Outside Sales Vs. Inside Sales: What’s the difference?

In my mind, not much except that outside sales sounds more prestigious than it really is.

I read this article yesterday which I found interesting. Here’s the link:


Here at Connect 5000, I don’t designate my sales reps as outside or inside reps. If a company or executive is close enough to meet in person, we drive and meet them face to face. If it doesn’t, than we don’t mind having a teleconference call or a webex. We have clients we’ve never met face to face and others we have.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

  • In almost 75% of sales situations, your Customer would prefer not to spend time meeting face to face.  Our research shows they want to engage virtually.  Why aren’t you making it easy for them?
  • By eliminating travel time, your sales force can become up to 150% more efficient

If your reps are responsible for cold calling, prospecting, setting up their own meetings and closing the deal, they are in sales, period.

Personally, I have a background in construction and software sales. Previously, I sold software programs that cost several thousand dollars over the phone and Internet, rarely meeting clients in person. With technology and the Internet, there’s a demand for people who can sell and communicate well over the phone.

If your reps are responsible for acquiring new clients, there’s no need to label them “inside” or “outside” sales reps.

Now if your reps are only responsible for setting up the sales call and getting out of the way, I see no problem labeling them as an inside sales rep.

I think one of the reasons why companies want to engage virtually is because it takes the sales pressure off the prospect. There’s more barriers up by phone and Internet than there is in person.

Now if a potential sale or client is is 5, 6, or 7 figures, it makes perfect sense to at some point meet them face to face.