Managing remote sales teams is a real challenge. Whether it is a tradition in your company or a requirement due to new health restrictions, if done well, remote management can be very productive.
By answering the frequently asked questions on the subject, we will explain in this article how to keep your sales team motivated and engaged from a distance.
Here are some of the questions managers ask most:
- How to maintain the link with your team at a distance?
- How can you manage your partners remotely?
- What are the best practices to adopt?
The concept of distance selling, which is well established in the history of commerce since teleshopping, for example, provides advantages that are well recognised in the trade.
Why? Because when a person feels autonomous and their efforts are supported with full resources, they produce impressive results. Also, having the ability to choose one's work environment and define one's own schedule (via predefined guidelines) reduces stress and increases productivity.
In a survey conducted by FlexJobs, 65% of respondents said they felt more productive in their home office than in a traditional workplace. A Stanford University research study, meanwhile, found that employees are 13% more productive when working remotely.
Moreover, in remote work the absence of constraints such as commuting or a restrictive office policy allows them to focus their energy solely on selling.
However, managing a remote sales team requires the definition of clear processes, allowing you tomaintain your corporate culture remotely, often through the use of adapted tools.
Now that the pluses of distance selling have been put forward, let's explore how to adapt the management style to it.
A Gallup survey of German workers found that when a manager sets clear priorities for his or her employees, about 38% of workers feel committed and will strive to improve their performance at work.
Setting clear expectations for your distance selling team provides them with a standard to follow. This should include sales objectives, procedures and tips for managing time more effectively.
Sales managers should also make themselves available to their remote sales team to discuss their specific tasks and prospect databases as well as their own desired performance targets.
It is also necessary to train them in the CRM software used and to review the basic rules on how to find prospects. For example, what is the right speech to use during a cold call? How to follow up? How to close the deal and the procedures to follow if they encounter problems? etc.
Most companies today work in the cloud through storage providers such as Google or Box. Employees can then easily connect securely to a shared cloud and have access to all data.
This cloud-based system not only provides easy access to information but also allows salespeople to update lead records in real time.
When working at a distance, establishing the basis for a trusting relationship can be more difficult. This is due to the lack of permanent physical contact.
The manager must therefore adapt as well as possible to the rhythm and timetable of each member of his team. This allows him/her to intervene in case of problems or doubts. However, you should not micro-manage your team
This is why it is important to be able to monitor the progress of your team via a shared metrics dashboard. Potentially in this case, the manager only intervenes in the case of alarming lights.
Encourage positive interaction between your team members. Holding weekly meetings opens up communication channels and is a great way for the team to stay together and learn from each other.
In addition, planned meetings with the team allow you to address major challenges and think about new sales strategies.
You can hold virtual meetings using a variety of tools, such as video conferencing, webinars and scheduling applications.
Useful tools for conducting remote sales meetings include Zoom, Google Meet and GoToMeeting. Most remote meeting applications also allow you to share your screen, so you can open a presentation or dashboard on your computer to use as a visual aid.
It is also essential to set realistic expectations when working remotely, just as you would in the office. Except, you can't expect your team to have the same levels of productivity as in the office, especially if their tools and technology aren't up to scratch.
When observing sales teams, specialists point out one main problem:
Sales is often only a small part of their job. Part of the purpose of your sales enablement process is to ensure that your sales team does not drown in non-sales responsibilities.
To overcome this, it is important to accept that selling is the main job of the salesperson.
Prospecting is the activity that salespeople dread the most. Besides, being a good salesperson does not make you a good prospector. However, to avoid recruiting a whole prospecting team, you can use tools. This will save your team a lot of time.
The second relevant solution that we recommend is to improve your inbound marketing strategy by working on netlinking and more globally on all SEO, in order to improve your ranking on search engines, and to be less dependent on prospecting. A job to be entrusted to a web agency for more completion.
In concrete terms, the focus on results involves three essential steps:
- Step 1: Start by looking at the results.
- Step 2: If the results are not satisfactory, make sure the objectives are realistic and then explore your prospect database.
- Step 3: If only the latter appear to be flawless, then the performance of the team and the way in which value is communicated is questioned.
It is essential to unite the sales team around a realistic success.
Analyze your team's results and sales activities, clarify the most important actions, and begin to prioritize the sales in your team. Then hold a meeting to clearly communicate the action plan to the entire team, including specific expectations for each salesperson and how you will help them succeed.
Finally, keep one simple rule in mind: Whether in the office or working remotely, your sales team needs your support, but not the micro-management mentioned above.
In addition, uniting members around a goal and working as a team is your key to success.