Even today, we can find many people in the online world who feel uncertain about doing things in a new, different way, mostly during the first steps that go from the offline business model to the endless digital world.
I’ve come across many clients with lots of doubts about the hiring process of freelancers. Many professionals take good care and develop their online profiles with much detail -what used to be a resume.
However, often this is not enough for those who are still reluctant to try the service of a freelancer, due to a bad experience or to suggestions from colleagues out of presumption, mainly when it comes to welcoming a new sales rep to their team. Most of them can only think of it as an in-house position.
As everything else in life, nothing is for granted. I would be lying if I told you there’s no risk when hiring a freelancer (just any). But what I can tell you is that, in my experience, after 5 years in the world of remote work, we should always ponder the risks and if we feel that the benefits outweigh those risks, we should give it a try… and go ahead.
Before making the final decision, we can check basic information on their profiles: contacts in LinkedIn, experience, specialization fields, get referrals, or even send them a lead by email as a sample test and ask them to write how they would make the first contact for a meeting, or a note, which will help us check their writing skills, originality, whether they took the time to analyze the information provided, the type of approach and, most importantly, whether they achieve the required impact to explore and connect with a possible lead.
Now ask yourself: Would you answer?
I’ve found out that most startups or SMEs put together a team of CEO, CTO and CFO, but they lack the commercial pillar. This is basically what pushes forward or makes a difference from an economic perspective, creating opportunities, developing relationships and long-term networking.
When I get to talk with a CEO and learn more about their projects or how we might help them, I usually ask them where they need to escalate their business model -and none of them considers commercial profiles: the Sales Executive, the Key Account Manager, the Sales Developer, etc., make an appointment at once to tell me about their projects and needs related to IT resources.
These stand for a large part of the current digital-based jobs, dealing with the problem of high turnover profiles, sometimes faced with opportunities in another currency (the harder it gets to keep them loyal) and with a good management of apps or software -replacing them would directly impact on the project they had been involved with.
But even then, this type of professionals are easily identified as freelancers and most are willing to retain those profiles in their teams, though 100% remote. “This isn’t a problem”. When I ask about their commercial team, there is usually no team or strategy where each might play a clear role.
The Co-founder or the Founder themselves are often accountable for that. When I tell them about the possibilities to put up an efficient commercial team at an affordable cost and with a flexible structure that may let them escalate, most of them are surprised, show their interest and ask for further information. But there is still a lot to explain about the scope of it and how it works so that they can fully grasp its benefits.
Below I’d like to share with you some items that have worked great for me and for several companies which I enjoyed providing assessment, in order to take them into consideration when building up a Sales Team:
- Having an onboarding with material about the company, videos, success stories, relevant documentation for their position, online support training.
- Stating the goal very clearly and expecting an average learning curve of 3 months -this will depend on the sales cycle of each product or service.
- Appointing a tutor or daily contact person over the first few months.
- Listening attentively and providing feedback about corporate guidelines and culture so as to improve performance.
- Setting team objectives, for everybody is important within a team, each performing their roles, and success is based on work sustained over time with a solid team.
- Allowing yourselves to be open to changes and to flexibility towards a profile, to try it with the option for renewal or change from the very beginning.
- Our time is worth, and it’s worth a lot. With this in mind, offer a basic and then, if necessary, a commission, but in the case of % or fee I’ve seen 90% of cases fail: Who likes working for results for free investing in a company which is not one’s own? Then, offer whatever is within your reach but it should be worth the effort -working, researching, making calls, contacting a lead to make a new client.
- Having a paid or a free CRM will let you escalate the model and work in new markets, analyzing deviations, suggesting new strategies and mid and long-term objectives.
- Obtaining metrics and sharing the progress in weekly meetings.
- Trusting your team.
Last but not least, I would like to share with you the type of commercial approach that is used today. We know that consumers rule the online world, where purchases are on the rise through mobile devices and computers. Our executives must also use these online tools in order to know their contacts well and prepare a value proposal, and ask themselves: will this company get any benefit with our product? Then during the call, they should listen attentively, explore and analyze the possibilities of joint work before sending a business presentation.
It might be that the other people are not interested in what you have to offer or are not willing to give you their money but they are more willing to give you their time to hear how you’d help them -and that’s your moment to show off.
As a general rule, we don’t send business presentations before some previous contact with the client in order to customize it. Once I was at a training session and I heard a phrase I owned as from that day:
“The executive must attend business meetings as if the goal has already been achieved, so the general feeling will be high-spirited and easy-going, enjoying from the journey of networking.”
I hope you find this article helpful!