Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: Which is Better for Your SaaS?

You’ve set up your SaaS business, and you are probably wondering whether you should hire an inside or an outside sales team. As a result of the pandemic, many companies are rethinking their sales team model. Whether inside or outside, you need to pick the salesforce that matches your needs. 


The difference between outside sales and inside sales in SaaS 


In B2B SaaS companies, the main difference between outside and inside sales lies in the size of the deal. 


The inside sales team would sell products remotely without meeting clients. They may also sell upgrades to existing customers. 


The outside sales team focuses on large, complex enterprise-wide deals that may require face-to-face interaction. 


What do outside reps do? 


Traditionally, outside sales reps spend most of their time selling in person. Outside sales reps may:

  • Present their company’s SaaS solution at industry conferences.
  • Attend industry-related networking events where they may meet prospects.
  • Visiting client premises and introducing themselves (cold calling).
  • Conducting face-to-face sales demos. 
  • Handling sales administration (including contracts and subscriptions).


However, the lines have blurred between outside and inside sales. Outside sales reps spend 45.5% of their time selling remotely. Like inside sales reps, many outside sales reps use email, social media, and virtual conferencing to reach their customers. 


Many SaaS companies will use both inside and outside reps to sell their solution. 

The benefits of outside sales


Outside sales reps work well for SaaS businesses with long sales cycles and complex software and often target larger accounts. After all, an enterprise client with thousands of potential users of your solution may not want to close a deal with a new SaaS vendor over the phone. 


B2B SaaS companies often use outside reps when there is more money at stake, e.g., selling to large organizations with thousands of potential users compared to small, self-service SMBs with a few users. The bigger the financial commitment the prospect will need to make, the more in-person nurturing they will require. 

What do inside sales reps do? 


Inside sales representatives remotely prospect, nurture, and convert leads to customers. They guide their customers through the sales process, work closely with prospects to understand their problems, needs and conduct product demos. 


Internal Sales reps may:

  • Sell software by showcasing demos over a web conference and screen sharing.
  • Manage Referrals from inbound leads, e.g., customers that land on the website and fill out a contact request.
  • Follow-up on incoming Leads.
  • Encourage existing customers to upgrade their software packages. 


The Inside Sales model is the most commonly used sales model for SaaS companies. 

The benefits of inside sales


As a SaaS company, there are real benefits to sales teams making their sales calls remotely. 

B2B customers prefer remote sales


Studies show that up to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote interactions with inside reps over in-person visits. This preference is partly due to safety concerns emerging from the pandemic and the ease of attending a virtual sales call compared to an in-person visit. 


Inside sales agents can reach more customers 


Inside sales agents don’t need to travel long distances to meet customers. Being able to work remotely enables them to schedule more appointments across more expansive geography. 

It’s cheaper to use inside agents                                                             


Outside sales agents come at a higher cost than inside sales agents. External agents aren’t office-bound; they incur personal cell phone and data costs, use company cars or use their vehicles and claim for expenses that include fuel. In B2B SaaS sales, outside sales agents will be accommodated by sales engineers, which adds to the expense. 

Clients already work remotely


Many clients will continue to work remotely (full-time or according to a hybrid model) far beyond 2021. If clients aren’t office-based, they are far less likely to meet sales staff in person. 


How to successfully sell remotely


The pandemic was a game-changer, and almost all companies (and their outside reps) will have to try their hand at remote selling. Not all of them will get it right. Uninspiring Powerpoint decks and design mockups aren’t good enough to close a deal. 


Screen Sharing and doing live run-throughs are effective but always seem to fail at the worst possible moment- Just ask Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Pre-recorded videos are safe and valuable but dull. 


Walnut can help you create bug-free and fully customized demos for your client, ideally suited to remote sales. You can use annotations to make your demo more intuitive and share engaging panels for collaboration between your sales team and prospects. 


Remote sales are here to stay. Make sure that you have the right tools to close your deals.