In-office vs. remote sales… a controversial topic for sure. Some sales management teams are all about it. Others — not so much. OpenView Venture Partners is a global venture capital firm and most of the expansion stage technology companies in which we invest have inside sales teams rather than remote ones. However, this does not imply that it’s the only way for a sales organization to operate.
So what are the benefits of remote reps?
- Cost savings — less office space needed, less office supplies needed, less technical expenses overall
- A better candidate pool, particularly if your business is not in/near a major city
- Empowered reps — it’s on them to schedule their days properly and create their own success
- More time for a manager to focus on selling and additional responsibilities
Now, for the downside…
- A less-unified/bonded sales team
- Greater chance your reps will fail due to lack of daily management (high turnover)
- Manager will feel like they have less control and impact
- Training new reps will be a challenge
My opinion: Honestly, I’m torn. Expansion stage businesses can really thrive by working with energetic sales reps in the office. Closing a big deal, particularly at a young company, should be a celebrated event by all teams.
However, if you have a mature sales team with a proven sales background, it is fine to use remote reps if that is what works best for your top performers. In this day and age, as a manager, you can always have ultimate visibility into your rep’s activities/performance. Using collaboration tools like Central Desktop, and CRMs like SalesForce.com, regardless of location, a manager can see if a rep is maintaining his/her performance and hitting quotas.
That being said, it comes down to the maturity of your reps and the business culture you are looking to promote.
Please take my poll below, even if you aren’t necessarily a “Sales Manager” at the moment. If you’d like to leave your extra two cents on the topic, I encourage you to submit a comment below.