Did you know that a sales team can be 13% more productive when they work remotely?
However, there are many moving parts to a sales process, and leading a remote sales team isn’t a stroll in the park. Besides following the basic principles of sales management, you also need to set up your team and adopt a management strategy that addresses the unique challenges of remote working.
Here’s how you can effectively manage a remote sales team:
1. Set clear expectations
When managers set clear priorities for their teams, 38% of employees feel more engaged and driven to improve their work performance. This is particularly important for remote workers who aren’t getting constant supervision.
Setting clear expectations, such as performance metrics and sales objectives, will encourage your team to manage their work autonomously. This allows them to feel empowered and motivated to reach the organization’s goals.
Translate these expectations into clear online procedures (e.g., how to find leads, how to do cold-calling, how to take email follow up, how to close the deal) to support the execution of your sales strategies. Also, standardize processes and streamline workflows to minimize misunderstanding and inefficiencies that could lead to errors and delays.
In addition, team members need to know what to do when they encounter problems if they can’t reach their supervisors right away. When clear expectations are communicated, employees are more likely to take initiatives and come up with solutions that are in alignment with the company’s objectives.
You should also provide ongoing support and keep an open line of communication to make sure that team members are on track to meeting the expectations. While team members are working remotely it’s easy for issues to arise that affect performance. Hop on a video call to discuss potential issues ranging from sales numbers being down to how their health may be affecting performance.
Frequent review of detailed reports with individual team members is also key to making sure that they’re on track to achieving the objectives. Doing so allows you to troubleshoot and course-correct while ensuring that employees are aware of their performance and results.
2. Invest in the right tools and resources
You need to provide your team with the right online sales tools and remote software so they can communicate with prospects and collaborate with their colleagues cost-effectively.
SaaS sales tools allow your team to log in from anywhere with an internet connection and access the latest information in real-time. Team members can update prospect records from any device so everyone in the team can stay up-to-date.
You should also have the latest versions of all documents and templates stored in the cloud, which employees can access at any time. This helps standardize processes and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Since team members will be accessing your system from anywhere and using a variety of devices, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure cybersecurity and protect business-critical data.
As more people are using their own mobile devices for work-related activities, you should implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy and provide sufficient IT support to ensure that team members are configuring their devices correctly.
In addition, everyone should be accessing the internal network via a VPN connection, which encrypts the data before it’s transmitted across the internet to protect sensitive information from hackers.
3. Build trust and encourage teamwork
A successful sales process requires team members to work together and trust is key to effective collaboration. Yet, many sales teams structure goals around individual accomplishments, which discourage employees from supporting each other and working toward a common goal.
Building trust is even more challenging for managers of remote teams because there are fewer interactions among employees. Therefore, you need to facilitate teamwork by encouraging communication.
Plan your team’s working schedule so there’s as much overlap in work hours as possible. Not only can team members communicate in real-time but you can also respond to issues or questions right away.
Just like managing a team in person, micromanagement does more harm than good. After you have clearly communicated objectives and key milestones, give your team the autonomy and opportunity so they’re empowered to achieve the goals. In fact, it’s found that employees who have autonomy tend to work harder.
Also, schedule weekly meetings to address major challenges and brainstorm complex sales strategies so team members don’t feel like they’re left on their own.
Don’t overlook less structured interactions, which can help build trust among team members and encourage them to learn from each other. For example, allow time for employees to share new sales techniques or share their experiences in the weekly meetings to keep the line of communication open.
Last but not least, encourage social interactions to build relationships and camaraderie. You can do so by creating virtual water cooler moments that allow team members to learn about each other at a more personal level and build healthy team relationships.
Effective management is the key to improving the efficiency and productivity of your remote sales team.
Set clear expectations and empower team members to work autonomously so they’ll take initiatives that align with your organization’s objectives. Arm them with the appropriate online tools so they can access the latest information and collaborate with colleagues in real-time. Don’t forget to foster relationships among team members, which is the key to encouraging teamwork that will benefit the entire organization in the long-run.
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