This year, the International Monetary Fund projected global growth to rebound by 5.2 percent. This means 2021 is the perfect time for companies to develop international expansion strategies, and to consider building remote sales teams to support those strategies.

What is a remote sales team?

When you think of a sales team, you may picture executives sitting at a desk on the phone. However, with remote work being the new norm, sales teams have adapted to a work from home model.

A remote sales team is a group of experienced sales professionals who support and implement a company’s sales strategy without working in an office building or interacting in person with clients or customers. They perform their work virtually with the help of online communication and management tools.

Why should you build an international remote sales team?

Contrary to the predicted global growth, an Oxford Economics study stated that nine out of 10 developed nations, will face a shortage of talent.

This deficit will have a huge impact on a global scale, forcing industrialized nations to look for skilled talent in emerging markets, such as Brazil, India, China, and Mexico.

According to the same study, half of the world’s college graduates come from these new talent hubs. While the predicted talent shortage will bring new challenges, it will also create these new opportunities.

1. Access to new markets 

Hiring international remote sales professionals means hiring local market experts who will make entering those markets easier. Leveraging their expertise and skill sets is important to succeeding in each unique business culture.

2. A global talent pool 

 Remote work erases borders and enables companies to find skilled talent regardless of their location. This also means companies can hire remote employees in countries where labor costs are lower, allowing them to reduce expenses.

3. Faster scalability 

Having a remote sales team gives companies the capacity to reach out to prospects all over the world, the ability to increase sales efforts without having to travel, and the opportunity to close more deals on a global scale. Moreover, without having to travel, companies save valuable time that can be used on refining their global sales strategies.

4. Better adaptability and flexibility 

In-person meetings are time consuming, but the advantage of remote sales is that teams have the flexibility and adaptability to easily adjust to their customers’ changing schedules and availability. Remote global teams can also adapt to the evolving global work environment, which allows companies to face the marketplace challenges more efficiently.

5. Solid business continuity plan

business continuity plan is a system companies use to survive and recover from crises. Basing the plan around remote sales gives companies the chance to respond to a crisis faster, meaning that additional infrastructure or supply chains are not necessary.

6. Reduced operating costs 

According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote teams save companies on real estate, operations, and utilities expenses. These cutbacks are also reflected in tax savings.

7. Increased productivity  

In a survey conducted by Globalization-Partners, 31 percent of HR managers stated that productivity is one of the top benefits of global teams. Some companies have found that their remote sales professionals close 30 percent more sales than traditional sales teams.

[bctt tweet=”Some companies have found that their remote sales professionals close 30 percent more sales than traditional sales teams.” username=”globalpeo”]

How to build a remote sales team

Before hiring a sales professional or team, companies need to determine which markets or countries best suit their expansion strategy, goals, and needs. It is also essential to define guidelines to make the hiring process easier.

Set up a hiring process. 

Building a sales team remotely is more challenging than doing it in person, therefore, setting up a detailed hiring process is recommended. HR managers can start by dividing the process into manageable stages, which will help filter candidates, test their skills, and shorten the interview process.

Define the ideal candidate profile. 

Choosing the right candidate starts with defining a detailed profile. HR teams must create a clear and complete job description that includes the traits, skills, and experience their ideal hires should have, and how they can align with the company’s values and vision. It is also helpful to clarify the importance of having experience working remotely and of being motivated and self-driven.

Establish written position requirements.  

Besides describing the traits, skills, and experience required for the position, it is important to communicate detailed technical requirements. You should also specify the tasks the new hire will perform daily.
You can also include a list of short- and long-term goals for the position, such as:

  • Generating leads
  • Identifying new opportunities
  • Reaching out to potential customers
  • Creating sales plans
  • Increasing conversion rates
Write an attractive job post.

Once you have the ideal candidate profile and the requirements for the position, it is time to write a job post that attracts the right applicants.

A job post should be centered around the skills and qualities you are looking for, but you must also consider employee expectations. Let candidates know about your value proposition and the benefits you offer, as well as the salary range, working hours, and employment type available.

Look beyond the resume.

Ask applicants to submit a cover letter along with their resume. Including a test that measures their skill sets or requesting a video can also help you weed out unqualified applicants quicker. Video applications are particularly effective at testing candidates’ communication and sales skills.

Prepare the interview.

Analyze the resumes, read the cover letters, and watch the video applications carefully. Once you decide who you want to interview, prepare the right questions to identify their organizational skills, their experience with applicable tools and technology, and their   ability to self-motivate and show creativity and innovation through their work.

Hire experienced sales professionals.  

It is essential to hire relatable and experienced sales professionals. Qualified sales representatives have the knowledge and expertise to implement sales strategies, capture leads, and close deals faster. Another advantage of hiring experienced sales associates is that it makes the onboarding process easier, and they require less training.

woman working on a laptop at an outdoor coffee shop

Qualities of a successful sales representative

At the very least, a successful sales representative must have experience and skills, but the right qualities, personality, values, and philosophy are key factors as well. When looking for the right sales professional, focus on the following qualities.
A good salesperson is:

  • Proactive: They take the initiative.
  • Ambitious: They’re constantly looking to deliver better results and want to achieve more. This could include anything from closing another deal to winning an achievement award.
  • Passionate: Passion sells, and customers sense when a salesperson is genuine and truly believes in the value of the products and services offered.
  • Motivated: We often forget the importance of knowing why you do what you do. Ambition and passion are important, but your sales team will never achieve their goals unless they have something that motivates them internally.
  • Optimistic: The best salespeople share this key characteristic — optimism boosts performance.
  • Resilient: Resilience in the face of adversity and knowing how to handle stressful situations is paramount for a good salesperson.
  • Tenacious: Handling rejection and objections is part of day-to-day sales. Someone who is upbeat, won’t back down, and won’t take “no” for an answer is ideal.

Hiring an international remote sales team on a global scale

Hiring a remote sales team often includes employing people who live in different countries. This means companies should be up to date on laws, regulations, culture, and best practices in the countries they are looking to hire in. Here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Know in-country remote work regulations.  

Remote work is changing the rules. It is crucial to understand the legal requirements in each country and be aware of any ongoing changes to the local laws and regulations.

Adapt to local labor laws.  

Besides remote work regulations, each country has its own labor laws. It is necessary for companies to study and understand them in order to remain compliant and avoid serious fines or penalties.

Ensure payroll compliance. 

Companies must ensure payroll compliance with local salaries and mandatory contributions to social security and taxes. Also, compensation packages must align with the costs of living of the location remote workers reside in. In addition, companies should consider how they are going to pay their remote teams.

Establish clear written contracts and agreements. 

It is important to draft clear employment contracts that meet the local rules, as well as non-compete and intellectual property agreements. These key contracts define and protect the company’s and the employees’ right and obligations, and help companies avoid legal issues.

Understand cultural and geographic differences. 

Working with diverse cultures and backgrounds not only requires understanding local customs, it also makes it necessary to learn about each country’s work ethics, and involve awareness of time zones, and language barriers. To have a successful team, it is vital to embrace diversity and inclusion, and to have open channels of communication.

[bctt tweet=”It is important to draft clear employment contracts that meet the local rules, as well as non-compete and intellectual property agreements.” username=”globalpeo”]

Strategies for finding talented sales reps

If you want to build a remote sales team with the best sales reps, here are five recruitment strategies to consider.

1. Networking 

Your professional network most likely includes a few sales professionals you can reach out to in order to see if they are open to a new opportunity.

2. Referrals and recommendations

 If no one in you network is available, they could refer or recommend potential candidates. It is easier to build new relationships with referrals, but the downside of this option is that recommendations can be subjective.

3. LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is an effective resource. You can perform an advanced search and filter candidates based on important factors, such as who is open to work.

4. Trade shows and conferences

 Attend public sales conferences, trade shows, or job fairs to meet attendees and network — your ideal sales representatives could be there.

5. College career fairs 

If you are hiring for entry level roles, you can discover talent and recruit on college campuses at career and job fairs.

Tips for onboarding a remote sales team

A good onboarding process helps your new employees integrate seamlessly into your company. It’s a critical time to showcase your company’s corporate culture and values. A warm, welcoming, and timely onboarding experience brings new hires into the fold, giving them an immediate sense of employee expectations. Here’s how to do it.

1. Establish a measurable plan. 

To reap the benefits of a successful onboarding process, you must establish a very clear timeline and set goals. The typical onboarding process can take anywhere from 90 to 120 days.

It is important that you establish starting points and buffers at each step, as well as KPIs to help you measure success. With these goals as the foundation of your strategy, you’ll be ready to create an onboarding experience that new employees will love.

2. The experience must be customized. 

Many companies offer a standard “one-size-fits-all” onboarding experience. However, each new employee will have a different role within the organization and their experience and background may be different, making this approach ineffective.

Employees must feel special, and the support and onboarding time they will need may also vary, especially in a remote environment. Your employees must have the necessary technologies and regular check-ins following onboarding, so they feel connected and part of their remote team.

3. Create a link between culture and employees. 

Onboarding processes have historically focused on regulatory compliance and the collection of administrative information. Although this is still an important part of the process, it is crucial to immerse employees in the company’s culture. This will make it easier to maintain the excitement generated during the recruitment process.

4. Reinforce manager involvement and set clear expectations.

Managers should take an active role in employee onboarding: They should work with employees to establish objectives and build a good career plan together.

It will be easier to boost engagement and productivity if clear expectations and goals are set from the outset and are evaluated through regular follow-ups and appropriate constructive feedback. Showing employees, a clear path forward will give them a way to channel their enthusiasm into their work.

How to manage a remote sales team

While there are benefits that come from working with a remote sales team, there are also challenges, and one of them is team management.

It is important that your sales team is aligned to achieve goals and to ensure an impactful customer experience. That’s why maintaining team motivation and productivity is key.

Learn how to manage your sales team remotely and improve their performance with these strategies.

Ensure team connectivity 

 It is essential that your team has the appropriate technology, communicates effectively, and has access to the necessary resources to do their work productively.

Promote open and transparent communication 

Internal communication prevents misunderstandings, conflicts, and demotivation. Regular and transparent communication builds a trusting work environment that favors teamwork. It also allows employees to feel heard and integrated into the dynamics of the company, even if they are not sharing the same physical space.

Recognize good work 

Recognizing your team’s good work will help keep them motivated. It is important to recognize achievements associated with performance indicators.

However, it’s also key to acknowledge actions like successful responses to customers, crisis management, or any aspect that should be exalted and serve as an example to the rest of the team.

Encourage creativity 

Take advantage of video chat to promote the participation of your team in trainings, creative brainstorming meetings, and strategy planning sessions.

Manage with autonomy 

It is not necessary to micromanage, but you should check in regularly to discuss objective status and overall performance. Use project management tools to follow the progress of each project and understand the breakdown of activities and observations.

Let Globalization Partners help you build your remote sales team.

Hiring a remote sales team can be challenging, but Globalization Partners is here to make the process easier. As an Employer of Record, we help you hire and onboard skilled sales professionals in over 185 countries.

Learn more about our technology.

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