The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of people around the world to stay at home – displacing sales teams and driving the adoption of virtual sales platforms. Sales productivity has declined by 20% since the beginning of the pandemic as executives struggle to adapt to managing remote salespeople, representatives, and customer service agents. In this changing setting, companies are required to make the transition much faster than normal.
Businesses now need to be vigilant to ensure thoughtful preparation and investment in remote operations. As a sales manager / leader, it is important to lead the remote team in order to help them achieve their goals while adapting to a new way of working.
Here are 6 strategies for successfully managing a remote sales team:
1. Establishing strong communication & collaboration
Good communication is a top priority to lead an effective remote team. When it comes to communicating with remote team members, it’s easier to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Since face-to-face contact is minimal, it is necessary to establish faith and good rapport by facilitating opportunities for remote workers to engage professionally and socially with the team.
Sales leaders need to give priority to communicating with remote reps. It is therefore important to promote a culture of collaboration and engagement. Collaboration is essential to success – apps and networks allow each team member to work together effectively.
By engaging with other team members, promoting meaningful professional and social engagement through quarterly and monthly activities / events fosters productivity and helps create healthy relationships between remote employees. It is a good idea not only to arrange one-to-one calls with each individual rep, but also to have discussions with the whole team and to include everyone. In addition, by facilitating cooperation with other departments, sales staff will exchange knowledge, narratives, experiences and perspectives. This also allows them to align themselves with the appropriate strategic priorities and campaigns.
2. Fostering accountability
One process that many active remote teams are pursuing is to set up an accountability routine. Once a week, all team members share an update about what leads they’re going to follow next week and what targets they’ve already reached.
This allows team members to be on the same project goal page as well as to hold everyone accountable to everyone else. Moreover, accountability ensures that teams meet their goals on time.
3. Providing the right tools to manage sales activities
Being a sales manager, it’s crucial to ensure that your employees have the tools and resources they need to succeed. To effectively manage a remote sales team, you need to ensure that the team is provided with the appropriate resources, such as CRM – to maintain and update leads, prospects and current client details. Also, being in contact frequently through chat tools means that sales reps feel linked and part of the team. It is therefore important to use the right technologies to make it easy to manage remote teams.
4. Managing time usage
Smart sales managers know that they need to keep track of their salespeople ‘s activities. This is particularly relevant in a remote sales team where you can’t see what your sales staff is working on. Home distractions are one of the greatest obstacles for remote workers. It is therefore necessary to assign and spend time judiciously on the right opportunities. There is no point in getting distracted and investing extra time on leads that are too weak or have a low conversion chance. In this regard, a time tracker helps teams maintain and monitor consistent working hours. There are different options out there.
5. Building trust
In almost every sales team, individual accomplishments on particular deals could be given more attention than the teamwork that went into them. This can lead to internal strife, unhealthy competition and distrust. Managers must also pay heed to the needs of their sales staff. Showing trust in your salespeople to make decisions gives them a sense of autonomy. But this trust builds over time.
At the same time, regular interaction creates trust between the manager and remote employees. Weekly calls allow remote workers to catch up, generate ideas, and share positive stories.
6. Promoting teamwork
It is unlikely that a team that does not trust each other would cooperate or support each other. Therefore, you should take active measures to encourage successful collaboration among your remote employees. Such as – giving team recognition, taking regular feedback, establishing clear sales objectives, and so on.
One successful way to encourage teamwork is by over-communicating. This means sending updates on a routine basis, responding to messages quickly, and being accessible at important times. To avoid having back and forth conversation over email or chat, get on video calls with your team members.
7. Encouraging employee engagement
It can be typical for remote sales staff to feel less involved and distant. Hence, organizations have an opportunity to boost their employees’ experience into one that allows them to feel engaged. Now is a good time to ensure you have a solid sales enablement plan in place.
Low levels of employee engagement are not good for the organization. Employees who are engaged are often 10x more productive than those who are not engaged.
And in remote teams, where human interaction is limited, it’s easy to feel less involved. That’s why it’s important for you to take constructive measures to minimise the factors that frustrate your employees.
Share Accomplishments and Provide Support:
Keep a weekly video call to share achievements-how someone closed four high-ticket deals in one week or what strategies they used to convert a skeptical customer. The more accomplishments you share, the more enthused each salesperson feels that they are delivering big wins. Daily meetings not only inspire people, but they are also useful for brainstorming ideas or complex sales issues. Build an environment in which people can find help and support anytime they need it. These social interactions will not only encourage positive vibrations among team members but will also combat the isolation of the physical workplace.
8. Setting clear expectations
Salespeople need goals for self-motivation. An ambitious sales manager should address ideal performance goals and objectives, enabling remote sales workers to achieve higher performance targets.
In a remote team, where collaboration is a challenge, it’s easy to confuse who should do what. Hence, if the sales team knows what’s expected of them, they’re more likely to deliver. And deciding on particular objectives gives you a structure for measuring the performance.
Therefore, expectations should be for both revenue goals and sales processes.You can get on a video call with your remote team members at least once to chat about general rules on how to locate leads, what to do when the opportunities are cold, how to follow up, and so on. This ensures that each team member is clear about the overall objectives, priorities, and targets of the group.
For efficient remote workforce management – you must promote seamless communication and cooperation between team members, establish efficient processes, set accurate objectives, build trust, and be accessible. The availability of digital communications and cloud-based computing makes remote work simpler, more productive than before, and a popular choice across a wide range of industries.