Should you focus on inside sales or outside sales? Which one is better for your company? Everything you need to know handling commercial real estate brokers.
Both inside and outside sales are insanely valuable type of commercial real estate broker. The core of their job is to meet their potential customers, so the ideal answer is to take advantage of both. However, your industry, product or budget might dictate that you put your time and money toward building a sales team that sits in one category. So, how do you decide? We’re diving deep into inside and outside sales. Why they might suit you, how to hire, how to structure your sales team, and much more.
What is inside sales commercial real estate broker?
Inside sales is the process of selling products and services remotely as opposed to face-to-face. Inside sales commercial real estate broker don’t meet their sales prospects in person. Instead, they use phone calls, emails, video conferencing and more to maintain relationships with their leads, prospects and customers. Inside sales is also known as virtual sales or remote sales. It usually takes place from behind a desk and has the benefit that reps are able to sell to anyone, regardless of how far they are. Where does the term came from? In the 1980s, the term inside sales was used to differentiate telemarketing from high-value phone sales that were typical for B2B and B2C sales practices at that time. By the early 2000s, inside sales became a term to help differentiate sales conducted from an office and those that involved going out on the field.
What does an inside sales commercial real estate broker do?
Since inside salespeople don’t meet with their prospects in-person, they need reliable tools to connect with their potential customers. The channels they’re using for their entire sales process include: Phone calls Emails Video conferencing Live chat Text messages In other words, they can take a cold lead and turn it into a paying customer without leaving their desk. They need a stable internet connection and a way to conduct phone calls with quality audio. Because they usually can’t see the facial expressions of their prospect, they must be able to pick up verbal and audible cues in their sales conversations. Without this skill, inside sales reps will struggle to move their deals forward. They have quite a predictable schedule. Based on their sales conversations, they can quickly identify their prospect’s position in the sales funnel.
As a result, inside sales reps can plan their daily and weekly activities accordingly. Let’s say the inside sales rep has a goal to close 10 sales. Their ideal pipeline in this case might include 200 incoming leads for this period. They know they qualify about half of all leads, which brings them 100 good leads to work with. If they usually close 10% of all their qualified leads, they know this is enough for them to hit their goal. With this in mind, they can always see if they’re on track and focus on quality leads to correct course, instead of scrambling for any leads in fear of missing their quota. And if you empower them with a CRM to track their efforts, they’ll be unstoppable. As they are selling remotely, inside sales reps have the power to switch their focus from one sales funnel stage to the other quickly.
Likewise, when they disqualify a lead based on the lack of needs or budget, they can move to a qualified one right away. On top of that, they can communicate with dozens of leads on a daily basis and automate a lot of their communication. Because they’re in an office (rather than on the field), they can get a clearer insight not only on their own results, but on the collective performance of the team. Working towards shared goals can strengthen unity and teamwork. “The critical skills for inside sales reps include listening and rapport building over the phone or in video calls,” explains Jaakko Paalanen, Chief Revenue Officer at Leadfeeder. “Organization skills are crucial, too, since they’re probably handling a higher volume of accounts.” These are the main benefits of having inside sales reps: A well-defined, strategic sales process A shorter sales cycle An opportunity to scale The power of teamwork More time to focus on selling (instead of admin, travel, etc.)
What is outside sales?
Outside sales is the process of selling products and services in person, through face-to-face meetings. Outside sales reps travel to meet their prospects. This can happen at industry events and trade shows, as well as the prospect’s office or a restaurant—it can even just be going from door to door. Outside sales is also called field sales. Although they do have an office as their base, outside sales reps spend most of their time in the field. Unlike inside sales reps that may close hundreds of sales without seeing their prospect’s face, the success of outside salespeople depends on their ability to build and maintain in-person relationships with their prospects. Outside reps build trust through the power of in-person interactions, body language and deeper human connection.
What does an outside sales commercial real estate broker do?
Outside commercial real estate broker are often on the go. The core of their job is to meet their potential customers at events such as conferences and trade shows. Other opportunities may include a meal at a restaurant or a game of golf. It could just involve visiting businesses in your target market or that match your current customers. Unlike inside sales, outside sales has a lot less structure. Outside sales reps set their own schedule and work in a more autonomous way. Their working hours may differ from the standard 9 to 5, depending on the types of meetings they’ve arranged. Like inside sales, outside sales follows a sales process and thrives on activity-based selling.
On top of standard sales tools (like CRM and a calendar) and channels (like email, phone calls, and text messages), they also often use tools to map their sales territories and routes. Outside sales reps invest a lot of time into each lead they choose to meet. This is why it’s useful to focus on deals of larger value, especially when there’s a number of decision-makers involved. Correctly qualifying leads (and breaking up with prospects that aren’t a fit for their offer) helps outside sales reps make the most of their time on the field.
Throughout their sales process, both inside and outside sales reps: Establish a personal connection with their lead Listen to their challenges and pain points Present solutions relevant to these pain points Address objections Close the deal by asking for business The difference is that outside sales reps most often do all this in a single meeting, while inside sales reps usually split this between dozens of email, text, and phone call touchpoints. Because of how hands-on this process is, outside sales naturally results in a longer sales cycle. Unlike inside sales, in-person relationships that outside sales thrives on can’t be scaled or automated. However, by working with less leads at once and focusing on the individual needs of each person they meet with, outside sales reps are likely to close a higher percentage of deals in their pipeline. And by being at industry events, conferences, and customer offices, they can see industry changes, trends and reactions happening in real time.
To sum up outside sales, here are its benefits: Stronger customer relationships Higher close rate (as they focus on a smaller number of leads and spend more time and in-person effort on each) Keeping a finger on the industry pulse Motivated sales reps due to higher commissions
Here’s the case for higher salary commercial real estate broker
Outside sales reps are likely to have a higher close rate Deals closed through outside sales are often larger than inside sales (as outside sales reps usually work on higher-value deals) Field reps often have more years of sales experience Being out on the field requires lots of adaptability from a sales rep’s perspective. The more experienced he or she is, the easier it is to handle any curveballs and unforeseen circumstances.
Based on the PayScale reports mentioned earlier, outside sales vs. inside sales commissions seem to reflect this, too. For example: In the US, inside reps get an average $9,822 commission, while outside reps get an average $15,123 commission In the UK, inside reps get an average £5,000 commission, while outside reps get an average £5,500 commission Salaries and commissions for sales reps should reflect the value of their skillset, talent and the results they create for their team. Scalability inside outside sales reps The cost and scalability of inside and outside sales As well as the salaries associated with hiring inside and outside sales reps, there are also costs to consider around commissions—and the growth potential that comes when hiring for these roles.
The cost and scalability of an inside commercial real estate broker
With an inside sales team, your budget can go a long way. All these reps need are a computer, a solid internet connection and a CRM to help them always stay on track. As you add more inside reps to your team, the cost of running your sales operations doesn’t skyrocket. New costs include a new hire’s salary, an additional CRM seat, and sales training. With a bigger team that operates from your office, or even their own home if they work remotely, you can now reach more prospects and upscale your sales. On top of that, with a great CRM tool your inside sales team will be able to: Streamline lead generation and scoring Automate reminders to check in and follow up with leads Visualize their sales pipeline Focus on the right deals at the right time In other words, you’ll be able to multiply your sales results at a lower cost, with minimum risk.
The cost and scalability of an outside commercial real estate broker
Growing your outside sales team will usually cost you more than just salaries and CRM seats. Your field reps rely on the quality of their in-person meetings. This means that for every commercial real estate broker, you must ensure the budget for flights, dinners, meeting rooms, accommodation, a company car and more.
On top of that, face-to-face conversations can’t be automated. Your rep can’t have the same conversation with more than one lead at the same time. These conversations also last longer than a typical phone call or an email exchange. In other words, an outside salesperson can only be closing one deal at a time. They spend significantly more time switching (i.e. traveling) between two leads than an inside sales rep does. Outside sales means managing a single relationship at a time. If you’re selling high-ticket products or services, investing in outside sales reps can yield returns for many years to come. “Match your offering’s lifetime value to the customer acquisition cost and make sure it’s over three times higher,” suggests Jaakko Paalanen. “If you can accomplish that ratio with a repeatable process, outside sales could work for you.” Deeper customer relationships are often behind higher customer lifetime value and loyalty. Steven Benson, the founder and CEO of Badger Maps, a route planner app for field sales reps, describes a trick to maximize outside sales performance despite the scalability challenge: “Identify the skills that a rep needs to be successful on your team and figure out who has the deepest expertise in each of those skills. Then, prepare your top reps to ‘clone’ themselves—in other words, transfer those skills to the rest of the team.” Benson continues by saying that “group sessions are a great way to get everyone on the same page.
Top-performing reps can show the rest of the team how to utilize their techniques as part of weekly or monthly training sessions. Make learning an ongoing part of the job and maximize knowledge retention.” “With the right cloning strategy, your entire outside sales team will start closing more deals,” he concluded. Outside sales is harder to scale because of the higher costs that come with hiring more reps, so this sales strategy is a smart approach when you’re aiming for slower, long-term growth. When you need to grow faster, inside sales may be a good, cost-effective initial focus.
Expanding your outside sales team will suit you when you’re ready to invest more into in-person customer relationships. The sales experience requirements for outside sales vs. inside sales Looking for superstar salespeople? If you want to hire for specific roles in inside and/or outside sales, there’s one truth to keep in mind: all high-performing sales reps are great communicators who are driven by understanding their prospects and focused on results. But the way they’ll have to use these skills in an inside sales model compared to the outside sales environment is quite different.
The important thing is that you focus on the most valuable goals for your company and create a sales team that will enable you to achieve them.
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