Managing Sales Teams Remotely: 5 Steps to Keep Your Team Thriving

Remote work is not likely to go away, despite the fact that companies are returning to their offices.

Remote work is popular in the US, with 3.9 million workers doing remote jobs and 4.7 million expected by 2020.

Even though telecommuting is more common, managing sales teams remotely has its challenges.

One study found that around 27% of remote teams weren’t performing at their best. That means one in four people out of the team probably isn’t happy with a remote work environment.

To overcome this problem, you need to understand how your remote sales team are feeling and what they want.

Here are five simple steps in supporting remote teams to increase diversity during the hiring process.

Step 1: Make the Correct Technological Choices in Supporting Remote Teams

Technology is important when you manage a remote sales team, but there are other things to consider like bandwidth.

To keep your remote sales team productive and engaged, you should create a cloud-based environment for them to work in.

CRO technology and CRM tools give sales teams the opportunity to track where each lead is in the sale cycle. This allows them to adapt their strategies according to that person’s individual needs.

New technology can also help with diversity, like the one that matches people based on skills and experience.

  • Help remote sales team to take the best practices from a previous project and apply them to this one.
  • Engagement is a hot topic in many workplaces, and there are lots of ways to encourage it. One way is through gamification
  • Give your employees the information they need if you are managing remote sales teams to feel like you care about them.

Our latest research has shown that the shift from offline to online is accelerating, making sure you have access to digital tools for sales.

Step 2: Emphasize the Importance of Collaboration

Communication is essential in remote sales team management. It’s how we stay connected, informed, and engaged – even if you work remotely. Some people can feel isolated and uncomfortable at a distance.

Employees need to stay in touch with the company when they are working remotely. Otherwise, it can be hard for them to know what is going on.

Communication is the key to keeping everyone on track. It helps your sales team stay happy and productive.

COVID-19 hit and many sales teams had to work from home without proper preparation. Some workers who were new to remote work felt as though they weren’t being taken care of, so productivity was low.

Keep your team connected by taking the initiative.

Consider all the different modes of communication your employees might need to use.

  • Tools like Skype, Google Hangouts and other web conferencing tools are used to discuss sales objectives.
  • Real-time instant messaging is a way to collaborate more effectively.
  • Video conferencing is a great way to stay in touch with colleagues and prospects.

Consider training your employees on when to use each type of communication. For example, instant messaging might be good for a quick chat but it may not work well with complicated questions about leads.

Step 3: Evaluate and Modify Critical Operations

The sales strategies you used in the past might not be effective in remote sales team management.

If you’re managing remote sales teams, it might be time for a change. Ask yourself if anything needs updating.

So, in the event of a COVID shutdown, you might need to have your reps reach out through social media and email instead.

If you’re not sure where to start adapting your sales strategies, use the tools in your CRM and CRO to track how well remote workers are doing. These tools should give you a good idea of what’s happening with deals at this moment.

Have there been any obstacles you have faced in the past? What are your thoughts on how to overcome them now that they’ve happened again?

The article talks about how when the COVID situation occurred, companies needed to quickly adapt and amplify their remote sales team management.

As COVID (a law that prohibits employers from asking about your criminal history) goes away, it will be important to make sure we continue our diversity initiatives.

Step 4: Constant Check-in and Documentation

It’s important not to micromanage your remote sales teams, but you do need to stay in touch with them. And while it’s dangerous for a manager or company owner to be out of sight and mind when managing their team remotely, they shouldn’t make the employees feel as though they don’t trust them by constantly checking in on everything.

It’s important to check in with your team at least once a week, preferably via video conference or quick phone call. Check-ups and updates are very important when you manage a remote sales team.

Document what you learn while checking in.

It’s important to keep track of everything when you work remotely. You can’t just rely on the information that one person has access to because then there will be mistakes and missed deadlines.

Give people clear guidelines when managing a remote sales team, but don’t be too rigid. Be flexible and make sure you are adapting to suit the environment that they’re in.

Sales is always changing, so you need to be prepared for that when supporting remote teams. You also need to grow your team.

Dan Smith, Chief Academic Officer of Winning by Design says that now is the perfect time to adapt remote practices and make sure your company is ready for anything.

Step 5: Continually Acquire Knowledge and Grow

Whether you want to switch to remote work because of the benefits or because it would be advantageous during a crisis, it’s important that you are prepared when you manage a remote sales team. 

Working with a remote sales team takes time to get used to. You have to be patient and understand that it will take some adjustment.

Keep an eye on what’s working and what isn’t for your employees. Machine learning tools are great for this, use them to collect information about the best ways you can improve.

Business-as-usual isn’t enough. You need to find a strategy in supporting remote teams that will allow everyone in your company, including the processes and technology, to come together in one cohesive plan.

Start Aligning Your Team Today

Managing remote sales teams comes with its own challenges, but if you’re switching to a remote workforce it might be difficult to change the way your company operates.

The first step is to use the right technology, update your sales processes, and put some guidelines in place for how you are going to manage your employees. If you do this successfully enough times then it will be easy managing a remote sales team.

Let us know how you are managing remote sales teams, in the community.

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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.