When it comes to boosting sales and expanding business, companies have two options: outside sales and inside sales. While both approaches fall under the larger umbrella of sales, they differ significantly in their methodology, scope, and target markets. To develop an effective sales strategy that yields maximum results, it is crucial to understand the difference between outside sales and inside sales.

Outside sales refers to the process of traveling to meet clients face-to-face and closing deals in person, often in a B2B (business-to-business) context. On the other hand, inside sales involve selling products or services to customers over the phone, email, or through online platforms, such as social media. While both types of sales aim to generate revenue for a business, their approach and execution vary greatly.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the difference between outside sales and inside sales is crucial for any sales strategy.
  • Outside sales involve meeting clients face-to-face while inside sales are conducted remotely.
  • The choice of sales approach depends largely on the type of business, target market, and product or service being sold.
  • According to Spotio, 65 percent of outside account executives are attaining quota which is 10 percent higher than inside reps.

What is Outside Sales?

Outside sales, also known as field sales, is a sales approach that involves meeting with potential and existing customers face-to-face, outside of a company’s physical location. Outside sales representatives are responsible for building relationships with clients and closing deals.

The role of outside sales professionals includes actively seeking out new clients, maintaining relationships with existing clients, and negotiating contracts. They are also responsible for providing exceptional customer service, identifying customer needs, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Benefits of Outside Sales
1. Personalized Approach: Outside sales representatives can provide a personalized experience to potential and existing clients, helping to build trust and establish long-term relationships.
2. In-Person Communication: Face-to-face communication allows for a more comprehensive understanding of a client’s needs and concerns, which can lead to better customer satisfaction and more successful sales.
3. Strategic Sales: Outside sales professionals are able to target specific geographic areas and industries, identifying potential clients and creating tailored sales strategies that can result in higher success rates.

As technology has evolved, some outside sales processes have shifted to virtual or online formats, but the core objective remains the same: to develop lasting client relationships and increase sales.

Understanding Inside Sales

Inside sales, on the other hand, refers to the selling of products or services through channels such as phone, email, or online. Unlike outside sales, inside sales representatives interact with customers remotely, without face-to-face contact.

The role of inside sales representatives is to prospect for new business, maintain relationships with existing customers, and close deals. They often work from a central location, such as a call center, using technology to communicate with customers. Inside sales representatives are skilled in using various sales techniques, including qualifying leads, presenting solutions, and overcoming objections.

One of the key benefits of inside sales is cost-effectiveness. It requires fewer resources than outside sales, as representatives can handle a higher volume of sales calls and emails. Additionally, inside sales can reach a wider audience, as it is not limited by geographic location. This makes it particularly appealing for businesses that serve national or international markets.

Key Differences between Outside Sales and Inside Sales

Outside sales and inside sales are two distinct approaches to selling, each with its unique strengths and limitations. Understanding the differences between the two can help businesses make informed decisions about which sales method is best suited for their particular needs. The following are the main differences between outside sales and inside sales:

CriteriaOutside SalesInside Sales
Customer InteractionFace-to-face interactions and dialogueRemote interactions via phone or email
Sales TechniquesHighly personalized and relationship-focusedMore transactional and volume-driven
Target MarketsB2B sales, larger deals, and high-touch customer relationshipsB2C sales, smaller deals, and low-touch customer relationships

One of the main differences between outside sales and inside sales is customer interaction. Outside sales professionals typically rely on face-to-face interactions with clients and prospects to build rapport and establish strong relationships. In contrast, inside sales representatives primarily rely on remote interactions via phone or email to close deals.

Another key difference is the sales techniques used by outside sales and inside sales professionals. Outside sales is generally more personalized and relationship-focused, with salespeople taking the time to understand the unique needs and preferences of each client. Inside sales, on the other hand, is often more transactional and volume-driven, with representatives focusing on closing as many deals as possible in a given timeframe.

Finally, the target markets for outside sales and inside sales differ. Outside sales is typical for B2B sales, requiring larger deals and high-touch customer relationships. Inside sales, on the other hand, is for B2C sales, where the deals are smaller and the customer relationships are low-touch.


In conclusion, selecting the right sales approach can make all the difference to the success of a business. Whether it’s outside sales or inside sales, both offer distinct benefits and challenges. The importance of choosing the right approach for your business cannot be overstated.

It’s important to carefully evaluate your specific needs and determine which approach aligns best with your goals and target audience. For businesses that prioritize building personal relationships with customers, outside sales may be the way to go. On the other hand, if your focus is on reaching a broader audience and utilizing technology to streamline the sales process, inside sales may be the better choice.

Ultimately, the key is to select a sales approach that aligns with your business goals, sales objectives, and target market. By taking the time to carefully consider your options, you can make an informed decision that will set your business on the path to growth and success. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to sales, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each method and choose the one that’s right for you.


Q: What is the difference between outside sales and inside sales?

A: Outside sales refers to salespeople who travel to meet with clients in person, while inside sales involves selling over the phone or through online channels.

Q: What is the definition of outside sales?

A: Outside sales is a sales approach that involves face-to-face interactions with clients, typically conducted outside of a company’s premises.

Q: What is the role of outside sales professionals?

A: Outside sales professionals are responsible for building relationships with clients, generating leads, conducting product demonstrations, and closing deals.

Q: What are the benefits of outside sales?

A: Outside sales allows for more personal interactions with clients, offers the opportunity to showcase products or services in person, and can lead to stronger customer relationships.

Q: What is the definition of inside sales?

A: Inside sales is a sales method where the sales process is conducted remotely, typically over the phone, email, or through online platforms.

Q: What is the role of inside sales representatives?

A: Inside sales representatives focus on prospecting leads, qualifying potential customers, delivering sales presentations remotely, and closing deals without in-person interactions.

Q: What are the benefits of inside sales?

A: Inside sales allows for cost-effective sales efforts, enables wider reach, provides flexibility for remote work, and allows for efficient follow-up on leads.

Q: What are the key differences between outside sales and inside sales?

A: Outside sales involves face-to-face interactions, while inside sales is conducted remotely. Outside sales requires travel, while inside sales can be done from a central location. Outside sales allows for more personalized presentations, while inside sales relies on effective communication over the phone or online.

Q: Why is it important to choose the right sales approach?

A: Choosing the right sales approach is crucial for business growth and success. The right approach ensures that businesses can effectively reach their target market, build strong customer relationships, and close deals efficiently.

Q: How can I determine whether outside sales or inside sales is best for my business?

A: To determine the best sales approach for your business, consider factors such as your target market, the nature of your product or service, your budget, and the resources available to you. Assessing these factors will help you make an informed decision on whether outside sales or inside sales is the most suitable option.