Many companies decentralize their salesforce by regions, enabling reps to better serve clients. This is advantageous because buyer preferences can vary across different regions. But sometimes companies must hire more virtual or remote sales teams in locations where they don’t have sales offices. If you are thinking about creating a remote sales team for your business or company, here are some advantages and disadvantages to such a strategy.
Covering Distant Markets
One advantage of hiring remote sales reps is so you can cover cities and towns in which you currently don’t sell. These markets may have many viable characteristics, including a conglomeration of businesses similar to your client base and less competition. Having at least one remote representative in the area can solve this issue.
Attract Higher Qualified Reps
Many talented and highly qualified sales reps often prefer working in remote environments, especially if they have a high degree of self-discipline. The remote positions allow them to focus more on sales instead of meetings, enabling them to earn higher commissions and bonuses.
With a remote sales team, you don’t have to lease office space, buy furniture, purchase hordes of office supplies or pay for the utilities of a sales office, according to business consultant company Openview Labs. Remote sales reps usually work from home and can deduct a percentage of their mortgage or rent for tax purposes. They can also deduct common business expenses, including furniture and office supplies, which saves your company money. For any expenses you do incur developing a remote sales team, including consulting, hiring and training, consider getting a loan. Companies like Business Credit and Capital can fund your expansion and even offer you a line of credit if you’re qualified.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
Although many professionals may have difficulty motivating themselves working from home, sales reps often prefer more autonomy. And if this is something they desire, it can dramatically increase their job satisfaction level. Working from home is also considered a perk that many seasoned sales reps desire when seeking sales opportunities.
Hiring remote sales reps can not only increase their productivity level and sales, it frees you up as a sales manager or business owner. You spend less time meeting sales reps and more time creating strategies to increase revenue. And even when you do have meetings, you can use video teleconferencing services, which are much less expensive than spending money on flights for reps to fly to your home office.
You lose a certain degree of control over sales reps when they work from remote venues, but this is less of a problem if you hire the qualified reps who’ve worked in similar environments. Asking reps to call you often and requesting frequent status reports can also alleviate some of the negatives associated with control issues.
Lack of Camaraderie
Openview explains how sales reps have fewer chances to share war stories or develop bonds with one another in remote settings. And since many traditional business leaders believe that strong bonds among employees create more unity in corporate settings, they are less apt to adopt the remote concept for their sales team.
More Security Problems
Since your IT department must connect remote sales reps with company software and email services, you typically have more security problems in a remote environment. Home-based computers are more prone to hacking and data leakage, according to Kelly Services.
Transitions and Promotions
It’s often difficult to promote remote sales team members to corporate-based jobs, especially if they like working in remote settings. That means you will have to hire reps from outside the organization to fill in-house jobs. And for those reps who do transfer to corporate offices, they may not transition well and then you’ve wasted money with relocation and other moving related expenses.
If you’re looking to create a remote sales team, you must weigh the pros and cons and do what’s best for your company. Another option is to hire several remote sales reps on an experimental basis and see how it works out. You can then expand your remote sales team as large as you see fit.