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A Guide to Hiring Your Best Remote Salesperson

When entering a new international market, it’s likely you’ll want to hire a remote sales person to establish a presence – and ultimately make some initial sales.

Hiring new talent can be tricky at the best of times but throw in the pressure to establish a name for yourself and the fact you won’t be there to monitor your remote worker, and things get decidedly more difficult.

Whether this is your first time hiring remotely or you want to increase your chances of success, read on for our best tips on hiring a remote salesperson.

Take the time to define your ideal candidate

The definition of a successful salesperson will vary greatly depending on your specific needs. Are you looking for someone to sell over the phone, to build relationships, or to have a technical understanding of your product? All these factors will influence who is the right fit for you.

Paul Kenny, a salesperson and founder of Ocean Learning, a sales and leadership training and development company based in the UK, recommends writing a really detailed personal profile before even making the steps to advertise the position.

“Not a job advert, a personal profile that says they will demonstrate these behaviours or have these skills.”

He also recommends making a note of what the evidence of these skills will look like.

“Make sure that you spend a lot of time creating that and then use that as the basis of your interview,” he says. “Don’t be swayed by somebody who just looks good or promises big numbers. If they don’t tick enough of your boxes then they’re probably good at sales interviews and not good at selling — they’re two separate things.”

Aside from the specific characteristics needed for your company, there are some general things to look out for when hiring a remote salesperson.

Look for sales pioneers

When you’re establishing your brand in a foreign market, you need someone deeply familiar with breaking new ground.

This is not the time to bring in a young up and comer. Remote salespeople in this position will need to be able to survive in an environment with very little feedback from customers and often, very little sales.

“They’re going to a place where nobody’s heard of them, and nobody cares,” says Paul.

“They have to be tough, proven, seasoned salespeople.”

Once initial relationships begin to develop, and the market becomes a little more responsive, the experience will change, but initially, they have to be prepared for the difficulties of starting from scratch.

Madhav Bhandari, the product marketing manager for sales software Close agrees.

“We lean more towards people with prior remote experience,” he says. “It shows that they can survive in a remote role.”

Look for people already established in a community

Of course, looking for someone who already has contacts in the industry you’re looking to break into is a big help.

“If you do a software package for hotel management, then you would tend to hire someone who has worked or who have sold to high tier hotels in that country,” Paul says.

Having relationships and contacts from the beginning can make the process of establishing your brand more efficient and smoother.

However, Paul warns that it’s not always a guarantee for success.

“You need that person to switch their loyalty to your brand,” he says. “Sometimes they know too much, they rely on selling to their old friends rather than really opening up to the wider market.”

In fact, Paul even recommends looking for people who have established communities outside of work.

“If I were hiring someone in Sydney, I would not hire someone who just moved to Sydney from Melbourne so who doesn’t have a social life and who just is a bit of a workaholic,” he says.

“I would deliberately, subtly, look for people who are well fixed in their local communities because they’re less isolated they’re more self-contained, work is only part of what they do.”

This could be reflected in anything – a commitment to a sport, a weekly hobby or volunteering gig. Having communities outside of work shows a natural affinity for developing relationships, self-motivation and determination.

Madhav admits a similar process at Close. If a candidate hasn’t worked remotely before they need to showcase the skills in other areas of their life.

“There’s a great necessity to be self-motivated. You need to be great at communication, you need to take the initiative on your own, you need to be a great manager of your own time,” Madhav says.

Look for someone who embodies your company values

At Shield, our company values are hugely important to us and play a fundamental role in how we hire new recruits. If someone doesn’t pass our values requirements, they will not progress, regardless of their technical abilities.

This is because we think having aligned values gives us the best foundation to move forward together, while ultimately embracing the diverse thinking, ideas and practices of our team.

While we think this should be true for all roles, it’s especially crucial for remote positions. Without the incidental input afforded by proximity, you have to rely on your employee to grasp who you are as a company and who you want to present to potential customers or clients through a less hands-on approach. Hiring someone who shares your values from the beginning helps.

It’s not all on them though. Ensuring a unified culture throughout a distributed team will require efforts on your part too. It’s a good idea to put practices in place that actively include and unify your remote team. 

“Even if someone’s really experienced in the market go to great lengths to immerse them in your culture,” Paul says.

“If that means flying the founders out for a little bit to work with them do that, if it means bringing them back to your home base and putting them up somewhere and really looking after them, then you should do that as well.”

He’s also an advocate for team retreats and training which ensure messaging is unified.

“You look at the cost of those things on a spreadsheet, and it can be really off-putting,” Paul says. “But it’s important to do that so that everybody has the same experience.”

How to hire a remote salesperson

Once you’ve decided on your ideal candidate, you’ll need to look into how you’ll actually hire them. If they live in the same country that your company is established, then you should have no problems running their payroll and complying to local employment regulations, it will be the same as if you’re hiring someone to work out of your office.

However, if your new recruit resides in another country, things are trickier. To bypass the complicated process of establishing in a new country for the sole purpose of hiring one or two salespeople, we recommend utilising a GEO service. A GEO will act as a third party, managing all the technical aspects of hiring, including payroll and in-country employment compliance, leaving you to administer the day to day management.

– Bree Caggiati

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