Inside Sales versus Outside Sales

(This is my response to an article written by David P. Wallace of The Wallace Management Group)


I like the table approach you have used to try and illustrate the situations by which you decide to use inside sales versus outside sales.

I wanted to add my observations to yours. As the President of XANT, I have the opportunity to observe hundreds of companies as they are in the process of starting or growing an inside sales team. More and more we are finding companies with bigger ticket items and higher product complexity being sold effectively by inside sales or remote sales teams.

In fact, taking the definition of inside sales as remote sales, we are finding that a majority of the time spent by an outside sales person is spent actually doing inside sales, or selling remotely. In looking at the table below, you can see I have noted that Bigger ticket items still benefit with a face-to-face meeting, but there are far fewer of them in the sales cycle, with much more meetings facilitated remotely.

Here is how I would modify your table:

Item                                                     Inside Sales            Outside Sales

Product or Service Cost                     Low – Medium                   High

Perception of Product Value              Low – Medium                     High

Product Complexity                             Low – High                      High

Transaction Size                               Small/Medium                    Large

Product Margin                                   Small/Large                     Large

Target Geography                                   Wide                         Narrow

In the table above, product margins seems to have very little or nothing to do with the discussion as inside sales seems to sell small or large margin items equally as well as outside sales people, but companies can’t afford the cost of outside sales people as much on low margin items.

I would also add that Inside Sales is knocking on the door of being able to productively sell into the High Product or Service Cost and the High Perception of Product Value as well as the Large Transaction Size arenas.

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Author: Ken Krogue |
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