Inside sales is one of the sales techniques that have rapidly gained attention in recent years. As more companies begin to see the benefits and adopt inside sales as part of their talent strategy, the demand for inside sales professionals also start to increase.
Inside sales differs slightly to traditional sales jobs as they don’t necessarily visit customers. In fact, inside sales focus on online sales activities. It is therefore an ideal job in Japan for those who have sales experience or are currently working in sales but would like to transit into working from home.
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In this article, we will explain in detail what the specific job description of an inside sales role is, why are people moving towards inside sales jobs, as well as the skills required.
What is Inside Sales?
Inside sales is a job that is part of the marketing and sales process. Inside sales are responsible for identifying highly promising leads amongst potential customers and passing them onto face-to-face salespeople (i.e. field sales). On the other hand, for leads with low potential, inside sales help to increase the likelihood of closing the deal through non-personal communication such as phone calls and e-mails. Inside sales also helps to nurture leads by continuously following up with existing customers to increase the likelihood that they will repurchase.
Differences between Inside Sales and Field Sales
Inside sales is often confused with field sales. In traditional sales, a single person is responsible for the entire sales process, from creating a list of potential customers, telemarketing, visiting the customer to closing the deal. In recent years, however, many companies have introduced a new sales model in which inside sales are responsible for sales activities up to the point of setting up a face-to-face meeting, and field sales are responsible for the personal touch – visiting, meeting, closing the deal, and following up.
The scope of inside sales varies from company to company, but are basically responsible for the non-personal sales flow from acquiring and nurturing prospects to confirming appointments.
Types of Inside Sales jobs
There are two main types of inside sales jobs: SDRs and BDRs.
SDRs (Sales Development Representatives)
SDRs are "reactive" inside sales representatives who approach and schedule meetings with leads obtained through online inquiries, whitepapers, and offline events such as exhibitions and seminars.
BDRs (Business Development Representatives)
BDRs are inside sales representatives who make outbound calls based on a list that already exists within the company. Unlike SDRs who sell based on leads, BDRs strategically approach the companies they target. BDRs target mid-sized to large companies, while SDRs often targets small to medium-sized companies.
Inside Sales Job Description
Inside sales is primarily responsible for the following sales tasks:
- Lead acquisition: Acquire potential customers through phone calls and e-mails, by utilising customer data, etc.
- Lead screening: Identifying and selecting leads with the potential to convert into a sale.
- Lead nurturing: Nurturing potential customers to understand their needs and interest in the company's products and services.
- Approach: Discover potential customers.
- Identifying customer issues: Finding out what issues customers are facing.
- Negotiation: Connecting potential leads with field sales.
Benefits of Inside Sales jobs
One of the characteristics of inside sales compared to field sales is the large number of clients you deal with each day. Through the process of dealing with a large number of clients, inside sales can learn how to respond and try to change their perspective at a relatively faster pace than field sales.
In addition, because inside sales often perform marketing-related tasks in certain companies, it allows them to gain new skills in using various marketing tools and attain basic marketing knowledge.
Growing in demand due to a shift from offline to online
As teleworking is becoming a new business style in the wake of Covid-19, sales activities are also shifting from offline to online. As a standard sales style for the future, we can expect more companies to actively adopt inside sales, which, unlike field sales, does not require face-to-face contact with customers.
Increases the effectiveness of the sales force and is slowly gaining popularity amongst many companies in Japan
According to Hubspot's 2019 Survey of Attitudes and Facts about Sales in Japan, Japanese salespeople reported that approximately 25.5% of their working hours are wasted. The survey results reflect the attitudes of salespeople, who are forced to conduct sales activities blindly due to a lack of clear management in customer information. And this has led to the rise of inside sales because it involves the selection of potential customers that may lead to a conversion and approaching customers in a more efficient manner, making it more effective for both the company and salesperson.
Annual salary increases can be expected
The average annual salary of inside sales varies greatly from company to company, but has a range of approximately 3.5 to 7 million yen. For those with sales experience but without inside sales experience, it mostly starts around 4.5 million yen. However, many companies have started to introduce other inside sales incentives, so it is predicted that the potential increase for inside sales is dependent on results. As for inside sales managers, it is common for their annual salary to start from approximately 10 million yen.
Skills and qualifications required for Inside Sales
There are no specific qualifications required for inside sales, but there are a few skills that would be good to have:
- Information gathering – In order to select prospective clients, inside sales will need to identify issues and make appropriate proposals. This includes gathering some of the latest information about prospective clients on their own.
- Data analysis – Data analysis skills are necessary to identify potential customers amongst all their prospects.
- Interviewing techniques – This is necessary to find out the current situation of prospects and the challenges they are facing.
- Trust-building – This is important for eventually closing the deal.
- Presentation – It is essential to communicate the appeal of your products and services in the best way possible.
- Time management – By managing time well, it is possible to increase contact points with prospective clients efficiently and to approach them without missing opportunities to close a deal.
- Strategic conversation techniques to reduce counterarguments – If you can successfully reduce any counterarguments during a presentation or hearing, you can achieve operational efficiency and save time. Simulations in advance may help.
- Follow-up – In inside sales, follow-up is essential to close any deal. To nurture potential customers and increase the level of prospecting, individuals who can conduct constant and strategic follow-ups are required.
- Effective verification skills – In order to review the effectiveness of any process and consistently improve them, it is necessary to always approach any process with an attitude of effectiveness verification, and to have the skills to link effectiveness verification to improved results.
Are you considering a career change to inside sales?
As mentioned above, inside sales is currently being introduced in many companies, and job openings will only likely increase in Japan. If you have sales experience, are looking for a higher annual salary or a flexible position, or are confident in your communication and listening skills, why not consider a career change to inside sales?
If you are interested to find out more, please feel free to contact us using the form below. Our dedicated consultants will be happy to advise you on your career change. You can also click the button below to view our latest job postings.