How Do Outside Sales and Inside Sales Differ?

Both 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!


What are 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. 


What are inside sales?


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


Read here to know more about inside sales.


How Outside Sales Differ From Inside 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.


For inside sales, the sales cycle is shorter than outside sales. It has four steps: lead generation, nurture/call back the leads, make demonstrations/assessments and follow up like 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.


The skill set of an inside salesperson is complete knowledge about the products, automation skills, social media skills, availability, task management, rapport building, communication and negotiation skills, and learning about the software used by the company.




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.


Related: Inside Sales KPIs (Metrics) That Every Inside Sales Team Should Track


Tools used


The tools used by outside sales representatives are Google Maps to navigate places, Emails to stay in touch with clients, and team members, Sales Navigator tools, and documents 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 representative are different from an inside sales representative. The outside sales representative:


  • 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:


  • 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. 


The bottom line is that there are a lot of 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 your business to the next level.


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