How to Be Successful in a Remote Sales Team
The demand for remote work and remote sales is growing. Once seen only as a viable option for freelancers and digital nomads, remote work is quickly emerging as a valuable way to boost productivity.
In the right scenario, remote sales teams can achieve just as good, if not better, outcomes than in-office employees, because they tend to be more passionate, motivated, and engaged. However, for a remote sales staff to make the most of their potential, business leaders need the right strategy in place and workers need to be focused and ready for the challenges of remote work.
75% of people say that working remotely helps them reduce distractions, and 39% of people working from home actually work more hours than their in-office counterparts. Click To Tweet
Reasons why professionals choose remote working rather than working in an office:
How do you manage a remote sales team effectively? And how do you thrive as a salesperson in a remote team?
We’ll tackle both of these questions, so stay tuned.
How to manage a remote sales team effectively
When done right, remote work can lead to more productive sales teams, but managing one of these groups isn’t simple. While the basic principles of sales management still apply, team leaders need to think carefully about how to adapt their processes to suit a new environment.
Set clear objectives and goals
The first step to getting the most out of your remote team is setting clear goals. Gallup polls show that when clear priorities are laid out for employees, 38% of workers feel more engaged.
Use work management tools and performance tracking software to guide your employees through effective processes for collecting and nurturing leads.
However, you also need to be willing to speak face-to-face to your agents over a video call if confusion arises. Discussing expectations with the nuances of facial expressions and body language can make a huge difference to understanding.
Track work outcomes
When your sales team is working remotely, you can’t just pop into an office cubicle to see how things are going. Instead, workforce management solutions and cloud sales software are necessary to keep track of how opportunities are progressing.
CRM tools like Salesforce can track how many leads your employees are capturing each day.
Contact centre tools may also be useful to pinpoint bottlenecks in your lead acquisition and nurturing strategy. Thanks to the cloud, businesses can access the same valuable contact centre software for workers at home as they can in the office.
Establish communication guidelines
Having the right communication tools in place is just one piece of the engagement puzzle. Business leaders need to lay out policies so team members know when to use different tools.
For instance, when an employee wants to check up on the nature of a project, or discuss a deadline, an instant message might be all that’s necessary. On the other hand, when discussing more complex topics, it may be easier to upgrade the conversation to a video or voice call.
Ensure your employees know how and when to use each communication service.
Foster the right company culture
The right culture is essential to keep employees engaged and motivated. You can build culture for a remote workforce in a number of ways.
One excellent way to do this is with weekly catch-up sessions where people communicate about their lives, not just their work habits.
At the same time, culture builds around the values you share with your employees. Make sure they know exactly what matters most to your company.
This doesn’t mean micromanaging your team members. This means providing them with regular guidance and feedback that helps them work more independently.
Measure performance in a timely manner
As mentioned above, providing feedback to your employees is crucial to helping them achieve their goals. However, this also means you need to be measuring their performance effectively.
When salespeople aren’t in the office, it can be difficult to keep track of their progress. Luckily, there are a variety of workforce and quality management tools available to help you keep tabs on your team.
This will give you an insight into which employees are reaching their targets, and which need extra help.
When salespeople aren’t in the office, it can be difficult to keep track of their progress. Luckily, there are a variety of workforce and quality management tools available to help you keep tabs on your team. Click To Tweet
How to thrive in a remote sales team
It’s not just managers that need help adapting to a remote working environment, but individual employees too.
Staff members entering the remote world for the first time might need additional guidance to help them reach their goals and manage their time.
Here are some tips to help a remote sales team thrive.
Maintain a routine
Operating in a remote team gives employees more freedom to choose the hours they work and maintain a better work/life balance. It’s a common misconception that remote workers work less, when in reality, rather than losing productivity, remote employees often work extra to get their tasks done.
Because of this, it’s important to ensure that your employees aren’t overworking themselves.
Although it’s good to be committed to your work, working too much, too often is likely to lead to burnout. Make sure you’re maintaining a routine, complete with breaks, and a specific “end of day” clock-out time. This will help you to avoid the risk of overworking.
Be as personable as possible
Sales teams in a remote workplace can’t meet face-to-face with prospects, which means they miss out on opportunities to build real human connections. Technology can help bridge this gap to some extent, but teams need to know which kind of communication tools to use.
For instance, video conferencing can be an excellent way to replicate the face-to-face interactions that your clients and leads miss. Even an audio call, where customers can hear the warm tone in a sales assistant’s voice, is a lot more appealing than an email in some cases. Quick chats over messenger apps can answer client questions in seconds, and even social media could come into play.
Build your communication strategy around whatever works for your community.
Track customer interest and interaction
When you can’t look clients in the eyes anymore, you need to find other ways to get to know them. For instance, you can track when prospects open their emails, and when they click the links in those messages. This gives you an insight into when your customers are most active.
With web analytics tools, you can track when people visit a website and which pages they look at. There are similar tracking tools available for proposals and documents. Having the right CRM technology and tracking tools in place will make it easier to understand your client’s journey, so you can tailor your sales strategy to them.
Build relationships with social media
As mentioned above, sometimes social media can make a big difference to sales. If you’re selling remotely, you’ll need to connect with people in their community. This means connecting with prospects on the platform that makes sense to them.
Starting friendly conversations online, asking for feedback, or just checking out what your customers talk about and share on social media can all make a big difference to your sales. Treat your social media friends like real friends, and you’ll build powerful connections for your business.
Finally, when you’re engaging in meetings with colleagues and clients, make sure you optimise those sessions. Use a scheduling tool to ensure you’re connecting with people at the time that’s best for them.
Make sure you set up automated reminders so you don’t forget about the meeting, and use video conferencing software so you can connect face-to-face. You could create a document and add it to your calendar for the day of your meeting. This will give you access to crucial information about the person you’re talking to, and what you need to speak about.
Unlock the benefits of a remote sales team
Although there are challenges to switching to a remote sales environment, there are also many benefits to running your sales team remotely. For instance, the cost savings for a remote team are often incredible. With remote reps, companies don’t need as much office space. Additionally, there’s less demand for supplies and technical hardware.
In the remote world, you can also take advantage of a wider, more valuable talent pool. You’re not restricted to working with employees that happen to be in your immediate area. Instead, businesses can build their teams using the most skilled individuals from around the world. Allowing salespeople to work remotely opens the door to some top-tier candidates.
Finally, remember that remote teams are far more productive than their counterparts. The results show consistently that remote workers get more done and feel more motivated than their in-office team members. As these employees become more efficient, managers have more time to take on additional responsibilities and help the business grow.
The results show consistently that remote workers get more done and feel more motivated than their in-office team members. Click To Tweet
If you’re a manager:
- Always set clear objectives and track the outcomes of sales processes
- Establish communication guidelines, and use them to enhance company culture
- Measure performance in a timely manner and provide feedback
If you’re a remote sales team member:
- Find a routine that helps you thrive and optimise your meetings
- Be as personable as possible, even if that means connecting on social media
- Track customer interest and interaction wherever you can
The demand for remote sales teams is bigger than ever. It’s time we all learned how to make the most of this new environment.
Originally published May 29, 2020, updated Aug 04, 2022