Should Sales Development Reps Be Allowed To Work From Home?

June 8, 2015 Sam Laber

A question that seems to come up a lot in sales development is whether or not managers should allow their reps to work from home. The idea is that, after becoming fully ramped, reps tend to be fairly autonomous in their day-to-day and need less oversight. They know how to research an account, how to write a cold email, how to handle objections, and how to route opportunities to the appropriate sales rep, so why not show your reps a little love and let them “WFH” on occasion?

At Datanyze, we’re on board with this logic, but also aware of the inevitable shortcomings that come with a little extra independence (it is summer in California after all…). In that light, we’ll share a few best practices we’ve picked up to help your reps get a bit more freedom while still staying productive.

Work from home is a privilege, not a right

First things first. If you’re going to allow reps to work from home, it should be packaged as a reward for stellar performance. A large number of SDR teams are divided into tiers (e.g. SDR 1, SDR 2, SDR 3), where each tier represents a healthier compensation package and deeper involvement in interviewing and on-boarding new reps. As a best practice, try adding work from home as another benefit for reps who ascend to a higher tier. You might find that some SDRs are not 100% motivated by more money or more responsibility — they may just want a little more trust.

Pick a day… any day?

Most SDR managers we’ve talked to believe that work from home should be a once a week affair. But how do you know which day to choose? Does it even matter? This question is fairly difficult to tackle scientifically, so in this case, we’ll settle for giving you an empirical answer based on what has worked for several teams we know.

Wednesday.

Why? Here’s our take. Wednesdays are smack dab in the middle of the work week and can often define how the rest of your week goes. Spread yourself too thin on Monday and Tuesday? Use Wednesday as a recovery day and set yourself up for a productive Thursday and Friday. Slack off Monday and Tuesday? Use Wednesday to buckle down and play catch up with no outside distractions. And keep in mind this nice little quote from time management expert, Laura Vanderkam:

By working from home on Wednesdays, you’re never more than two days from respite.

Measure activity, but don’t get carried away

After awarding a rep work from home privileges, you’ll want to keep an eye on how things play out. For SDR managers, it’s easy to link poor performance to light activity and even easier to blame light activity on work from home. So how do you strike a balance between promoting accountability and not being the boss who gets left off happy hour invites each week?

The key here is to stay focused on the bottom line. For most SDR teams, this equates to the number of demos booked or amount of pipeline generated through outbound activities. If you see a dip in the bottom line, it may be worth looking deeper into the metrics. If you see a dip in activity but not in the bottom line, congrats! Your rep has found a way to do more with less. Spread that expertise around to the team!

Stay in touch

Lastly, a (very) legitimate concern for managers who allow their team to work from home is the tendency for reps to go offline or be unresponsive to chats, calls and emails. A breakdown in the line of communication, especially if from a more senior rep, can severely affect the team’s overall output. After a rep has been awarded work from home, it is imperative that they stay in touch with the rest of the team, and most importantly, notify team members both when they need to step out and when they get back online.

About the Author

Sam Laber

Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.

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