Inside Sales Representative: Career Outlook 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the inside sales representative salary and career outlook, pick up some tips for success in the job, and learn how to pursue this career.

[Featured image] A female, wearing a dark jacket and orange top, is sitting in front of her desktop, connecting with a potential customer as an inside sales representative.

If you’re considering a career as an inside sales representative, it helps to know more about the position. Learn about the job descriptions, work duties, and skills that might benefit you along the way. It's also important to know where you would work, how much money you can earn, and how to become an inside sales representative. This guide has the answers to many questions you might have. 

Inside sales representative job description

Unlike an outside sales representative who travels to meet face-to-face with potential customers, an inside sales representative does all their selling within an office. You might make your sales by phone, email, or video chat as an inside sales rep. Once you make a sale, you'll be responsible for maintaining a positive relationship with your customers. These relationships are important since your earnings may be commission-based. 

Duties and responsibilities of an inside sales representative 

Knowing the duties and responsibilities of this role can help you decide if you want to pursue this career. Here are some examples of potential work tasks:  

  • Find new customers by following up on leads or making cold calls.

  • Research potential customers 

  • Address customer questions and concerns.

  • Use communication and negotiation skills to close sales.

  • Achieve sales quotas

  • Maintain customer database and sales records.

  • Communicate regularly with marketing partners.

  • Stay informed about updates to products or services.

Skills that benefit an inside sales representative

As an inside sales representative, you'll benefit from several skills. Mastering these skills may boost your success on the job. One skill that helps people in sales is active listening. When you're on the phone, you can show you're listening actively by not interrupting, asking questions, and repeating what the customer says. Additional examples of useful skills include:

  • An ability to communicate well in writing and over the phone

  • An ability to work well alone or as part of a team

  • A firm grasp of any software your company uses

  • An ability to work well under pressure

  • Good time-management skills

  • Good organizational skills

  • Good research skills

Where can inside sales representatives work?

The environment you work in depends on where you're employed. At some companies, you'll have your own office or cubicle. In others, you'll have an open space with several desks, resembling a call center. Some companies may allow their sales reps to work from home. 

No matter which workspace you have, you'll need two key components: a phone and a computer. 

Inside sales representative salary and job outlook 

As of April 2024, the average salary for an inside sales representative in Canada is $54,862 annually. With additional pay in cash bonuses, profit sharing, and extra commission, this amount could increase by up to $9,276 annually, according to Glassdoor [1]. 

Depending on your location, The Government of Canada Job Bank reports a “Limited” to “Good” outlook for inside sales representatives through 2026 [2]. However, you can usually expect jobs for sales reps to be available in the wholesale and service sectors, as these businesses rely on a robust customer base. 

Tips for success as an inside sales representative

Depending on your product or service, inside sales can be competitive. You might gain an edge over other sales reps by taking advantage of a few tips:

Research potential customers before calling.

Whether following up on a lead or making a cold call, it's wise to research your customer in advance. Good sources for research include company websites, professional social media profiles, press releases, and sometimes just searching for the person's name. Information you may want to collect includes:

  • Demographics, like age, gender, place of residence, employment, and education

  • The person's need for your products or services

  • Past use of products or services similar to what you're selling

Gathering this information helps you personalize your sales message. You're more likely to make a sale when you connect with potential customers personally. 

Know your product or service.

There's no better way to gain a potential customer's trust than to know your product or service inside and out. Ways to learn about what you're selling include:

  • Getting your own experience using the product or service

  • Reading company literature, like pamphlets and brochures

  • Exploring your company's website

  • Checking customer feedback

  • Asking other sales reps or managers questions 

Establish good communication with the marketing team. 

Sales and marketing teams share a common goal—to increase sales. When sales and marketing are on the same page, attaining the goal becomes easier. To establish good communication with marketing personnel, try these strategies:

  • Ask for a meeting where both departments can sit down and identify the company's ideal customer. 

  • Create projects requiring team teamwork, like creating new ways to address customer needs.

  • Have weekly meetings to discuss new ideas, updates, and challenges.

  • Ask fellow workers in sales and marketing to provide feedback on ways to communicate better.

Leverage technology. 

Technology plays a key role in selling goods or services. For instance, almost every sales representative understands the importance of customer relationship management (CRM) software. It allows companies to keep all client data in one central location, including demographic details, contacts, account information, social profiles, and customer feedback. 

All this data in one system improves efficiency, communication, and collaboration across various company departments. Additional technology that helps boost company sales includes sales prospecting software and calling and tracking software. 

How to become an inside sales representative

Knowing what it takes to become an inside sales rep can help you decide if this is your career. Here are some steps you can take to help realize this goal.  

Earn your bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. 

Most jobs in inside sales require completing secondary school, but others may require a university degree. Good majors for an inside sales rep position include business administration, marketing, or communications. You can earn a bachelor's degree from a local college or university, and many have online programs if you want to study from home or learn at your own pace. 

Enhance your skills through work experience.

Work experience in other areas can help enhance your skills for an inside sales rep position. You can get work experience before entering college, during college, or after you graduate. Some examples of jobs that will boost your skill set include: 

  • Cashier

  • Customer service representative

  • Product promoter

  • Retail salesperson

  • Travel agent

Consider classes and certifications.

Certifications can help boost your chances of getting any job. Some specialized courses offer a certificate of completion at the end. 

One popular certification for inside sales reps is the Enterprise Sales Professional (ESP) course offered by the Professional Sales Academy and accredited by the Canadian Professional Sales Association. This course is for sales reps just starting out or with only a few years of sales experience. It includes 12 informative modules and ends with a certified professional exam. 

Consider classes in sales software or public speaking clubs like Toastmasters for more training that may boost your selling ability. 

Create an effective resume. 

When searching for a job, your resume can help you stand out from the other candidates. To create an effective resume, follow a few innovative strategies:

  • Include education and work experience (last five to 10 years)

  • List schools and jobs in chronological order. 

  • Highlight skills relevant to a sales job (proficiency with sales software, time management, organization, etc.)

  • Use action words when describing accomplishments like "achieved," "organized," or "oversaw."

  • Keep your resume length to one page.

  • Include links to professional social media profiles or web pages.

  • Double-check for errors in formatting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Apply for inside sales jobs. 

When applying for an inside sales rep position, research the company. Explain how hiring you might help boost the company's bottom line in your cover letter. If you get an interview, be prepared to share why you enjoy sales and your unique approach to selling. Show the interviewer your interest in the position by asking smart questions. 

Get started 

Learn about the different aspects of being a sales representative to see if an inside sales representative career is right for you. On Coursera, you'll find many sales courses, including Salesforce's Groundwork for Success in Sales Development, which is part of the five-course series Salesforce Sales Development Representative Professional Certificate. Also, consider HubSpot's Sales Training for High Performing Teams Specialization to advance your sales skills and help you become a better sales representative. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. "Inside Sales Representative Salaries in Canada,,6_IN3_KO7,34.htm." Accessed April 12, 2024.

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