Inside sales is professional selling by phone or computer. Sometimes called remote or virtual sales, it is the opposite of outside sales in which transactions are done face-to-face. In past years, inside sales representatives were generally restricted to generating viable leads and passing them on to senior sales reps or simply closing accounts. These days, inside sales representatives tend to have a more in-depth role.
The core duty of an inside sales rep is to find potential buyers and figure out whether they have means to buy the product. For example, in a typical day, you might cold call potential clients and rate their interest in your product. You would pitch a sample item to show how they can benefit from the product; you must also determine how much of it they can buy. Discerning which customers are worth pursuing and those who are not worth it is vital to client building. If your job is a hybrid of inside and outside sales, you would occasionally travel to meet with clients. If you are not required to pass top leads to the senior sales staff, you would close the sale yourself.
Inside sales involves the constant cycle of finding new clients and keeping your existing ones. You might, for example, set aside different times of the day for cold-calling potential buyers and for contacting your current clients. To keep your existing clients, you must develop a mutually beneficial relationship that’s based on trust and understanding. You accomplish this by assessing their current and future needs and by responding to them in a prompt, accurate and sincere manner.
To better serve your clients, you must attend sales training as needed. You may also need to collaborate with sales managers and senior sales staff to figure strategic sales methods. You might have to interact with all the departments that are involved in the entire sales process. For example, if your job is to land clients, close sales and maintain accounts, you would enter orders in the system, which forwards the data to the warehouse department. Warehouse would contact you if it has questions about the order or to give you information that affects shipping. From an accounting standpoint, you might enter debit and credit memos in the system and interact with the accounting department to ensure accuracy.
Skills and Qualifications
For this position, you must be an exceptional listener with excellent time management, verbal communication and presentation skills. You must be self-motivated and competitive, but also a team player. Good problem-solving skills and a high level of integrity are also essential. An employer might make the ability to meet sales quotas a critical requirement. For example, you might be expected to make a specific number of calls each day and obtain a certain number of new clients every month. Experience and education criteria vary by employer. Some employers require no sales experience or a college degree, while others do.
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