26 Mar 2013

Confusing Terms: Lead Generation vs. Inside Sales

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In working with many clients, prospects, and industry leaders, I see much confusion about terms surrounding Lead Generation Teams, Inside Sales Teams, and Telesales Teams. There are many terms, and people actually interpret and use them differently. So, in this blog, I’d like to provide my definitions and clarifications around these functions based on my many interactions with our clients, prospects, and analysts.


1. Lead Generation Team

The Function:

The function of this Team Is to produce Qualified Leads and then hand them off to the Outside Sales Force or the Inside Sales Force (see number 2 below).  This Lead Generation Team sits between marketing and sales and we call it the transmission gear between marketing and sales. This Team can follow up and qualify inbound leads coming in from marketing. And this Team can also conduct outbound, proactive, cold calling into target accounts to identify Qualified Leads within these specific target accounts.

The Confusion

Now the tricky part. The Team that I’m calling a Lead Generation Team goes by many names. Here are the various names given to this Team. Also, I put in parentheses if the use of the name is trending ‘Upward in use” (increasing usage) or “Downward in use” (decreasing usage).

  1. Account Development Team (increasing usage)
  2. Business Development Team
  3. Demand Generation Team (increasing usage)
  4. Inbound Prospecting Team
  5. Inside Sales Team (Wait, what??  Yes, yes – see number 2 below. In my opinion, this term should not be used for a Lead Generation Team.)
  6. Lead Management Team
  7. Lead Qualification Team
  8. Outbound Prospecting Team
  9. Sales Development Team (increasing usage)
  10. Telemarketing Team (decreasing usage)
  11. TeleProspecting Team
  12. Territory Development Team (increasing usage)

Sorry – the Lead Generation Team goes by many names and that’s why it gets confusing.


2. Inside Sales Team

The Function:

The function of this Team is to close deals for revenue. There are two types of Inside Sales Teams:

  1. New Account Inside Sales Teams that close new accounts
  2. Installed Base Inside Sales Team that close renewals, upgrades, cross-sells, and add-ons to the installed base.

The Confusion

Now the tricky part – again. This Team also goes by different names. For example:

The New Account Inside Sales Team is sometimes called the:

  1. Corporate Sales Team (increasing usage)
  2. Hybrid Sales Team (increasing usage)
  3. Remote Sales Team (increasing usage)
  4. Telesales Team (decreasing usage)
  5. Virtual Sales Team (increasing usage)

The Installed Base Sales Team is sometimes called the:

  1. Customer Service Sales Teams
  2. Post Sales Team
  3. Renewals Sales Team


Key Takeaway:
So, as you can see, the terms can get very confusing. In my opinion, your two key takeaways are:

1. A Lead Generation Team produces Qualified Leads for your sales force from either inbound prospecting or proactive, outbound prospecting.

2. An Inside Sales Team produces revenue by taking a prospect through the complete sales cycle including closure, for both new accounts, and for your installed base.




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