Comparing Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: Which Process Should You Use?

When determining the best sales model for your business, conducting a thorough inside sales vs. outside sales comparison may be helpful.

In de tijd van je grootouders riep het woord "verkoper" meestal beelden op van mannen die aan de deur verschenen met een reeks producten verborgen in hun aktetassen of onder hun abnormaal grote jassen.

Dit soort colporteurs staat in schril contrast met meer recente voorstellingen van verkopers, zoals de personages in The Office. Deze verkopers blijven meestal op kantoor en verkopen op afstand aan klanten via telefoon of e-mail (als ze geen grappen uithalen, tenminste).

Toevallig vertegenwoordigen beide soorten verkopers een echte verkoopstrategie - inside en outside sales, om precies te zijn. Maar wat is binnenverkoop versus buitenverkoop? Lees verder om erachter te komen.

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Wat is binnendienst vs. buitendienst?

Inside sales happen remotely, where communication occurs via digital channels, while outside sales occur in person. 

But let’s dig a little deeper by defining each of our key terms and explaining what they might look like for a company.

Verkoop binnendienst

Inside sales verwijst naar een verkoopproces dat op afstand plaatsvindt, zonder persoonlijk contact. Inside verkopers verkopen terwijl ze thuis of op kantoor werken en communiceren met prospects en klanten door virtueel met ze te praten.

As you might imagine, inside sales relies on many different tools. Phone calls are one of the oldest and most common methods of making inside sales, but video calls are growing more prominent. Many inside sales reps also frequently use digital mediums like email.

Inside sales overlapt vaak sterk met marketing omdat bedrijven prospects door de pijplijn en naar conversie willen leiden. 

Gerelateerd: 6 dingen die verkopers moeten weten over inbound marketing

Buitendienst

Externe verkoop verwijst, zoals de naam al doet vermoeden, naar verkoopprocessen die face-to-face plaatsvinden. Hoewel maar weinig bedrijven nog gebruik maken van colporteurs, vertrouwt de externe verkoop nog steeds sterk op reizen en het persoonlijk ontmoeten van prospects.

Externe verkopers van B2B (Business-to-business) reizen vaak rechtstreeks naar het kantoor van hun potentiële klanten om hen te ontmoeten. Externe verkopers bezoeken echter ook conferenties, congressen en andere branche-evenementen om prospects te vinden.

Het gebruik van externe verkoop is ouder dan interne verkoop, maar de kracht van persoonlijke communicatie houdt het relevant, dus veel bedrijven vertrouwen er nog steeds op.

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Voordelen van externe verkoop versus interne verkoop

Nu we hebben besproken wat externe en interne verkoop zijn, laten we eens kijken hoe ze allebei je bedrijf van dienst kunnen zijn.

Verkoop binnendienst

One of the most significant benefits of inside sales is convenience. Inside sales enable you to stay in your office, saving you the hassle of traveling. Similarly, since you don’t have to spend hours traveling from place to place, you have more time to make sales.

Another way inside sales benefits you is through your budget. Travel is expensive, particularly when you have to shell out money for it regularly. But those expenses are nonexistent when you make all your sales from your office. That frees you up to invest that money in other parts of your business.

Related: How to transition from outside sales to inside sales

Buitendienst

Het belangrijkste voordeel van externe verkoop is hoe persoonlijk het is. Iemand e-mailen of zelfs bellen per telefoon mist een zeker element van nabijheid en vertrouwdheid - begrijpelijk, want de persoon met wie je praat is vaak kilometers ver weg.

Maar met externe verkoop heb je het voordeel dat je ze persoonlijk kunt spreken. Persoonlijke interactie bevordert het vertrouwen en de vriendelijkheid van de klant, waardoor hij uiteindelijk eerder geneigd is om bij je te kopen.

Een ander voordeel van die personalisatie is dat het je de kans geeft om te pronken met fysieke producten die je verkoopt. Als je een fysiek product verkoopt dat een bepaalde functie heeft, is het veel gemakkelijker om die functie persoonlijk te demonstreren dan op afstand.

Typical inside and outside sales models

Although the result is the same for the customer and company, the sales processes for outside and inside sales team members are somewhat different. The following is what you can expect to find when exploring inside and outside sales models:

The outside sales approach

Once the sales rep makes first contact with the customer, usually by phone, you can expect the following:

  • The rep will meet with the customer in person.
  • They will work towards nurturing those leads, primarily through meetings.
  • The sales process will usually take much longer.
  • This approach typically costs more and is more challenging to duplicate when the business expands.

The inside sales method

 An inside sales rep might make first contact with a prospect or lead through email. After that, the process generally includes these elements:

  • The salesperson will reach out to the lead through email or set up a call or virtual meeting.
  • They may employ more automated messaging and marketing tools that help nurture leads through the pipeline while focusing on gathering more leads.
  • An inside sales cycle often involves closing deals faster than an outside sales model.
  • Inside sales are more cost-effective and allow for scalability when your business grows.

Vital tools for inside and outside sales

Whether you’re involved in outside sales or inside sales, a few crucial tools are needed to bolster your sales efforts. These include:

  • Contact management tools: A good CRM lets you organize customer information, communications, and other data in one easily accessible system.
  • Lead generation tools: Today’s CRMs comprise powerful lead generation tools, including intelligent web forms and information gathering from third-party sources to capture lead and prospect information.
  • Engagement tracking tools: With a great CRM by your side, you can track every customer interaction, from calls to emails and more, with the ability to view this engagement history with ease.
  • Collaborative tools: Your CRM helps you retrieve and share critical customer information with your marketing and customer service departments to elevate your customer’s overall experience.
  • Marketing tools: The ideal CRM comes with built-in email marketing tools, allowing you to nurture prospects, leads, and customers and develop stronger relationships through drip sequence emails or broadcast messages.

Nutshell provides a broad spectrum of tools to reinforce and streamline the sales process, including all of the above and more. Regardless of whether you use it for all sales activities or merely track deals and email communications through it, your CRM stands as an essential tool for more efficient sales and increased revenue.

Looking for an easy-to-use CRM with all the features you need to boost sales?

Nutshell has what you’re looking for.

Explore Nutshell’s Features

Verkoop binnendienst vs. verkoop buitendienst: Welke moet je gebruiken?

Both inside and outside sales have the potential to drive up your company’s revenue, and both are very effective when done well. Therefore, it could be a good idea to try using some of both. However, it really depends on your situation.

If your company doesn’t have a very large travel budget, you’ll naturally want to stick mostly to inside sales. On the other hand, let’s say you have a decent travel budget and you also sell specialized physical products that sell better when people try them out themselves. In that case, outside sales could really help you.

Wanneer je overweegt welk type verkoop je wilt gebruiken, moet je rekening houden met factoren zoals je budget en je branche. Houd er echter rekening mee dat de twee soorten vaak goed werken als ze worden gecombineerd.

Merging inside sales and outside sales

Als we het hebben over externe verkoop versus interne verkoop, is het belangrijk om te weten dat de laatste jaren de twee steeds minder van elkaar verschillen.

In de jaren 2010 was er al een toename in het gebruik van digitale communicatie voor verkoop. Maar toen COVID-19 in 2020 arriveerde en leidde tot een enorme toename van werken op afstand, veranderde het spel nog meer. In één klap werd duidelijk dat je veel face-to-face vergaderingen net zo effectief kunt afhandelen via videogesprekken.

Dat besef heeft ertoe geleid dat veel bedrijven hun verkoopactiviteiten op afstand zijn gaan uitvoeren, waarbij de vergaderingen die vroeger persoonlijk werden gehouden, via Zoom of andere videoplatforms verlopen. Deze vergaderingen zijn technisch gezien nog steeds face-to-face, maar ze vereisen niet de kosten of het gedoe van reizen.

Some sales prospectors in the COVID era have even experimented with cold video calls instead of traditional phone calls—but use that strategy at your own risk.

Transitioning from outside sales to inside sales

Among B2B companies, using inside sales reps has exploded in popularity. According to one Salesloft study, inside sales reps are hired more frequently than outside sales reps by a ratio of 10:1. It’s where the tide is turning due to higher productivity and the ability to reach more prospects.

Voor verkopers in de buitendienst betekent dit dat ze op een bepaald moment in hun carrière waarschijnlijk zullen overstappen naar de verkoopbinnendienst, wat een verandering in hun werkomgeving en levensstijl met zich meebrengt. De overgang van verkoopbinnendienst naar verkoopbinnendienst is een grote stap, maar kan veel minder verstorend zijn als je deze praktijken volgt:

1. Maak jezelf vertrouwd met de technologie die je gaat gebruiken

Sales reps use an average of six enablement tools, according to Sales for Life. That number is naturally higher for those in inside sales. This category includes CRMs, intelligent dialers, social media selling tools, messenger programs, web-conferencing programs, etc. Obviously, the number and type of tools will vary from company to company.

Also important to note: Even if you think you’re already familiar with the technology you’re using from your time as an outside sales rep, relearn it when you move to inside sales. This is because, in outside sales, you were most likely using a mobile version of the program or app. As an inside sales rep, you’ll probably use the desktop edition.

In many cases, the desktop version of a software tool is much more robust in its features and ability to do things because of the greater processing power. And even in instances where the features are exactly the same, the layout and arrangement of mobile-optimized formatting is going to be significantly different from their desktop counterparts. So there’s a learning curve for figuring out where to do something on the computer monitor versus the “wheres” and “hows” you’re familiar with on your phone or tablet.

Video conferencing tools are particularly important, given that many sales teams today utilize them as the primary means of making final presentations

Tools voor videoconferenties zijn vooral belangrijk omdat veel verkoopteams ze tegenwoordig gebruiken als de primaire manier om eindpresentaties te houden en zo tijd en geld te besparen op reiskosten. Verwante technologie is onder andere het delen van schermen voor productdemo's.

Keep in mind: Not only will you need to learn this technology, but how to create a smooth-flowing online presentation/webinar/etc. around it. After all, being able to use video conferencing is one thing. Using it to deliver a succinct, polished product demonstration in a 30-minute window (as an example) is something else altogether.

For more on sales technology strategies, take a look at these related posts:

2. Goed met anderen leren spelen

While teamwork and collaboration are definitely crucial in all aspects of sales, the outside sales model affords some degree of autonomy and independence. That’s not the case with inside sales, where alignment between sales and marketing is critical for creating effective collateral and messaging. As a field sales rep, your personality and in-person presence did a lot of the work of creating impressions and credibility. With inside sales, the content you’re using becomes far more important, necessitating the fusion between sales and marketing.

Related to the theme of teamwork: the transition period of adjusting to having people constantly around you. In outside sales, you’re alone on the road a lot, and just like going from living by yourself to having roommates or moving in with a partner, there’s give and take in the sharing of space and communicating with people therein. You’ll also have to become acquainted with company culture much more intimately than you did as an outside sales rep, and part of that is dealing with the possible bugbear of office politics. The latter is a potential stressor, so it’s something to keep an eye on.

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3. Buy yourself a pair of noise-canceling headphones

Seriously, just do it. You’ll be glad you did. One of the most significant issues that sales reps face is difficulty hearing for either themselves or their clients on a call due to the noise and distractions from things like fans, cell phone notifications, or background conversations (magnified in a call center situation).

It cuts both ways—background noise can also prevent your customer from hearing or understanding what’s said, and some might consider a noisy environment a sign of an unprofessional (and hence not credible) company.

4. Een betere actieve luisteraar worden

Somewhat related to the above point, listening will be more critical in inside sales than it was in outside sales (and it mattered then, too). Whereas outside sales has the advantage of other sensory inputs, such as body language and facial expressions, with inside sales, the voice is often the only input you’ll have (video conferencing aside).

Om de reads en tells te krijgen die je eerder had, moet je je bewust zijn van vocale fluctuaties, zoals volumeveranderingen, toonverschuivingen, de aard van pauzes, enzovoort.

5. Je lezen en schrijven opfrissen

Remember those composition classes in college where you might have skated by on Cliff Notes and Wikipedia? Well, those pigeons have come home to roost with an inside sales job. Because so much of your communication is now text-based—whether email, chat, messaging, or most likely some combination thereof, you’ll need to make sure your grammar and syntax are on point. One of the quickest ways to destroy your chances of converting a client is to have typos, use the wrong tone, or be incoherent. We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen these issues come up—especially in LinkedIn messages.

Being skilled at textual analysis also opens a window into a client’s thought process about the sales process

Reading comprehension will also be vital. Sometimes, it’s figuring out the jigsaw puzzle of a prospect’s own writing issues, and sometimes, it’s needing to read between the lines to get what a customer is actually asking for or desiring. Being skilled at textual analysis also opens a window into a client’s thought process about the sales process and where they might be leaning.

Going from outside sales to inside sales involves a bigger leap than most sales reps might realize. But following these best practices can make swimming through the initially choppy waters swifter and safer.

Gebruik Nutshell om uw externe en interne verkoopinspanningen nieuw leven in te blazen

Ongeacht of je meer vertrouwt op externe of interne verkoop, je zult je klantgegevens moeten bijhouden. Het is belangrijk om te weten wie je leads zijn, wat voor soort mensen je moet benaderen en hoe succesvol je bent geweest in het stimuleren van verkoop.

To keep track of that information, you’ll want a customer relationship management (CRM) tool—and you won’t find a better one than Nutshell. Not only does Nutshell possess all the essential CRM features, such as sales automation, but it also comes with our top-tier customer service team to help you through any questions or concerns you have.

Want to try out Nutshell? You can start with a free 14-day trial!

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