How to Build a Remote Sales Team?
Every company gets to a point where they must go from having a salesperson to a sales team. And opting for a remote team lowers the cost and challenges that come from managing in-office workers.
But much like every other sales process, building a remote team presents a unique set of challenges such as – How do you make quality hires? What skills should you screen them around, and which is irrelevant? How do you provide them with proper training? And how do you ensure that your workers are working and not idling around?
When done wrongly, virtual teams fail to hit their number, which puts Sales Managers under pressure. You will know you’ve made the right hire when your team ramps up quickly and are on track to hit their quota.
But how do you make that happen?
In this guide, we’re going to discuss:
- Why the future of sales is remote
- 7 steps to building a remote sales team
- How to get your remote sales team to work collaboratively
Why the Future of Sales is Remote
The Pandemic opened the eyes of the sales industry to the possibilities a remote environment presents. Most sales organizations are adopting a remote work model because it allows them to poach talents worldwide. Several tools allow remote workers to collaborate similarly to office workers.
With remote work, there are fewer expenses – you don’t have to drive down to meet prospects, and you can host and close more meetings in a day. With the behemoth of benefits that comes from this, Sales managers have no option but to learn how to build a remote team.
We’ve enlisted 7 key steps that will help you do so:
7 Steps to Build a Remote Sales Team
Step 1: Define Requirements and Expectations
When making a new sales hire, the first item on your list should be how to communicate your requirements in the job post. Too often, sales companies list requirements that have little to do with the role they’re hiring for. And that’s partly down to the fact that the hiring process is conducted by HRs and not sales executives.
Most HRs have little knowledge about the skill that contributes to a sales rep’s success, and this is where the hiring process goes south. If you must use HRs, ask them to interview professionals in sales to discover the skillset a good rep should possess. But, no one makes a better choice than a Sales Manager.
Having been in sales for years, they know the attributes the right candidates should possess and the red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. Talking about red flags, managers should watch body language keenly, especially the non-verbal cues that hint at the candidate’s passion, self-confidence, and drive for the job.
And for the main quality?
Communication skills should be at the top, but there are secondaries like accountability, self-discipline, and building trust with customers. These are all core skills required in a virtual environment since they will be coming face-t0-face with customers every day.
Step 2: Evaluate Remote Culture-fit
It’s okay to hire someone with no prior experience in sales ( Even people in marketing might have a sales DNA), but what’s not is hiring someone who has never worked remotely before. For instance, if a candidate was occasionally guilty of lateness, and poor communication skill in their previous in-office role, making them a part of your remote team will be a big mistake.
Such candidates will likely use your company as an experiment to settle into a remote workplace, which never ends well. Your ideal candidate should be someone who has worked remotely before, probably in a freelance role. They should have a remote work set-up for accountability during their work day and ought to know how to express themselves in a virtual call.
Fortunately, you can have a close-up assessment of their virtual rapport by opting for a virtual interview. While the interview is on, look out for how they interact and express their thoughts and ideas. Remember that interaction via email and calls also counts when it comes to virtual communication.
Step 3: Avoid Urgent Hires
Most sales organizations only make the mistake of hiring when there’s an opening. The problem with this is that it puts them under pressure to make an urgent hire, which creates a proactive state.
The way to switch things up is to continuously look for new talents that offer something different to the team. But to do this, you need to forecast the numbers you will be hitting in the next quarter.
For accurate forecasting, you need to understand what will happen for every step you take in the future. For instance, if your goal is to scale to $500k MRR in Q4, you want to look at the number of deals you have to close to hit that. Do you have to double or go from 50 to 100 deals monthly? If that’s the goal, you will need to hire more reps to fill that void.
The goal is to hire according to your team’s needs and not the CEO’s recommendations. As your workload increases, so should your team’s capacity.
Step 4: Set up an Evaluation System
According to Bryan Whittington, Founder of EBS growth, the best way to evaluate sales competence is to grade reps based on these three traits: (1) Sales DNA, (2) Sales confidence, and (3) The will to sell
#1. Sales DNA: Sales is learned, but if you are going to give someone a slot, they should be engineered for sales. So what makes up a sales DNA? Little need for approval, tolerance to criticism, self-starter, building connection with customers, positive reaction to rejection, and ability to stay in the moment – predict objection before it arises…
#2. Sales confidence: Confidence comes from supporting belief and a strong expectation to win despite obstacles that might be in the way. Do they believe the next one will be better if something goes wrong today?
#3 The will to sell: A good rep should be open to talking to people, chasing leads, and giving them a reason to purchase. Are they laid back when they fail to hit their quota, or do they up the gear a bit? A good hire should have a willingness to close, and this can be judged from their numbers with their previous employees.
With this in mind, you can set up a scoring system that evaluates all three qualities. A score of 40 could be assigned to the will to sell, while sales confidence and DNA earns a candidate a 30 score a piece.
That means, if a candidate excels in just sales DNA but comes short in the remaining 2 categories, they’ve scored just 30/100, which is below the average and can be considered a ‘wrong hire.”
Step 5: Offer the Right Tools
Remote teams need a streamlined workflow, and that’s only possible with the right remote tool stack. And that should comprise CRMs, video conferencing, collaboration, and prospecting tools.
CRM provides a complete picture of the customer in one place, while Video conferencing tools like SalesDeck facilitate communication in a virtual environment. But your tool stack is not complete without a collaborative tool that keeps them in check with reality and other team members. For that, Discord or Slack channels remain at the top.
And to generate leads, tools such as Outreach, Clearbit, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator provide details of prospects that meet the company’s ICP.
Step 6: Create an Effective Onboarding Process
The aim of onboarding isn’t just to show new reps around or get them acquainted with teammates; it’s to help them ramp-up faster. Every onboarding process should familiarize reps with the sales process, the market’s pain point, and tools to drive the right results.
In addition, you can shorten new hire ramp time by getting them to work collaboratively with the sales leader in your company. The aim of doing this is to learn how it’s done from the masters of the game rather than relying on scripts.
Step 7: Aid Remote Workers Development
There’s a common phrase in sales – “20% of the sales team sells 80% of the revenue”. And that’s not the kind of return you will want from your team. How do you ensure everyone meets their quota? Assist new reps with effective training programs. You can set time aside weekly to meet with them and coach them on your methodology.
Remote work can feel like working in a vacuum at times. This is why Sales Managers have to master the art of giving constructive feedback.
How to Get Remote Team Members to Work Collaboratively
With your remote team spread across different time zones, how do you get them to sync effortlessly? There are little tricks around this; the most important one is to bring them under the same board using collaboration tools. Remote employees can track what everyone is doing, which helps improve team bonds.
Another trick is to schedule meetings or conference calls. This way, everyone can discuss their problems and seek solutions to them. This also presents an opportunity to foster remote coworking and makes it easier to reach out to team members outside their work environment – like on social media.
Also, team-building exercises ensure the tea is divided into small groups and asked to work together to win prizes. Future updates on SalesDeck will allow you to create a scoreboard when you grade teams for each activity.
You can also create a scoreboard that measures reps’ performance to determine who’s working hardest. Want to be the first to know when this exciting feature rolls out? Book a spot in the Early Adopter Program and follow us on this journey to revolutionizing the virtual selling experience.