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How to Become an Inside Sales Representative

Are you motivated and have a strong work ethic? Can you speak to prospective customers and work through potential objections and obstacles to achieve sales goals? If so, a career as an inside sales representative might be an excellent fit for you.

Selling to both new and current clients is the lifeblood to many different kinds of businesses, and inside sales representatives are very central to that process. They do the vital work of researching and identifying potential customers, reaching out via phone or email and building relationships with them, and finding the right products or services to fill their needs. It’s a fast-paced job, one with many opportunities for the right people.

While professional communication and customer service skills are a must, productive inside sales representatives need to balance that with achieving company sales goals. The role of an inside sales representative is one that demands candidates be self-starting, goal-focused, good at multitasking and prioritizing, and excel at managing time effectively.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an inside sales representative who is assertive and can get the job done! If you’re a confident go-getter and can take control of a situation, this position could be for you. We are looking for a deal-closer, somebody who can find new leads, follow the leads, and make conversions. You will be expected to follow up with new and returning leads, and establish yourself as a trusted representative of [Your Company Name]. You are expected to have either prior experience or the proper certifications, and the ability to learn quickly to improve your conversion rate over time. If this sounds like it fits, please apply.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Source new sales opportunities through inbound lead follow-up and outbound cold calls and emails
  • Understand customer needs and requirements
  • Route qualified prospects to the appropriate sales executives for further development and closure
  • Close sales and achieve quarterly quotas
  • Research accounts, identify key players, and generate interest
  • Maintain and expand your dataset of prospects within your assigned territory
  • Perform compelling online demos to prospects 

Education and experience

A bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required for this position.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proven inside sales experience
  • Track record of over-achieving quota
  • Strong phone presence and experience dialing dozens of calls per day
  • Proficient with corporate productivity and web presentation tools
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong listening and presentation skills
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize, and manage time effectively

Preferred qualifications

  • 3-5 years of sales experience preferred
  • B2B experience
  • Bachelor’s in sales or related field

Typical work environment

Inside sales representatives are required to sell the advantages and usefulness of a product or service to a consumer or other businesses. An inside sales representative will work in an office or a retail setting in order to sell products to customers or businesses. Oftentimes, the inside sales representative will be responsible for finding new leads, building a trustworthy reputation, and converting those leads into long-term clients. When reaching out to a new client, the inside sales representative will be required to be outgoing and present the product or service in an appealing manner in order to build interest with the customer, and follow up until the sale is made.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an inside sales representative are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary to produce the most sales, depending on specific companies or situations.

Available certifications

Although certification is not required to be an inside sales representative, there are several certifications that can demonstrate the expertise or ability of the sales representative:

  • CISP Certified Inside Sales Professional for Sales Executives & Account Managers. The CISP is a professional online certification complete with coursework and sample cold calling training. With a total of ten courses, this certification is an expert-level course with a good overview of sales, cold-calling, and being a sales representative.
  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP). The Certified Professional Sales Person certification is a widely-recognized, six-week course that covers a complete sales program and certification. This course and certification program covers a wide range of tactics for selling, closing deals, and cold-calling.

Career path

The career path for an inside sales representative entails first obtaining a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. This path can often start as an entry-level position, but can have great opportunities for growth and advancement, usually based on performance.

Inside sales representatives can seek to further their career through completing courses and training that can bolster their skills and knowledge in the field.

On-the-job training is sometimes available to help boost success for both the individual and company. Inside sales might not be for everyone, but the right person — a motivated one with great people and presentation skills — can do well and has good earning potential.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 41-3011, 41-3021, 41-3031, 41-3041, 41-4010, 41-9041

2020 Employment985,200
Projected Employment in 20301,082,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift97,000 increase

Inside sales (making sales from your office or home vs. traveling to make sales) is a growing industry, and increasingly relevant as new technology for communications and presentations has become more sophisticated. Both inside and outside sales can have their advantages, but for many companies, the cost-efficiency of not sending salespeople on business trips is growing in popularity.