We’re several months into pandemic-driven remote work, and while most of us have adjusted to the day to day reality of working from home, that’s not the same thing as being successful at it—especially from a manager’s perspective.
Part of the problem is that many managers are rookies when it comes to remote work. This isn’t their fault--how could you expect to be good at something you’ve never tried before? As a result, many first-time remote managers are making basic mistakes. Mistakes like:
- Not adjusting your sales process
- Failing to create an accountability model
- Not updating team communication for remote work
While the struggle is completely understandable, you have to do something about it now. Every moment you spend figuring stuff out is calls made, remote sales reps mismanaged, and money lost.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
I want to help you, and I’ll do so by sharing some important things I’ve learned (the hard way).
Basic sales team framework (remote or not)
The first and most important thing you need for your sales team framework is a well-defined sales process.
A sales process is a scalable, repeatable series of activities that you sales team completes in order to complete a sale. While most companies have their own unique sales processes, they all include key elements like:
- Handling rejections
- Follow-up activities
- Closing sales
This sales process has to stay consistent whether or not your team is working remotely or on-site, and whether the reps are full-time or contractors.
Next, you have to develop a remote-friendly accountability model. You can’t rely on walking the sales floor anymore or shadowing people at their desk. You have to be able to keep people accountable even when they’re out of sight.
Call monitoring software can be a great help here, and so can task management software, provided each of them are robust enough for your needs, but simple enough for your team to pick up.
If you’d like other solutions that aren’t software-based, then by all means. Just make sure you have some way of guaranteeing that your process is being followed and that people are getting their jobs done.
Lastly, you have to promote good communication between you and your team members. Daily sales meetings are useful for keeping tabs on the team pipelines. One-on-one meetings with both regular and contractual sales reps keep them focused and give you a better idea of funnel health. Regular trainings keep your sales reps sharp and add up to more money for you down the road.
If any of these pieces are missing or aren’t adapted for remote work, then your sales team will struggle with the remote transition.
How to adjust for the optimal remote sales team framework
As a sales manager, it’s your job to know what your team is feeling right now and how well they’re adjusting to remote work.
Some common issues we see to teams new to remote work include:
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling burnt out
- Feel like there’s no clear direction
- Improper task handoff
- Too much meeting, not enough selling
These are serious problems, but surmountable if you handle them the right way.
Focus on quality communication over quantity. Don’t trap your team in an endless cycle of Zoom meetings. Reduce team Zoom appointments to daily status meetings and critical issues. If you need to talk to your team, conduct 1:1 sessions where you can discuss important topics in private.
Lead with transparency. Set clear expectations for actions taken and team KPIs, and be transparent when you’re asked questions. If one of your team is having performance issues or needs improvement, coach them but do not micromanage.
Keep the culture alive. Many of our closest bonds are forged in the workplace. It’s only natural to miss the relationships we had in the office. Be cognizant of this and encourage team members to keep interacting with each other. It helps with burn out to know someone else is going through the same difficulties as you.
How has your team found balance in this “new normal?” Share how you’ve adjusted your process or your communication tips and tricks in the comments to help others out.