Remote sales teams have become very common in recent years.
Working remotely has more than its share of benefits. But it also presents some new challenges. For example, how do you successfully manage and coach a remote sales team? How do you create a positive work culture with so much distance between everyone? How do you keep your team motivated, effective and happy?
Even though a remote sales manager can't be in the same room as his or her associates, there are all kinds of ways to establish a healthy culture for the team.
Here are 7 tips for leading a happy and successful remote sales team, whether you're managing a small group or an entire virtual call center, that includes accountability, support, and a high-level of productivity.
1. Remain accessible
Given that you could be half way across the country (or world) from your sales team, it's actually quite easy to remain accessible.
In fact, the availability of quality communication tools is one of the reasons remote work has become so common in general.
Get in the habit of having weekly (or daily, if needed) sales meetings with your team. Tools like Zoom make it easy to meet face to face. In between, encourage communication, as needed, so team members can get the coaching and mentorship they need.
2. Encourage inter-team communication
Chat tools like Slack can be a great way to foster communication, not just between the manager and team, but throughout the team. It's a great medium for building camaraderie, asking questions and getting quick answers, and requesting support when needed.
3. Recognize team members whenever possible
When you don't see your team face-to-face, you miss out on some opportunities to praise, thank, and high-five your team.
Try to build these opportunities into your process. Post a weekly summary where you give shout-outs. Build a Slack channel where you (and they) can post and cheer sales or other accomplishments. Use tools like 15five to give virtual high-fives. Use PhoneBurner's real-time sales leaderboard to host friendly competitions with praise and prizes on the line.
Remote sales managers may need to be a little more creative with recognition, but there are no shortage of tools to help you do it.
4. Preserve one-to-one communication
With a remote sales team, associates can't pop into your office for immediate face-to-face access to you or other associates. Valuable discussions don't take place at the coffee machine, or at a coworkers cubicle. But your team still needs these one-on-one encounters to flourish.
Sales managers should encourage associates to request one-on-one online conversations, and to spend time meeting with each other as well. The bonds of a team and the implementation of a culture happen more easily when there is the chance for private conversation between team members.
5. Be Particular When Hiring
It takes a special kind of sales professional to have the sense of responsibility necessary to be part of a remote sales team. The right professional is highly motivated but also eager to learn and be coached. It may seem like a challenge to find someone, but with the right questions and interview process you can learn a lot about someone's mindset, motivation, and willingness to learn.
6. Establish a Consistent Process
Traditional sales teams come into the same office, sit at the same workstations, use the same equipment and tools, and can have their habits monitored fairly closely. Remote sales teams, not so much.
That's why setting up a consistent communication and sales process is so important. The more you can do systematize content and workflows, the more predictably you'll be able to guide your team to success.
PhoneBurner can be setup to automate your team's workflows and standardize your sales process from beginning to end. Everything from scripts, to email templates, to how leads move through the pipeline can be completely streamlined or automated.
As a manager, that gives you confidence that your remote team is "sticking to the script" (literally and figuratively) and that new sales agents can get up to speed quickly.
7. Hold Them Accountable
Unlike sales staff that clocks in, clocks out, and is visibly pounding the phone, remote sales staff are tougher to keep a close eye on. That can result in reduced motivation, productivity and performance.
The solution is to build transparency into your process, and hold your team accountable.
Set clear expectations for hours worked, calls made, emails sent, appointments set, demos conducted, quotas met, or whatever other metrics matter - and track them.
Good reporting is key for remote sales managers. Call recordings are another great tool for transparency - and can highlight training needs that numbers don't always uncover.
Wrapping Up Tips For Leading A Happy & Successful Remote Sales Team
As physical distance between co-workers grows, managers are challenged with finding new ways to maintain a healthy, happy, and productive culture for their team to thrive. These seven tips will help you lead a happy, and successful remote sales team:
- Remain accessible through face to face communication
- Encourage interactions between all members of the team
- Build praise and recognition into your management process
- Preserve opportunities for one-on-one guidance
- Make sure you're hiring people who can flourish in a remote work environment
- Remain consistent with team activities and communication processes
- Set expectations and hold the team accountable