Enabled by modern technology, remote work is becoming more and more popular. Linked to an increase in employee happiness, work/life balance, productivity, and performance, many companies are exploring the option. Conflated by current events that have led to a massive cancellation of corporate travel, many companies are investigating the possibility of temporary remote work for their teams.
Is your sales team going to go remote? Here are the best practices for managing a remote sales team.
The first thing that you need for a remote sales team is a tech stack that will properly enable, support, and generate success within your dispersed team. It’s common to take a walk through nearly any office and see a physical phone on every desk. However, those days are over. Dialer applications, whether it be an in-browser or a desktop application have completely replaced physical phones.
These applications, in conjunction with email, cloud-based document hosting, scheduling tools, communication platforms, and CRMs like Salesforce enable remote salespeople to access and utilize their entire sales stack to the fullest extent notwithstanding of geographic location.
When launching a remote work program with your sales team, choose sales tools that are cloud-based and easily accessed from any laptop. That way, reps will be able to use all of your sales enablement applications regardless of where they are.
Sales teams often make the mistake of acquiring new sales applications and then forcing their sales processes to work with them.
If your team is permanently or temporarily migrating to remote work, you should seek to maintain or improve your current processes. The change to a remote sales team will be significant and unfamiliar, but keeping processes similar to those in the office will maintain familiarity, as well as provide an easier transition and a simpler path to success.
Working together in the same physical space produces a feeling of duty and responsibility. A move to a fragmented and singular environment can lead to a neglect of responsibilities. Create a public central repository of sales activities, goals, and progress made so sales reps can remain accountable to themselves, their peers, and their team regardless of their location. Allow your remote sales team to access the dashboard from anywhere at any time so they can see where they stand against their objectives and in relation to their teammates.
Additionally, this dashboard can serve as a point through which the sales manager can monitor their team’s progress and ensure that goals are being met.
Office culture is important, it fosters an attitude of success for any sales team. Therefore you should maintain a work culture for your remote sales team as well. Just because they do not share the same physical space, does not mean your team cannot have its own culture.
Enable easy peer-to-peer communication with tools such as Slack and set up channels where sales reps can share foods, locations, and happenings from their geographic area. Create games and contests with virtual prizes like digital gift cards, and hold weekly, if not daily team meetings via video so everyone can see each other face-to-face.
Remote work requires a massive amount of trust. You must trust your sales reps, and as their manager, they must trust you. If you truly want your remote sales team to be successful, you must trust that reps are doing what they should be doing. Regardless if they are in an office or not, micromanagement and/or over-monitoring your salespeople will lead to a frustrating negative work environment. In remote work, it can be even more uncomfortable or downright oppressive. This will lead to high turnover rates which are costly for sales teams.
In the office, sales teams regularly interact with leaders, managers, other reps, support, success, operations, and other key players and teams that need to remain informed and engaged to ensure things run smoothly. To maintain the flow of information through other teams, as well as between your own reps, schedule regular meetings that are internal to your team, and include key individuals from other teams.
Use these meetings to review current initiatives, discuss blockers, find resolutions, and plan the next steps. Also, use this time to disseminate information to those who need it. Once these meetings are scheduled, ensure everyone stays committed to them. Do not allow them to be canceled, moved, or missed unless completely necessary or else the key communication that occurs within your team and to external parties will erode.
One of the most difficult components of remote work, especially on a remote sales team is communication and collaboration. These two aspects are key to a high performing sales group, and must be maintained when the team is dispersed.
Ensure that your sales team has tools that enable simple and rapid communication through various channels, including chat, voice, and video. Project collaboration tools that allow sales reps to share documents and presentations are essential, as well as shared calendars.
Additionally, Salesforce data must be kept completely clean, accurate, and up to date to guarantee that every rep can easily find and reference the information that they need.