Despite the modern technological and social trends causing complete changes to various teams throughout different organizations, sales remain an unchanged part of any organization. To reach out to potential customers, organizations still require a sales team to bring in customers – and this hasn’t changed since the 1900s in any business.
The social acceptance of working from home has changed over the past few years with the pandemic, and many organizations have found their sales team no longer operating together in the physical presence of an office.
Now that employees, particularly sales teams, are working remotely, you’ll have team members from around the world. This article will go over some key strategies on how to manage your remote-based sales teams and ensure the success as well as the health of the team.
What Are Some Ways to Manage Your Remote or Work from Home Sales Teams?
Continuous Learning as a Group
Often overlooked, education and training are a key part of any individual; the same goes for sales teams.
As employees have shifted to working from home, strategies that may have worked while they were in the office or met in person may not be as effective in procuring prospective customers while they are at home.
It is key to update training materials to reflect the changing ways companies do business and how they organize. It might not be only on the seller side (your team) but also on the customer side. If their organization has changed and they are working from home, how they approach receiving prospective new business may have changed as well.
Finally, an excellent idea is to provide group lessons on why sales may have failed. For example, if a sales team member fails to procure a potential customer, a good business case is to review with the rest of the team and learn from each other.
Ensure the reviews are conducted professionally and remain positive for the team member who failed their sale. It is key to keep employees engaged and positive in a team-based environment.
Set Goals and Have Open Communication Channels
As water cooler talks and group lunch outings are no longer possible, managers must plan for setting goals and adequately communicate them throughout each quarter.
Ensure all members are part of meetings; if some cannot attend, record conference calls and write down documentation of goals. It is vital to record calls as other attendees may ask context-relevant questions to understand team goals.
Furthermore, in the world of messaging applications like Slack taking over as the main means of communication, you’ll find asynchronous conversations happening much more often. With asynchronous conversations, there is easily the potential for cases of broken telephone throughout the organization.
Have proper channels of communication open for the rest of the team. Make group channels where communication can be seen by all, so no member is left in the dark.
Also, ensure a friendly open-door policy for everyone, especially those in management roles. It is key that employees feel comfortable when approaching others or management on problems or concerns they may have.
The experience of messaging another employee online rather than walking into their cubicle or office is very different.
Invest in Technology to Make Their Lives Easier
Ensure your sales teams have up-to-date equipment that does not hinder their work but rather simplifies and provides useful quality of life bonuses that let them focus on sales and not on dealing with old technology.
This includes both virtual and physical technology.
On the physical side, having the proper equipment can make sales much more effective. For example, consider investing in high-quality audio headsets that allow clear communication when they are on calls. For conference calls, procure high-quality webcams and reliable internet connections, which can easily be found on laptops tailored for working from home.
On the virtual side, ensure to get input on various SaaS products and other software that are easily understood and well integrated. For virtual sales teams, important tools include VPNs, email clients, CRM and expense management SaaS, and cloud storage for documents.
Don’t Forget About Team Building and Have Fun
With the disappearance of team lunches, office parties, and dinner outings, team bonding has become a challenge for many organizations.
It is up to you to ensure team members remain engaged and enjoy their work with their team who may be located hundreds of miles away.
Consider setting aside time to play games or enjoy food together. For example, the team could purchase food, expense the company, and spend an hour or two on a virtual call eating together. Alternatively, you can also have a virtual learning experience such as a black history month virtual field trip.
There are many websites that have games you could play as a group together simply on a browser. Setup games on sites like Skribblo (broken telephone), Jackbox Games, or the Higher Lower Game. These are simple to set up and provide hours of fun entertainment.
It’s Not a Competition
Like having fun mentioned prior, a competitive cut-throat is not great for a healthy sales team. Work with the team to ensure they understand it’s not about making the most sales but a team effort to reach the company’s goals.
Promote a company or team culture of camaraderie and teamwork through the various ideas mentioned above. Setting team-building activities, learning as a group on how to improve, and having open communication channels all promote a positive work environment that encourages members to strive for their best without the fear of losing to others.
Invest in Their Health
While in an office, it is easy to procure proper ergonomic equipment that is optimized for employee health as the location is central and easy to ship to. IT teams put much less effort to set up desks and other equipment if they are all in one place.
Now that teams are set up remotely around the world, companies have shifted this expectation onto employees. To encourage the proper set up of equipment and other best health practices, create mandatory training on working efficiently and safely in one’s home.
As an added incentive, provide employees bonuses and stipends if an employee completes the training. These stipends can be used to purchase equipment and/or software directly related to the training.
Training could be anything on mental health and having stipends for books or apps related to mental health. You could also consider the ergonomics of proper posture for training and provide a stipend allowing an employee to purchase their preferred desk whether for working or gaming. Providing the flexibility to allow employees to choose the equipment that best fits their unique needs is key to employee retention.
This article has covered several key strategies to managing a remote-only sales team. While these were tailored to sales teams in general, most of them can easily be extrapolated to the whole organization.
We highly encourage you to follow them to develop healthy teams and receive earnest feedback on how to improve the overall remote-working experience for your company and their employees.
About the Author
Kevin Nguyen is part of the new generation of work from home (WFH) professionals. He is an expert in helping plan your next life experiences, especially in travel, home living, and working remotely. Find him at www.KevinNguyenExperiences.com.