Upgraded sales team building in a remote world

This is a guest post by Diane Albano, CRO at Globalization Partners

The global reach of remote work has redefined how companies can design their sales team building strategy. Location is no longer a barrier to hiring — skilled global talent is anywhere and everywhere. International growth can now move faster than entity setup. 

One of the primary takeaways of 2020 is the advantages of flexibility — it can intrinsically fuel sales representatives. As discussed with Sales Force Europe CEO Rick Pizzoli during our “How to Build Quality Sales Teams Remotely and Compliantly in Europe" webinar, today’s world lets growth stage companies hire and work with the best people for the job, no matter where they live. When aiming at global expansion in this new landscape, here is a series of new considerations from a sales lens to consider.

When entering a new market, why start with salespeople?

Having one person in-region is like connecting a thermometer —via that individual you will gauge the temperature of potential demand and learn about local expectations. Skilled salespeople are naturally active listeners, so given the right feedback channel, they can provide localized feedback on the market you’re exploring.

Commercial professionals carry out the opportunity-to-deal conversion. They are the best placed to unlock the revenue cash flow to recover your investment in a new location, in turn providing the resources to expand your team further. Moreover, salespeople can be recruited in almost any location and specialist support is available.

When is the right time to deploy sales teams in other countries?

There’s no time like the present. Yet, you need to find the right balance between going in too early — before you are prepared — and arriving late to the party when your competition has already established a solid footprint in the targeted market. 

Here are steps that can determine the opportune moment:

  1. Establish your business.
    Before thinking global, your utmost priority should be to move past your startup status to a point at which you are no longer testing verticals and have consolidated a constant flow of sales from your client portfolio.
  2. Research the market.
    The next step is an up-close examination of your sales structure and home market metrics —pipeline buildup method, inbound and outbound digital marketing, lead-to-deal conversions, to name a few. Is your sales process scalable? Can it translate into an international sales and revenue plan? If the answer is yes and your sales battle plan is ready, you can focus on building out the required teams across the sought-after markets.
  3. Check your pockets.
    Prior to implementing your strategy, make sure the budget and resources are there to support your growth. If your brand is unknown to the new market, your sales cycle can take anywhere from an optimistic four months to a more mainstream eight to 12 months, once you’ve established your brand in the new market.  

What is the right strategy for remote talent selection?

When it comes to assembling a stellar team remotely, keep in mind these people will be enabling your unique business development opportunities, and that you won’t be able to oversee everything. 

It can be dangerous to rely on talent that comes from big brand names, as they may have been able to rely on their former employers’ household name to open doors with potential clients. 

Or, they may be accustomed to the big brand support infrastructure that makes getting their foot in the door much easier. Self-starters who have stood out in the startup environment and have successfully scaled lesser-known companies are better suited to a new country launch. Having the right salespeople will enable you to see your market-entry plan through to fruition.

What do you need to successfully onboard your chosen talent? 

Every country is different in terms of expected and regulated salaries and benefits. The most common denominator, however, is the typical salary plus commission structure, with varied percentages. 

Once you have established realistic revenue targets, salespeople salaries and commissions need to fit your business model. Be wary of setting base salaries without doing your research first. Contact peers with experience in that market to understand how they gauge base pay and commissions. It is also valuable to talk to local labor law experts who can describe both customs and regulations surrounding expected salaries and benefits. 

Lastly, when you hire your first team members responsible for expanding your footprint, make sure you have a clear view of their actions and impact as they go to market. Manage them well – they will be your next regional leader and need to foster retention of other employees.

Going global may seem like a daunting task full of risks and uncertainties but staying still in a dynamic world that is even more fast paced in a remote setting is much more costly for business. If you are unsure about salary benchmarking, hiring compliantly, or building small teams in new markets, there is no reason to go at it alone. You can always rely on outside help and expertise, and reach out to an Employer of Record for international hiring. 

Are you expansion-ready?

The immediate appeal of international expansion is revenue diversification. An expanded footprint unlocks your capacity to mitigate risk by offsetting downturns if predicted high-performance markets turn out to be slower than predicted.

Here’s what companies need to be ready to launch international growth efforts:

  • In-depth market research into lead sources
  • Data-driven SWOT analysis of existing competition
  • Analysis of local talent availability
  • Knowledge of your clients’ global footprint and growth plans
  • Established digital marketing, to guide your product or service
  • An appetite for growth and diversification

Are you ready to take on a borderless world? 

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