Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing. He likes sharing his knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from eCommerce, startups, social media marketing to human capital management and much more. His work is featured in several authoritative business publications.
While companies seek ways to work remotely, building and scaling a remote sales team requires a lot of planning. Make your sales team close the deals by overcoming all the challenges while working remotely.
The world has been moving towards a more remote work environment in recent years. Since 2010, it is estimated that there is a 400% increase in the number of people who work remotely at least once a week.
With this gargantuan growth in remote working patterns, modern organizations have now started providing remote work options to employees, especially in the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, organizations had to adapt to either hybrid or completely remote work structures so that the internal and external operations keep running smoothly.
Managing teams remotely can be advantageous for organizations too, in terms of controlling operational costs and increase in employee satisfaction. However, this is a bit more complicated when it comes to sales teams, as a lot of training, follow-ups, and sub-processes can be required to derive the desired results, especially if the team is remote.
Here are a few powerful strategies that you can use to build a winning remote sales team, that can achieve the set targets successfully:
1. Set clear goals and expectations
For any strategy to succeed, one of the primary considerations is to set clear expectations for the team. The goals that you wish to achieve from the strategy should also be communicated to the employees so that they can be aligned with it. Establishing clear expectations supported by goals that are monitored through specific metrics can help the team stay on track even if they work remotely.
You should consider the following parameters while setting expectations for your remote sales team:
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals
- Associate metrics with each goal so that employees can track their progress
- Consider the limitation of remote working on the sales team while setting expectations
When goals and expectations are well-defined, employees find it easier to understand what is required of them, and thus tend to perform better.
2. Build a powerful hiring strategy
Having a weak team can be the downfall of your remote sales strategy and thus your performance. They say that the key to building a powerful sales team is to hire the right professionals. You should compare the qualifications and skill sets associated with the candidates with your expectations, to find the right fit. The hiring strategy should also consider the specific technical skills that you expect in your team members, apart from the core skills.
Here are a few parameters to consider while designing your hiring strategy for your remote sales team:
- Create a specific job description for the position
- Set out to clear your expectations with the candidate right from the start
- Align the candidate’s goals with your expectations to find the right fit
Did you know that when faced with two employment offers, 80% are likely to pick one that offers flexible and remote work options? As a business owner, you can capitalize on this opportunity and build a strong sales team.
3. Consider employee engagement and communication
While building a powerful strategy to drive the best out of your remote sales team, it is important to acknowledge what it consists of - humans. And we have an inherent need to communicate and interact with others, which is highly limited in remote work environments. More than 19% of the employees reported that loneliness was one of the biggest challenges for them in remote working environments.
Here are a few ways in which you can increase engagement and communication among employees in a remote working environment:
- Introduce a health and wellness care policy - physical and mental
- Build personal connections with employees and keep the communication lines open
- Plan for casual hangouts and virtual meets for fun periodically to facilitate socializing among employees.
The engagement of employees and their productivity are highly interconnected. The more engaged they feel in your organization, the more productive they will be in their job roles and responsibilities.
4. Implement the right tools and technologies
The right tools and technologies can come to your aid in a big way while building a successful remote sales team.
Some of the biggest challenges faced by companies in managing remote sales teams include effective management of productivity, real-time communication with team members, and enabling collaborations within the team. These challenges can be largely eliminated by implementing tools and technologies that can automate some of the processes.
Some tools can manage each and every aspect of the sales process of an organization. Right from lead generation to managing customer relationships, there is a tool that can automate almost all processes that you are carrying out manually right now. Moreover, there are also industry-specific sales tools catering to the specific functions of the industry.
While there are myriad tools and solutions available for effective management of remote sales teams and their processes, the following are some of the primary ones:
- Slack/Trello: In order for any team to be able to succeed, communication is key. Even more so, when it is a sales team. Tools like Slack and Trello have been at the forefront of facilitating team communication, and allow easy file sharing and collaboration through the creation of channels/rooms.
- Zendesk/Acquire/Agile CRM: CRM tools can be very important in managing leads and customers remotely. These tools can be great additions to your ante if you are looking to drive superior customer engagement, experience, and service processes with features that let you manage all your client conversations and leads in one place.
- Apollo/Hubspot/Hull: Another important part of sales processes is the ability to generate leads and manage the sales funnel. Tools like Apollo and HubSpot let you integrate your database and networks to generate and manage potential leads. You can also schedule follow-up emails and manage communication with leads and guide them through the sales funnel.
Implementing communication tools and CRM systems can be a great way to support your remote sales team and to drive desired results for your business.
5. Create an SOP for remote working
Establishing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) can be a great way to establish uniformity in the way your business processes are carried out. Creating an SOP for any new process or department can be instrumental in the latter’s success. An SOP sets down the goals, the specific rules, and procedures applicable to the process, the expected results, as well as the KPIs and other metrics that will determine the success of the process.
SOPs are generally implemented within engineering organizations where processes can be very detailed, but preparing an SOP for your remote working strategy can help you achieve better results from the move. Not to forget, recruits, as well as other team members, can always be on the same page about the processes and procedures if an SOP sets a foundation for them.
Here are a few things that you should include within the SOP for your remote sales team:
- Goals and Expectations
- Sales Strategies to follow
- CRM process to follow
- Overview of Tools and Technologies used
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
SOPs can also eliminate any conflicts and dissatisfaction that may exist among employees, and clarify your expectations from them.
6. Introduce creative ways of celebrating and rewards
In order to keep your employees engaged and motivated, it is important for companies to come up with creative ways to celebrate even the small wins. In a remote working environment, it is easy for employees to feel alienated, and small, virtual celebrations go a long way in showing them that they are cared for.
Planning an activity that every team member can participate in virtually, or planning meals together can be a great way for employees to bond with each other.
Additionally, you should also find ways to appreciate hard-working employees and reward them appropriately. For example, if an employee has exceeded the sales target or acquired a big client for the company, make your appreciation known in one of the team meetings, or send a gift that lets them know that you are pleased with their work.
Here are some of the primary ways in which you can make small celebrations and rewards count:
- Send gifts or vouchers to employees who showcase exceptional performance
- Plan virtual parties and social gatherings to celebrate small wins
- Reward employees during special occasions and festivals
Keeping your employees motivated would be one of the biggest challenges in managing a remote sales team and hence, boosting communication through creative means and rewards can be very useful.
Having a winning sales team can be key in achieving organizational goals and building sustainable performance. Managing remote sales teams can be challenging but with the right processes in place, you can ensure that your sales team achieves the desired results and performance.
You should set out KPIs and assign metrics to measure them so that the team members are always aligned with the interests of the organization. Moreover, maintaining the motivation and satisfaction of employees can also be crucial in managing their productivity and hence, should be considered while building a winning sales team.
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