Inside Sales vs Outside Sales: Which Is Right for Your Company?

Your sales team structure depends entirely on your product, sales goals, and even your marketing strategy. 

Traditionally, outside sales has been the go-to for companies. Now, companies are opting for more of a 50/50 split between both. This structure allows your inside sales reps to nurture leads that have shorter sales cycles, and your outside sales reps to connect with larger accounts that might have a longer sales cycle. 

This new trend also has to do with how people buy and interact. Only 20-30% of buyers still prefer to buy in brick and mortar settings. Many companies are shifting to an online, inside sales strategy to match the behavioral preferences of their customers. 

Even still, outside sales has proved its effectiveness in closing high price deals. The more personal and face-to-face connection establishes a level of comfort for your customer that cannot be achieved through an electronic device. 

Here we’ll highlight some of the decision-making criteria you can use to choose the optimal strategy based on your company’s own characteristics.

Product or Service Type 

When thinking about your sales team structure, your product or service is one of the biggest determinants of which sales strategy you’ll go with. 

Some questions to consider are:

  • Is your product expensive?
  • Are you offering a one-time purchase product or a product with a recurring expense?
  • Is your product something that is desired by the general public? 
  • Is your product complex and difficult to understand?
  • Would a customer need a demo to understand your product’s value? 

If your product/service has a lower price, a small Average Customer Value (ACV), is a one-time purchase, and appeals to a wider market, it is best suited for an inside sales strategy. 

If your product has a lower price or a lower ACV, it is less of a financial risk and will therefore require less nurturing on your end to convince someone to buy. Since the price and risk are lower, what your customer will primarily focus on is convenience. 

If your service is more straightforward and is a commonly sought item you won’t need to spend resources conducting demos or targeting only an elite group that has the knowledge your product needs to be sold. 

On the other hand, higher-priced, more complex products are better suited for the outside sales method as a larger percentage of your overall team. 

Let’s say you’re an agency whose typical client spends north of $10,000/month on your services. This is a significant recurring expense and only applies to businesses who are aware of and have the budget to spend on your service. In this case you want to establish a more personal connection so that you can build trust with your customers so that they feel more comfortable making the investment.

Regardless of whether you choose a heavier mix of inside or outside sales, both types of reps can engage in social selling and targeted outreach remotely from your office to increase their chances at closing a deal. 

To Summarize…

Graph showing differences between inside and outside sales