With the state of our world today (and over the last couple of years), there has been a renewed interest in opportunities to work remotely. This is also true specifically for the number of people looking for a remote sales job. The number of remote workers continues to increase significantly and is expected to be at 32.5 million Americans by 2025, according to the Future Workforce report from Upwork. This is nearly double the pre-pandemic level of 16.8 million Americans working remotely.
Many companies that previously did not have a large contingent of remote employees (if any at all) have discovered that their sales teams can still successfully work from home (or the field), and may even be more productive than when they are in the office. The number of remote sales job opportunities has also increased recently. According to the 2021 State of Remote Work report from Owl Labs, sales employers are hiring 66% more remote workers than the overall average.
But, it’s important to understand that not all sales jobs are created equal. More specifically, not all remote sales jobs are the same. If you are looking for a remote sales job, you should definitely zero in on the option of working in field sales, and we’ll explain why.
In this article, we break down the three different types of sales roles/functions and their settings, why field sales is the best remote sales job, including the benefits you can enjoy in that role, as well as how to be successful.
The Three Main Sales Job Functions (& How They Differ)
If you are working in a sales role, you’ll find yourself in one of three functions and settings. It’s important to understand how these differ to determine which might be the best fit for you and why field sales might just be what you are looking for.
The three main sales job functions are:
#1 – Inside Sales Rep That Works in an Office
In this role, you will be based in your company’s office alongside your colleagues on the sales team. You would primarily be using phone and email to reach customers and prospects all day. Sometimes LinkedIn messaging or standard text messaging may be used as well. Your sales meetings, if they are not by phone, are done virtually using video conferencing/meeting tools like Zoom. All of your prospecting for new leads will be done from your computer in the office as well.
#2 – Inside Sales Rep That Works Remotely/From Home
As a remote inside sales rep, the role will be the same as in #1 above but you’ll have a bit more autonomy in where and when you work. You have the freedom to work from home but you’ll still be tied to a desk for all of your sales activities. Working from home as a salesperson can be tough because you won’t get to enjoy regular in-person interaction with your colleagues (like those in group #1) or your customers (like those in group #3).
#3 – Outside (Field) Sales Rep
As a field sales rep, you’ll get to enjoy the best of both worlds mentioned above. You’ll spend most of your time out on the road visiting customers and prospects. So, you have the autonomy of a remote employee, with a lot of freedom to choose exactly when and where you spend your time AND you get the in-person interaction with customers. Plus, on days when you’re in the office, you’ll get to interact with your colleagues too.
Benefits of Working in Field Sales
As many reps will tell you, working in field sales can be very beneficial and extremely rewarding for a number of reasons. Some of the benefits of working as a field sales rep include:
With much less rigidity than inside sales, no two days will be exactly the same in terms of where you’ll be. You’ll be visiting different customer/prospect locations each day and can count on plenty of variety in your workweek. Plus, you may find yourself starting your day at your favorite coffee shop while you send out morning emails and end your day networking at a local industry conference.
In field sales, reps have the freedom to set their own schedules and decide when and where they perform their job/sales duties, without having to worry about being chained to a desk all day. You’ll have more flexibility when it comes to cultivating relationships with your customers and, in most cases, won’t feel like you are being micromanaged throughout the day.
Generally, even as an entry-level sales rep, field sales reps are paid a higher commission rate, base salary, and bonuses than inside sales reps are (depending on the commission structure). This is largely because deals closed in field sales are usually much higher in value than those closed in inside sales. Also, outside/field sales teams often have a higher close rate compared to inside sales teams.
More Social Interaction & Relationship-Building
Field sales is the epitome of a social pursuit. Not only will you have the opportunity to form relationships with your colleagues on the sales team, but you’ll spend your days forming and cultivating relationships with your prospects and customers.
Best Practices for Being Successful
With anything you do, it is only natural to want to do it well. When it comes to field sales, there are some best practices to follow to help ensure you do well from the beginning, continue to see success in your role, and open opportunities for advancement in your career. These best practices include:
Truly Knowing Your Product: Knowing and understanding your product or service better than anyone else is essential to being successful in the field and effectively selling solutions that meet the needs of your customers. Take the time to truly familiarize yourself with the specifications, value-adds, competitive differentiators, etc of your offerings.
Having a Plan of Action: You should have a structured plan of action for each day/week, including optimized sales routes. This will ensure your focus is where it should be, keep you prepared for every meeting, optimize sales effectiveness, and save valuable selling time that would otherwise be wasted scrambling around.
Utilizing Technology and Automation as Much as Possible: The more streamlined and efficient you can make your sales process the better. So, take advantage of the sales technology that is available to help you improve your planning, productivity, organization, and performance. Your best bet is to utilize a mobile-friendly all-in-one outside sales solution (like Map My Customers) that can help you manage your customers and prospects, automate daily tasks, provide powerful mapping capabilities, optimize your sales routes, and more.
Check out our article on 9 keys to succeed in field sales for even more tips on how you can ensure you are successful in this remote sales job.
Field Sales Offers a Rewarding Remote Sales Job Opportunity
Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what it is like to work remotely in sales and has shown you how field sales is the best remote sales job if you are looking for autonomy, social interaction, and career success.
As you can see, working in field sales can be a very rewarding experience in many ways. Implement the best practices we covered above and you can ensure you set yourself up for success each day. So, go head and kickstart your field sales career today!