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What is the difference between inside and outside sales?

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Inside sales and outside sales represent two distinct approaches in the world of sales. While both include selling products or services, an inside seller and an outside seller each operate in a unique environment and use different tactics to achieve their goals.  

So, what is the difference between inside and outside sales? Continue reading to learn how each role works and what each seller brings to the table. 

Outside sales rep vs. inside sales rep: What’s the difference? 

The main differences between an inside versus outside sales rep are the location where each associate works and how they close deals with customers 

Inside sellers work with potential clients remotely, while outside sellers travel to meet with customers face-to-face.  

What is an inside sales representative?

Inside sales representatives work in an office or other designated workspace. They connect with prospects and close deals using digital communication tools like:

  • Phone calls.
  • Emails.
  • Video conferences.

Cold calling is typically included in the job responsibilities of an inside seller, depending on the company they work for. Also, inside sales representatives usually sell products or services to business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.

Skills and qualifications of an inside seller

Inside sales representatives need to effectively sell to customers over virtual platforms within a few days or weeks.

Successful inside sellers have a variety of skillsets, including the ability to:

What is an outside sales representative?

Outside sales representatives close high-value deals with prospects in-person. They typically travel 50-75% of the time to meet people at places like:

  • Client locations.
  • Conferences.
  • Trade shows.
  • Networking events.

With travel being a requirement of the job, outside sales representatives are often assigned a territory, account base or line of business. They're responsible for nurturing relationships with existing clients while expanding their customer base within their assigned area.

Skills and qualifications of an outside seller

Outside sales representatives usually work with longer sales cycles compared to their inside sales counterparts, working deals for weeks, months or even a year.

This means outside sellers have a slightly different set of skills that help them be successful in their role, including being able to:

  • Stay organized.
  • Be independent.
  • Manage their time.
  • Build strong relationships.
  • Master interpersonal communication.

By understanding the key differences between inside and outside sales, you can figure out what role aligns best with your skills and aspirations.

Join Schneider’s sales team.

Whether you’re looking to become an inside or outside seller, Schneider has a variety of sales positions available. Find a job that works for you and apply today. 
About the author
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Kylie started her corporate recruiting career at Schneider in 2021. In this role, she's responsible for bringing in successful inside sellers and freight brokers to the Green Bay STM location. Kylie transitioned to recruiting after several years of working in sales in the home interiors industry. She enjoys thrifting, DIY projects and spending time on the lake with her husband and English bulldog mix.

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