The Future of Remote Work

Published July 14, 2020

While some sales roles include the highly mobile sort of work that require practitioners to spend a great deal of time outside of the office, we know that doesn’t apply to SDRs! After all, Sales Development Representatives are typically tethered to a desk, and therefore are better equipped to work from places other than the office – and, consequently, better able to work remotely from home. 

To test this hypothesis out, SalesRoads, a leading B2B Appointment Setting and SDR Outsourcing firm, engaged in a study, Selling SaaS in the COVID Economy. We asked our respondents what percentage of their sales team had started to work remotely for the first time. More than 6 in 10 respondents indicated that over half their entire sales team was working from home for the first time. This might seem surprising, given the increase in popularity over the past few years of remote work, but there are several possible reasons why remote work was new to many respondents. For instance, many businesses in pre-COVID times did not allow their employees to work from home, either because of the security risks involved or out of fear that it would reduce productivity – or simply because they preferred to manage employees in person. 

According to a recent Gallup poll, prior to COVID, 39% of employees said their employers offered them flex time or the ability to work remotely, a figure that aligns with the SalesRoads data. Over the past few months, that number has risen, with 57% of employees now saying that their employers have offered them those options. That leads us to the question: will these policies be made permanent, or will companies dial these policies back at some point soon?

The same Gallup poll reports that nearly 60% of workers in the US who have been working remotely during the pandemic “would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are limited.” SalesRoads’ research uncovered that over 77% of those involved in the sales process in the SaaS industry expected at least one-quarter of their sales team to stay remote permanently, with over 41% expecting at least half to continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. 

Of course, in addition to the current restrictions around the country on businesses deemed non-essential, companies also have to think about how the physical configurations of their office space will change in order to assuage concerns over employee safety. Any offices with cubicles or open space will have to be retrofitted to make sure that workers can stay six feet away from one another at all times, whether by inserting plastic shields between workspaces or by rerouting foot traffic to ensure two people don’t cross paths accidentally. For a company reliant on a robust sales team, are all of those efforts going to be more of a hassle than they’re worth?

SalesRoads asked our respondents whether the mandated work from home COVID shutdown made them more or less likely to work remotely in the future, provided they were given the option to do so. Nearly 93% said that they were more likely to consider remote work in the future, suggesting that the current experience has been largely successful among SaaS sales teams. It seems clear: the challenges that arose from the unexpected initial shift to remote work haven’t been enough to mitigate the benefits of working from home. To attract the best employees, the successful companies of tomorrow need to be aware of these shifting attitudes, and alter their policies towards remote work.

As you might imagine from its title, Selling SaaS in the COVID Economy covers more than the topic of remote work. Among the reports’ other findings:

  • 25.7% had a very positive outlook for the second half of 2020, with very positive/positive responses outnumbering very negative/negative ones 4:1
  • Post-crisis, 35.2% are using live video as part of their sales process, with 77.6% using it at least multiple times per week.
  • 32.6% have shifted some of my schedule to the weekend hours to accommodate for childcare, and other considerations; with 31.8% shifting to early morning and/or evening.

You can access the entire Selling SaaS in the COVID Economy report over on SalesRoads’ website.

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