what is an inside sales representative?

An inside sales representative is a sales professional who uses remote communications to sell products and services. This role took shape as global telemarketing expanded. Phone leads were once more prominent than those found online or through email. Phone canvassing has remained but is now more extensive using wireless technologies.

Every sales professional studies a specific market. They then develop a list of leads and engage with them to close deals. Inside sales representatives also take these steps but pursue them without having direct contact with their leads. Companies rely on inside sales representatives because their work builds revenue and gains more leads. You know a job involves inside sales when it is in-house, but there is no face-to-face contact with clients.

Computers are now central to remote sales, so inside sales teams study and research more than ever before. Being good with data and knowing how to find it gives you a unique advantage in selling. It is crucial to understand your audience, no matter what industry you enter as an inside sales representative. You then craft pitches for the specific leads you are going to pursue.

Would working as an inside sales representative suit your sales and communication skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an inside sales representative role.

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average inside sales representative salary

According to Job Bank, inside sales representatives in Canada take home an average salary of $53,318 per year. That means you earn $27.34 per hour. In an entry-level position, you start with a salary of $40,000 annually. As you gain experience, your earnings increase gradually. You can take home over $96,824 per year when you have extensive sales experience. Like other sales roles, you'll likely receive commissions and bonuses for meeting your targets.

how to increase your salary as an inside sales representative

When you are a new inside sales representative, you start with a lower salary due to your minimal experience. Inside sales representatives who have honed their craft with a few years of experience can negotiate higher salaries. While qualifications are not a priority for most employers, they boost your earning potential and improve your chances of moving up to a leadership role.

Aside from experience, the company you work for also influences your earnings. If you are an inside sales representative for high-end goods or tech products, you are likely to earn more than an inside sales rep who sells products of low value. For instance, if your job is to sell cars, you earn more compared to an inside sales rep selling clothes.

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types of inside sales representatives

The types of inside sales representatives depend on the customers they sell to. In addition, they differ based on the products and services they market. Some types of inside sales representatives include:

  • Business-to-business (B2B) inside sales representatives: you research potential businesses or companies you can sell to. You reach out to businesses online to explain how your products can benefit their companies.
  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) inside sales representatives: your job is to reach potential customers by phone and explain the features of your product, attempting to close a sale. You also contact leads generated from online sources, helping to guide them through the purchase process.
  • Fashion inside sales representatives: your job is to find and contact potential customers interested in fashion items. You advise on sizes and other features.
woman wearing headset
woman wearing headset

working as an inside sales representative

If you enjoy working in sales, consider becoming an inside sales representative. Discover the duties, responsibilities and work environments in the role.


inside sales representative skills and education

Some of the requirements of becoming an inside sales representative in Canada include:

  • College diploma or university degree: while you can get a job as an inside sales rep with secondary school qualification, some employers require a college diploma or university degree. Pursue a college diploma in sales, marketing or business administration to gain the relevant skills. Some products require specific subject matter training to understand how the product works. For instance, technical products may require the completion of short courses.
  • Work experience and certification: you require some work experience in sales or visual merchandising to work as an inside sales rep. In some Canadian provinces, you require certification from a regulatory body to sell certain products. For instance, a bookseller in Quebec needs certification from the Ministry of Employment. In Ontario, you require a certification from Skilled Trades Ontario to sell hardware items and building materials. Motor vehicle sales reps also need a licence from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council.

competencies and characteristics of inside sales representatives

As an inside sales representative, you require the following skills:

  • Listening skills: since you deal with clients remotely, you don't have the benefit of using body language to understand your customers. Good listening skills help you answer questions accurately and build a rapport with customers.
  • Organizational skills: because you handle multiple customer accounts, organizational skills help you manage all customer activities on time and provide accurate feedback.
  • Reliability: you should be reliable in order to build customer trust. For instance, if you promise to deliver the goods on time, fulfill your promise to maintain and solidify trust.

FAQs about inside sales representative jobs

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an inside sales representative.


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