Telemarketers vs Inside Sales Agents: Who Should You Hire? - Smart Sales Coaching
calendar August 9, 2018

telemarketer or inside sales agent ISA training

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent: Who Should You Hire?

Telemarker vs. Inside Sales Agent

Let’s face it, we all hate telemarketers. They seem to call us at the most inopportune times (like during family dinner), they try to sell us things we have no interest in, and their scripts often scream sleazy salesman.
On the surface, the job of a telemarketer and an inside sales agent can seem similar. But aside from both using the telephone to connect with potential leads, they don’t really have too much in common.


When thinking about a telemarketer vs. inside sales agent, it helps to first understand the distinction between the two.
A telemarketer is typically more like a hired hand. The necessary qualifications include being alive, being able to talk on the phone, and being able to dial quickly to make it through their lists. They don’t necessarily have any sales skills or experience, and are definitely not sales professionals.
That being true, they don’t generally have a very intimate knowledge of the product they are selling. They just call, read from their script, hang up, and call again. Speed is the key.

More often than not, telemarketers deal with single call close deals, selling business to consumer goods. The nature of the job means that they are predominantly selling small-ticket, impulse buy goods. There is no warming up of leads and no building a relationship with potential customers. The job of a telemarketer is to take an unqualified prospect and turn them directly into a customer.

This is an extremely difficult task to accomplish, which is why telemarketers focus on volume rather than strategy. A telemarketer can probably only expect to close 3 or 4 out of a list of 100 prospects. This forces them to act in the salesly, aggressive manner that has become so intimately associated with them.

Inside Sales Agent

An inside sales agent (ISA) on the other hand, is a sales professional who happens to conduct their business over the phone, rather than in person. They typically deal with big ticket, larger investment products.

Their goal is nurture the lead from start to finish, from prospect to client. Often they own the entire sales process. They do their own prospecting, reach out to potential leads, show the lead their intimate understanding of their needs and the product they are selling, and make follow up calls as necessary in order to set up an appointment.

The biggest distinction when considering a telemarketer vs inside sales agent is that inside sales aims to build rapport and develop a relationship, while telemarketers are looking for the quick, single call sale. Whereas a telemarketer reads from a script, an ISA listens to specific problems and works with the lead to find a solution.

Inside Sales Real Estate Agent

In terms of the real estate industry, the role of an inside sales agents goes beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—they are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.  The advantage of the ISA is that they specialize in the initial tasks of lead generation, lead nurturing and setting listing and buyer consultation appointments.

Here is the basic structure of the inside sales role:

  • ISAs receive inbound leads and conduct rigorous outbound prospecting to uncover leads.
  • ISAs scrub leads, determine motivation, timing and ability.
  • ISAs set the listing and buyer consultation appointment for an outside agent.
  • ISAs also maintain a nurturing database of leads and work that database to produce future appointments.

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent, Which Is the Better Option for You? 

Cold calling unqualified prospects is quickly going by the wayside. According to a study done by, only 5%-10% of people answer their phones for unknown numbers. A study by Retailing Today showed that 81% of people research online before buying a product, and 61% read reviews before buying a product.

These findings don’t bode well for cold-calling telemarketers. Inside sales agents in the real estate industry are professionals who work to find qualified leads who are interested in buying or selling a property.

They are stepping in to fulfill a need and to work with the lead to solve a problem they are actively trying to solve on their own. This is far more than simply moving down a list of random phone numbers hoping someone bites.

Telemarketers vs inside sales agents? If you truly want to grow your real estate business, you know which choice is correct.


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