Hiring. Onboarding. Retention.
COVID-19 is impacting us all in different ways. Some companies and employees may find themselves in a position where remote-based work is now required.
In theory, as long as the expectations are clear around the goals and timelines, location doesn’t have to be an input when calculating if a salesperson will be successful.
One of the great things (and perhaps worst things) about sales is the clarity around the expectations for goals and timelines. The clear ROI of a good salesperson, makes sales teams one of the best-poised business units to capitalize on the future of work, remote-based work. (Also the future of education and everything else, if you are seeing the same patterns we are…but let’s focus on sales for now).
How do you hire, onboard, and successfully retain remote inside sales reps and SDRs/BDRs/LDRs/ADRs/MDRs, etc.?
Or said another way, how do you consistently hit quotas and continue to grow in an ever-changing environment?
To answer that let’s break it down into 3 focal areas:
Many scaling companies choose to open up offices outside of the major hubs such as NYC and SF; they might start a sales office in Austin, Denver, or Atlanta. This move helps draw from another talent pool, particularly one where costs are lower. Using the same logic, we can apply the same principle to a remote sales team. If opening up an office in Austin enables 10x growth, then a remote workforce might offer double, triple or more.
Have a good job description.
It should be clear and upfront that you are hiring for remote, that there is no in-person “team spirit” so everyone works hard to cultivate it remotely (and does a good job at it at that). Basically act like an Account Executive and pre-sell around objections/concerns you know will come up later.
Sample Job Description Found Here
On their first day, the first thing they should see is a welcome email from their manager or HR with action items and resources. That means we need to send/schedule the email ahead of time, or at the minimum have it ready to go at 9:00 am on Day 1.
Scripts and any other sales/marketing collateral available.
Call recordings (Gong or Chorus)
90-day sales targets
30-day learning targets broken down into 4 weeks:
A) Have a good ramp structure.
Typically 25%, 50,% 100% or 33%, 66%, 100%. If you can, model it out so you pay them some commission for hitting ramp targets. For example, if commission for hitting a fully ramped quota is $2,500 a month and first-month quota during ramp is 25%, then if they hit the first-month quota pay them 25% of $2,500. If you have the time and resources to model it out, pay them the full $2,500 monthly bonus for hitting 25% in month 1 and 50% in month 2 (technically they hit 100% of their quota for each of those 2 months anyways) that way when it is time to hit 100% they are already ramped in every sense of the word. This also raises expectations that the 90 period is not only for learning but for producing, albeit at the ramp schedule, from day 1.
B) Communication. Be clear, upfront, and over-communicate on communication expectations.
For example…”We use Slack everyday for quick questions, calls, screen shares, and for fun. We use Zoom for scheduled meetings usually either with prospects or for internal purposes like 1on1s or pipeline review. We are also active over email where we announce product and pricing updates from time to time. It can be a lot using all these tools at once, for the first time, so let us know if you need any additional support!”
C) Create a team environment.
Utilize spiffs like ‘most calls this week earns x’, ‘best email reply rate earns y’. Build a culture budget into your sales model and pay for everyone’s (remote) lunch once a week and hop on Zoom to hang out and discuss what everyone bought with their budget.
If you can't be with your team every day, you can send them a recap email every day covering what worked and what didn’t work.
Sample Daily Recap Emails Found Here
D) Keep the fun alive.
As the role evolves, so should the spiffs. Find something new to focus on like, deal volume, speed, and size, for example.
As the team gets bigger, get more creative with virtual outings. (Coffee vs Lunch, or tic tac toe/hangman/Tetris tournament— so many options!)
Have a clear career path. If an SDR did 200% to quota for 6 months in a row, would that be enough to increase their salary? Title as well? You draw the line and define the levers...but define it. People love to win and love to grow. Write it out. Get it approved and roll it out to the team. You’ll be surprised how many people start hitting 200% quota :)
E) Be really upfront.
As leadership we are constantly putting information into 2 buckets: 1) this should be shared with the team/x person or 2) this is not productive information to share and is best left to me to absorb and filter. With that being said, we should not shy away from answering tough questions when asked by the team. We should be direct and upfront about opportunities and risks. Since our team cannot see us, it is naturally harder for them to trust us as leaders. To offset that, you have to proactively and quickly show proof that you have nothing to hide and don’t hold back when asked tough questions.
If your team trusts you, if everyone is having fun, and it feels like the team is winning, you should be able to retain remote sales reps for at least 2 full cycles of the above mentioned (90-day ramp + 6-month fast track = 18+ months of headcount retention for an entry-level remote sales hire. Boom.)
Bonus: Next Steps
If you don’t have the budget for some of the action items above / can’t figure out how to approve the expenses with your current model you can do this: ask yourself if implementing this will increase productivity by 15-30%. If you think it will simply increase your quotas by 10-14% and that gain should offset your costs.
||Diving in. Building Confidence. Creating a process for success.
||Focus is on inbound. Learning the product. Establishing a baseline.
||Mastership over inbound and sales tools. Build outbound skills.
||Able to lead call/email campaigns autonomously.
You can also turn a $55,000 Base Salary into a $50,000 Base Salary and with those $5,000 in savings offer a $1,000 signing bonus, commissions during ramp, and a team budget for a remote culture built-in.
Need help with remote SDR hiring or remote SDR training? Details below.
Hire Remote SDRs. Generate Opportunities for your Account Executives.
We have remote-based SDRs that can work full-time, part-time, 1099 or W2.
Pay by the hour or by the placement (Mention this blog and gain access to 0% placement fees).
Sample Remote SDRs: Shabana Fazal, Nat Kozak, Eli Lopez
, Chase Ruesga.
Train your existing remote SDRs and ISRs.
Show your team you are invested in their remote success. Recently trained Jason Vargas's
team at Airship
on 3/13. Acquire the skills needed to win in this harsh environment (hyper-personalized 1 off emails + sequenced email campaigns in Outreach + cold call skills + solid objection handling + community-based on-going support).
Due to Covid-19, Remote SDRs will be trained for any price through April 7th. Email email@example.com with your budget and the size of your team and we will confirm a date and time with you immediately.
All training is on Zoom and is live, instructor-led, in front of a whiteboard, and in a classroom environment. We'll train your 1st SDR with us for absolutely free.
If you prefer to discuss your hiring and/or training needs on a quick call, you can book that call here.