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One of the benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is the acceleration in the adoption of remote work and geographically diverse teams. The latter stands to benefit companies and potential employees and contractors in various ways. Companies can access a talent pool that was previously unavailable and, in some cases, can even secure cost savings due to geographical differences in cost of living (a company operating in a high-cost-of-living area can recruit individuals located in low-cost-of-living areas, reducing the salary requirements). Conversely, in some instances, employees and independent contractors can secure work where they are paid relatively more compared to local job listings.
According to projections by Ladders, a recruitment company that specializes in roles that pay in excess of $100,000 in salary, 25% of professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2023.
There are roles, however, that have been performed by remote workers for a while, predating the necessities of the pandemic. One such job is that of a virtual sales assistant (VSA). VSAs specialize in providing organizations with a cost-effective solution to the arduous process of sales support.
If you’re looking to streamline your sales support and generate value in an economically efficient way, then read on for the ultimate guide to VSAs.
What Is A Virtual Sales Assistant?
A virtual sales assistant, or VSA, is generally defined as an outsourced remote worker or contractor who performs tasks related to the sales process.
Organizations often make use of VSAs to lower costs since a remote worker that is not on-site is generally cheaper than a physically present employee. Furthermore, some companies that operate in first-world countries amplify cost savings by outsourcing this work to independent contractors located in developing countries. Due to the differential in cost of living, these contractors do not expect and require the same financial remuneration as potential employees in a first-world company’s country of origin. Additional savings are found in the fact that labor laws do not apply to international independent contractors, and, as such, benefits such as paid time off, sick leave, healthcare, and more, do not factor into the cost to the company.
However, it is important to note that extra consideration is required when recruiting internationally. It is vital that your VSAs speak your company’s (and client’s) language of communication fluently. If this is not the case, miscommunication can lead to downturns in productivity and job inaccuracies. Moreover, if your VSAs are client-facing and they are perceived as lacking in communication and comprehensive skills, this reflects poorly on your company. Outside of this, thought should be given to cultural differences and any other nuances that might be associated with your company, your target audience, and your potential VSAs.
What Does A Virtual Sales Assistant Do?
As the name suggests, VSAs undertake activities and responsibilities in sales and sales support. While these tasks often do not require a high degree of technical training and expertise, their execution is critical for the success of your business.
Some common tasks that are delegated to VSAs include:
- Lead up follow-ups
- Scheduling meetings and calls
- Data entry
- Cold outreach
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software tasks and oversight
- Lead generation
What Qualifications Does a Virtual Sales Assistant Need?
As mentioned above, while the technical barriers to entry for VSAs are somewhat low, competence is non-negotiable. You cannot afford to compromise any component of your sales process. The damage caused by mishaps in sales and your sales process can be severe, long-lasting, and reputation damaging.
In terms of “hard” qualifications that a VSA requires, a high school diploma is usually considered adequate.
In terms of skills, the following are borderline non-negotiable for all VSAs:
- Effective communication
- Time management
- Customer service
- People skills
- Product knowledge
Depending on their specific role and responsibilities, it can also be useful for VSAs to be well-versed in negotiation, research, closing deals, and networking.
Similarly, a nice-to-have for VSAs would be familiarity with the software and technology that your business utilizes — this encompasses familiarity and competence in certain marketing technology software (such as Wingmate or Zapier), productivity tools (such as Monday.com or Notion), and CRM software.
No matter how good a resume looks on paper, with hiring, the intangibles often make all the difference. A well-structured and thorough recruitment process will ensure that your organization only makes use of top talent and individuals who are a good fit for your company’s culture, vision, mission, and values.
What Are the Benefits of a Virtual Sales Assistant?
As mentioned extensively, one of the most desired benefits of hiring a VSA is the acquisition of additional capacity at a favorable cost. Nevertheless, the productivity benefits of outsourcing this labor are vast. As per the Harvard Business Review, delegating repetitive tasks can improve productivity by up to 20%.
Using a VSA leads to specialization and eventual economies of scale. VSAs are not the only ones who will benefit from specialization, as by outsourcing sales support, your organization can focus its resources on its core business activities.
Additional benefits can be found in staff (and even contractor) retention. Due to the cost savings afforded by independent VSAs, additional resources can be allocated to your full-time staff complement, potentially increasing retention and job satisfaction. If remunerated appropriately and treated well, VSAs are also inclined to be loyal due to flexible working arrangements and favorable payment terms.
How Much Does a Virtual Sales Assistant Earn?
The average base pay for a virtual sales assistant in the U.S. is roughly $21 USD per hour, with Indeed reporting an average hourly rate of $20.88 USD and ZipRecruiter reporting a rate of $21 USD per hour.
In Canada, a VSA’s average base pay per hour is closer to $22 USD per hour, with Indeed reporting an average hourly rate of $22.45 USD and ZipRecruiter reporting a rate of $21 USD per hour.
Annualized, this means that, on average, American VSAs earn about $62,898 USD per year, while their Canadian counterparts take home around $67,065 per year.
However, it is important to note that VSAs often work as contractors and earn per hour. As such, if you only need a VSA for 20 hours a week, you will end up paying far less than if you had a full-time employee. Also, it is useful to remember that if your VSAs are contractors, then they also do not need to be provided with benefits.
Rates for independent international contractors that offer VSA services vary greatly, depending on the contractor’s country of residence. Countries where English is widely spoken and that subsequently are popular choices for VSA recruitment include the Philippines, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya,
If you’d like to find competent, passionate, experienced, and qualified virtual sales assistants, reach out to Wingmate. We provide companies with dedicated sales representatives that are expertly trained to grow your business. All of our VSAs work out of our headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and provide services such as lead monitoring, pipeline management, deal management, follow-ups, and more.
However, it should be noted that optimizing an organization’s sales process, regardless of how it is done, can lead to substantial improvements in revenue, profitability, organizational efficiency, and synergy.
In the age of data, equipping your team members with the right technology is oftentimes the most pragmatic way of supercharging your sales process.
Wingmate’s CRM and Field Reporting App pair together perfectly to provide businesses with a tool that effectively collects, stores, processes, and analyzes customer data. By avoiding the pitfalls of bloated and overloaded CRM software, Wingmate’s CRM allows you to focus on your core business activities while still staying on top of sales.
Book a demo today to witness the possibilities firsthand!
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