Inside Sales – Definition

Cite this article as:"Inside Sales – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated October 15, 2019, last accessed October 25, 2020,


Inside Sales Definition

Inside sale refers to the sale of either products or services by individuals who contact customers via email, phone, or the internet. Other ways of defining inside sales include “virtual sales” or “remote sales.”

A Little More on What is Inside Sales

Inside salespeople conventionally don’t travel as apposed to outside sales personnel. Irrespective of this, they are still proactive about reaching potential customers and sometimes get involved in cold calling. However, a company might also term prospective customers’ incoming calls as inside sales. Furthermore, a company might outsource its inside sales duties to a third party as against carrying out sales in-house.

The advent of the telephone, as well as, utilizing it as a sales tool birthed the difference between inside and outside sales. The term “inside sales” was coined in the 1980s to distinguish telesales or telemarketing from high ticket phone sales popular amongst business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales practices. Unlike telemarketers known for reading from scripts, inside sales reps are trained, creative individuals, who determine a sales technique for the sale of products and services to customers. By the late 1990s or early 2000s, “inside sales” as a term was utilized to distinguish between inside and outside sales.

At times, inside and outside sales personnel, as well as, practices are merged for more effectiveness. For instance, an inside sales personnel in a department may manage the legwork of creating and also organizing sales appointments for outside sales personnel, also referred to as lead generation. In some situations, inside sales personnel might be utilized for upselling incumbent customers by including ancillary products or services to their order.

The inside sales segment has become the fastest-growing sales and lead generation segment.

The Benefits of Inside Sales

Buying goods and services by phone or online is common among consumers interested in simplifying their lives. Hence, the inside sales segment has become the fastest-growing sales and lead generation segment. It has its industry association known as the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP).

A study showed that inside sales in 2017 occupied roughly 29% of the global sales force but was anticipated to increase to about 30%. Companies having large sales forces are targeting 40% or more of their sales personnel to execute inside sales.

Meanwhile, the ways the majority of inside and outside salespeople work are converging. Increasingly, outside sales personnel are selling more remotely while inside sales personnel are rarely going out to the field. This convergence is alleviated by adopting new sales-facilitating technologies and also changing customer buying habits, as well as, attitudes on ways in which products and services are sold. This has resulted in a new moniker for inside sales: “sales in the cloud.”

Inside Sales Salaries

According to, in 2019, $42,702 was the median base salary for an inside sales rep, with 10% getting $61,000 as their maximum salary. However, salary differences can differ greatly among companies. For instance, Oracle Corp. offers an average salary of $51,204 to its inside sales representatives, while State Farm Insurance Company pays an average salary of $29,290 to its sales reps.


An inside sale refers to selling products or services by individuals who contact customers by either phone or online.

Inside, as well as, outside sales might be merged for better effectiveness, where they help each other in tasks, like lead generation, to boost sales.

Buying goods and services by phone or online is common among consumers interested in finding ways to make their lives better.

References for “Inside Sales”


Was this article helpful?