10 Essentials: Selling Outside vs. Selling Inside

The seventh in series of ten posts in a series titled: 10 Essential B2B Sales Rep Attributes (and their 10 Essential Opposites).

I promise this is not an episode of Theater of the Obvious. Of course the salesperson’s role is to obtain customers by selling outside their company. Or is it that simple? As this series has pointed out in a number of posts, the salesperson’s role is to create value for their customers and, by doing so, create value for their company (I know some people have this backwards. I am trying to change that fact).

Selling Outside

Great salespeople spend their time outside of their offices selling to prospects and clients. They take all the necessary actions to develop the network of contacts within their target prospects and their clients. They build these networks in order to succeed in creating value for their client. This means selling their ideas to cross-functional team members from purchasing to operations to finance. Great salespeople sell to contacts at any and all levels outside of their company. They understand their client’s internal politics, and they know how to play. They identify who within the organization is necessary to a achieving a successful outcome, who can obtain necessary resources, and who can move obstacles and roadblocks.

The trouble begins when the salesperson doesn’t take the same actions inside their own organization that they take outside their company.

Selling Inside

Creating value for clients requires buy-in from all kinds of people within the client organization. But it also requires buy-in from all kinds of people within your own company. Great salespeople treat their own organization like they treat their prospects and clients. They spend time understanding and developing the needs of the people within their own company. They understand that by working to develop the networks within their own organization they can bring together the necessary resources to create value for their clients.

Too many salespeople don’t believe that they need to sell within their own organization. What happens when you don’t sell within your own organization? Big trouble. First, your client expects you to be the strategic orchestrator managing the team of experts that produce the results you sold them. When this doesn’t happen, you lose the credibility you worked so hard to develop. Your client wants the result you sold them, and they expect you to help ensure that it is obtained. They want you in the thick of things with them when the challenges start.

Second, as a salesperson, you can rarely obtain the result for the client alone. If you have not spent the time developing the relationships with your internal team members in the same you would with an external team member, it is much more difficult to get them on board when you (and your client) need their help. When the issues arise and you really need your team, you spend a lot of time developing the communication channels after the fact (which may be too late). If the challenges are great, the accompanying urgency can create stress, and stress makes this communication more difficult and problematic.

Most of the development of the relationships inside your own organizations are the result of meaningful conversations with the people on your team to understand how you can make it easy to help each other, and then extending the common courtesies that all good relationships are built upon. These include honest communication, integrity, kept commitments, caring about people as individuals, and treating them with respect.


Sell inside your own organization with the same energy you sell outside of your own organization. Remember, you are the strategic orchestrator responsible for creating value for both your company and your clients. It isn’t enough to drop the orders off at the office; you have to ensure both parties succeed and both capture the value of the exchange that you sold. Your influence is the force for change both inside and outside!


  1. Do you treat your own company like a prospect with a network of contacts that must be developed?
  2. Do you develop the relationships within your organizations in order to help ensure that they have every opportunity to succeed for your clients?
  3. How do you create value for your internal team?
  4. Have you courted your team with lunch meetings, thank you cards, visible acknowledgment and appreciation for their effort?
  5. When you internal team needs you do you treat them the same way that you expect them to treat your clients when your clients need them?

Filed under: Sales 3.0

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