Though sales teams have historically had support in-house, if at all, the rise of remote work and longer sales cycles has led many executives to seek alternative forms of support for their teams.
More and more salespeople have seen success through utilizing the low cost, high quality skills of workers in remote parts of the world. Below are some best practices to keep in mind when hiring and working with an assistant over a long distance.
1. Be Organized and Set Guidelines
Create a system or process for hiring, discussing and submission of work outputs. Make sure that the assistant is well trained on your system and processes and reinforce this system with applicable guidelines so that they understand how complete your projects. Being organized and firm with your guidelines shows the assistant that you value the project and expect them to do the same.
We highly recommend that you also leverage the task management system that's built into your CRM or another software that you prefer. This will help you and your remote sales assistant track the status of all your activities and prevent tasks from slipping through the cracks.
2. Be Clear About Your Expectations
The salesperson should always paint a clear picture of what he expects from the assistant – the quality of work, the details involved and other requirements that he would want from the project output. Being vague risks resentment on both sides – it wastes the time and effort of the assistant and brings frustration to the sales rep. When discussing a project, give the most detailed job description that you can. Better yet, supplement this with examples of the type of work you expect.
To maximize efficiency, thoroughly document routine sales processes that your assistant can do everyday without you having to constantly give them instructions. Here are some processes that are easy to standardize and offload:
Do you struggle to create these kinds of processes? As part of our managed service, our Engagement Managers will review your sales activities and develop processes for your remote assistant to follow.
3. Establish a Reliable Mode of Communication
Decide and work out a way that is convenient for both parties to communicate easily and constantly. Be available and easy to reach if there are any questions or clarifications needed by the assistant. Being ready to respond to important queries shows that the project is a top priority for you and you are as excited as the assistant is to work on the project. Also, determine an effective way of communicating quality issues with the work submitted to you. Requesting minor modifications is okay, as long as it is fair on the part of the assistant as well.
4. Remember that You Get What You Pay For
It’s normal for companies to want to save as much money as possible and look to assistants with the most affordable rates; however, remember that first and foremost, you are hiring a person that must be equipped with a set of skills that will meet your needs. Focus too much on saving money and you may end up with substandard outputs and waste more money than you intended to save in the first place.
For sales reps looking to improve their productivity, hiring the right assistant and having the right standards and collaboration systems may be key to closing more deals.
About the Author: Eric Taussig is Prialto's founder/ CEO. He speaks and writes about the future of work, global workforce, and employee happiness issues. His ideas have been featured on National Public Radio and in places like Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine and Inc. Magazine.