How to Manage Remote Sales Teams Like a Pro

If you ask employees whether they are comfortable working remotely, expect a “Yes” from the majority, especially the sales team. According to a survey, 86% felt they were most productive when working alone remotely, the reason being working without the distractions of noisy coworkers and unnecessary desk meetings increases productivity. While the benefits of remote working are clear, the challenge of how to manage remote sales teams still comes into play. 

56% of employees believe leaders need to adapt their skills to manage a remote workforce, but managers are looking for a solution to create a win-win situation. Thankfully, technology has made it easier to overcome those hurdles and create an environment where a remote sales team can thrive.

Here are some tips for managing remote sales teams and ensuring high productivity.

Establish Clear Expectations

When managers set clear expectations, sales reps are more likely to meet those expectations. According to a Gallup survey, 38% of highly-engaged sales reps agreed that their managers help set priorities that make it easier for them to drive productivity. 

Specifically, setting clear expectations includes:

  • A detailed report specifying the tasks and ideal performance goals. 
  • Well-defined sales objectives and procedures for finding leads, cold calling prospects, following up, and closing a deal. 

By successfully setting clear expectations for your sales team and listening to their concerns, you create an open environment and can expect a consistent level of productivity. 

Promote Collaboration

Although your sales team is working remotely and potentially thousands of miles apart, it is essential to promote collaboration for long term success. Short weekly or bi-weekly calls can help the whole team connect, brainstorm, discuss challenges they face, and share their success stories. These collaborations will not only help them learn from each other, but will also keep them motivated.    

For instance, if a sales rep recently closed a big account, they can share their experience with the team during one of those calls. Providing tips on how to approach and nurture big accounts, especially when there are multiple decision-makers, will develop a winning together attitude.  

Encourage Employee Engagement

Virtual meetings are helpful for keeping communication channels open. But at the same time, hosting an in-person meeting for the team once per year or quarter will ensure remote employees don’t feel isolated. Celebrating a business anniversary, a retreat or team building outings can help build healthy relationships and trust among co-workers. For managers and employees alike, there’s more freedom to ask personal questions and interests to create a deeper bond.

Provide and Use the Right Tools

With team members sitting outside of a communal office, managers must provide the necessary tools to ensure productivity and make it easy to get work done. Tools like CRM and communication platforms are crucial for remote team members to follow up with leads, for managers to monitor status and performance, and for the team to quickly ask and answer questions. 

For managers, using the right performance tool for measuring sales productivity is essential. There can be multiple reasons an employee has not met the goal set for them, but it is the manager’s role to understand why and act accordingly to coach or provide feedback.

Keep Track of Work Activity

While offering freedom and privileges to the remote team is important, tracking their performance and activities is essential but can be harder to do with remote employees.

Google Sheets is a good option for creating weekly work lists that details their activity, plans of action, and goals, but as you can imagine this often takes time and can be frustrating to put together. Sales reps need to spend the most time on closing business, and managers can use other tools to track activity.

Prodoscore, for example, measures thousands of data points across your cloud tools and provides visibility into productivity with a simple performance score. This allows managers to easily determine if goals are not being met because of a lack of activity or if  something else may be going on. 

Takeaway

Allowing your team to work remotely is a great way to improve productivity, but managing a remote sales team isn’t easy. Leaders that put forth the extra effort to understand how their remote team is operating will reap the benefits, maximizing productivity and bringing more business.

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