🤔 What does a Inside Sales Representative do?
Inside sales representatives sell products and services over the phone. Because they work in sales, they can make fat commission checks. It’s like Wolf of Wall Street—just without the yelling, swearing, fraud, and drugs.
Okay fine, it’s nothing like Wolf of Wall Street.
💸 Inside Sales Representative salary and job market
💵 Entry Salary
💵 Senior Salary
📈 10-Year Growth
🤖 Automation Risk
🙎 What it's like to be a Inside Sales Representative
Inside sales reps almost always work in B2B (“business-to-business”) companies, meaning they are selling products and services to businesses, not directly to consumers.
The “inside” in their name refers to the fact that they work by phone and email instead of through in-person meetings and sales presentations.
As an inside sales rep, you’ll typically be given a list of companies that you’re responsible for. Your job is to try and sell them your product or service. This usually involves three steps.
First, you have to find the person at the business who can decide to buy your product and get them interested.
Once you have them interested, you’ll need to show them what you’ve got. Usually, this means a product demo where you demonstrate how it works and talk about all the reasons it’s great for them.
This is where you address any objections and get them to make a purchase.
Like any sales job, you’ll earn a base salary plus commission based on your performance. Successful inside sales reps make very good money.
Problems you’ll solve
One of the best ways to understand what someone does is through the questions they answer and problems they solve.
Here are some questions inside sales reps have to answer every day:
I have 1,000 accounts I’m responsible for. How do I prioritize who to contact first?
How do I build rapport with a stranger who can’t see me and who I’ve never met?
How do I get her interested in our product or service?
What are her problems and how can our product address some of them?
Who else is involved in the decision-making process at her company?
Here are some examples of real work situations an inside sales rep would find themselves in.
You work for a SaaS company that sells project management software to construction businesses.
You are assigned a list of accounts of construction companies in the North West. Your job is to get in touch with their VP of Project Management and pitch them on why your solution can save them time and money.
You work for a large telecom company. Your job is to sell their Biz Bundle Premium plan to small and medium-sized companies.
You are assigned a territory with a list of accounts. Your job is to contact the business owners and convince them to switch from their current phone provider to your company.
Tools and tech you’ll use
95% of your time will be spent using your phone, your email provider, and your company’s CRM software.
CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM software like Salesforce is a recordkeeping system designed to help companies manage relationships with both current and potential customers.
You’ll use your CRM to stay organized. You’ll log all your calls, emails, and notes to track your progress with companies. It will also help you be more efficient by providing reports, numbers, and information that helps you decide which businesses to target.
Important traits you’ll need
Sales is what you’ll do and “inside” refers to how you’ll do it. You’ll need to be good at both.
To be good at the sales part, you’ll need a few things.
This might be the most important skill you can have as a salesperson. Even the best salespeople get told “no” most of the time. You just have to keep looking for the few “yeses.”
Good communication skills
You have to be able to clearly communicate ideas to other people verbally and in writing. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re there yet, a sales job is one of the best ways to learn.
An understanding of human psychology
Humans decide to buy things for specific and often emotional reasons. Understanding the psychology of selling will make you much more effective.
Phone and email skills
You aren’t a telemarketer with a list of numbers on autodial, a scammy product, and a premade script.
Since many of the products you’ll be selling are more complex, you’ll have to build good relationships with prospects for weeks or months before they buy from you.
Selling over the phone and email requires honing some special skills. It’s different—though not necessarily harder—than selling in person.
For example, customers can’t see a nervous tick or you slouching in your chair. But they also can’t see your winning smile or read your trustworthy facial expressions—you have to communicate that all with your tone of voice.
Where you’ll spend your time
Honestly? At a desk with a computer and a phone headset.
What's awesome about the job
You can make fat commission checks.
You get very comfortable talking to people on the phone.
You learn how to sell, a skill that can take you anywhere.
It’s a great path to more prestigious and even higher-earning sales roles.
What can be not-so-great
If the company you work for hasn’t built an inbound marketing model, you can spend a lot of time doing cold calls and emails.
Like most sales roles, you get told “no” a lot.
The work can be monotonous.
Your performance is measured on a monthly basis.
🏢 What companies look for in a Inside Sales Representative
Bachelor’s degree is preferred
The common majors are business administration, communication, and marketing, but you can get a job with an unrelated major as well
Knowledge of Salesforce or other CRM software
Decent typing speed
Basic computer skills
Strong written and verbal communication skills
Receptiveness to feedback