Looking for a remote sales job in 2021? Here's how to land a sweet gig
While remote working isn’t new, many companies around the world took a sudden leap into the world of remote working when the pandemic hit. During the spring of 2020, the internet was flooded with images of people building makeshift workspaces in their kitchens, stairwells, backyards, and even bedrooms.
But for many, the makeshift home office has turned into a more permanent workspace. Research shows that remote work is working well for many people, and the percentage of employees permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021.
Pre-2020, the ability to work from home was considered a perk; now, many workers are setting this as a requirement.
Are you looking to make the permanent shift to a remote sales job in 2021? Then keep reading—we’re going to discuss:
- What is a remote sales job & what is expected of you?
- How to find a remote sales job (& get hired for it) in 9 steps
What is a remote sales job & what is expected of you?
Sales is an intricate web of different roles and responsibilities. But each of these can function successfully in a remote setting. We should know—our whole company has been remote since 2014!
If you’re new to sales or curious about what remote sales jobs are available to you, check out this quick list of the best virtual sales jobs:
Remote sales rep jobs
Sales reps are the people digging for the gold and stacking up closed deals like they’re going out of style.
A remote sales rep must be a true hustler, willing to go the extra mile to provide value for both their customers and their company. And they must be digitally-savvy, knowing how to perform their daily sales tasks without the convenience of meeting face-to-face.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a remote sales rep:
- Take on new inbound leads: New leads that come in from your website or other lead generation tactics must be contacted, pitched, and closed by sales reps.
- Handle outbound sales calls and emails: Sales reps also send outreach to potential customers, normally via email, phone, or SMS.
- Perform discovery: When talking with leads, reps must discover what their needs are and whether they’re a good fit for the product.
- Hold virtual sales meetings: Remote reps must hold meetings with decision-makers and stakeholders virtually, including doing product demos or sales presentations.
- Handle negotiations and contracts: Deals need to be negotiated before they are closed. Reps help guide their prospects to a purchase that benefits them and their company.
- Reach sales quota and goals set by the sales manager: It’s the responsibility of the rep to measure the time they have against the goals set by their manager. They need to calculate how many calls, meetings, emails, and deals need to get done in order to hit their quota.
Remote sales manager jobs
Sales managers are responsible for the wellbeing and productivity of their team. They are on the lookout to improve both the processes that are used to close deals, as well as the attitude and outlook of the team.
Here are some key responsibilities when managing sales teams remotely:
- Take charge of goals and forecasts: Sales managers analyze the numbers and set reasonable targets and sales goals for their team to reach.
- Keep the sales team motivated and engaged: This is even more important (and more difficult) with remote teams. Managers must work harder than ever to keep tabs on the mental health of their team and take the initiative to maintain a spirit of collaboration.
- Onboard and train new reps: When a new sales rep is hired, the manager will help guide them to onboard successfully and learn how to work effectively within the set sales process.
- Coach the whole team to level-up their skills: Remote sales coaching, 1:1 sales training, and group training are all part of a sales manager’s daily job.
Remote sales operations jobs
This role continues to expand over time, and generally includes the functions and tasks that drive a sales team to be more efficient and more effective at what they do.
Sales ops teams support and enable sales reps to sell better using real-time data and the latest technology.
Here are some of the responsibilities of virtual sales ops:
- Manage sales content and knowledge base: Sales scripts, battle cards, competitor charts, and email templates are just the start of what a sales ops team handles. Sales operations is generally in charge of all sales enablement content.
- Implement compensation programs: Sales ops work alongside managers to find the right compensation plans to truly motivate sellers.
- Set up and optimize the remote sales tech stack: Tech is a huge part of remote sales, and the sales ops team handles which tech is used and how.
- Analyze and give feedback on the sales process: Using real data, sales operations will analyze how well each aspect of the sales process is working, find holes or bottlenecks, and adjust accordingly.
Remote sales support jobs
Sales support is basically what it sounds like: a supporting role that helps sales reps accomplish more with their time. Remote sales support specialists work to remove the more monotonous aspects of the sales process, allowing reps to focus more of their time and energy on actually speaking to leads and closing deals.
Here are some things that remote sales support specialists focus on:
- Generate and prospect for new leads: Sales support teams work alongside marketing to generate more leads for the sales team. They also spend time prospecting for new, qualified leads.
- Qualify new inbound leads before handing them to reps: To make sure sales reps are spending their time with the most valuable leads, sales support roles will run through qualification, either through research or through conversations with leads, before handing them off to the rep.
- Find contact information for outbound leads: When sales support teams find new outbound leads for reps, they’ll need to dig for the correct contact information, such as email or phone number, before handing those leads over to sales reps.
How to find a remote sales job (& get hired for it) in 9 steps
Ready to start your own remote sales career? Here we break down how to find a virtual sales job that fits your needs and experience, and then get hired for it:
1. Follow the top remote job boards and filter for the best jobs
A successful job search starts with knowing where to look.
To that end, here are some of the best places to find remote sales jobs:
- AngelList: Job board for startups, lots of sales roles available, and has filters for remote-only positions
- WeWorkRemotely: Remote work community and job board, very high-quality posts
- Remotive.io: Exclusively remote job board
- Remote.co job board: Sales job section of the Remote Job Board
- Dynamite Jobs: All remote jobs, screened by humans to make sure they’re 100% remote
- JustRemote: All remote jobs, many sales jobs available, with an optional paid plan to unlock hidden remote jobs
All of these websites allow you to set up alerts, letting you know when fresh remote sales jobs come online.
Once you’ve made a list of some good options, make sure to spend a bit of time getting to know the company before you apply.
Not all remote jobs are created equal, so find out as much as you can before you decide on the jobs that are right for you. One of the best places to get unfiltered reviews of a company from its employees is Glassdoor. Check here to see what real employees are saying about the company, and you’ll have a better idea of whether this is a company you want to work for.
2. Make a list of your dream companies and send cold outreach
When you’re passionate about a company or a product, you already have a head start to getting the job.
So, while you search on the job boards for the next big opportunity, make a list of companies that you really love and want to work for.
Some of these companies may be hiring, and some of them may not. But a good salesperson knows how to do cold outreach—and you can apply the same principles to your job search. It's never too early to start building relationships with people working in the companies you'd love to work for. There are people at Close we've tried to hire for many years before they accepted our offer—and you can apply the same tactic as a candidate. Play the long game.
Here’s how to do it:
- Learn about the company and find the right target (probably a sales manager, sales director, or VP of sales)
- Craft an irresistible cold email, and sell yourself
- Keep following up
Passion and persistence pay off. You’ll prove to the manager that you’re a worthy candidate by showing them what kind of salesperson you are.
3. Fully polish your LinkedIn profile
We live in the digital age, and it’s becoming more common for companies to ask for your LinkedIn profile along with (or even instead of) your resume.
- A professional, authentic profile picture
- A headline that communicates your value (not just your job title)
- An about section that showcases your personality along with your skills
- A clear summary of your previous experience, along with real numbers to back up your accomplishments
- Meaningful recommendations from former colleagues or employers
To see what this looks like in real life, check how Morgan J Ingram’s LinkedIn profile checks off all these essential points:
Being active on LinkedIn is also a good sign to employers. Post about your life as a salesperson, react and comment on other posts, and use the Featured section of your LinkedIn profile to show off your best content.
4. Create a cover letter that sells you as the solution the company needs
Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch for yourself.
With a normal sales pitch, you’ll have a general framework in mind that highlights the needs of your customers while personalizing it to the company you’re selling to and the benefits they care most about.
So, do the same with your cover letter: know the industry, know the company, and prove your value.
To do this, you’ll want to define your unique value proposition. Think about why you’re passionate about sales as a career, what qualities or skills make you stand out from the crowd, and the value that you individually bring to the company.
Frame your cover letter around the benefit to the company, and you’ll set yourself up as the solution to their problems.
5. Prepare a success story to share during your interview
Stories sell because they are memorable and help prove a point better than facts or statistics. While it’s important to have the numbers to back up your claims of greatness, a good story can put you over the top.
So, what story would you like to tell your interviewer?
Think about the greatest successes of your sales career to date or stories that showcase your unique qualities and skills.
But success stories aren’t the only ones you’ll share in an interview.
Many times, interviewers will ask about the stories you don’t want to tell: your failures. To ace this part of the interview, have a failure story in mind before you go in, perhaps a time you fumbled on a big deal or missed quota.
When you take the time to prepare this story beforehand, you can frame the story in a way that highlights the lessons learned and the steps you’ve taken so as not to repeat the same mistakes.
6. Know the company and the interviewer before you go in
Before you start a remote sales job interview, you’ll need to know something about the company, their customers, their product, and the person who will be interviewing you.
Taking those few extra minutes to research the company online will pay off because it shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get this job.
A simple LinkedIn search will tell you the size of the company, and something about the interviewer. Look at reviews of the product to learn more about its customers. If it’s a SaaS company, you can check out a site like G2 to see what customers are saying about the product and the company.
This kind of research will help you find meaningful ideas and topics to discuss in your interview.
7. Frame your experience as the right experience
No matter what kind of experience you have, you need to frame that experience as the right experience to help you in this job.
Especially when interviewing for a virtual sales job, you’ll need to prove you have the right experience to work productively in a remote setting.
If you have full-time remote work experience, that’s a great start. If not, think about how to frame your experience with remote, or define clear reasons why you want to start working remotely.
Sales experience is also regarded as a must-have for most sales jobs, especially those that are remote. If you feel your resume is a bit lacking in sales experience, try to use any previous work experience as proof that you can succeed in sales. Don’t just list previous jobs: make those positions relevant to the role you’re applying for.
If you’re still lacking experience, work harder to learn the right sales techniques and methods. Read the top sales books, follow great sales leaders on LinkedIn, and generally stay informed. While these things don’t replace real-world sales experience, they will prove to your interviewer that you’re passionate and serious about a career in sales.
8. Give a mock sales pitch that showcases your skills
The mock sales pitch is arguably the most dreaded part of a sales interview. But when you’re well-prepared, you can give a pitch that proves your skills and shows interviewers what you’re made of.
In the mock sales pitch, make sure to go through the proper qualifying questions. Focus on framing the product as a solution to the prospect’s main challenges. If the interviewer asks you to sell their product to them, use your research into the company’s customer base to help you present benefits instead of features.
Remember that unique value proposition you added to your cover letter above? Use the mock sales pitch to highlight those unique skills and qualities that make you a rockstar sales rep. Prove you’re a pro — not just on paper, but in the real world.
9. Avoid getting discouraged easily
I’m not gonna lie: job searching can be a long, difficult process. Whether you’re just getting started in sales or eager to switch to a fully remote sales job, remember that it can take time to find the right remote job.
But don’t give in to discouragement. Keep getting excited about each new opportunity, since that passion and energy will shine through in your cover letter and in the interview. Maintain a positive attitude by continuously working on your sales skills as you search for a job. Stay fresh, stay motivated, and keep going.
Start your adventure with a new remote sales job in 2021
Are you ready to move your sales career to a remote setting?
Make sure you’re keeping up with top job boards for remote work, building an effective and appealing LinkedIn profile, and highlighting your unique skills and qualities at every opportunity.
Though it may take some time, finding the right remote sales job is worth the effort. You’ll end up with a flexible career that allows you to align your work with the rest of your life, and put what really matters first.