A great sales process looks at both from the client-facing perspective and internally, and that is critically important when it comes to working with a remote sales team.
The internal part of that process working smoothly helps deals move forward without getting stuck and makes your sales reps feel supported and encouraged along the way. This leads to higher commissions, better retention, and business growth.
Managing remotely: Create good internal processes
As the sales leader and/or business owner it is important that you manage your team so that these processes can run well and your business can grow. Your reps look to you for guidance, coaching, support, and encouragement. Sales is hard work and having a good support system in place is critical.
Set clear expectations for performance standards
These can be performance goals, quotas, and key performance indicators. You want to ensure your team knows exactly what you expect from them. These numbers should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. If you or your rep are new to sales or the company is a startup, you might start with lower quotas and growing into bigger goals.
For example, a seller might be expected to:
- Spend one hour per day prospecting and doing research on prospective clients
- Email 20 new prospects each day
- Call 20 new prospects each day
- Close $7,500 in new business per week
On Overpass, you should communicate these goals with your rep ahead of their campaign launch to ensure you’re aligned and on the same page. You can monitor the outcomes of their calls, emails, and time spent on different tasks to assess how closely your reps are to meeting their quota.
Ensure housekeeping tasks are completed
While sales reps are not commissioned for keeping the company CRM up to date, it needs to be part of their job to do so. As the sales leader, it is important that you check on this and show your sales team that you care about it. Otherwise, it is easy for the CRM to become out of date and the data quality to go down. One way to do this is to use the CRM reports as the basis for sales meetings and 1:1s. You can also use your CRM to pull the reports used to pay commissions. That way your sellers will be incentivized to keep it updated!
Along with keeping the CRM up to date, sales has some other administrative duties. You want to keep these to a minimum so that your sales team can spend the majority of their time selling! If the admin time becomes too much, consider adding a sales admin or support team member to help with this.
Create norms around internal communication
This is especially important when leading a remote sales team or a team that is often away from the home office. The ability to know what is going on and provide any mission-critical information for a seller to close a deal quickly is especially important.
You also want to make sure that the team has time to communicate with you and with each other. To do this, you will need to set up a daily standup meeting to review the day’s progress and 1:1 meetings with each rep. Maybe weekly for new team members and bi-weekly for those who have been with you for a while. You’ll use this time to review funnels, plans, and progress against sales goals as well as do some coaching when needed. We’ll talk more about coaching shortly.
If it makes sense for your product or campaign, you might want to include a layer of monthly meetings. You can use these meetings to update the team on overall progress to goal, communicate wins and problem solve as a team. You want to avoid making the meeting strictly status updates as those could be done asynchronously and shouldn’t pull your team away from selling.
To stay connected outside of these meetings, you will want to align on internal communication tools. Some CRM’s have this built-in, but if yours does not, consider using programs like Slack or Microsoft Teams to communicate on the fly and not clog up email inboxes.
Be available to your reps as much as possible during business hours. They will have a lot of questions and your ability to respond quickly can be the difference between winning and losing a deal in some cases.
Track metrics and communicate results
There’s an old saying that whatever gets measured gets managed and that is especially true in sales. As a business owner or sales leader you should be tracking and looking at metrics constantly. While the exact metrics will vary from business to business you should definitely be tracking:
- Closed won and closed lost
Activities by rep
- Phone calls
- In-person or virtual face to face meetings
- Proposals sent
- Total number of deals created
- Number of deals in each sales cycle
- Number of deals expected to close in the next 30-60-90 days
Make training and feedback a consistent practice
Training and feedback should not be limited to annual sales retreats (or virtual meetings) or performance reviews. Your team members should get some form of training or coaching from you each week. Some examples of short training exercises you can do include:
- Review individual performance metrics together and discuss where things are going well and opportunities to improve.
- Listen to the rep’s calls and debrief after. Talk about what went well and where the rep could improve. Don’t just tell the rep—ask them what they think. Their answers can help you steer the conversation.
- Use team meetings to brainstorm solutions to common challenges. If time management is a consistent issue for newer reps, ask some of the more experienced reps to explain how they manage their day. If CRM reporting is a challenge for less tech-savvy reps, ask one of the more savvy reps to share their best tricks. Have a superstar seller on the team? Ask them to walk everyone through a recent deal that went well. Be creative and involve your reps in the training conversation. Ask them what they want and need to be successful.
- You can use 1:1 time for training and coaching as well. What you don’t want to do is talk at your rep or grill them with questions the entire meeting. Try asking your rep to lead the meeting and drive the conversation. You can fill in any gaps as needed but this is a good opportunity for your rep to learn from you and get what they need.
Continuing to develop your sales leadership skills and refine your processes will be a huge asset to your team and the business. Remember to communicate with reps consistently both 1:1 and as a team. Working remotely can be isolating and lonely and you want to ensure your reps feel like a part of a team and know what is going on in the business. If you feel like you’re over-communicating with your reps, ask, because chances are you are not.
Leading a sales team is an opportunity and a privilege. The skills needed to lead the team are significantly different than the skills needed to be a successful sales rep. We hope these tips help enable you to manage and build a stellar remote team.