The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for tech companies and forced many more into making compromises they would not normally have entertained. One of these changes is the shift to remote work (and remote sales). An October 2020 study by McKinsey found that only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales – and more than three-quarters of sellers say they now also prefer remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions. E-commerce and videoconferencing now account for nearly half of all B2B revenue.
As companies have discovered they can manage and grow their sales workforce remotely, they are also discovering that by hiring remote sales professionals, they can expand their talent pool dramatically. Here are a few tips on how to find and hire your next great remote sales professional:
Determine what your ideal candidate persona looks like.
What does “great” look like? It’s different for every company and every team, especially one that is hiring remote. Start by looking at the skills and attributes your most successful reps have. Are they great presenters? Do they ask tough questions? Are they solution sellers, or do they incorporate a challenger methodology?
Also evaluate the skills and experiences of high-performing reps who work for your biggest competitors. Are there any skills these reps have that are lacking in your team? When Harvard Business Review published an article on the top qualities for sales reps, they listed modesty at the top of the list. Ninety-one percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Other qualities included curiosity, an achievement-oriented personality, a lack of self-consciousness, and not easily discouraged.
Determine what metrics you will use to source your candidate.
Once you’ve established the skills and traits you’re looking for, how do you find the reps that have them? Do you have an internal HR team that can help, or is the searching and hiring done by your sales leaders? Your best bets are either to spread the word to your existing networks, or use digital platforms like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder or TitanHouse to help facilitate the process. Additionally, many companies hire remote by outsourcing to third-party recruiters. This can be an effective strategy but is typically very expensive.
Once you’ve identified the candidates you want, you have to sell them the role. This means understanding your ideal candidates and what they’re looking for. What about your business and this opportunity makes it the right fit for a particular candidate? For example, if a sales rep has young children, he or she might prefer remote work with more flexibility. If your candidate is impressed by the opportunity for growth within the market, have your data points on hand. If your candidate appreciates working with a strong team, make sure to update your company’s website and social media presence (and yours) to emphasize that. Candidates will likely check all sources to determine if your business is the right fit – Even more so when you are hiring remote.
You’ll likely have just one chance to make a great impression and land top talent, so make it count. Treat recruiting like a sales funnel. You’ll likely need to have many candidates in play to land just one.
Develop interview questions that will help you identify the best remote candidates.
When hiring remote sales professionals, it’s critical that candidates understand and exhibit the attributes that generally lead to success. Here are a few essentials that can help you identify the right rep:
- Experience (Do you have previous remote experience? Explain your industry or product knowledge.)
- Independence (Give an example of a time when you operated on your own initiative?)
- Communication (Do you believe it’s important to overcommunicate?)
- Ability to adapt and evolve (How have you worked to change or improve yourself during your career?)
- Professional Development (How have you taken it upon yourself to advance in your career?)
When you find the right rep, close fanatically. Great reps will typically have two or three (or more) offers at the same time, so what can you do to win them over? During the interview, ask questions to understand their decision-making process so that if you decide to offer them the role, you know what incentives to offer. What are the key drivers that will make you the frontrunner? Employers hiring remote reps need to consider these things carefully.
The ability to work and sell remotely has become in high demand over the past year, and the talent pool can be limited in certain industries. Using these strategies can help you locate, win over and hire the best remote reps for your team.
When you make your hire, be sure to know the tricks to Onboarding New Reps Remotely!