Business sales teams vary in how they leverage inside sales versus outside sales. Whether these teams work independently or in a mixed environment, they need access to information that will help them monitor performance and maximize sales.Understanding the differences and similarities of these teams is key to identifying their strengths and opportunities. Regardless of the financial health of your organization, business intelligence (BI) tools can offer business-critical benefits for both inside sales and outside sales teams.
Key differences between inside sales versus outside sales
When it comes to inside sales versus outside sales, there are key differences between the two.
The main difference between inside and outside sales comes down to where the sales process happens — selling in person or online. Inside sales occur when sales representatives (reps) convert leads to customers online. Outside reps focus on closing deals face-to-face, which means they usually travel and meet with prospective customers at trade shows, conferences, or other networking events.
Duration of sales cycles
Another common difference between inside sales versus outside sales is the typical duration of their sales cycles. Because they can meet with potential customers remotely and have more flexible, predictable schedules, inside sales reps typically have shorter sales cycles. On the other hand, outside sales reps usually have to travel to meet in person and have more restrictions on their availability. Therefore, they normally have longer sales cycles.
Although inside sales reps and outside sales have different sales cycles, most of the required skills are the same. Both types of reps need to work with email and customer relationship management (CRM) tools and have phone skills. But because of the nature of their interaction with potential customers and how they build relationships, inside sales and outside sales roles require some different skills.
Inside sales reps, for example, need to be very well versed in product knowledge to answer customer questions on the fly. Also, they should be well versed in technology so that they can connect with potential customers virtually.
Outside sales reps differ in that they have added responsibilities of managing their own schedule and appointments — both of which are usually outside of their office. Outside sales reps need to keep a watchful eye on appointment times to ensure they meet customer needs consistently and on time.
Benefits of BI for sales team
Some companies are opting for a blended approach to their sales teams. Whether inside sales reps and outside sales reps work independently or in a blended environment, they both need tools to help them use their business data confidently so they can truly be data-savvy. In addition, they both need to leverage great sales tools, like reliable BI software.
Data savvy tools for sales teams
All sales teams need tools to help them be data-savvy. For example, online sales are becoming more popular in today’s business climate. Consumers are shopping online more, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — sales behaviors changed when customers were in lockdown.
In this scenario, many outside sales reps had to start selling online. With these unprecedented changes, both inside sales and outside sales teams need data analytics tools to help them stand out from competitors.
Data analytics can help both inside sales and outside sales by giving them useful insights, which include:
- Understanding customer profitability
- Tracking channel performance
- Assessing profit margin by product and/or service
- Identifying declining customers
Reliable sales data also opens the door to revenue generation. Leadership teams can use data to find sales revenue and leverage insights with sales teams to boost sales.
Reliable BI Tools
One of the great BI tools on the market is sales analytics software. This tool isolates sales data so that sales teams can view specialized BI reporting to make quick decisions and generate more sales. This sales analytics software can be extremely robust and visually-driven, making it useful to anyone on your sales team.
Sales leaders, for example, can use BI dashboards to review custom sales metrics and KPIs. They can also use BI tools to measure lost sales and identify new cross-selling opportunities. This kind of flexibility allows leadership to coach sales teams in the moment to ensure that they are building relationship sales and driving ownership.
Sales teams across all roles rely on interdepartmental communication to achieve their goals. BI tools can help streamline communication about the sales health of your organization. In addition, it simplifies results by giving sales teams a single reference point of sales information.