How to Survive (and Thrive) in Your First Remote Sales Job

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In the years before the pandemic, my sales motions looked very different.

I would spend most of my time chatting up potential prospects in crowded conference halls, traveling across the country to pitch ideas in boardrooms filled with plush leather chairs, or wining and dining clients at my go-to local Italian spot.

So when I joined the Sales team at Hopin—a fully remote company—I was nervous (maybe even intimidated) about the new world I was stepping into.

How would I create human relationships with and hold the attention of prospects without physically being in front of them? How could I understand and help solve their problems while being confined to a 13-by-15-inch computer screen?

In other words, would I be able to sell?

However, in my time at Hopin, I have seen how our Sales leaders have organized strategy and culture to make remote sales as effective and rewarding as it can be in person—dare I say, even more.

In this article, I describe my experience in Hopin Sales—specifically, how Hopin is empowering its Sales team to achieve success in a remote-first environment.

My goal is to share lessons that might be helpful to your sales strategy—whether you’re leading your first distributed team or dipping your toes into the world of remote sales.

1. Effective, efficient onboarding

From day one, I felt fully supported—and not just because of the healthy allowance to set up my home office.

The People and Vibe teams have nailed the onboarding process and made it as seamless as possible to feel welcome in the company and prepared to take on your new role.

Before your first day, you receive an invitation to “Hopin Academy”—a weeklong crash course covering everything about the company from department structures to core values to expense policies.

You are also introduced to your two Hopin buddies, one from your department and one from another team, who are there to answer questions you have as a new joiner.

This small gesture makes it easier to navigate life at Hopin—from communicating in Slack to finding info in our internal wikis—so you can get answers to pressing questions, such as “How do I set the right goals?” and “How do I get my hands on some of that sweet Hopin swag?”

2. Open, frequent communication

When you’re not sitting next to your colleagues in a physical office space, it’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle.

At Hopin, I feel consistently up-to-date with what is happening not just within my own department, but across the entire company.

Key organizational metrics, ideas and initiatives, and important updates are shared on a weekly basis at our Friday All-Hands—and transparency is always at the forefront.

Our regular GTM newsletters are packed with vital information about everything you need to know about what’s going on in the market.

We even have a recurring “Hopin Headlines” update in the form of a quick, five-minute video, anchored by a Hopineer, which details the top-line info you might have missed in Slack that week.

Beyond this abundance of inbound communication, I can also say that—even early in my Hopin journey—I feel like my feedback and ideas matter, and, when I voice any concerns, they are heard and taken seriously.

Open and honest communication across your immediate team, your department, and the entire company is one of the main reasons we are able to move as fast as we do and ensure that every employee feels integrated and supported in the broader mission.

3. Right sales tools for the job 

Our Sales Operations team has built a tech stack of my wildest selling dreams.

At first, it can feel overwhelming to learn the ins and outs of different platforms (not to mention, remembering all your passwords—bless you, Bitwarden). But once the muscle memory kicks in, these tools allow us to move at the speed of light and create a truly seamless workflow.

We use:

  • Outreach to communicate with our customers and prospects
  • Chili Piper to collaborate across multiple calendars and time zones
  • Salesforce to qualify and track opportunities
  • LeanData to route leads to the right people and places
  • Gong to record and transcribe calls
  • HelloSign when it’s time to seal the deal
  • Spekit to keep all our knowledge accessible and up-to-date
  • Lattice to track our performance and OKRs

And that’s just to name a few.

We have optional tool training sessions every week for anyone who needs a refresher on how to get the most out of our stack or wants to learn something new.

4. Rigorous knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing is one of the most important behaviors you can foster in a fully distributed sales team.

When you don’t have the ability to brainstorm out loud with the person sitting next to you or over a coffee break in an office kitchen, you need a way to institutionalize the wealth of substantive knowledge and process know-how and to make it quick and easy to access.

At Hopin, if you’ve lost the map and can’t remember a certain process, you can jump into Notion, our internal knowledge base.

If you have ideas for the team that would improve the way we work, you can share it with the rotating cast of SDR and Business Ops champions who meet twice a month to exchange feedback between teams.

When a fellow SDR gets stuck on a problem and finds a solution, they film a quick Loom video and send it through to the team via Slack.

The more we share, the more we know, and the Sales team has done an incredible job keeping this mindset alive and well.

5. Prioritizing outcomes over output

At Hopin, we favor impact over hours.

The focus on mental and physical health of our employees is evident across the board. Indeed, we have an entire team tasked specifically to help employees live their best and most productive remote lives.

We prioritize taking breaks and time off when you need it, we provide access to meditation and exercise sessions and apps (facilitated by the amazing Vibe team), and we treat our team members like adults, providing flexibility and trust.

Oh, and did I mention the unlimited PTO? We know the ability to switch off—properly switch off—is essential in order for us to recharge, and show up and give our best, day in and day out.

6. Unwavering focus on our customers

Placing the customer first is among the foundational elements of a company culture that I can be proud of.

Hopin champions better connections for a better planet—whether you are hosting an internal meeting of 20 people or a global virtual event with 100,000 attendees—and we want each customer to feel like they produced the best experience they possibly could have, by using the Hopin event platform.

Our team of CSMs and Account Managers run a tight ship and are always there to be the voice of our customers—so that we can better understand what actually matters to our customers and how we can improve in our constant quest to support and empower them.

Above all, there is a profound humility that pervades the Sales department—and the broader Hopin organization.

We crave feedback and constructive criticism, we take it seriously, and we use it to inform and motivate the work we do to create solutions that make for better event experiences for our customers.

7. #NoEgo

Which is a perfect segue to my last point. #NoEgo isn’t only a core value at Hopin. It shows up in the work we do—and how we work—every day.

When you move as fast as we do, mistakes will be made. It’s inevitable. What is important is how we react to those eventualities, and how we turn them into learnings that help our company, teams, and individual team members grow.

Having an attitude of openness, a growth mindset, an understanding that there is always an opportunity to learn is in the bones of this company.

What is also critical is how you treat your colleagues—and yourself—whether you are winning big or learning a difficult lesson. In my several months at Hopin, that is one thing that is abundantly clear: At the end of the day, we all have each other’s backs.

The new normal of remote sales

When the pandemic hit, there were a great many doubts about whether sales people would be able to do their jobs—work that traditionally requires you to get out, shake hands, and be with people in person.

Hopin has shown that there are ways to equip and empower a sales team, such that we are able to recreate that human bond not only with customers, but with our team, department, and broader organization.

And it has demonstrated to me that—through a deliberate, compassionate, and open-minded approach—you can succeed as a sales person in our new normal of hybrid and remote work.

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