The importance of sales coaching has been proven. Surprisingly, only 21.7% of sales managers have implemented a formal coaching program for their teams. Part of the problem is that managers find it difficult to find the time to coach their reps. As challenging as it may be to provide sales coaching, coaching a team of remote sales reps presents its own set of challenges. Here’s 7 tips to overcome these and successfully coach your remote sales team.
Communicate: It’s especially important that you clearly communicate your expectations to your remote team since you don’t see them every day. They need to understand what results they are to accomplish and the actions they must employ to do so. Providing feedback on call recordings helps accomplish this. Beyond that, maintain an ongoing dialogue with your team members to reinforce the bond of trust between rep and coach. This will serve to improve your overall results. Scheduling a daily or routine debriefing is another great means of ongoing communication. It could be via a team call or written communications like messaging or email.
Virtual ride-alongs: When your sales team is all working in the same office, or within the same geographic area, it makes it easy to do ride-alongs with your reps. With significant distances between you and all your teammates, it becomes a bit more difficult to have routine in-person ride-alongs. This doesn’t reduce the need to complete these activities on a regular basis, it simply makes it more challenging. Virtual ride-alongs may be completed in a variety of ways. You can listen in on live sales calls with, or without your reps’ knowledge, to provide them with feedback in real time. Joint calls with reps is a great way to help your team members close more challenging deals. Listening to recordings of calls is another option, allowing you to provide feedback at your convenience. Plus, all off these methods are easily completed remotely!
Routine team meetings: Gathering your team together physically may not be a cost-effective or practical option when your sales team works remotely but it doesn’t take away the need for you to meet with your team as a group. Routine team meetings may be conducted virtually via conference call, web call, or webinar. These options allow you to coach your team as a group and interact with them. Go around the group during these weekly or bi-weekly calls and have each person discuss their greatest successes and challenges. They’ll learn from each other’s wins and by helping work through difficult sales scenarios.
Teamwork: Another way to coach your remote team is by creating a best practices library of recordings of excellent sales call. You might group them in categories for reps to easily locate the examples they need to help them improve. Direct reps to particular recordings to aid them in learning new sales or closing techniques. You can also have more senior reps listen to recordings of newer teammates and provide feedback for improvement. Pairing reps allows them to get another perspective on challenging sales scenarios, do role plays, and bounce ideas off each other. These provide additional support to your team while reducing your load a bit. An added bonus is the team bonding that takes place with these methods.
Weekly scenario challenges: Have your team submit their biggest sales challenges to you via email, or by sharing a call recording example for review, each week. It’s another way for you to keep a handle on what each rep is dealing with while helping you help your reps with their most difficult situations. Not only does this increase sales, it identifies additional coaching needs.
Leaderboards and Dashboards: Setting up leaderboards feeds the competitive nature of sales teams, while recognizing top reps for their stellar performances. Dashboards aid you and your team in tracking progress, while facilitating the identification of strengths and coaching requirements. It also gets reps in the habit of understanding key metrics and tracking their own progress. This enables them to self-correct instead of being told to do so.
Be consistent: Consistent coaching improves rep productivity and rep retention. These are strong reasons to set up a predictable process that ensures optimum results. It also prevents talented reps from leaving your company for another, in search of ongoing growth and learning.
Providing quality coaching to your remote sales team doesn’t need to be difficult. Try out these 7 coaching tips. You’ll retain your talented team members by providing them with the ongoing instruction and guidance that they desire. Plus, you’ll ensure your team is always operating at peak performance.