Outside Sales

✏ Table of Content :

What is Outside Sales ?

Outside sales (also known as field sales) is a sales strategy that revolves around face-to-face interactions between sales representatives and potential customers or clients. This sales approach involves sales representatives or professionals traveling to various locations, such as a customer's office, home, or a designated meeting place, to engage in face-to-face interactions and presentations. This approach is especially prevalent in industries where personalized engagement, relationship-building, and tailored product demonstrations are vital for closing deals.

One of the defining features of outside sales is the emphasis on building strong, personal relationships with clients. Sales representatives invest time and effort in getting to know their clients' needs, preferences, and pain points. By doing so, they can offer customized solutions that directly address the unique challenges their clients face.

Outside sales often involves extensive travel as salespeople move from one client meeting to another. This may include regional or national travel, depending on the scope of the sales territory. The autonomy granted to outside sales representatives allows them to manage their schedules and sales strategies, adapting to the specific requirements of each client.

Outside sales can be particularly effective for businesses that sell high-value or complex products or services that require a personal touch, in-depth explanations, or customization to meet customer needs. Examples of industries that commonly use outside sales include real estate, insurance, pharmaceuticals, industrial equipment, and business-to-business (B2B) sales.

Definition of Outside Sales

Here are definitions of "Outside Sales" from various authors and sources:

1) U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):
"Outside sales workers are employees who make sales away from their employer's place of business. These workers may travel to call upon customers, in a place of business (such as retail stores), or door-to-door."

2) Salesforce:
"Outside sales refers to the practice of representatives of a company going to meet with prospects and customers in person, as opposed to doing sales remotely, such as over the phone or via email."

3) American Marketing Association (AMA):
"Outside sales involves sales representatives or professionals who interact with customers and clients face-to-face, typically outside of the company's office or headquarters."

4) Sales Management Association:
"Outside sales refers to the sales process that involves sales representatives or teams going outside the company's office to meet with clients, conduct sales presentations, and close deals in person."

5) Inc. Magazine:
"Outside sales typically involves sales professionals who spend a significant portion of their workday meeting with prospects, leads, and existing clients in person, with the goal of securing sales and building relationships."

Objectives of Outside Sales

Here are objectives of outside sales:
  1. The primary objective of outside sales is to generate sales and revenue for the company by closing deals with clients.
  2. An important goal is to identify and acquire new customers, expanding the company's client base.
  3. Sales reps strive to thoroughly understand the needs and pain points of clients to offer tailored solutions.
  4. Educating clients about the company's products or services is essential to help them make informed decisions.
  5. Salespeople work towards achieving or surpassing predefined sales targets and quotas.
  6. The objective is to capture a larger share of the market by outperforming competitors.
  7. Deliver compelling sales presentations to showcase the value of the products or services.
  8. Successfully negotiate terms and close sales agreements with clients.
  9. Strive to maximize profitability by securing deals with favorable terms and pricing.
  10. Offer exceptional post-sales support and customer service to enhance satisfaction and retention.
  11. Collect feedback from clients to inform product improvements and market strategies.
  12. Effectively manage and prioritize leads and opportunities within the sales pipeline.
  13. Be responsive to changes in the market, adjusting sales strategies as needed.
  14. Ensure clients are satisfied with their purchases and address any concerns promptly.
  15. Continuously update product knowledge to provide the latest information to clients.
  16. Promote brand awareness and recognition in the market through effective sales efforts.
  17. Identify opportunities for innovation and new product offerings based on market trends and client feedback.
  18. Work on strategies to increase the percentage of leads that convert into actual sales.
  19. Find ways to streamline sales processes and workflows to improve efficiency.
  20. Conduct sales activities with integrity, adhering to ethical and legal standards.

Characteristics of Outside Sales

Key characteristics of outside sales include:

1) In-Person Meetings: 
Outside sales representatives meet with customers or prospects in person, allowing for more personalized and interactive sales presentations.

2) Consultative Selling: 
Outside sales often involves a consultative approach where salespeople act as advisors, helping clients identify their problems or needs and offering tailored solutions.

3) Customized Sales Pitches: 
Sales professionals in outside sales typically tailor their pitches to the specific needs and concerns of each individual client.

4) Travel: 
Outside salespeople spend a significant amount of time traveling to meet with clients, which can involve regional or even national travel.

5) Prospecting: 
Sales reps actively seek out and prospect potential customers or clients in various locations.

6) Closing Deals: 
The primary goal of outside sales is to close sales and secure deals, often involving negotiations.

7) Product Knowledge: 
Sales professionals typically have deep knowledge of the products or services they sell.

8) Varied Industries: 
Outside sales can apply to a wide range of industries, from retail to industrial equipment to pharmaceuticals.

9) Flexible Work Environments: 
Salespeople may work in diverse environments, including office settings, client offices, or outdoor locations.

10) Results-Oriented: 
Success in outside sales is often measured by meeting sales targets and generating revenue.

Types of Outside Sales

There are various examples of outside sales roles, each tailored to specific industries, products, or services. Here are some common types of outside sales:

1) Field Sales Representative: 
Field sales representatives are general sales professionals who meet with clients in person. They could be selling a wide range of products or services, from consumer goods to industrial equipment.

2) Account Executive: 
Account executives are responsible for managing and nurturing relationships with key accounts. They often work with larger clients who require personalized attention and solutions.

3) Territory Sales Representative: 
Territory sales representatives are assigned a specific geographical area or territory and are responsible for selling the company's products or services within that region. They may travel extensively to meet with clients.

4) Medical Sales Representative: 
These sales professionals specialize in selling medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or healthcare services to healthcare providers, hospitals, or clinics.

5) Real Estate Agent: 
Real estate agents work outside the office, helping clients buy or sell properties. They show properties, negotiate deals, and guide clients through the real estate transaction process.

6) Financial Advisor: 
Financial advisors work outside the office to meet with clients and provide financial planning and investment advice. They may work for financial institutions or operate independently.

7) Technical Sales Engineer: 
Technical sales engineers are experts in technical products or services and work closely with clients to understand their needs and offer solutions. They often require deep technical knowledge.

8) Advertising Sales Representative: 
These professionals sell advertising space or advertising services to businesses and media companies. They may meet with clients to discuss advertising campaigns and strategies.

9) Manufacturing Sales Representative: 
Manufacturing sales representatives sell industrial and manufacturing equipment and supplies to businesses in industries such as manufacturing, construction, and engineering.

10) Software Sales Representative: 
Software sales representatives sell software solutions to businesses. They often require a good understanding of the software's technical aspects and how it can benefit the client.

11) Pharmaceutical Sales Representative: 
These professionals sell prescription drugs and healthcare products to healthcare providers like doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.

12) Telecommunications Sales Representative: 
Telecommunications sales representatives sell products and services related to telecommunications, such as phone systems, internet connectivity, and data solutions.

13) Wholesale Sales Representative: 
Wholesale sales representatives sell products in bulk to retailers or other businesses. They may work for wholesalers or manufacturers.

14) Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Sales Representative: 
CPG sales representatives sell fast-moving consumer goods, such as food, beverages, and household products, to retailers and distributors.

15) Oil and Gas Sales Representative: 
These sales professionals specialize in selling products or services related to the oil and gas industry, such as equipment, chemicals, or drilling services.

16) Equipment Rental Sales Representative: 
Equipment rental sales representatives work for companies that rent out equipment and machinery to businesses in various industries.

Process of Outside Sales

Here is a typical steps in outside sales:

1) Prospecting:
  • Identify potential leads or prospects within your assigned territory.
  • Research and gather information about these prospects to understand their needs and challenges.

2) Initial Contact:
  • Reach out to prospects to introduce yourself and your company.
  • Arrange an initial meeting, which can be done through phone calls, emails, or even in-person visits if feasible.

3) Preparation:
  • Prior to the meeting, thoroughly research the prospect's business and industry.
  • Prepare a customized sales pitch or presentation that addresses their specific needs and challenges.
  • Ensure you have all necessary sales materials, samples, or product demonstrations ready.

4) Meeting:
  • Conduct a face-to-face meeting with the prospect at their location or another agreed-upon location.
  • Use active listening skills to understand the prospect's pain points and goals.
  • Present your product or service in a compelling and tailored manner, highlighting how it can solve their problems or meet their needs.

5) Building Relationships:
  • Focus on building a strong rapport and trust with the prospect.
  • Address any questions or objections they may have.
  • Share success stories or case studies relevant to their industry.

6) Negotiation:
  • Discuss pricing, terms, and any other relevant details.
  • Be prepared to negotiate to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

7) Closing:
  • Once both parties are satisfied with the terms, ask for the sale.
  • If the prospect is ready to move forward, guide them through the contract or order process.

8) Follow-Up:
  • After closing the sale, follow up with the client to ensure a smooth onboarding or implementation process.
  • Continue to provide support and address any post-sale concerns or questions.

9) Post-Sale Relationship Management:
  • Maintain an ongoing relationship with the client.
  • Offer additional products or services as their needs evolve.
  • Request referrals or introductions to potential new clients.

10) Reporting and Documentation:
  • Use a CRM system to record all interactions and relevant information about the client.
  • Track sales activities, leads, and opportunities to measure your progress and performance.

11) Sales Training and Development:
  • Continuously improve your sales skills and product knowledge through training and development programs provided by your organization.

12) Meeting Sales Targets:
  • Work toward meeting or exceeding your assigned sales quotas and targets.
  • Analyze your performance regularly to identify areas for improvement.

Advantages of Outside Sales

1) Personalized Interaction: Face-to-face meetings allow for more personalized and engaging interactions with clients, fostering stronger relationships.

2) Effective for Complex Sales: Outside sales is well-suited for selling high-value or complex products/services that require detailed explanations and demonstrations.

3) Tailored Solutions: Sales representatives can offer customized solutions and address specific client needs more effectively.

4) Trust Building: In-person meetings help build trust and credibility, as clients can see the salesperson's commitment and sincerity.

5) Relationship Building: Salespeople can establish long-term relationships with clients through regular in-person contact.

6) Product Demonstrations: Live demonstrations and hands-on experiences can effectively showcase the value of products/services.

7) Autonomy: Outside sales reps often have more autonomy in managing their schedules and sales strategies.

Disadvantages of Outside Sales

1) Costly: Outside sales can be expensive due to travel costs, including transportation, accommodation, and related expenses.

2) Time-Consuming: Extensive travel can be time-consuming, limiting the number of clients a salesperson can visit in a given period.

3) Limited Reach: The geographic reach of outside sales is limited by travel constraints, potentially missing out on distant clients.

4) Weather Dependence: Outside sales can be affected by weather conditions, impacting travel and meeting schedules.

5) Inefficiency for Low-Value Sales: It may not be cost-effective for low-value products or services, where inside sales or online channels might be more efficient.

6) Resource-Intensive: Managing an outside sales team requires significant resources, including training, travel expenses, and support.

7) Inconsistent Sales Pitches: Sales reps may vary in their presentation and sales pitches, which can lead to inconsistent messaging.

Outside Sales vs. Inside Sales

Here are the key differences between outside sales and inside sales :


Outside Sales

Inside Sales

Location of Sales Activities

This approach involves sales representatives physically meeting with customers or clients at their locations, such as their offices, homes, or other designated meeting places. It emphasizes face-to-face interactions.

Inside sales, on the other hand, involves sales activities conducted remotely. Sales representatives typically communicate with customers via phone calls, emails, video conferencing, or online channels. There is no in-person interaction with customers.

Personal Interaction

Outside sales relies heavily on personal interaction. Salespeople build relationships, provide product demonstrations, and offer customized solutions through in-person meetings.

Inside sales predominantly involves remote communication. While it can be personalized, it lacks the physical presence and face-to-face interactions of outside sales.


Sales representatives in outside sales often spend a significant amount of time traveling to meet with clients. This can involve local, regional, or national travel.

Inside sales representatives do not require extensive travel. They operate from a central location, such as a company's office, and communicate with clients remotely.

Cost Efficiency

Outside sales can be more expensive due to travel costs, including transportation, accommodation, and related expenses.

Inside sales is generally more cost-efficient because it eliminates the need for extensive travel. It can reach a larger number of prospects in a shorter period, reducing overall costs.

Industry Suitability

Outside sales is well-suited for industries where personalized engagement, product demonstrations, and relationship-building are essential. Examples include real estate, pharmaceuticals, and high-value industrial equipment.

Inside sales is commonly used in industries where remote communication is effective and efficient, such as software, SaaS (Software as a Service), and telecommunication services.


Outside sales representatives often have more autonomy in managing their schedules and sales strategies. They are responsible for planning client visits and meetings.

Inside sales teams may follow more structured schedules and processes, with sales activities often managed and tracked using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.

Technology Utilization

While technology is used in outside sales for communication and CRM purposes, the emphasis is on in-person interactions and demonstrations.

Inside sales relies heavily on technology, including CRM systems, email campaigns, and video conferencing, to reach and engage with customers.

Scripted vs. Customized Communication

Sales pitches in outside sales tend to be more customized to each client's specific needs and concerns, often adapting on the spot during face-to-face meetings.

Inside sales representatives may follow predefined scripts or call outlines to ensure consistency in messaging and communication.

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