The sales team is a vital component of any successful company, and having top-notch personnel in this department can make or break a company. Though the lines are increasingly blurred, sales roles are typically divided into two types, inside sales and outside sales. Someone who is well suited to an inside sales role may not like outside sales at all, and vice versa. Companies who hire inside and outside salespeople should make sure their applicants know the difference, and place new hires in roles that suit their skills. Companies should also know which sales style works better for their company so they can hire and train salespeople accordingly.
Let’s start with some basic definitions, even though most these definitions will likely be mixed or downright muddied in many real world sales roles.
Outside Sales: According to the Department of Labor, an employee is considered an outside salesperson if their primary duty is to make sales and they spend most of their work time away from the company’s place of business. Anyone who travels most of the time to meet up with clients and make sales face-to-face is likely qualified as an outside salesperson.
Inside Sales: Inside sales once happened mostly over the phone. Now they might happen over Skype, email, or other online communication services as well, but the principle is the same: inside salespeople work at a desk. Their main channel for making sales is through telecommunications.