Your sales department is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to manage. Managing a sales team involves a lot of moving parts and doesn’t always go smoothly, especially when it comes to remote sales teams.
It’s important to be prepared and know how to manage a remote sales team, no matter how small or large that team may be. In this article, we put together some best practices for managing a remote sales team to help you and your team succeed.
Set Your Team Up for Success with Constant Communication
When leading a remote sales team, it is crucial that you remain accessible to your reps. You will need to make sure that they have the proper tools they need to perform well, whether that means software, hardware or skills training to help them do their jobs.
Businesses with remote sales teams have an advantage: they don’t need to worry about expensive office space and other overhead costs. At the same time, this approach can make managing a team more challenging.
Here are some strategies you can use when managing a remote sales team:
Use Video Conferencing Software
When possible, business owners should use video conferencing software, so they can have face-to-face remote team meetings with their reps. Tools such as Zoom or Slack allow sales leaders to see how their direct reports react in real time. These virtual meetings are instrumental in gauging your reps’ emotions and understanding their needs.
Collaborate on the Cloud
Cloud-based collaboration tools like Dropbox and Google Drive allow your team to share documents and files on the go, and collaborate in real time. These tools also make it easier for everyone to work together on projects and keep everyone informed of what is happening. Instead of emailing a Word document back and forth, for example, teammates can see what changes are being made in real time.
Make Sure Your Team Has the Right Tools and Strategy
One of the key factors in managing a successful sales team is to have a clear understanding of your team’s role in the wider organization. It is very important to delegate responsibilities to each sales team member and provide them the right tools to do their job.
As a manager, you need to communicate with your team and guide them through the process of how they will do their job efficiently, effectively, and successfully.
These three strategies are key to that success:
- Create sales funnel(s) – The first thing you need to do is create a sales funnel or funnels for your team. This sales funnel, or cadence, should be designed around your company’s sales process so that every prospect goes through the same pre-defined stages of your process before becoming a customer.
- Ensure your CRM is always up to date – The easiest, most surefire way to ensure reps are updating the CRM after each call is to have a phone system that integrates with your CRM. This way calls, call recordings, outcomes, and text messages will all be logged automatically on the appropriate pages in your CRM. Not only that, but it will save your reps time and increase productivity.
- Create a lead nurturing system – Everything in life is about relationships. Lead nurturing plays an important role in developing relationships with prospects to help them trust your brand, and ultimately buy from you. Build an effective lead nurturing system within your sales funnel that will help to nurture and convert your leads to customers.
Manage Performance Using an Evaluation System and Processes
As a sales manager, a major part of your job is to continually increase the performance of your team. When you have a remote sales team, you can’t sit in the same room with them every day and overhear their calls or monitor their performance in the same hands-on way you might in person.
Use an evaluation system to manage performance. An evaluation system is something that clearly defines what great performance looks like, as well as ways for you and your direct reports to ensure that everyone is performing at a high level.
Set goals for each person on the team. This should be done early in the year, so everyone knows what is expected of them. For most sales teams, these goals will be a specific dollar amount of target sales, or a number of meetings booked.
However, you may find it necessary to get more granular with goals for your team, particularly the more junior members. Number of calls made, emails sent, or hours of talk time on the phone are a few examples.
Create an environment where people get feedback from one another. When you don’t see your employees on a daily basis, then it’s important that they get feedback from their peers, managers, and customers, so they understand how they’re doing compared to others and compared to their own targets.
Have regular check-ins with your direct reports. This will allow you to ask them questions about their goals and performance.
Offer Regular Feedback and Support Your Team With One-On-One Time
Managing a remote sales team can be very challenging. The first step is to make sure your team has the tools and resources they need to succeed even while they work in their home office. You should give them training and access to all the necessary information before they start working for you.
Keep in touch with them as often as possible via remote team meetings. Don’t wait until the end of the month to send feedback, do it at least once a week, as remote selling is different. Make sure you leave enough time for them to implement your feedback before you follow up again.
Schedule at least one hour per week when you talk to each of your reps individually. Ask them how they are doing, what their goals are, and what they need from you in order to achieve these goals.
Pay attention to their answers and let them know that you appreciate their input. If there is something bothering them, try to resolve that issue right away so that it doesn’t negatively impact your team’s morale or performance as time goes on.
There are many ways to approach managing a remote sales team, but the basic principles are the same regardless of your business. Make sure you have clear expectations for what your salespeople should be doing every week and every month, both individually and as a team, and work closely with them to meet those goals.