Hiring Sales Reps That Can Sell a Startup With Mathew Ward

Hiring sales reps that can sell a startup

In this episode of the Selling in Asia Podcast, Tom sits down with Founder & CEO at Workmate Mathew Ward to discuss how to lead remote sales teams. Particularly how to identify the traits of great salespeople that Mat recommends looking for when hiring, so join them as we gain a glimpse inside what it takes to build a sales team for a platform helping companies simplify the hiring and managing their blue-collar workforce.

Also read:

Someone who’s had to fight for every single scrap. Not someone that has experience from this big, well-established brand where people are knocking on their door for their product.

Tom Abbott

Traits of great sales professionals

When hiring for sales reps, like any other role in the company, a cultural fit is essential. More so, a personality that gels well with the rest of the team is vital. However, as Mat advises, there are always three key traits he always looks for when hiring a salesperson, empathy, curiosity and scrappiness.


Always look for somebody who has high levels of empathy because they’re going to understand the customer. But, more so, they’ll get close to the customer and build that relationship with the customer where they feel that this person is here to look out for my best interests.


Next, being naturally curious is critical because somebody who’s naturally curious will ask the what and the how, and the why questions in those discovery situations. Rather than just trying to push a product or shove it down someone’s throat without understanding their needs and wants.


The last key trait of a great salesperson is someone who’s got that kind of scrappiness or fight in them. Particularly someone who wants to solve that problem or get around that challenge, not somebody who’s always received everything on a plate. But, furthermore, where did they come from to have this attitude? Did they start at some startup where they pretty much had to figure out or create many things independently? That’s where you’ll find sales reps with ingenuity, resilience, resourcefulness and creativity.

Ultimately, any half-decent salesperson should be able to sell themselves in an interview. So how do you get deeper? The key is first clearly to define your business or cultural values. Thus by knowing what you want from your teams, you’ll be able to streamline your interview process and find a candidate quicker.

Mat’s best practices on how to lead remote sales teams

Record sales calls

Before Covid 19, many of us spent a lot of time in the market or in sales meetings with the teams. We’d be able to hold role-play discussions, where you’d get a feel for how they’re doing things. Furthermore, you’d be able to read the room by their body language. However, now that’s all gone, you need to start adapting.

So how can you start adapting your leadership to these new challenges? One of the advantages is that when you’re doing sales pitches over zoom, you can click that record button. Then, later on, play that back and go through it with your sales team. So you can identify with your sales team where they’re making mistakes, what they’re doing well, and where they can keep improving their approach.

Adopt asynchronous selling

Asynchronous communication is now a necessary component in sales due to the large number of people consuming information about you and your competitors online. For instance, how would you feel if you had to schedule a call to get an answer to a single question? Would you be more or less likely to continue researching the product or service?

Therefore, this type of synchronous communication is focused on getting the final deal. On the other hand, asynchronous communication sets you up for the last sales call by providing information to the customer ahead of time.

So rather than trying to schedule a time with the customer and meeting to present the proposal or slide deck, record yourself and send it to them in the format of a video. That way, they can watch it in their own time whenever they want.

Stop asking these questions when hiring!

I think a challenge that many of us struggle with getting away from is closed-ended questions. For instance:

  • Are you competitive?
  • Do you have a drive?
  • Were you able to close that deal?

Instead, you should be asking questions like, “can you tell me about a time where you had that situation and, and what exactly did you do to turn things around and win that deal?” Which will help give you some clues as to their actual ability in a specific area.

Challenges of leading remote sales teams

 When you’re remote, and on zoom calls, You don’t see that person’s probably struggling mentally or emotionally.


There are many advantages to companies adopting a remote working situation, such as boosting accountability, productivity and trust. However, there is also one big challenge facing us all:

Having the right support structures in place

Managing a remote sales team requires you to up your ability to support people who may find it much harder to work in an isolated environment. For instance, in an office, you can physically view or hear whether an employee is struggling; however, you don’t have that in a remote setting. So it would help if you had a natural intuition or a laser focus on picking up when someone might need a motivational boost.

More about Mathew & WorkMate 

Managing a large blue-collar workforce can be difficult. Dealing with no shows, performance issues, complex scheduling, and increasingly tight budgets can create significant challenges for the modern HR and operations teams.

That’s why over the last four years, Mathew and WorkMate have helped hundreds of companies in the logistics, warehousing, F&B and hospitality sectors simplify hiring, reduce no-show rates, improve worker performance and reduce admin costs associated with managing large scale blue-collar workforces.

Are you frustrated with trying to maintain effective communication with your remote team?

The crisis has fundamentally changed the way people live, work and do business. With teams worldwide working from home now and the growing number of remote workers, many leaders and companies are scrambling to adapt to how their teams work from home and how managers can lead remotely.

Take the guesswork out and join our Managing Virtually program to gain the skills needed to avoid common pitfalls when managing remote teams, motivate your sales team and communicate effectively – all of the time.

Managing Remote Sales Teams
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