By nature, the sales profession is better suited to remote work than other jobs like marketing and IT. In fact a recent Owl Labs survey found sales teams were 66% more likely to hire remote employees than other departments. Of course, that was before coronavirus forced virtually everyone to go remote!

Have you suddenly found yourself managing your sales team remotely? Here are our 5 top tips:

1. Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations is important in any work environment, but doubly so when your employees are working from home. That’s because even the best and most disciplined sales people can have difficulty staying focused when working solo for the first time.

The way to ensure your remote sales people are switched on is to make sure they have clear, measurable goals each day. KPIs can include x number of new leads/opportunities, x% client acquisition, or any other metric you regularly use in your business. Whatever your KPIs, take care to properly communicate them with your remote employees and to regularly review them together. 

One last thing to add here: while clear boundaries are important, so is flexibility. With schools and kindergartens shut due to the coronavirus, odds are some of your sales people will have kids at home. Therefore, it’s important to show sensitivity to each individual team member’s circumstances.

2. Communicate directly – and regularly

Like the previous point, communication is always important but more so when operating remotely. It can be easy to take the access you get to team members in the office for granted. Even on days where there are no scheduled meetings, you probably stop by their work station regularly for a chat.

Email, WhatsApp, Slack, etc., are all great for communicating, but they only go so far. When it comes to planning or reviewing the day, setting or reviewing KPIs, or just giving a good pep talk, nothing can substitute for real human contact. When meeting face-to-face isn’t viable, the next-best option is a phone call (remember when people used to do this!) or video chat.

Regular, direct communication builds trust; and trust means employees stay committed and KPIs are met.

3. Manage your pipeline

The sales process often requires input from several different team members, from the person responsible for generating leads to the one making the sales. Therefore, it is critical that each team member be able to keep track of the pipeline. When your entire sales team has to work remotely, having proper pipeline management software becomes essential. 

When it comes to using software to manage your pipeline, we recommend SalesLoft or HubSpot for Sales. Both incorporate multi-channel communication (e.g. email, phone, text, and social), making them perfect for remote operations. Equally important, they track deals won, lost, and in progress – letting you see which reps are your best performers.

Drift and Vidyard for Sales are also useful programs for remote sales operations. Drift helps you focus your efforts on high quality-leads through highly targeted, personalized campaigns. Vidyard for Sales makes it easy to integrate video into your sales and marketing material.

4. Encourage team bonding

In a regular office, team bonding comes easily. At the very least, team members chat to each other by the coffee machine. At best, colleagues become friends and go out for drinks together after work.

In the era of lockdowns and social distancing, team bonding requires a conscious effort. As a team leader, it may fall on you to encourage employees to engage with one another. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hold weekly video calls to share and celebrate each other’s achievements
  • Share funny videos to take everyone’s minds off all the bad news
  • Start non-work-related discussions on email or Slack
  • Organize for everyone to binge-watch the same Netflix show

5. Ensure everyone is set up for remote work

This is one of the easiest things to overlook when managing a remote team. In an office environment, you have HR to worry about setting every employee up with a comfortable, ergonomic workstation. At home, it’s every person for themselves.

We recommend checking in with each employee to make sure they have what they need to work remotely, e.g. desk, chair, laptop, headset. 

You may also want to share our 10 tips on how to have a successful day working from home with your sales team.

How Pravda Media Group can help

Pravda Media Group can help you quickly adapt to remote sales with technology like SalesLoft, HubSpot for Sales, Drift, and Vidyard for Sales. If you are interested in help with choosing the right tool, implementing it, training your team, and assistance with ongoing operation and reporting. Let’s talk. 

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