Hiring Sales Talent Internationally: Soft vs. Hard Skills

Mar 21, 2022

Author: collin stewart
Thomas Glare

With remote work here to stay, many companies are choosing to take their sales hiring process international. There are many benefits to sourcing outbound sales talent from abroad, including a wider talent pool, more diverse teams, and the opportunity to break into new markets.

But navigating a global sales recruiting system comes with its own set of challenges. These tips will help you build your dream outbound sales team and find the best possible talent, while also ensuring your company complies with local laws and regulations.

Benefits of international sales hiring

The most compelling benefit of international sales hiring is a larger talent pool. With geography no longer a limitation, you can search out the best candidates from around the world.

Another benefit is more diverse outbound sales teams. According to Harvard Business Review, diversity is a major driver of growth, with diverse companies 45% more likely to grow their market share each year and 70% more likely to report capturing a new market. 

What’s more, having an outbound sales rep who shares a client’s ethnicity makes them 152% more likely to understand that client. At Predictable Revenue, our Sales Development Rep (SDR) Pods are multicultural teams from across Canada, the USA and Mexico, and we have seen firsthand the positive effect on both client relationships and company culture. 

Hiring Sales Talent

What to look for in sales recruiting: hard vs. soft skills

Success in outbound sales requires a balance between hard and soft skills. Hard skills, such as prospecting and using sales software, can be taught through formal training. Soft skills, on the other hand–things like collaboration, relationship building and empathy–can be harder to come by.

Taking your sales recruiting international allows you to focus more on those interpersonal skills and find natural fit candidates, who have both a highly specialized skillset and the inherent traits of a successful salesperson. 

According to Hubspot, the most successful outbound sales reps are those who focus on soft skills like customer service, storytelling, and active listening. Consider focusing your sales recruiting on these traits rather than just hard skills.

Sales hiring for soft skills

Soft skills can be difficult to measure, especially when navigating the hiring process abroad. Partnering with a recruitment agency is one way to simplify things; in most cases, they will take care of interviewing and hiring process. 

If you choose to handle the hiring process internally, consider adding an assessment or interview specifically aimed at screening soft skills. This article from LinkedIn suggests 12 different ideas to test soft skills before hiring.

Challenges of international sales hiring

Although international sales recruiting may help you build a dream outbound sales team, it’s not without challenges. Aside from the regular sales recruiting logistics, you’ll also need to consider local labour laws, tax implications, time zones, and language barriers. 

For this reason, many organizations choose to outsource the sales hiring process to a recruitment company. Whether you go the internal route or decide to outsource, here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

Be aware of cultural differences

Different countries have different expectations in terms of salary and compensation, work environment, and educational requirements. Take the time to understand how each of these will affect the recruitment process. 

Perform international background checks

Screen all potential candidates with both local and international background checks. The easiest way to do this is to partner with a screening provider like Sterling Backcheck, which checks both international criminal records and verifies past employment and educational references.

Ensure your screening process complies with local laws

Choose a recruitment agency or screening provider that adheres to international standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Final thoughts on finding outbound sales talent abroad

International sales hiring may be the key to building your dream outbound sales team. Choosing from a global pool of candidates ensures you hire the best possible salespeople for your organization, and focusing on soft skills allows for continued growth long after their initial hire.

If you’re looking for support in the sales hiring process, our Predictable Hiring Service can help walk you through everything from identifying the type of individual needed, designing job descriptions, interviewing and onboarding. We help you minimize recruitiment expenses and accelerate the ROI of your hires. Reach out and ask us about “Predictable Hiring” to get more information.

Throughout these pages, you will find lessons taken from conversations we’ve had with thought-provoking B2B sales leaders, insightful advice, and actionable tips to help you navigate changes in the industry and leverage new opportunities for growth.

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