How to Build a Remote Sales Team in 3 Easy Steps

By: Jack Reamer |
 August 20, 2023 |

Times have changed. 

Thanks to technology businesses are no longer bound to physical offices.

In some cases building a remote sales team can save you a ton of money.

No longer do you have to hire office space or equipment. 

All you need is a laptop, fast internet and a group of people who are driven to sell.

Many companies changed direction during the pandemic and started working from home. 

Zoom, Slack, Whatsapp and Trello, all became part of our everyday language, and thankfully so. 

But if you are new to the world of “virtual offices” or an online workforce, you might be wondering how to build a remote sales team and still get excellent results.

We were lucky enough to interview Greg Mccallum, the sales director at Fast-Growing Companies, and he shared his experience setting up a remote sales team the correct way.

 

But before we begin…  Have a look at some stats regarding remote work.

(A graph showing how there has been an increase in searches for the term “remote work” according to Google.)

  • Since 2005 working remotely has grown by 159%
  • 20% of people would be willing to take a pay cut of more than 10% in order to work remotely. (Owl Labs)
  • 2 in 3 knowledge-based workers think that the office will be obsolete by 2030. (Zapier)
  • 67% of business leaders think that remote work and flexibility can improve productivity by at least a fifth. (IWG)
  • Half-time telecommuters save 11 days a year by not travelling to work. These employees also save an estimated $4,000 per year by working remotely due to reduced travel, parking, and food costs. (Global Workplace Analytics)
  • An estimated 16 million US knowledge workers shifted to remote work as of March 27 due to COVID-19. (Slack)
  • 29% of completely remote companies have women CEOs, founders, or presidents. This compares to 6.4% of women CEOs in all Fortune 500 companies. (Remote)

These stats show that many businesses are shifting gears and embracing a remote sales force

What are the pros of having a remote sales team?

Besides this, there are many positives to having remote employees.

From employees enjoying 80% less stress, wasting time in traffic, and business owners not having to waste money on renting a building or office furniture and equipment. 

Example: Some small business founders have used the money they would put into renting office space for “treats” or “perks” for their employees. 

This then results in happier team members. Metrics show that this leads to less churn in the business. 

Have a look at some more positives of remote work:

  • Working from home half the week can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 54 million tons every year. (Global Workspace Analytics)
  • 32% of workers said the biggest benefit of working remotely is the ability to have a flexible schedule, 26% stated the ability to work from anywhere, 21% was not having to commute, and 11% spent time with family. (Buffer)
  • Companies that encourage remote work in the U.S have a 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t. (Owl Labs)

Here are 3 steps on how to build a successful sales team

One very important thing to keep in mind when building a remote sales team is that this IS your virtual office. 

There is no replacement; it’s not temporary. Your virtual office is the real deal that will form the bones of your company. 

Step 1: Be on the lookout for salespeople

Often many founders or sales managers keep an eye out on job boards to find employees. They might think of only using one specific platform, like Linkedin, for example.

But remember that there are so many platforms out there to find people for your company. You need to interact with a large number of different platforms to find the right kinds of people. 

The example that Greg Mccalum gave us in the podcast was that he found people in his local classifieds to hire. It might seem like a random place to look for employees, but it worked. 

Another tip that he gives in the interview is to look at Facebook jobseeker groups in your local area. 

Therefore, if you have a recruiter for your business, get the word out that you are looking to hire someone for a remote position. Place the ad on as many platforms as you can to find new hires.

The reason?

Talent is out there; it just needs to be found.

Step 2: Filter through potential sales reps

Now that you got the word out there, you will probably receive hundreds of job applicants.

The big question is, how do you filter through all the prospects to find the right person during the onboarding process?

The truth is that some people might not have even read the entire job description, some might not have the correct qualifications, and others are just not worth the time to investigate.

Therefore how would the hiring process work? 

Luckily, many platforms have built-in tools that help you to find the right people via a filtering process.

For example, Indeed.com has an assessment feature where you can test the skills of potential candidates.

Besides these skills tests, Indeed.com also has a call feature where the candidates can answer recorded questions, and then the answers are saved, which you, as the business owner or recruiter can listen to. 

Many tools are helpful tools when it comes to finding good salespeople.

Here are some assessment tools that you can consider using when trying to filter through potential employees:

Aspiring Minds

Offers a wide variety of assessment tests, including cognitive ability, personality, job simulation, sales ability, and more.

Berke Assessment

Offers customizable tests that measure personality and intelligence.

You can also build “hiring profiles” – lists of desirable behavioral traits and problem-solving abilities – and compare each candidate’s results against them.

OMG

If you are specifically looking for sales representatives, then using OMG is for you.

It is a well-known tool for sales assessment OMG offers assessments for a variety of sales candidates, including Salespeople, Sales Managers, and VP of Sales.

One last thing that would be wise to remember, is to personalize questions for the candidates. It can get boring asking the exact same questions, so once you have your top 10 job candidates, dig a little deeper, and ask questions specific to them as individuals.

Step 3: Start with immediate sales training and an engaging company culture

So once you have found the right sales professionals, it’s imperative that you begin with training from the word “go”.

Especially when it comes to a remote sales team. It’s important to make them feel part of the team so that they know they are part of that “virtual office.”

From the start, get your new recruits to work. Throw them into the entire sales process from the beginning, because that’s what they want to do… learn.

To make sure that you are getting new sales teams part of your business, ask yourself these questions and then tick off the boxes during the onboarding process:

  • Are we demonstrating our culture?
  • Are we demonstrating our process?
  • Are we demonstrating expectations?

It’s also important to get feedback from your new employees from the get-go, as this helps them feel part of the team, even though they are working from home. 

By getting on a call early on and discussing sales operations, workflow, and even templates, helps new recruits set up sales goals, and feel part of the company culture.

(Role-playing exercises can also help boost the confidence of new hires.)

You could ask them:

  • “What do they think of specific copy that was used in an email or on social media?”
  • “What do they think of an ad that was done by the marketing team?”

These questions help with team building and motivation

And as a sales leader, you can gauge how your employees are doing.

Besides this, having a fresh pair of eyes on things that are going on in your business, is important for growth. 

What happens if you realize you made a bad hire?

Usually, within the first week, you can tell if someone is not cut out for the role. Check out your key performance indicators, see how your teams are doing. 

(It is a little more challenging to see which SDRs are not performing as well because if they are in teams, it can be easy to “piggyback” off the others, but in time you will know who is a keeper and who is not. )

If you have made a few poor choices in hiring, that’s ok. All it means is that you need to refine the recruitment process. 

NOTE: If you do not find the right person, do not hire them. 

Invest in the following tools

As with all professions, you will need the right kind of tools to get your virtual office up and running.

Some of the best tech also integrates with other CRM tools, such as Hubspot and Salesforce

Before you build your team, make sure that you have these tools handy:

Here are some sales tools that you might want to check out too:

  • Hubspot
  • Pipedrive
  • Linkedin Sales Navigator
  • Zoho (cloud software suite and saas applications)

You can check out many more, but these are some of the top tools that enhance sales organization between teams. 

Quick Recap

There are three essential steps when it comes to building a remote sales team.

  1. Find salespeople by looking at various job seekers platforms
  2. Filter through each of the prospects by making use of assessment tools
  3. Start training your new employees from day 1. Get that company culture going and show true sales leadership

Remember to make use of technology to set up your virtual office.

This will enhance sales performance, sales management, team building and allow you to follow up on what’s happening in your start-up.

Ps:

If setting up a remote sales team feels stressful initially, no worries, we can help.

We have 12 years of prospecting experience and guarantee one lead a day for our clients. The best part?  

At the end of our journey together, we will share all that we have done for your business, allowing you to start your own in-house sales team once you finish with SalesBread.

Hop on a free 15 minute strategy call below to see how we can help you land more sales.

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