A sales manager is the best person to lead a remote team. This is so true!
After all, many sales executives have spent years managing a tiny army of Seldom-Seen-Sarahs and Not-Around-Nates. But nothing is as normal in the coronavirus age, even remotely directing a sales staff.
Sales directors want to reconsider existing remote management practices and experiment with new ways to assist salespeople in an environment where they are selling more than ever.
Here are nine methods, tools, and strategies that sales executives should use while managing a team remotely. Even better, they’re all useful when you’re collaborating.
Establish (or revise) a strategy for communication
Communication that is both clear and consistent is essential to the success of remote management. Because the quality of interactions nearly always suffers when they are conducted digitally, you could find that you need to enhance the degree to which you engage in conversation with other coworkers and salesmen.
The following course of action is recommended by the faculty of Harvard Business School:
- Make a tally of the number of check-ins you typically have with salespeople, meetings you normally have with colleagues, and calls you normally have with clients.
- Find out which of Zoom, Slack, Skype, video calls, or phone calls will be the most effective method to have those meetings in a distant situation. Take into account not just your own preferences in terms of communication tools, but also those of the other person or individuals involved.
- Create an all-encompassing strategy for each kind of meeting by making use of a Word document, a Google Sheet, a calendar, or an Excel chart. Include a minimum of four columns for each of the following priorities: the means of communication, the rhythm of the meeting, the attendees, and the agenda.
- Combine successful strategies from the past and the present. Because virtual meetings are more productive with fewer participants and less time, you should probably reconsider the size of the meetings and the amount of time that is allowed to them. There is always the possibility of transforming status meetings into a status report. It’s possible that you’ll find it most convenient to maintain the same number of check-ins and agenda for each.
- Put your attention on quality. When holding a meeting via the internet, frequency and duration are less significant. Gather with a clear goal, agenda, and understanding of what will be addressed, what will be done, and what will need to be finished.
A more humane approach to management should be used
When a sales team begins to operate more remotely, the leaders of that team do not need to reduce their objectives or adjust their expectations in any way. However, you should prioritize increasing the human element of management.
According to the findings of the study conducted by HBS researchers, over two thirds of workers report that it is acceptable for their manager to inquire about their mental health. They want you to question them about how they are coping with the circumstances that forced them to return home as well as the new position in which they will be working remotely.
It’s possible that some employees won’t want to discuss anything, but others may feel better and work better if they know their supervisor is concerned about how they are doing personally.
Keep in mind the bigger picture at all times
When you aren’t physically present at the workplace on a daily basis, it may be easy to feel as if you aren’t connected to the organization or the job that it is doing. Therefore, while managing a remote sales team, it is important to assist salespeople in maintaining a connection to the firm as well as maintaining an awareness of the bigger picture.
Take a break from talking about operations (tasks that have been completed, the next steps, metrics, etc.) and instead meet with your team to discuss strategy. This could include ideas on how to improve your business model, reevaluate your selling cycle, revamp your value proposition, or increase customer engagement.
In a similar vein, set aside some time to work on improving the culture of the organization and/or the sales team. Teams that are separated from one another nonetheless want to feel linked to one another and to the overall purpose of the firm.
Allow salespeople to speak about their accomplishments in group virtual meetings, whether those achievements are sales-focused, professional, or personal. When it is permissible to do so, connect positive developments to the goal of the firm. Maintain a consistent schedule of compiling these victories into an email message for the team, a social post, or a blog article.
Scrub and regularly cleanse the data
The data that your salespeople use to make choices must be as precise and up to date as possible at all times. When working from a remote location, salespeople depend more heavily on the data stored in their CRM systems to figure out how to approach a sale, what advice to provide prospects, and how to manage their quota expectations.
In addition, executives cannot properly define targets, identify areas where they need quota relief, or rethink or reorganize incentives without access to accurate data. Request that salespeople schedule time into their weekly schedules to evaluate the data they have submitted, checking to see that contacts, next actions, opportunities identified, and goals are all as they should be. The same applies for leaders; they should verify their data and examine their information to ensure that funnel evaluations are aligned.
Be extremely precise
When it is necessary for sales executives to advise and console salespeople a little bit while managing remotely, they must also inform salespeople precisely what they need to accomplish in order to be successful.
There are a lot of folks in sales who have never sold anything during a crisis. And even people who have experienced a very different kind of emergency. When you speak about where to concentrate efforts, you should recommend particular techniques and activities, and you should provide more information than is typical.
You are not need to demand anything, but you should provide direction along the sales funnel in a manner that is analogous to when salespeople were learning. According to the findings of the researchers at the Miller Heiman Group, taking such a comprehensive approach ought to assist them in being more productive and achieving better outcomes.
Emphasize on quality
When the economy was thriving, a lot of salesmen found that their efforts were rewarded with success. They were successful in meeting and exceeding targets that were focused on quantity. Because this may not be viable moving future, sales management want to spend more time teaching salespeople on how to increase the quality of interactions and prospecting from a distant location.
What kinds of things can salespeople do remotely to go above and beyond for their clients? What can you do to assist salespeople in improving their experiences, as well as the experiences of customers?
Keep salespeople involved
Simply because salespeople aren’t working together as closely as they once did won’t lead them to lose their work ethic or their skill. However, when you aren’t physically there with your coworkers, it is more difficult to feel connected to them and the significance in the job that they do.
To keep the sale team engaged:
- Maintain a consistent cadence. You probably won’t have to engage in extensive remote micromanagement. However, you should make it a point to check in with them on a frequent basis and continue to treat them in the same manner.
- Be adaptable. When employees, particularly sales leaders, are required to operate from a distant location, the expectations placed on them naturally evolve. Make sure you schedule meetings well in advance so that salesmen have time to get ready. And give them some leeway in terms of when and how they should get their task done.
- Honor people for their efforts. Individuals who are working remotely and experiencing high levels of stress may begin to feel alone and unrecognized. You should express your gratitude to them for what they have done so far and make sure to let them know how much their contributions are appreciated on a regular basis.
- Make a digital water dispenser for the office. Either organize virtual meetings for a group using services like Zoom or Google Meet, or allow individual salesmen to organize their own virtual meetings purely for social reasons. They may meet together for lunch or the happy hour at the conclusion of the work week. They may stay involved and motivated by listening to others’ experiences, commiserating with one another, and learning from one another’s best practices.
- Don’t be too hard on them. When working from home, it’s important for salespeople to take long breaks from their jobs (so do you, leaders). After hours, you should not attempt to contact them or expect a response from them.
- Inspire them to engage in physical and mental activities. You may advise that they walk at the hours when they normally commute. Or you may provide them with links to free online yoga lessons. Inform them about the online professional and personal growth courses that are available.
- Develop the current sense of community via activities that bring people together, such as online social hours, reading clubs, meditation groups, art sharing clubs, music performances, and fitness challenges.
Reevaluate the roles
It’s possible that your sales staff already has what it takes to be successful in their positions if they’ve worked remotely, whether fully or partly. However, when individuals, especially managers and leaders, move into a scenario that requires them to be at a distance from one another, it is possible that tasks, expectations, and even the job itself may need to be adjusted.
Ask the following kind of questions to remote sales staff whenever you have one-on-one conversations with them:
- How are things going for you professionally given the current state of affairs?
- What difficulties are you now encountering?
- In order to achieve success, what more do you require?
- Do you have any recent triumphs or recommendations for best practices that you would want to share with the team?
- How can I, together with the rest of the team, contribute to your success?
Take notice of the qualities that each individual has, both those that you recognize in them and those that they freely confess about themselves. Look for areas in which you may delegate responsibility to other people, as well as areas in which it would be beneficial to invest in training.
In each case, recast the modifications or recommendations as opportunities for personal development. You want your salespeople to be successful no matter where they are, so placing them in settings where they can perform at their highest level remotely ought to be a shift that is embraced.
Make the most of this chance to advance your future
The knowledge gained by sales executives who unexpectedly found themselves in charge of managing remotely may be put to use to enhance operations once things return to their previous normal.
Consider the following:
- How flexible is our procedure for making sales? Were salesmen able to swiftly adjust their strategies to account for the changed circumstances? Or maybe they were bogged down in formal procedures, which caused a delay in their response to both clients and prospects.
- How malleable is the stuff that we provide? Could salespeople access the information and other sales enablement tools that they need at the time and location that they required them? Were they able to adapt their value offerings to meet the requirements of the changing markets?
- Which tried-and-true best practices were successful in the context of remote selling and management? Which up-to-date procedures do we need to begin implementing?