The Remote Work Playbook for Modern Sales Teams

Written by
February 17, 2022

According to a study from Owl Labs, 69% of people worked remotely during the pandemic. Many are still doing so today. While some offices are opening their doors again, remote work is definitely here to stay.

By 2028, some studies suggest that 73% of the workforce will have at least some remote team members.

In fact, statistics have shown highly positive outcomes for both businesses and team members alike when remote work is a standard work option. From increased productivity to better hiring practices, the potential strengths of remote work are still being discovered as companies continue to transition.

However, many sales managers are still skeptical. 36% of managers are mainly concerned about productivity and reduced focus when it comes to adopting a remote workforce.

In reality, success with a remote sales team is more than possible. While hard work and strategy are still necessary for success, remote work removes many operational roadblocks and can provide an advantage to any team that’s willing to embrace the opportunity.

Taking your team remote can seem like a huge leap. Not only do you have to pull off the move and manage it well, you have to convince others around you that it’s a good idea in the first place.

We understand that challenge. To help you take full advantage of your remote sales team, Prehired has developed this personal playbook to tackle many of the obstacles, pitfalls, and tough questions you may face during the transition to remote work — and achieving success in the work that comes after.

Benefits of Remote Work v. In-Office Work

It’s time to admit it: the office environment isn’t the utopia it’s made out to be in stock photos.

While that may be obvious to some, the benefits of remote work compared to in-office work may not be. Here are a few reasons remote work wins out with workers:

Less Toxic Office Culture

Many offices can become breeding grounds for gossip, discrimination, toxic work habits and sexual harassment. But unless you’re cool with putting a camera inside your Keurig machine, these harmful behaviors can be tough to monitor.

However, remote teams typically communicate via Slack, email, or other digital channel that records conversations. When instances of harmful behavior occur, the evidence is recorded in these channels. This is helpful to bring to HR if necessary for a complaint. They also act as a shield against anyone who thinks they can say something rude because (they think) no one is listening.

Increased Productivity

It’s often believed that remote environments are more distracting, but this idea isn’t always true. In an office environment, it can be difficult to achieve deep concentration with other people walking by your desk to chat or ask questions. However, despite the presence of children, television and a full kitchen at home, 90% of remote employees say they are just as productive (or more) working remotely than they are working in an office. 67% of that group report remote work has made them more productive.


Well-designed office spaces are nice to work in. But they can often cost a lot to maintain. With a full-remote work environment, you don’t have to pay for an office space, lights, snacks and other resources. In fact, many full-remote sales teams close their offices completely after making the transition. Beyond that, employees benefit from lower fuel and transportation costs because there is no physical commute to work.


Remote work is built for a different hiring profile. Without the constraints of a local area, companies can sometimes hire from all over the globe. This allows remote sales teams to be built from a larger, more diverse talent pool. With this advantage, companies can also save on hiring costs. By recruiting top talent from areas with a lower cost of living, sales teams can hire great SDRs and AEs at a lower market price.

Work-Life Balance

According to Owl Labs, 90% of employees report a better work-life balance since transitioning to a remote work  arrangement. That’s obviously great for your sales reps day-to-day, but many fail to realize the overall importance of work-life balance in maintaining a strong team. Take a lesson from The Great Resignation that happened during 2020-2021 — all over the country, we saw overworked and underpaid employees quit jobs that overstepped into their personal lives. What’s more, sales reps who don’t strike this delicate balance are more likely to suffer from burnout and churn more quickly. Remote work can set the proper tone and allow reps more leeway to determine their schedules and priorities.

But What About Sales Kickoffs?

Sales kickoffs (SKOs) can be a fun networking and relationship-building opportunity for both team members and customers. But having a full-remote sales team often makes it more difficult to meet in person. While you might not have to sacrifice SKOs altogether, there are also a few reasons you may be better off without them.

Typically, SKOs are informal gatherings. But this still requires a delicate balance between casual conversation and representing the company after hours. This especially applies when alcohol is involved, as some of your sales reps may drink too much or start acting unprofessionally.

Many companies have experienced backlash and even legal action from crude jokes or offensive actions that occurred during a sales kickoff. If you don’t lose the contract entirely in that case, you will likely have to change the point of contact for that customer. This often damages the relationship and creates a greater churn risk.

That said, these gatherings are still perfectly doable with remote sales teams. If you are confident that your team can handle the responsibility, sales kickoffs are a good way to strengthen team relationships and build morale. Some remote sales teams will meet in person for these events from time to time (albeit only once or twice a year). The point is this: if you can make it happen and it works for your team, do it.

But What About The Bagels?

Remote environments also don’t have break rooms with coffee machines, snacks or bagels on Wednesdays. You might be thinking this is a major dealbreaker, but it doesn't have to be. There are two ways you handle this with a remote sales team:

  • Create a reimbursement fund for team members to buy their own bagels or coffee on certain days (with limits, of course).
  • Do away with carb-filled snacks completely and finally get on that exercise bike in the corner.

Transitioning to Remote Work

While you may already be convinced that remote work is the way to go, getting to a place where it’s a viable work option is a different story. The process likely won’t be easy, but it is possible with enough determination and strategy.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. In 2020, the pandemic forced many businesses to make the remote transition on amazingly short notice. By learning from the trial and error of that period, we can create a more effective transition procedure for remote work. Here are 3 steps to help you make the jump.

Step 1: Decide on Your Remote Work Configuration

The first step of any transition of this scale is to create a blueprint. In this case, consider how it will look for your team to work remotely. While there are a number of different configurations, some work better than others. It all depends on your team and what they need to be most effective.

Part-Remote (a.k.a. Hybrid)

A hybrid model of remote work allows for some employees to work remotely and some to remain in the office. On the surface, a hybrid model looks like a good solution. In theory, you can have the benefits of remote work without giving up the perks of the office for those who want to work in-person.

However, it is more often chosen as a form of compromise when companies don’t want to fully commit to a remote workforce. What’s more, the teams in a part-remote or hybrid model are usually decided by management (not by team member preference). 

Lack of choice is certainly a problem, but the more troubling issue is the potential for division. This isn't just jokes and music taste. A divided culture can create bias toward one’s own coworkers (and against those in the other work configuration). This stifles teamwork among sales reps and may create promotional favoritism. 

For these reasons, it’s often best to avoid a hybrid model. However, if this seems to be the best option for your team, you will need to take intentional steps to eliminate bias and avoid creating a community-level advantage for either team. Sometimes, moving upper management and company executives to the remote side can help mitigate that bias, but it isn’t always guaranteed.


A flex-remote model is similar to a part-remote model, but allows each employee to choose how they want to work. Sales reps can come and go from the office depending on personal preference or convenience. While this does offer greater flexibility for your sales reps, the potential for division and bias is still high. To create a consistent experience across teams with this model, executives and upper management should be part of the remote team.


With a switch-remote model, sales teams shift between office and remote work on certain days. This means there is always a time during each week when the entire team is in the office. Then, on scheduled “switch” days, reps are usually allowed to work remotely if they choose. While keeping a consistent schedule for all reps can help you avoid division and bias, the benefits of remote work aren’t as strong with this model.


Although hybrid models can work, sales teams often benefit most from going full-remote. In this configuration, sales teams are working remote 100% of the time. Many times, companies who commit to a full-remote model will close the office completely. However, you may choose to offer a stipend for reps who want to collaborate in person with a coworking space using this model.

That said, many people still fear going full-remote because they might become disconnected from their team. It makes sense. Bonds that form in person are often much stronger than those that occur online. But that shouldn’t keep you from opting into a full-remote configuration for your sales team. While it’s true that remote coworkers don’t often see each other in person, you can still create meaningful connections through annual or quarterly company retreats.

Think of it this way: Many of us don’t see our extended families very often except around holidays or major life events. However, when we do spend time with them, it’s quality time. In the same way, 3 days of intentional networking and coworking on a retreat can make you feel like you’ve known someone for years. This kind of bond between team members can easily overcome the barriers of being geographically dispersed. Then that strong professional relationship usually allows you to pick up where you left off when it comes time for the next retreat.

Step 2: Build Your Infrastructure

Once you choose a model for remote work, plan for how your operation will change. Imagine you are preparing a new office in such a way that your team can move in and start working right away. Consider what kinds of tools and structural changes your team will need to operate effectively in a remote environment.

Communication Channels

In the office, communication happens naturally. It can be as easy as traveling to a desk, chatting in the break room or waving at someone in the hallway.

In a remote environment, all interactions are digital (and therefore intentional). To ensure effective communication and collaboration, it’s important to choose your channels carefully. Just like the design of a break room or hallway can work to foster engagement, the programs and applications used by your team will change the way they communicate. 

Email is indispensable, but it isn’t the only tool you’ll need. Keep in mind that asynchronous communication is very common with remote teams. While it can allow for greater individual flexibility, you may not always get a direct response right away. With this in mind, pay attention to how each platform you choose will allow your team to catch up on asynchronous messages.

Most sales teams require a channel for 4 different types of communication:

  • Phone Calls - For most SDRs, a huge portion of the work day involves making phone calls to potential customers. You may have a landline system in an office, but that won’t be possible in a remote environment. Choose a phone system that allows for efficient dialing and high-quality audio. You will also want to make sure it’s compatible with your call recording software.
  • Meetings - One of the advantages to an office environment is the ability to meet together and collaborate in a conference room. When working remotely, you will need to meet virtually with large groups of people and achieve seamless discussion. The best way to do this is via video conferencing programs. Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are all great examples of channels you might use. Keep in mind that the same platform you use for video conferencing within your organization may also be used to meet with prospects and to host product demos. Most video conferencing solutions also have screen-sharing and chat features. Beyond that, consider what other features you may need during virtual meetings to engage effectively.
  • Quick Chats - Sometimes you’ll have issues that don’t warrant a phone call or video meeting but still need a quick response. Instant messaging platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Podium allow sales reps to quickly send messages and chat back and forth without entering into a full virtual meeting. This is likely the most casual and frequent form of communication your reps will use throughout their workday, so choose your platform carefully. The ideal solution will foster engagement and productivity at the same time.
  • Long-Form Messages - In most cases, email supports long-form messages that don't require an immediate response. It’s like leaving a note in someone’s office mailbox. So, company updates, memos, employee recognition, meeting recaps and similar messages can be emailed. While most modern sales teams use Gmail, you might use Outlook or iCloud mail depending on what works best for your team.

Before making the full transition to remote work, make sure everyone is trained on how to use each platform effectively. Create guidelines for productive discussion and expected response times for each channel.

Tracking and Monitoring

Transparency is also important to success in any remote environment. To prevent toxic communication from going unnoticed, you may decide to record all phone calls or video meetings and monitor email and slack messages. However, there are 2 things to consider with this: 

  • Any time you record a sales call or communicate sensitive employee or customer information, security is a top concern. Be sure to protect credit card information according to PCI compliance standards and set up encrypted file sharing where appropriate.
  • When monitoring your employees, it can be tough to strike a balance between visibility and freedom. No one likes the idea of Big Brother looking over their shoulder. Too much surveillance can make your team feel like they aren’t trusted. This often lowers morale and creates burnout.

Resource Accessibility

To achieve success in a remote environment, sales reps need to have easy access to all resources. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), pipeline data, ideal customer personas and employee handbooks are all relevant materials. You will also want to provide access to product information, marketing and demo material.

But it’s not enough to just make them available. Ideally, your resource library should have an intuitive and engaging user interface. When someone on your team needs to access an SOP or flowchart right away, you want it to be right at their fingertips. This also cuts down on the amount of time supervisors spend answering questions.

In many cases, you may want to create new resources for onboarding new sales reps. Training modules and orientation documents can go a long way in supporting a new rep who is fresh to the sales floor. Try making high-quality recordings of great sales calls available for all reps to review. This way, you can allow new and experienced reps to develop their skills without direct instruction.

Keep in mind that you need to make your resources and other programs accessible to people with colorblindness or those who use assistive programs to do their jobs. Making accommodations to help them navigate all areas of your user interface is a legal requirement.

Employee Workspace

A well-thought-out workspace can boost productivity and focus, but some of your sales reps may not have an ideal office space at home. While it may cost a bit more money, providing ergonomic office supplies can do a lot for your team. Besides buying a laptop, outfitting your sales team with a nice desk, mouse or computer chair is a good investment. Besides making sure your reps are properly equipped, investing in your team’s work equipment often builds morale by showing that you value them.

This is also a good time to think about the technology you’ll need for everyone to work remotely. Be sure your reps have access to your CRM, lead generation tools, your calendar and any other programs you use. You may even choose to work with different software that better suits a remote environment.

Setting this up before going remote keeps reps from working at a kitchen table or in a coffee shop. It also demonstrates value in your sales reps as a key part of the company. For employees that don’t have a dedicated office at home, creating a stipend to join a coworking space is also a great option.

Work Schedule

You will also need to decide on your work schedule before taking your team full-remote. Depending on the remote model you choose, you may offer flexible work hours. However, sales teams often need to have overlapping schedules during business hours for 2 reasons:

  • Many prospects work during regular business hours (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM). Sales reps need to do outreach during these hours to make productive contact. You can’t be calling executives in the dead of night.

  • Teamwork is often an essential part of your sales process. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have some overlap hours within the team each week for collaboration.

That said, offering asynchronous work hours is often a major perk to working remotely. If you allow your reps to complete certain types of work during hours that work for them, you can help them achieve better balance, reduce burnout rates and increase overall work quality.

Step 3: Make the Full Transition to Remote Work

At this point, your remote work transition plan should pretty much be perfect.

Just kidding. That’s a nice thought, but it’s not realistic. Even if your plan looks good on paper, some things are bound to go wrong during implementation. That’s okay. But to avoid sinking the ship as soon as you set sail, here are a few tips:

Do a Phased Rollout

A phased rollout helps ensure a smooth transition. Rather than everyone scrambling to communicate and perform well with a new setup, you can tackle obstacles one team at a time.

To do this, set specific timelines for moving each team to a remote environment over so many weeks. Each team can troubleshoot errors with your communication channels, resource access and other features as they engage with your new work design during a typical workday. You can then use the valuable feedback and insight to minimize further mistakes.

When doing this, it’s important to communicate the move early on and provide the schedule to all team members. This allows your reps time to mentally prepare for the change and establish a working space at home.

But even with adequate warning, transitioning your whole sales team to a remote environment is bound to put nerves on edge. That’s why it’s important to be open to suggestions, honest about failures and have patience with everyone.

A Note on Transparency

Especially in the initial stages, transparency is incredibly important to creating a positive environment.

Your team is likely to have some embarrassing hiccups during the transition. When this happens, some companies try to cover it up and act like nothing happened. This is a huge mistake. Companies that do this often appear dishonest and untrustworthy, especially when the mistake is obvious.

In a remote environment, you have to be intentional about building trust with your sales team. Without the presence of non-verbal cues or tone of voice, virtual communication often makes us wary of our coworkers. If management or other sales reps deny their mistakes, it will only make things worse. The result is an unfriendly work environment that makes people want to quit. 

Do yourself and your team a favor. Be honest about your mistakes. It will make your team stronger and you may get feedback that helps you learn from past failures.

Common Pitfalls

When transitioning to remote work, you may experience problems that you don’t know how to solve. That’s why it’s important to welcome candid feedback and meet regularly with your team to discuss progress. Monitor performance with your team and track success metrics closely. This will help you gain visibility into how the move is affecting your team.

Here are a few common roadblocks companies face when moving to remote work:

Resistance to Change - Some people won’t like working remotely. Some people simply can’t handle change. While you may have a few resignations as a result of the transition, keep the hiring pipeline wide open. As you bring on new talent from a diverse pool of candidates, your team is bound to grow stronger in the end. 

Mental Health Challenges - Although remote work helps create a better work-life balance, it often comes with a loneliness risk. For employees who don’t have much of a social community outside of work, a remote environment can create intense feelings of isolation. It’s important to encourage team engagement and informal chat via virtual hangouts or happy hours.

Lack of Oversight - In a remote environment, managers can’t simply pop by someone’s desk to check on them. For some, this lack of over-the-shoulder management may cause them to stop performing well. That’s why 1:1 meetings with consistent feedback are so important in a remote setting. Some cases may call for a growth plan or a performance improvement plan to bring the employee back up to speed.

Technical Issues - In a remote environment, you are bound to have issues with technology sooner or later. Programs could stop working at the worst moments. Zoom may stop recording. Slack might go down. User error can impede progress as well — someone may miss a meeting due to an incorrect calendar date or forget to send an important email. While these things can sometimes bring your operation to a complete halt, it’s important not to panic. Go in expecting technical issues and create a contingency plan to stay functional until whatever breaks is fixed.

Managing a Remote Sales Team

Congratulations! You’ve successfully transitioned your sales team to a remote environment. Go ahead and celebrate, then get back to your desk because the challenge doesn’t end here.

More important than the transition itself is how you manage your remote sales team going forward. To achieve long term success, you’ll need to develop a strong, connected team and a supportive work environment. If you don’t know where to start, narrow your focus to these 5 key aspects of your operation: your hiring process, training, communication, workflows and metrics.

The Hiring Process

To develop a strong sales team that functions well in a remote environment, you need to start at the source: your hiring and interviewing process.

Create an SDR Pipeline

Too often, companies (both in-office and remote) don’t hire good SDRs. Instead, they hire low-tier talent as a cost-saving measure. But unqualified SDRs simply can’t keep up with a growing remote business. These reps often end up getting fired for low performance or burning out.

Let’s be real: SDRs don’t usually stay in their positions for more than 2 years anyway. They either get promoted, get fired or they quit. If you’re constantly burning through sales reps like this, it won’t be long until you don’t have a team at all. What’s more, your AE team will get smaller as well because you don’t have any qualified SDRs to promote.

It isn’t a question of when you’re hiring but how often. To maintain a solid SDR team, you need to hire top sales talent at a consistent rate. While remote hiring offers an advantage in this, it also comes with some unique challenges.

Streamlined Interviewing

While a remote environment gives your company greater access to top sales talent, it also opens the door for more competition. New sales reps have more employment options as well. To secure top candidates for your team, you need to streamline your interview process.

Just like sales, where speed wins deals, a fast interview-to-offer process wins top talent. At Prehired, our A-Tier members usually receive offers within the first week of their career search. That said, if it takes more than 2 weeks from the first interview to offer someone a position, you’ll miss out on the best candidates in the industry. Instead, they will choose the company that hires them faster.

You don’t want to be hiring from whatever is left over after other companies take their pick. You want to build your team from the best players in the market, as soon as they’re available.

To do this, you’ll need to remove roadblocks in the hiring process and tap into a reliable source for good SDR candidates. While the first part is up to you, partnering with Prehired can give you access to a curated pipeline of qualified candidates you can start interviewing right away.

Target for Discipline

Be careful when hiring candidates who are new to the workforce. Without basic occupational skills, ramping up in a remote environment can be challenging for someone, say, fresh out of high school. Instead, look for evidence of discipline in their previous jobs and experiences.

This is why many traditional companies look for candidates with a college degree. But this isn’t always a good sign of someone having discipline. What’s more, if college is your main qualification, you limit your ability to build a team with diverse experiences. 

Look for candidates with experiences like military service, athletics, parenting or even formal sales training. Anything that shows long-term commitment to a challenge is something to consider during your hiring process. Struggling with adversity creates discipline that is often necessary for success in a remote sales role.

Training / Onboarding

Having a standard training and onboarding process will help you achieve consistent outcomes for all new sales reps. This is critical in a remote environment, where team members lack the immersive learning experience of the office.

Ideally, you will have a dedicated role to support this effort. Otherwise, assigning a specific sales manager, sales enablement rep or team lead can also work. Either way, you want to provide the attention and dedication necessary to bring your reps up to speed quickly.

Document clear directions for training and onboarding so that it can be repeated for each new round of sales reps. If possible, create video or interactive training modules to replace live lectures. Allow for as much asynchronous learning as possible so that new hires can work through onboarding material during times that work best for them.

If this seems like a big undertaking, you’re right. But most training and onboarding sequences can be broken down into 4 levels:

4 Levels of Onboarding

While these levels may change and overlap depending on the needs of your team, the important thing is to cover the basics. On average, sales reps in the SaaS industry take 3-4 months to ramp up to meet all KPIs. But formal onboarding is only a portion of that time. The most impactful learning comes from hands-on experience and mentorships.

Focus on building a foundation, then get your team on the (virtual) floor as soon as possible. However, be sure to check for understanding before moving on to the next stage.

  • Level 1: Basic Product and Customer Knowledge - Before you start teaching anything else, you want your new hires to understand your company. What are you selling? Who are you selling to? How are you selling it? To answer these questions, start with training and demos for your software product. Dive into customer personas that illustrate your target market, and demonstrate your value proposition with customer success stories. Explain how your sales cycle, process and methodology apply to daily work. This is where reps get to know strategies, goals and KPIs for their role and gain a direction for moving forward.
  • Level 2: Sales Tools and Technology - Modern sales isn’t done with pen and paper. CRM platforms, lead generation, outreach tools and other sales tools allow reps to achieve more than ever before. But that’s only true if they know how to use each of them. During level 2 of your onboarding process, focus on best practices with each tool to improve efficiency and performance. Show your new reps how to access contact databases and leverage social media channels to stand out.
  • Level 3: The Team - Skills and tools are important to success, but teamwork is what fuels great performance. New hires need to feel like they’re a valued part of the team to avoid isolation and burnout. During onboarding, introduce new hires to the SDRs and AEs they will be working with. You can start with a formal “show and tell” presentation and present a personal bio for each new rep. Encourage the new team members to develop supporting relationships with other team members through informal Slack channels and virtual hangouts.
  • Level 4: Feedback and Mentorship - Often, the best way to learn a new skill set is to study the performance of an expert. Mentors, peer shadowing and consistent feedback from management are all essential to helping your sales reps take the floor with confidence. Help your team practice their skills with role-playing exercises and scheduling 1:1 meetings with mentors and managers early on in their tenure. Help them to learn best practices in lifelike situations by listening to call recordings and watching demos. To pull this off in a remote environment, you’ll need to use video conferencing software with screen-sharing capabilities. You’ll also need call recording software like Gong or Chorus.


The way you communicate in a remote environment can make or break your sales team. Healthy communication is a delicate balance between comradery, productivity and clarity. Virtual communication is the lifeblood of your remote team. Be careful not to constrain it, let it run wild, or become convoluted. Instead, create guidelines that will help everyone communicate effectively.

Define What is Urgent

Too often, startup companies carry a cultural expectation for people to respond to internal messages right away. While this might seem like the considerate thing to do, this also interrupts deep, productive work. Internal communication is essential, but sales reps can’t be talking to each other all day long.

To avoid this common pitfall, create guidelines for urgent and non-urgent messaging. For instance, tagging people by name or directing a question to someone in a group email may indicate urgency. Otherwise, leaving someone untagged may indicate a non-urgent message.

From there, be sure to define how quickly reps should respond to each type of message. For emails, 1-2 business days is often standard response time. For an instant message, you might suggest a few minutes to an hour. 

Your team should have a common understanding of what needs an immediate response and what can be answered at someone’s convenience. You don’t want an urgent message falling through the cracks among a sea of memes and breezy conversation.

Facilitate Positive and Clear Discussion

Internal discussion should be positive. Encourage and train your team members to support one another and avoid disparaging or sarcastic remarks.

In addition, virtual communication should be as clear as possible. Tone can be difficult to communicate via text, and the work day is often too busy to deal with simple misunderstandings. Still, miscommunication is bound to happen from time to time. In these situations, teaching employees to give each other the benefit of the doubt can help diffuse conflict.

That said, reps should feel comfortable asking for clarity (not worried that they come across as disrespectful). The goal is to work together and sometimes that means explaining yourself. If there is an escalated internal situation, sales reps need to know who they can report it to.

Informal Chat

While productive conversations are important, creating a space for informal chat between coworkers is also essential. Talking about non-work topics takes the pressure off of the day-to-day challenge of selling software to big companies. It also helps people connect. This strengthens work relationships and improves collaboration.

Try creating channels for discussion about certain hobbies, interests or themes. This builds small communities and helps prevent burnout and feelings of isolation. Just be sure your sales reps understand what type of discussion is appropriate. Create guidelines for what kind of talk is acceptable and what crosses the line.


You can set up communication channels for every perceivable purpose. But if no one is using them, it doesn’t matter. If your sales team doesn't stay connected in a remote environment, performance will likely suffer.

In the office, engagement may develop naturally through sheer proximity. Break rooms and hallways force us to interact with other team members simply because we’re in the same room. But screens with text and virtual working spaces often don’t grab our attention in the same way.

To make sure your remote sales team stays connected, it’s important to be intentional about engagement. Management should own intra-employee engagement as an important KPI and find ways to help sales reps stay involved. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Regular Meetings - In addition to formal team meetings, consider setting up virtual hangouts where team members can get to know one another. Making these mandatory may cause damage (think every awkward meeting on The Office). However, offering an incentive to join the meeting (e.g. a lunch reimbursement) can help increase attendance.
  • Discussion Forums - If social media has taught us anything, it’s that people love to share their opinions online (especially when no one asks for them). While most of these discussions are unproductive, try posing discussion questions in your own channels that are related to your industry. Most of the time, sales reps will be eager to jump in and share their unique perspectives. What’s more, your reps may actually learn from one another.
  • Mixed Media - For a skilled writer, words alone are powerful tools. Communication platforms like Slack encourage engagement by letting you use of GIFs, emoticons, images and more.


In the office, company culture often develops by osmosis. Executives and other leaders who deeply represent the brand have a tendency to rub off on those around them. But just like communication, preserving company culture in a remote environment requires intentionality.

Transitioning to remote work will change your culture or values in some way. Don’t leave that development to chance. Be specific about the values you believe in. What do you want to represent as a community? What motivates you? What are the guiding principles behind your performance as a team?

It’s important to document your values, but don’t stop there. Find ways to consistently reinforce those values through your management strategy.

Recognition and Rewards

One way to reinforce values is to offer incentives. That doesn’t mean giving out bonuses for ethical behavior (sales reps should always abide by the law and the employee handbook). However, someone who goes above and beyond what’s expected of their role deserves acknowledgement.

That said, companies often neglect the power of recognition. The next time a sales rep does community service or shows exemplary performance for a customer, put their name in a public Slack channel or company email. Being commended by your peers can have a tremendous impact on how you continue to live out certain values.

Just be sure your incentives are aligned properly with company goals. For instance, if you value personal fitness, you don’t want to hand out a box of candy as a reward for someone running a 5k. However, you could offer them a free headband or a water bottle.


You can also help your company live out its core values by implementing policies that support those values. For example, if you value work-life balance, you could offer Fridays off during the summer or create mandatory vacation days.

Some companies that value being customer-focused will require all new hires to spend time in customer service as part of the onboarding process. In these scenarios, it doesn’t matter if you’re an SDR or a CRO—you’re starting out with “How can I help you today?”

When you create policies that are in line with company values, you’re making sure your team adheres to what you say you believe. In a remote environment, this adherence to policy is both a rule of operation and a safeguard against compromising your values.

Correcting Behavior that Violates Values

Even after considerable effort to develop your culture, people can be unpredictable. To preserve your culture in a remote environment, be sure to call out and correct people when they act against your values.

The progression usually goes like this:

  • Step 1: Private Discussions - Calling someone out in a public channel for violating company values is embarrassing. It might even make the problem worse. Instead, discuss the instance respectfully in private at first. Sometimes talking about the problem is all it takes to prevent it from happening again.
  • Step 2: Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) - If the behavior continues, you might need to create a performance improvement plan (PIP). A PIP is a sequence of time-bound goals that aims at improving a target behavior. It also provides documentation for the behavior and your efforts to change it in case it leads to termination.
  • Step 3: Disciplinary Action - Sometimes a sales rep will continue to violate company values even after a PIP. This often warrants some form of disciplinary action. The goal here is to preview the negative consequences if the behavior continues. Usually signed write-ups and suspension from work (without pay) are enough to get the message across.
  • Step 4: Termination - While firing someone isn’t ideal, it’s often necessary for someone who refuses to change. It’s better than allowing them to poison the remote culture you worked so hard to develop. Depending on the situation (and company policy) you may or may not want to make a statement to the rest of the team about the departure. You may have to take extra effort to rebuild morale and repair the damage caused by the falling out.

During each disciplinary stage, it’s important to document your actions thoroughly. This protects both parties from misinterpretation should the incident become relevant later on. While email is automatically documented, it isn’t as direct or personal as a recorded video call. Especially in these scenarios, using face-to-face interactions via Zoom can soften the impact.


When you transition to remote work, your processes will need to adapt to a new environment. Consider how your work days will change with asynchronous work hours. The goal is to continue working as an effective team even in a virtual environment.

Asynchronous Work

Schedule flexibility is a major benefit of remote work. When possible, sales reps often prefer the freedom to work when it’s convenient for them. That’s why it’s best to allow asynchronous work wherever possible. Drafting emails, prospecting, lead generation or any work that doesn’t require direct outreach can be completed whenever it’s convenient for each team member.

However, keep in mind that SDRs need to collaborate with sales managers and AEs to build pipeline and close deals. But if everyone is working different hours, it can be tough to connect. To solve this, it’s best to implement mandatory overlap hours each week for all sales reps.

You’ll also want to consider how your SOPs change for each role with asynchronous work. The main challenges are to ensure timely feedback from key roles and avoid bottlenecks. 

For example, some processes may require quick responses from particular people such as sales managers or team leads. If these responses can’t wait for more than a single business day (and still maintain process efficiency), then you’ll need to find a way to work around this in your SOP to account for flexible work hours. In some cases, leadership positions may need to have mandatory “office” hours in which they will be available to answer questions.


In the office, you might have a stand-up meeting every morning to discuss the day’s strategy. But with asynchronous work schedules, this isn’t always practical. Instead, remote environments are better suited to following a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

SOPs ensure that your team doesn't have to ask what to do when they come to work. Instead, they can follow a tested process to achieve results. So, whether a sales rep is working at 8 AM or 8 PM, they can get to work right away without direct instruction.

To pull this off, your SOPs need to be clear and accessible for your entire remote team. You may also need to redesign your SOPs to better suit flexible work hours. Consider how daily work might change for an SDR or AE in a remote environment.


Visibility is key to managing a remote sales team. When you’re not just a short walk away from someone’s desk, the right metrics can help you understand the success of your team on a larger scale and make it easier for you to hold them accountable to performance standards. While you probably had some KPIs in the office, you might need to rework them or add new metrics in a remote environment.

Start by clearly defining KPIs for each role. In most SaaS sales teams, sales quotas are the primary metric. But try breaking it down even further into leading and lagging metrics.

Leading metrics (also called “activity metrics”) like number of calls, emails per interval or completed demos indicate direct effort. These are things your reps can control.

Lagging metrics are the results of direct effort. While you can’t totally control things like revenue or number of deals closed, sales reps can influence those numbers by putting in the work each day.

That said, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) should be based on outcomes, not pure activity. If you have a rep that still meets their sales quota with fewer calls or demos, don’t bother making them do more work. It’s more about the results your reps can achieve, not how many calls they make or how long they sit at a desk.

If they stop meeting lagging metrics one month, then you might hold them accountable to leading metrics again.

However you choose to structure your metrics, be sure to clearly document and communicate your expectations for each role early. It’s also a good idea to make it part of regular discussion in 1:1 meetings with management.

Final Thoughts

The statistics all prove that remote work is more than possible — it’s becoming the new normal for many SaaS companies. While it might not be right for every team, transitioning to a remote sales team now can give you a competitive advantage over the laggards. Aside from that, failing to adapt to a world in which more of the workforce expects remote work options could become an obstacle to attracting and retaining sales talent.

That said, making the shift to remote work can be challenging. An effective transition requires intentionality, strategic thinking and patience.

But it’s about more than just following a plan. You need fuel to achieve sustainable success. Aside from caffeine, SDRs are the main fuel source for any sales-driven organization. That’s why it’s so important to hire top talent to build your remote sales team.

Think about it this way: The SDRs you hire now will eventually become the AEs and SDR managers that continue to drive your organization forward for years to come. An investment in your SDR team is an investment in the future of your company. Who do you want driving that ship? Probably a diverse group of people with strong work ethics and great attitudes.

While it might seem more cost-effective to hire less experienced candidates, you have to ask yourself: is your goal to generate revenue or to spend all your time hiring and training? In reality, hiring low-tier talent is a massive expense and can take a long time to yield results.

Since most SDRs only stay in the positions for 1-2 years, large SaaS companies need to hire qualified SDRs to fuel their sales teams. To lower talent acquisition costs, you need to build this from the ground up with a consistent stream of A-tier candidates. Not just one big push.

As a Prehired partner, you can fill your SDR pipeline with the best candidates in the industry. Our members are trained in our proprietary Science-Based Sales® curriculum, developed from thousands of hours of research and interviews with some of the best sales professionals in the SaaS industry. By the time they meet your hiring team, they already know more than the basics. That means you can bring them up to speed faster on average with fewer resources.

Beyond that, Prehired members come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of our members have prior experience as teachers, military veterans, charity workers or parents.

If you’re going remote, there’s no better move you can make than investing in a great team to pull it off. Become a Prehired partner to start building your remote sales team with the best SDRs in the industry.

LinkedIn logo

You might also like...

Join the discussion

Ready to Launch Your Software Sales Career?

Apply Now