B2B Inside & Outside Sales: What They Are and How to Get Them Right

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Sales

Just as business has evolved and shifted toward digitalization, so too has sales operations.

But that doesn’t mean traditional sales is dead. Sales is still a very human activity that relies on reps meeting with clients to seal deals and build lasting relationships. 

That being said, the situation has changed. If you want to get ahead in B2B sales, you need to be great at online (digital-first) and in-person sales. 

There are pros and cons to both sales strategies, which are referred to as inside sales and outside sales. More importantly, we’ll introduce some tech tools that will give you an edge, setting you up for success on both fronts.

What is B2B inside sales?

B2B inside sales is about remote selling. Also called virtual sales, it uses remote means of communication such as emails, phone calls, and online demos. 

For example, sales representatives doing inside sales could make cold calls to prospects and nurture them with email sequences until they agree to a virtual product demo.

B2B inside sales is ideal for selling digital products such as web applications and SaaS solutions. 

Best practices for effective B2B inside sales

When done right, B2B inside sales moves qualified leads down your sales funnel faster. Here’s how you can make it happen. 

Upskill sales representatives

Building a great inside sales team starts with training. Your reps need to be savvy about your products and able to persuade prospects and address objections. They should also know their way around sales tech such as the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and AI-powered sales enablement tools

Target the right prospects

A well-written ideal customer profile (ICP) will ensure your sales representatives are not wasting their time talking to the wrong people. An ICP describes your target customer in detail and shows your sales teams the types of prospects that will be more interested in your product or service. 

Use multiple communication channels

Moving leads down a sales funnel effectively takes multiple digital channels of communication. For example, email sequences can warm up leads you initially reach out to via cold calls or text messages. Once a lead shows interest, a video demo of your product takes you closer to a conversion. 

Leverage the best tech tools

Your teams should be equipped with sales tools that streamline workflows, automate high-volume tasks, and generate greater efficiency. This will give them more bandwidth for personal interactions and value-added services, which will – in turn – boost their conversion of leads into customers. 

Pros and cons of inside sales

Advantages

Inside sales carries a whole host of advantages for your business, especially if you’re looking to stay lead and agile.

Flexibility

Because inside sales use remote communication, sales representatives can work from different locations. This allows for greater flexibility, as sales activity can happen anywhere there’s a reliable internet connection. 

Scalability

Inside sales work is generally repeatable and easy to scale. You can set up a workflow for making cold calls, sending out email sequences, or scheduling product demos, and run it until it needs tweaking. 

What’s more, since your SDRs can operate from anywhere in the world, it’s much easier to scale your team. You won’t have to worry about office space and gadget availability, as remote workers can work from home using their equipment.

Wider market reach

As you can do inside sales from a remote location using repeatable processes, reaching more prospects—even those living on the other side of the world is easier. You can expand to new markets without setting up physical offices or sending sales representatives in person. As a result, growing your operations doesn’t take a huge investment. 

Disadvantages

Despite its advantages, there are some drawbacks to inside sales.

Inbox overflow

Because inside sales are easy to scale, your sales representatives can reach out to a huge number of leads. And if they’re doing outreach emailing right, their inbox will never stop pinging. 

This means that teams working on inside sales spend too much time processing emails. As a result, your SDRs may lack sufficient bandwidth for value-added work and other common red flags of poor SDR performance. 

Less suited to physical products

While helpful, online demos can never make up for seeing, touching, and trying out a product in real life. Even with the rise of virtual simulations, selling a physical product without corresponding physical interaction is challenging.

Weaker relationships

Relationship-building is key to sales, especially with the longer buyer’s journey in B2B. However, since inside selling happens remotely, it can be more challenging for reps to build meaningful relationships. To compensate, teams must be adept at using tech tools and keeping prospects engaged in conversations across distance.

Best AI tools for automating inside sales

Technological advances have made inside sales even more powerful. Here’s our pick of the AI tools that should be in your arsenal if you want to improve your odds of hitting quota.

AiSDR

AiSDR is an AI-powered solution that automates the work of your SDRs. It helps sales teams sort through leads and push them down the sales funnel. Integrations with Gmail, HubSpot and ZoomInfo make it easier for you to qualify leads and craft campaigns based on customer segment and purchase intent. You can even use AiSDR to automate nurturing sequences and take the tedium out of email personalization.

LeadSquared

LeadSquared is a CRM tool that captures leads by integrating interactions from different platforms, including online chats and phone calls. It also allows sales teams to score, group, and categorize leads. 

ZoomInfo SalesOS

SalesOS is a prospecting platform designed to help businesses reach their ideal customers. It leverages data to identify buying signals, enabling sales teams to hone in on prospects that are ready to purchase. 

Salesforce

Salesforce is an AI-powered CRM system that easily tracks customer data and interactions. Its lead capture and scoring features allow your sales teams to prioritize qualified prospects fast and accelerate their movement down the sales funnel.

SalesIntel

SalesIntel is a data collection platform that helps improve the efficiency of your pipelines. It does so by verifying contact information and identifying the key decision-makers in your target companies. It also provides the sales intelligence you need to determine buying intent. 

Embracing modern sales tactics does not have to mean leaving traditional methods behind. Next up, we’ll talk about outside sales and the power of in-person sales.

What is B2B outside sales?

B2B outside sales — also called field sales — is sales through face-to-face interactions. It involves sales reps going out to meet prospects at their place of work, industry events, conferences, and other locations. For example, a medical sales representative may visit clinics to demonstrate how a device works. 

B2B outside sales strategies are ideal for selling physical products, as products require real-life demos. 

Pros and cons of outside sales

Advantages

Thanks to its face-to-face interactions, outside sales enjoys several distinct advantages compared to inside sales.

In-person demos 

It’s easier to understand how a product works when you can try it in real life, especially when you have someone to guide you. And you’re more likely to purchase something when you know your way around it. This is why outside sales work well for physical products, especially if your product is unique, complex, and expensive. 

Building stronger relationships

Inspiring trust and building meaningful relationships is also easier when you meet your prospects in real life. And because the interactions are more personal, there’s a greater chance for leads to feel invested in your brand and more willing to purchase. Real-life meetings also make it easier to wrap up agreements and close a deal faster. 

Capturing non-verbal cues

During face-to-face meetings, objection handling goes beyond just words. Good sales reps can read facial cues and immediately address any negative perception of the brand or service. Eye contact, a warm smile, and a firm handshake are also great for winning over customers and sealing the deal. 

Disadvantages

Although powerful, outside sales isn’t always the most convenient or practical approach. With that in mind, here are some of the disadvantages.

Time-consuming

Meeting prospects in person takes time and extensive preparation. And because face-to-face meetings require a razor-sharp focus, sales reps can only handle one client at a time. 

Expensive

In-person meetings with customers require someone to physically travel to the customer’s location. If it’s an overnight or multi-day trip, accommodation and food need to be taken care of as well.

Limited reach

Even with a travel budget, in-person meetings usually tie you to locations closer to home. This naturally limits your business reach. Scaling sales also becomes more complex as you need to set up additional workforce and physical presence in a new location. 

Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology to minimize the downside of outside sales. 

Best AI tools for automating outside sales

Combine modern and traditional sales by incorporating tech tools into your B2B outside sales processes. Here are our top recommendations for your tech stack.

AiSDR

AiSDR can help your sales teams book more meetings through automated lead nurturing. Its Lead Discovery prospect database allows you to identify leads in a specific area. You can also set it up to handle common objections. This helps your field sales reps to focus more resources on getting qualified leads to agree to in-person meetings. Additionally, if you’ll be at a conference or other in-person gathering, AiSDR is great for handling your email blasts and getting confirmations.

Hotjar

Hotjar is a product experience insights platform that tracks interactions with your website. It combines user behavior analysis and customer feedback to help sales teams empathize with customers and improve sales communications. 

Cognism

Cognism is a sales intelligence platform that gives revenue teams accurate and verified contact details of ideal leads, helping them reach the right people and schedule meetings faster. 

Planhat

Planhat is a consumer success platform designed to help sales teams monitor data and improve customer experience. It centralizes customer data, highlights valuable insights, and provides playbooks to enhance the customer journey. 

Folderly

Folderly is an email solution platform that improves your chances of bypassing spam and getting messages to prospect inboxes. You can use it to enhance your domain reputation, reach more prospects, and book more appointments.  

Automate your B2B sales with AiSDR

Whether you’re currently sticking with outside sales or embracing inside B2B sales, you will benefit from AiSDR. Put simply, it’s an AI-driven SDR that streamlines your workflows and automates repetitive tasks so your sales teams can do what they do best—talking to people and getting more sales over the line.

Book a demo to see how AiSDR can help your sales teams get ahead without the burden of extra hires and high operations costs.

FAQ

What’s the difference between B2B inside sales and B2B outside sales?

B2B inside sales is remote selling via chats, phone calls, emails, and other digital channels. In contrast, B2B outside sales involves face-to-face meetings with prospects at their office, industry events, restaurants, and other locations.

What are the advantages of B2B outside sales?

B2B outside sales allow your teams to build stronger relationships and close deals faster with face-to-face meetings and a more personal sales approach.

What are the advantages of B2B inside sales?

With B2B inside sales, your sales teams can work flexibly from any online location, and you can reach customers without physical boundaries. You can also easily scale your sales operations and expand into new markets without travel expenses and the cost of physically locating a new team.

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