A great sales team isn’t only found in one office, and a remote sales team may have never even worked in a cubicle.
The vast digital transformation has seen the planet’s workforce scattered across the globe, with most of us now working from home for the foreseeable future.
From B2B sales and other distributed sales teams, this requires a certain level of finesse, patience, and a refined approach. However, when things get back to as close to normal as possible, having your sales team out and about as opposed to centrally located brings with it a load of benefits.
If your sales team works more on the move than they do in the office, you have a remote sales team. The challenges of managing and motivating them both in an HR sense and a more personal sense are not inconsiderable. Handling a remote sales team isn’t straightforward.
Many of the traditional principles of sales management are still valid, but when a problem arises, you can’t simply get face to face clarification. Encouraging your team’s productivity isn’t always easy, but these issues can be overcome.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to do so:
Defining Your Expectations
You must encourage your remote sales team to meet higher performance levels when setting expectations. You must set high standards as regards sales targets, your sales channel strategy KPIs, online procedures when chasing leads, and proper time management.
Sales managers must be willing to hop on a video call or set up an audio conference to discuss all of the above.
Additionally, they need to provide each employee with a detailed report about their specific performance outcomes. Just as when communicating face to face, go over the established processes for finding leads, customer service expectations, cold-calling or emailing, how to follow up and how to close a deal. Don’t let your remote team be lost in the cloud; remote work has the same expectations as office work.
Forge Deeper Relationships
When it comes to a sales environment, praise is a massive element to encourage success. If you don’t think your positive actions will be rewarded or recognized, why try harder in the first place?
With sales teams having goals that are structured around individual accomplishments, building trust and rapport comes from communication. That’s particularly true with a remote team.
Sales managers should plan their schedules to overlap those of their remote teams. That ensures that if any questions or problems arise, there’s an instant response. When you’re paying attention to your team’s needs without them having to prompt you to, you build trust.
However, you do need to walk the line between instant recognition and micromanaging. While already a challenge in a typical office setting, it can feel amplified when working remotely. You can’t interpret micro hints or body language. So, the balance becomes even finer and tougher to strike.
As long as deals are being closed, how and when your team works shouldn’t really be an issue. Praise them for earning commission and let them have more personal time as a result. Keep conversations work-focused with a friendly tone, and let them know you’re there whenever they need you. You can achieve that without giving the impression that you’re always watching!
Make Sure They Have All The Right Tools
Instant messaging, fax, and telephony tools
With your sales team scattered, staying connected is vital for success. Having uniform lines of communication is the first port of call.
Utilize messaging apps, fax software for computers, and other tools, and provide access to your entire sales team. Dedicated business phone numbers are also a must. Even if your reps are working from home, they must project a professional appearance. You don’t want leads rejecting calls that seem to come from a home or mobile number.
Document transfer tools
Don’t forget about document transfer platforms either.
If you have one that allows you to send a link without having to log in securely, you’ve improved the chances of them opening the document significantly.
CRM tools often fall by the wayside for remote teams, as they’re seen as part of a more ‘traditional’ setup. However, these are more useful for those working sales remotely, as you may have thousands of online clients waiting for your response.
Having a central location to store and track your workflow will keep your team from getting confused, particularly if they’ve got their own accounts and targets. Such platforms, too, can connect your sales team with other workers such as those handling email or SMS customer support.
Online meeting tools
Web-based cloud meeting tools are among the best options you can use for organizing and communicating. The chances are that your existing device offers a browser-based, platform-independent option, so that no matter the hardware or OS, everyone can get access.
Lastly, cloud sales software and various SaaS products mean team members can track prospects across the funnel from any device.
Maintain a Social Aspect
You can promote positive interactions amongst your sales team by holding weekly meetings to open lines of communication.
Not only is it a great way to learn from one another – sales reps can discuss how they’re closing deals – but it also adds a much-needed morale boost and overall enhances work productivity to both hear and see from your colleagues.
Besides, scheduled meetings with your team help ease the process of addressing significant issues, and the brainstorming of new sales techniques. There’s a benefit for all those in attendance.
Lastly, keep in mind that work meetings shouldn’t just be about work. Working remotely has meant there’s no more in-office banter, which goes a long way in keeping people on good terms.
Stimulate discussion around everyday topics like sports, memes, and music. Recommend shows to one another, screen share funny videos, and ask about family life. Building this rapport helps combat the loneliness that comes from remote work, so give your team the time to discuss topics beyond the workplace.
Having a remote sales team can be tremendously advantageous, but does require proper communication, motivation, and the leveraging of technology to make it work.
Setting your remote sales team up for success creates a work environment that will thicken your sales pipeline. You can pave the way for such success by setting clear expectations, investing in the right remote working resources, and building rapport and camaraderie within your team.
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About the author
John Allen is the director of global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and contact conferencing solutions provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Apple World and Novatech.