Hiring a Sales Representative in Europe

Looking to hire a sales representative in Europe? So are we! We have a team of more than 100 business development and sales representatives in Europe, on the ground and on the phone, qualifying leads and closing deals on behalf of our tech clients. But as our client list continues to grow, so does our demand for exceptional global tech sales talent. So we created this page for two reasons:

  • To continue to grow our own network of experienced sales reps in Europe
  • To help you hire sales representatives in Europe

Because that is exactly what we’ve been doing since 2003, hiring European sales reps with a breadth of experience selling tech and telecommunications products — either directly or through their channel sales partners. We rely mainly on word of mouth through our extensive global network, but the tech industry is always expanding with new innovative products addressing real digital needs, so we thought we’d post an ad for European sales reps, while also sharing our own experience and advice. 

Remember, any technology company that is committed to growth will, sooner or later, be looking to hire sales representatives abroad. In fact, hiring a sales rep is usually your first task in any global expansion. And your first hire in a new market is important. In fact, your sales rep is usually the first impression of your company whether at home or abroad. They’ve got to be good.

Qualities of an exceptional international sales rep

Yes, an international sales rep is an individual and each brings something different. And Europe is a continent not a country — so local customers and qualifications will vary. Still, over the years, we’ve uncovered some patterns and best practices for success. When hiring a European sales rep, look for someone with:

  • Ample experience selling in your niche market or to your target job profile locally
  • Tech domain knowledge and an ability to give persuasive demos
  • Significant sales experience — 10+ years for senior field reps; 5-7 years for inside sales reps; 3+ years for business development, lead generation and SDRs
  • A network of local tech buyers
  • Native or proficient language skills to communicate with local prospects
  • Proficient English language to communicate with our main team
  • Any other language needs (half of our clients are European selling elsewhere in Europe. You as the tech company should feel comfortable communicating with us.)
  • Right to live and work in their European market
  • A hunger or drive to hunt and find the right prospects 
  • An ability to listen to prospects to understand their needs 
  • A love of metrics — and of the CRMs and sales pipelines that measure them
  • Ability to sell across both business and technical stakeholders 
  • Candid with feedback — deals won’t always work out and sometimes there’s not a product-market fit, so honesty is important
  • Likes to work on a team. Sales reps — whether outsourced or inhouse — most often have individual objectives, but they should be part of a global message and stay connected with homebase

Does this sound like you? Fill out this form below. Our sales management team will surely want to chat!

Does that description sound more like what you’re looking for in hiring a European sales rep of your own? Keep reading to learn how!

How to hire a sales rep in Europe (or anywhere!)

It's always hiring season in the tech industry. As economies rebound, tech companies are looking toward expansion — both their teams and their customer bases. While demand for tech is higher than ever, the process with which you reach your new customers — especially in new countries — is surely unique. You want to hire the best person for the role, even if you can't meet them in real life. 

We asked our network of more than 60 sales leaders to respond to a series of questions about what makes (an even remote) sales interview process a success. For the rest of this guide to hiring a sales representative in Europe, we will draw on their experience to answer some important questions. Click on the links to jump to go more in depth with each topic.

What to ask a sales rep during your interview

A lot of hiring and sales managers will want to test how good a potential sales rep is at sales. It used to be “Sell me this pencil”, awkwardly passed across a mahogany desk. Nowadays at least the first couple interview rounds are done over Zoom or Teams. And it’s much more about testing the potential sales rep in problem solving — How do you adjust your sales pitch for persona X? What would you do if Y happened? Suppose you are selling tech Z into Big Company A, how would you approach account-based sales?

Make sure to make questions as specific to your business as necessary. If you’re a horizontal SaaS, then certain skills will be necessary. But if you’re in the infrastructure or telco business, you need someone that really understands those particular market demands. 

Now, to assess if they know the local market, it’s much more of a time for you to listen and learn. They’re the ones with the experience there.

An interview is an opportunity for you to get to know each other. Let them share their experience in their own words. See what lessons they’ve learned, sales that worked and didn’t, and if they really seem to like being a sales rep. Just make sure they are asking questions too — sales takes an inquisitive spirit and they should exhibit an interest in your business.

Just remember, it’s not about putting folks on the spot. A job interview should be about bringing out the best on both sides of the table — everyone should want everyone to succeed. They could be your next colleagues after all!

Read More: 30 questions for your next sales representative interview

How to hire a sales rep with the right attributes

You’re hiring someone good at sales — and good at representing and being on your team. Hiring sales reps is a mix of their experience and your gut feeling. What impression do they leave? You’re looking for someone that’s passionate not just about sales, but about technology. Someone that our CEO Rick calls a hunter — finds the right person for the right product and can help guide them through the sales funnel. A good sales rep is committed to the sale and the customer.
 
One thing we take really seriously is that a prospective sales representative is really metrics-driven. And empathy for the client. No longer are we looking for used car salespeople. We want someone to build a rapport with tech buyers that can last across perhaps several product sales cycles. Do they ask good questions? Do they pick up on non-verbal queues, like asking about the sports gear or family photos behind you?

Business ethics matter, too. Ask them if they’ve ever walked away from a deal or to tell you about a deal they lost and why. 

And when reflecting after the interview, how do you feel? How did they make you feel? Do you want to work with them more? Did they leave you energized or just kind of exhausted? 

Read more: The qualities you want in hiring sales representatives

How to identify success in hiring a sales rep

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. But you can’t measure what you haven’t set the goals for. You need to clarify ahead what makes for a successful sales rep recruitment process. Talk to your sales and business development team to clarify what you’re looking for. Are there any holes you’re looking to fill? It may not just be geographic, but you’re considering expanding to a new vertical or target audience. 

Successful recruitment comes with a solid job description. Be specific in what an ideal sales rep will bring to your team, but also be clear when something is just a nice-to-have. Set expectations up front for how the process will go and for how long.

And you know your organizational culture fit. We know that diversity is integral to the most innovative organizations, so don’t negate someone that comes from a different background as you or the rest of your team, but make sure they communicate in a similar way and will onboard with your tools.

Don’t be afraid to do several rounds of interviews, bringing different stakeholders. Trust your instincts, but trust your colleagues’ too. 

Read more: What makes for a successful sales rep recruitment process?

How to optimize a remote process for an international sales rep

How do you make sure you hire the right person, when you can’t look them in the eye? How can you evaluate a sales rep’s skills when you can’t go on-site with them? How can you really get a feel for a potential teammate when it’s only on video? Since March 2020, recruitment processes have changed, probably forever. On the one hand, you’re saving a lot of time and money by hiring remotely. On the other hand, it all feels a bit more stilted and distant. How can you more than make it work?

First and foremost, you have to check references. We don’t mean just scan the ones they’ve hand-picked for their LinkedIn profile — you need to have real conversations with people they know. Former or current clients are best. Colleagues and former colleagues are second best. And google them! All of this will hopefully give you a feel for your future sales rep’s network, especially in your target market. 

And don’t forget, a lot of sales processes are done at least in part over Zoom. A remote interview is a real test of their sales and persuasion prowess.

Read more: How to maximize your sales rep interview, even when it's (still) remote recruitment

How to leverage territory sales management to drive better performance

We work with more senior sales representatives. Hiring someone more senior often comes down to word-of-mouth and trust. Following your gut. And then it’s about coaching or guiding them out in the field — baptism by fire. Sales territory management allows you to manage an international sales team at the local market sales team level and at the individual sales rep level. You need to work on nurturing sales alignment from recruitment to onboarding to sales and technical training. And you need to build a strong, honest relationship with your new sales reps for everyone’s success.

Read more: ‍Sales territory management to drive better performance

And don’t forget, if you want to save time, money and risk in getting your technology in front of European customers, you don’t have to hire a sales rep yourself. We’ve done the work for you! Set up a call with us so we can talk about your needs and see if our lead gen and sales outsourcing services are good fits for you and your global expansion.

Ready to sell your tech in Europe?

Schedule a call with our CEO Rick today.