigned and works on backlogs.
  • Use mobile, email, social media, and online platforms to engage prospects. 
  • Nurtures the customers via question and answer sessions, cold calling, and emails. 

Their sales data are automatically fed and reported to CRM and management. 


Choosing the right approach

Determining whether outside sales or inside sales is the right approach for a business depends on various factors, including industry dynamics, target market, product complexity, and organizational resources. Some industries, such as B2B enterprise sales or complex technical solutions, may benefit from outside sales’ personalized touch and relationship-building. Conversely, industries with transactional sales or a high volume of leads may find inside sales more suitable for their needs.


Consider a hybrid approach that blends elements of both outside and inside sales. This strategy, often known as omnichannel sales, can be a game-changer. It allows companies to harness the strengths of each method, leading to a significant boost in sales effectiveness and efficiency.


The bottom line is that there are many similarities between outside and inside sales but also some key differences. Understanding these differences can help you tailor your sales approach to fit the needs of your customer base. So, find the type of sales suited for your business and implement it to grow it to the next level.


Related articles

Ready to get your next best customer?

Simple to set up. Easy to use.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

No Credit card required

Scroll to Top

Get free company information