On the surface, telemarketing and inside sales might seem similar. Both rely on the telephone to connect with prospects in lieu of face-to-face meetings.
But that’s where the similarities end.
Inside sales is not telemarketing, and telemarketing is not inside sales.
Telemarketing uses a scripted, single-call close, usually offering a small-ticket, business-to-consumer (B2C) product. Telemarketers are infamous for making their unsuspecting victims say “no” seven times before letting them hang up.
In fact, overly aggressive marketers are responsible for turning “tele” into a four-letter word by ruining America’s dinner time with a barrage of unwanted calls.
It got so bad that the FCC had to enact strict laws and regulations to protect consumers. A sad state of affairs, indeed.
Inside sales is professional sales
Simply put, inside sales is professional sales done remotely.
Inside sales is not scripted. It involves multiple calls or interactions because it requires a more complex sale. These sales opportunities target business-to-business (B2B) or high-end business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.
Once considered a second-rate department within most organizations, inside sales has quickly become a respected profession represented by a reputable trade group, the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP).
The inside sales industry is growing 300 percent faster than traditional outside sales, according to the 2013 Inside Sales Market Size Survey.
Success fueled by technology
While the telephone opened the door for telemarketing, web conferencing launched the rapid growth of inside selling.
Inside sales teams leverage innovative technologies for dialing, email and engagement tracking, predictive lead sorting and scoring, sales forecasting, pipeline management, hiring, motivation and more.
Most telemarketers are stuck with outdated call center software and old-school predictive dialers that burn through huge lists calling multiple lines in hopes of making a live connection. Sometimes they even abandon calls by failing to place an agent on the line when somebody picks up.
The sales acceleration technology that has been widely adopted by the inside sales industry pinpoints the best prospects and identifies the optimal times and contact methods for reaching them. This creates a better experience for both the salesperson and the buyer.
So, you can see why true inside sales professionals bristle a bit when somebody compares what they do to telemarketing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Image credit: Mark Roy