Red and Blue inside outside sign

Inside Sales Vs Outside Sales: Which Is Most Beneficial For Your Business?

The Benefits of Inside Sales vs Outside Sales

Every business must grapple with one essential question: Which sales approach reaps the best ROI — inside sales vs outside sales? Increasingly, businesses across the U.S. are re-examining the benefits and drawbacks of relying on sales in the fields — and, as we have noted before, “many companies are moving from a heavy focus on field sales (or outside sales) to more of an insider sales game.”

Key Differences

In essence, the key differences between inside sales vs outside sales are the salesperson’s interactions with customers. Outside sales take place in the field through face-to-face conversations. Inside sales are conducted remotely, via telephone or the Internet.

Other differentiating factors include the costs of customer acquisition, revenue predictability, and the types of skills salespeople must command in order to succeed.

Benefits of Inside Sales

Probably the greatest single benefit of inside sales is the reduced cost of customer acquisition. According to the Harvard Business Review, inside sales teams attract new customers for as much as 40-90 percent less than the costs incurred by field salespeople. This is largely the result of higher base salaries for field reps and the expense (and inefficiencies) of travel for in-person meetings with prospects.

With the proliferation of new technology (from social selling tools and analytics software to web-conferencing platforms), inside salespeople can easily communicate with prospects. Also, since their time is spent in the office, they master key administrative and prospecting obligations much quicker than their outside sales counterparts.

Benefits of Outside Sales

While technology has greatly enhanced opportunities for communications, some businesses strongly believe there’s no substitute for face-to-face interactions with a prospective customer. Conversations that take place in person build trust on both sides, while also demonstrating to the prospect that your business cares enough to invest in the time and travel needed for this type of encounter.

Also, there are still clients that prefer meeting in person with a member of the outside sales teams, and it’s wise to honor those preferences, whenever possible.

Which Saves You More Money?

Looked at strictly in dollars and cents, outside sales require a greater expenditure in order to succeed. On average, an outside sales rep commands 12-18 percent higher annual salaries than inside sales reps. Travel costs are obviously higher as well, due to the demand for visits to customers at different geographic locations.

Generally speaking, outside sales — involving larger sales — require a greater investment of time, with longer, more complex sales cycles.

As companies search relentlessly for better ways to sell more for less, leveraging the resources of an efficient and effective inside sales team results in significant cost savings while maintaining production at the same level, if not higher, than before.

Acquirent recruits, trains and manages our clients’ sales teams. We partner closely with clients to provide a transparent, accountable solution based on metrics, training and the most up-to-date sales technology. Learn more about how our three core competencies can accelerate sales for your business.