The role of an inside sales representative is similar to that of a basic telemarketer. The difference is, inside reps have a relationship-oriented approach to sales just like field reps, while the relationship between telemarketers and customers typically begins with the pitch and ends with the sale. Inside sales reps call on prospects, establish the need for a solution and discuss alternatives. Their goals include closing the deal and providing ongoing support.
Remote Work Environment
Though job descriptions vary, a standard element of the inside rep role is that he communicates remotely with prospects. The sales process is conducted entirely on the phone or through web-based technology. Many companies have shifted toward more inside sales staff because it is a low-cost, efficient approach to generate leads, qualify prospects and go through the selling process. A salesperson in California might sell to a buyer in New York, for instance.
Outbound and Inbound Calls
Primary duties of the inside rep include calling on qualified prospects and receiving inbound calls. A qualified prospect is someone who has provided basic information to the company about need, income and goals. Armed with this data, the rep asks more questions, shares solution details and closes sales. In their online and print marketing materials, businesses include contact forms for interested prospects. The calls generated by these forms may get transferred to the inside sales department. The fact that the prospect called after marketing exposure shows that she is genuinely interested in the product or service.
Lead Qualification and Data Collection
Secondary duties include qualifying prospects and gathering data. In some companies, the inside rep makes the initial contact with a lead to ask qualification questions. The goal is to decide whether it is worth scheduling an in-person sales call. This role is common when a company has inside and outside reps collaborate on converting prospects to customers. Inside reps must record data and results from each contact with a prospect. This data is useful in managing customer relationships during future calls. It is also useful for market research.
You don't need a college education for most inside sales jobs, though business, marketing and communication courses help. Companies typically provide on-the-job training on successful sales techniques and strategies. Inside sales reps should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, particularly on the phone. Self-confidence is also important to make cold calls. Also, customer service abilities are important to help you manage relationships after you close a deal. Inside reps need strong computer skills to collect and use data in a customer relationship management software program.
- Forbes: What Is Inside Sales? The Definition Of Inside Sales
- RingDNA: What is Inside Sales and How Is It Changing?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Wholesale or Manufacturing Sales Representative
- Photo Credit LDProd/iStock/Getty Images
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