From creating a better work-life balance to tapping into globally located sales talent, there are any number of reasons why a business may decide to facilitate remote working for their sales team.
Moving from an office-based team to a fully or partially remote team doesn’t come without its challenges. Careful planning and consideration must be taken to ensure that team members remain clear on what they need to achieve and motivated to achieve it.
In this article, we help you understand what you can be doing as a business leader to support your remote sales team and keep them thriving.
Develop a Culture of Communication
Maintaining communication is one of the key reasons why businesses often shy away from turning any team remote . However, with the correct culture and tools, remote communication can be just as, if not more, successful when working remotely.
It is the team manager’s responsibility to ensure that communication remains of high quality. The easiest way to achieve consistent team communication is to schedule regular online meetings with a clear purpose and agenda.
When employing new sales professionals for your team, look for those who are natural self-starters. Proactive salespeople are much easier to manage from a remote location as micromanaging is more difficult.
Sales culture can naturally isolate. Collaboration with your wider team can seem counterintuitive to sales professionals, especially when they have individual sales targets to hit. As a team leader, it is your job to recognize, reward, and facilitate wider team communication with the ultimate goal of wider business success.
Successful remote sales teams also schedule regular 1-on-1 meetings with their managers. Identify any areas where extra support may be required. It is easy to forget this type of communication when you are managing a large sales team remotely.
Facilitate Proactive Working
If you want your remote sales team to thrive you need to provide them the tools they need.
Many of the tools that successful sales teams already use in the office environment are already well adapted for remote use. For example, many leading CRM systems such as SalesForce are already cloud-based and therefore can be accessed by anyone, from anywhere, at any time, providing that they have the correct permissions.
Business IT infrastructure is also widely moving towards tools that can also be accessed by remote workers. Platforms such as Google Drive and Office 365 allow documents and files to be accessed from anywhere.
Team management tools such as Slack and Asana are helpful for all sales teams but are even more crucial for those who are working remotely. Central team spaces can be carefully set up to manage team workflow and facilitate communication.
When your sales team is working remotely and relying heavily on collaborative tools, it is more important than ever to ensure that ‘the proper way to do things’ is clearly communicated. As there are often many options for sales teams and their needs, different individuals using different tools can lead to confusion and the miscommunication of key information.
When working closely in an office environment, it is easy to communicate daily what is expected from your team, keeping them on track and focused on their goals. To ensure clear direction and to prompt motivation, it is crucial that you clearly explain what is expected of your remote sales team, both on a collective and an individual basis.
Setting expectations can be done simply with goal setting. For example, you may set your team and the individuals within it a goal to achieve a certain value of sales within one calendar month. You can then break these goals down into small, more actional indications for success such as the number of cold calls made, number of proposals sent out, or number of requests for quotation.
Although granular in its approach, setting goals and indicators signals to your team members exactly what they should be doing daily, limiting confusion and providing direction.
Promote Social Interaction
Using a team tool such as Slack to set up a social channel for general team chat can be a good way to minimize the possibility of your team feeling isolated when working remotely.
Even though team chats tend to be strictly non-work related and take place during work hours, they are a simple but effective way to promote a team ethos and keep energy levels high within your remote sales team. Talking about ideas outside the scope of work can also be a good way to inspire new and unusual ideas to increase productivity and gain new sales.
When managing an office-based sales team it is easy to identify and reward success such as team lunches and parties. In contrast, identifying and rewarding your team’s hard work can be more difficult when working remotely.
Setting goals is one good way to see where your team is being most effective. Rewarding performance is a proven and accepted method. However, rewarding your team with more thoughtful, individual gifts is a good way to show you recognize their efforts and understand them and their needs.
A Thriving Sales Team
Allowing your team to work from home can help team members to gain a better work-life balance. When your team can work on their terms they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and energized when it comes to bringing in sales.
Taking the time to understand how you can help your sales team thrive when working remotely will help you gain all the benefits of a remote sales force.
Could your team be fully or partially remote?
Read our blog on key sales metrics to find out how you should be measuring your remote sales teams success.