Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: Differences, Pay, and More


Inside Sales vs Outside Sales


At the heart of any sales occupation is the ability to connect with people and use interpersonal skills and persuasion to pitch goods and services to prospects. The ways salespeople go about doing their job, however, can vary significantly. Finding a sales career path that matches your style plays a huge role in both career success and level of satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between inside sales and outside sales.

What Is Inside Sales?

A quick definition of inside sales is professional sales done away from clients, likely in a different location. Inside sales reps rely on phone calls and electronic communication to interact with prospective and established clients.

Based out of an on-site or home office each day, inside sales reps work on generating new business with actions such as cold calling and fielding incoming inquiries. They also spend time connecting with existing customers in order to ensure their satisfaction and to introduce them to additional products and services of interest. Depending on a company’s structure and what is being purchased, inside sales reps may handle transactions from start to finish, or they may hand off information to a teammate to conduct an in-person meeting.

Inside sales reps earn an average annual salary of $43,604, per Payscale.com. Note, though, the potential for this number to increase in roles that offer bonuses or commission for outstanding sales work.

What Is Outside Sales?

Take a look at ads for outside sales jobs, and one of the first things you’ll likely notice are the words “travel” or “territory”. Outside sales thrive on face-to-face interaction.

Reps meet directly with business owners, managers, and the like to tout their employer’s goods or services. Oftentimes, they go directly to a client’s place of business for a one-to-one meeting or to provide support such as showing staff members how a product works. Other days may involve heading to a trade show or other event where they can present to potential customers.

Payscale.com reports the average annual salary for outside sales reps as $49,426. Just as with their inside sales counterparts, commission and bonuses can raise that figure substantially.

Choosing a Niche

Inside sales and outside sales involve many similar responsibilities. Both require a thorough knowledge of the employer’s offerings and an ability to explain the products and services to others, in a way that relates to a potential buyer’s needs. Both involve skill at listening, negotiating, persuading, and understanding how your products solve the challenges that a prospect faces. Self-confidence and a thick skin when rejection takes place also serve all salespeople well.

Why might someone prefer a position in inside sales vs. outside sales? Factors contributing to the decision include:

  • A steady location
  • A more predictable schedule with clearer targets on what to accomplish each day (such as a certain number of calls to make)
  • Greater comfort in how conversing takes place
  • Ease with cold calls and a talent for articulating what you’re selling without the benefit of in-person interaction and demonstration

On the other side, why might a job seeker consider outside sales a better match? Facets that lead to candidates going into outside sales vs. inside sales include:

  • Getting out from behind a desk and travelling
  • Truly enjoying meeting people in person
  • A talent for networking and building long-term connections
  • Ability to self-start, work independently, and adapt quickly to new people and environments

Finding Flexible Sales Jobs

From opportunities to set your own schedule to working from a home office, sales positions provide a variety of possible flexible arrangements. Whether you want to focus your search on inside sales or outside sales, plenty of ways exist to merge your professional goals with your desired work setup.

Unfortunately, sales-related job scams are quite common. Some rope people into paying a fee to join their sales “staff.” Others dupe job seekers into working for free or very little money with the promise of a large commission down the line. And more than one unlucky salesperson has realized too late that their company fails to deliver the products or services they’ve been hired to tout.

FlexJobs makes your search for legit inside or outside sales jobs easier. With a database of verified opportunities that gets added to daily, you can start browsing opportunities today!

CONNECT TO FLEXIBLE SALES JOBS >>>

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Beth Braccio Hering, Writer, Freelance Jobs

Beth Braccio Hering has been a freelance writer for 20 years. In addition to extensive contributions to various Encyclopaedia Britannica products, her work has been published by outlets such as CareerBuilder, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter, Walt Disney Internet Group, and…Read More >

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