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Inside sales and outside sales have two different approaches, with the same underlying goal: make the sale.

While one of the two career paths comes with an office view and is phone intensive, the other allows for more autonomy and entrepreneurial freedom. Choosing whether you are a better fit as an inside sales representative rather than outside sales (and vice-versa) depends on you'and personality plays in big role in determining that.

Selling from the other line

As an inside sales representative, you'll be stationed in-house where most of the workday is spent on the phone cold calling, generating leads, following up with accounts, or customer satisfaction'depending on the type of inside role you have.

And with today's fast-paced environment and techie generation, inside sales has been a popular choice of specialization. It's popular within companies because dollar-for-dollar they can cover more accounts cost-effectively with inside sales versus outside sales, explains Mike Baillie, sales process manager at Ricoh Canada, Document Direction. I think it's popular for employees because they may be very savvy with technology. Also, younger employees can learn faster, as they can make more calls and get involved in more sales cycles than possible with outside sales.

To find success in inside sales is more than just achieving sales targets, but also requires a great deal of resiliency. In some sense, inside sales can feel like a telemarketing job because it's phone intensive, says Thilo Mohan, sourcing and talent acquisition specialist at Xerox Canada. I'm sure we've all had telemarketers call us and we might have hung up on them or told them we weren't interested, so handling rejection is definitely a key component in an inside sales role.

But having determination and persistency are keys to success. I would definitely say someone who has great communication skills, says Mohan, when explaining the ideal individual for the job. In person, you can charm them, but over the phone you really have to get to the point and establish that rapport right away.

Selling face-to-face

Often labelled an entrepreneurial role, outside sales is for self-starters and is more self-managed in comparison to inside sales.

It's like running your own business, says Mohan. We provide them with all the training and resources they'll need but, at the end of the day, they'll book all of their appointments and make their own visits and demos.

As most outside sales reps are geographically based, there are other areas employees can specialize in as they move up through the company. Our better performing geographic reps have the opportunity to move up to key account sales so rather than having a geographic area, they would have a list of 75ÔÇô100 specific accounts' they'll be dealing with larger accounts that have slightly more complex needs, says Baillie, explaining growth opportunity at Ricoh.

As long as you're entrepreneurial, then you'll definitely be able to succeed [in outside sales], says Mohan. If you want the freedom and flexibility to make a career you want it to be then it's a position they should apply for.

Photos: BernardaSv, Maksim Koval/Thinkstock