The COVID-19 pandemic brought seismic change to sales teams around the globe. The dependence on the in-person sales office sharply declined, and remote workforces took their place during the height of the crisis.

Yet with encouraging news about the vaccine, SaaS leaders are looking beyond the pandemic to the future of sales. Sam Blond, Chief Sales Officer at Brex, shares his thoughts on what lies ahead for SaaS sales in a post-pandemic world. 

The Future of Hiring For Sales

Sam reveals that the hiring practices at Brex changed dramatically in light of the pandemic. Their hiring pace slowed down in 2020 since they were uncertain of whether revenue would drop. Surprisingly, they performed well since many companies spent more on tech tools during the pandemic. In 2021, they began to accelerate their hiring efforts once again.

Instead of hiring in the San Francisco Bay Area, their office’s location, they decided to expand their hiring and bring in new sales and customer service representatives from all over the United States. The cost savings of employing SDRs and AEs out of smaller cities and towns allows Brex to hire more humans to handle previously automated sales and support tasks, which helps improve CX. The cost savings also open the possibility to expand office sites to new places. Brex is considering opening a new location in Brazil, for example. 

The Future Sales Office

The popular image of a tech company’s sales team likely manifests as a large open floor in a Bay area office overlooking the city. Yet, this structure is becoming a relic of the past. The Brex team decided to go fully remote permanently, even after the pandemic ends. This new distributed workforce presents opportunities to rethink common strategies for employee success. 

For example, what about onboarding? Without a physical location, training new, entry-level employees demands a new approach. Sam says his team has risen to the challenge in a couple of creative ways:

  • Scheduled Work Blocks: The Brex team blocks out several hours of the new team members’ calendars for working on the same tasks as their senior counterparts while keeping video, phone, and chat lines open for questions or tips.
  • Emphasizing Check-ins: The Brex team also encourages their managers or trainers to proactively reach out for phone calls and check-ins with new hires to ensure they’re absorbing everything. 

Remote work also shifts performance evaluations to be more data-driven and less focused on personal relationships fostered in the office. This numbers-focused evaluation shines a brighter light on the quantitative, KPI-centric side of employee effort. 

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The Future of Sales, Customer Support and Retention

Because of the cost savings brought about from expanding hiring areas and working remotely, more emphasis is placed on humans handling the customer experience, from sales to support.

Sam says, “We are building a flywheel. A big part of everyone’s flywheel is inspiring customer love. Rather than taking the savings from hiring in a lower-cost location and putting those at the bottom line of the business…you can reinvest [those savings] in things that benefit customers.”

Investing in customer-centric positions is helpful for the brand’s reputation, and so it makes selling much easier. And positive sales and customer support experiences will improve retention.

Key Takeaways

  • A remote workforce opens the door for hiring beyond the surrounding area, which can save costs and diversify your business.
  • When training new employees remotely, communication and proactive encouragement are the keys to success.
  • Invest in more customer-centric hiring to make selling easier, improve support and boost your retention.

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