I talk to many startups these days who aren’t keen on hiring remote salespeople. And it genuinely baffles me as to why.
The main pushback I see as someone who helps businesses build sales teams is “collaboration and culture.” And while I understand where my clients are coming from when they’re hung up on this, I have to respectfully disagree with them.
My experience working remotely (12 out of my 20 years in sales) shows me that it’s very possible to create a highly-collaborative culture even when your team isn’t always in the same building.
And not only is it possible, it’s actually more productive. Our entire team at Avenue Talent Partners is remote and we love it for that very reason.
But I’m not the only one who thinks remote is great either – I did a little “survey” on LinkedIn to see what my network thought and the response was overwhelming:
As you can see, there are many reasons working remotely is a powerful thing. And I want to unpack those a bit and show you why this is something you should be considering as you think about hiring in 2019.
It can make the achievement of your growth goals much easier.
Reason #1 – Hiring remote makes it easier to find the best person for the job.
People are the foundation of any business. And if that foundation is shaky or underqualified, the business will suffer.
However, finding the best talent is so hard right now. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in almost 49 years at 3.7% and hiring is getting more difficult in just about every profession (but especially in sales and marketing):
This is from a recent study by Inavero and Upwork on the Future of Work.
I’ve seen this with many of my clients, especially in places like New York City which are ultra-competitive right now. We talk to a lot of salespeople who are interested but quickly change their mind when they find out they have to commute.
But I’ve also seen how hiring gets significantly easier when you start considering remote (or at least partially remote).
This happens for 2 specific reasons.
1. Your talent pool gets A LOT bigger.
I couldn’t have said it better than Mike Romano when he weighed in on my post:
The best person for the job is rarely in the same place that you are. And when you choose not to hire remotely, you limit yourself to whoever is already in the vicinity.
Yes, you can think about relocation. But let’s be honest – how many startups can realistically afford to relocate their people across the country all the time?
2. Working with you becomes more attractive.
A recent Twitter poll by Ryan Hoover (ProductHunt’s CEO) found that people view working remotely as something they highly prioritize when they’re looking for a new job:
This isn’t the only data point out there on this either.
Gallup’s most recent study on the State of The American Workplace found that 47% of millennials would leave their current job if presented with another opportunity that was remote.
And this is significant because, by 2025, 75% of the total workforce will be millennial.
So when you choose to limit your pool to the minority (and it certainly is these days) that doesn’t prioritize working remotely, your options shrink very very quickly.
And as you can see, not just for now… for the future too.
Hiring managers agree… remote teams make hiring easier.
The Future of Work study also asked hiring managers about how difficult hiring was. And the response was pretty clear… those who had a remote team already usually thought it was easier to hire than those who didn’t:
So if you’re having trouble find A+ salespeople to join your team, consider hiring remotely. I can tell you for a fact that a whole world of options open up to you if you do.
The marketplace always has the final say and it’s speaking.
Reason #2 – Remote salespeople are more productive.
We talk to a lot of salespeople who are interested in our clients’ businesses only to find out they have to be in the office – which is when they change their tune. That’s because they know working from home is much more efficient for them. And I agree – I always got way more done as a salesperson when I didn’t have to be in the office.
Case in point – in the early sales days at a particular company, I traveled a lot and had a super flexible schedule regarding office time thanks to a great leadership team. But I quickly started to realize that I was way more distracted on the days when I was actually in the office due to long lunches, friends stopping by to chit-chat, the commute, etc. (and this was before the boom of the open office concept… we all had cubes). In fact, I actually had to plan around those days to make sure I got everything done.
Don’t get me wrong I loved my team. But it was hard to be as productive as it was when I had zero distractions at home. I’m not the only one who has noticed this. A 2017 study by TinyPulse confirms this is the case for over 90% of people who work remotely:
For motivated professionals, it’s a lot easier to get work done when you’re not distracted.
Inc. Magazine also had some interesting statistics on productivity and remote work.
They found that remote workers were almost 2x as likely to work more than 40 hours each week than those who were not remote (53% vs. 28%).
Two reasons this is the case…
Assuming you hired the right people in the first place (i.e. responsible adults), there should be no fear of them not working.
They want to work and they want to be productive… and working remotely does that for two reasons.
1. Increased engagement.
Since people consider the ability to work remotely a priority, giving it to them gets them more excited about what they’re doing.
Furthermore, the study from TinyPulse also showed that remote workers on average feel more valued, empowered, and happier with their work than those who were not.
Something that studies have shown increases productivity by up to 21%!
2. Increased efficiency (personally and professionally).
Working remotely also gives your team members more freedom to work the way that is most productive to them, rather than how their employer insists that they do.
I can tell you (from personal experience) that this is very empowering.
Remote lets you be more efficient with your time.
Because they’re free of the “face-time” or “commute time” aspects of working in an office, they can spend more time on the things that produce results and less time on the things that don’t.
This includes their personal life, which is really important… it makes them happier, which ties back to reason #1 above!
How to manage remote sales teams
At the end of the day, it’s up to leadership to create the collaborative culture they want to see, regardless of whether their teams are remote or not.
But there are a couple of key factors you need to think about when it comes to managing remote sales teams as well. Hiring, communication, tech stack, and more all come with a slightly different set of requirements to pay attention to.
The key to getting it right though is none other than the Golden Rule – how would you want it to look if you were in their shoes? Fuel that with open communication and you’ll nail it!