The record player was once the foremost way of consuming music. The record was removed from its sleeve, placed in the record player, and the needle was set just right. Records were awesome in their day. But skip a few tracks into the future and they’re antiquated. Now, we search and download music with just a few clicks. We create our own playlists with ease and we carry them everywhere. Music has advanced. In the same way, the sales process is advancing. The “face-to-face” sale isn’t as necessary. Many sales are now facilitated by inside sales professionals who work remotely from home. Historically, inside sales people worked in HQ or regional offices. This model helped leadership manage, train, motivate, and support reps. Additionally, this helped sales people feel like part of the team. Now, remote inside sales people can develop relationships with coworkers and be trained through web-based tools. Moreover, sales leaders can also track activities through web tools in order to manage and support their teams. There are many advantages to having a remote sales team. Our clients tell us that the biggest advantage is a vastly large pool from which to hire elite talent. Here are the five keys to optimizing your remote sales team:
Choose your model.
First, choose the right model for your organization: “plug and play” or “hire and train”. “Plug and play” people have nearly the exact experiences required for the job. Hiring “plug and play” people has advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have minimal ramp time, but your candidate pool is smaller and harder to qualify. Most quality candidates want to advance their careers rather than take a lateral step. Also, “plug and play” can easily end up as a team full of mediocre players. “Hire and train” also has advantages and disadvantages. There is more ramp time and more training resources are needed. However, “hire and train” people are usually less expensive. If you hire the right attributes, you can end up with a team of superstars. It is very difficult to optimize both models together— choose and optimize one model for your remote sales team.
Develop an Ideal Candidate Blueprint.
Once you’ve chosen your model, develop a clear and simple Ideal Candidate Blueprint™. If you are hiring “plug and play” people, the hiring stakeholders must be aligned on the key experiences and achievements which predict success in the role. If you are hiring “hire and train” people, the hiring stakeholders must be aligned on the attributes which predict success in the role. Read our post on the benefits of utilizing an Ideal Candidate Blueprint™.
Close the best candidates.
Once you’ve developed an Ideal Candidate Blueprint™, successfully hire the right talent. The best candidates have the most choices. Just like you sell your products or services, sell the opportunity and your company to the candidates. Create a clear, unique value proposition for the role. Understand the candidate’s motivations to make a move. Most importantly, clearly communicate and demonstrate the career fit for the candidate throughout the interview process.
Fast to hire and fast to fire.
“Slow to hire, fast to fire” no longer works for top talent. Optimize and refine your interview and qualification processes beforehand. However, do not take shortcuts in the qualification process. Instead, document the process and execute it as efficiently as possible. If you fail to qualify candidates quickly, you will lose the best talent to competition that moves faster than you. “Fast to fire” still works— pay close attention in the first 90 days of a hire to know if you have made the right decision.
Finally, leverage technology in optimizing your remote sales team. Now that you have the right person on board, help them to be successful. We frequently hear this from clients. Pay close attention to your remote sales people. Furthermore, they need to know that you are paying close attention. Sales force automation systems help to monitor activities and key performance metrics for the management and training of remote sales people. With the right systems, you can manage a remote sales team with an effort similar to what it takes to manage an inside team.
We love helping to recruit and build remote sales teams. Conversations are free—contact us to talk about building your remote team.