The future of sales is changing. With more people transitioning to a work-from-home mentality, field managers are now finding themselves managing teams that are dispersed and individualized. This can be challenging if you’ve never worked with a remote team before, or if you’ve never managed a sales team without having to leave your house. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re leading your team effectively and that your sales team is as successful as possible.
Establish a consistent workflow
It can be difficult for sales managers to keep track of who’s doing what when your team is dispersed. In order to alleviate some of the confusion, it helps to have your sales team complete tasks in the same order and in the same way as the rest of their team members. In other words, finding ways to automate the sales process.
For example, teams can automate their research by using a lead generation software that automatically monitors potential leads and integrates with their existing CRM tools. Speaking of which, your team should have a reliable CRM platform that centralizes everyone’s leads and their statuses.
By creating a universal workflow for your team, it will be easy for you to check in on the progress of each of your sales reps, as well as make it easier for your team members to stay updated on their peers. Your team will likely be more productive overall as well, since they’re not bogged down by menial tasks or confused by unreliable information.
Create a culture of accountability
Once you’ve streamlined your team’s workflow, it’s imperative that you keep them accountable both to this system and to their team goals. This means constantly asking for updates on the progress of leads, and addressing any shortcomings that may need to be resolved. This will help ensure that everyone on your salesforce is meeting their goals on time, especially as the employees you oversee acclimate to this new way of work.
The key to doing this effectively is good communication. It can be easy for team members to be unsure about all of their responsibilities when working from home. As the sales manager, you should take the time to clearly outline not only sales quotas, but also weekly call goals, the number of presentations they should be delivering, and any other expectations you may have in order for them to be successful.
Once you’ve set these standards, you should schedule a time where members can report on their numbers and offer explanations as to why they are either meeting or not meeting these goals. If they’re consistently falling behind, you can then begin forming strategies to combat these shortcomings, as well as start incorporating the successful strategies of other members into your workflow.
You should also take the time to recognize those who have made substantial progress. Not only does this reinforce the good behavior in the salesperson who did a good job, but it will also inspire others to do better as well. Remaining vigilant about shouting out great work remotely will create a culture of recognition that will incite productivity in your sales team, as well as make them feel connected to the company even when they physically apart.
Managers can conduct these updates by holding meetings, either individually or with the entire team, that are dedicated to notifying everyone on the progress of each person, as well as recognizing one or more people for a job well done. Not only will this increase accountability in your sales team, but it will also let your team interact with each other in ways that they might not organically do while working from home.
Master the art of a virtual meeting
It may seem challenging, or even impossible, to conduct a virtual meeting if you have little or no experience with it— however, meetings are the most efficient way to exchange information and to keep the entire sales team on the same page, especially when compared to emailing or texting. Meetings add value beyond holding your team accountable; they also reduce misunderstandings, increase employee engagement, and make it easy for teammates to collaborate with each other.
The first step to running a remote meeting is to have the appropriate software. Leaders should look for an intuitive virtual meeting tool that makes it simple for you and your team to join and schedule meetings, use features like screen share and in-meeting chat, and easily integrate with your calendars. Your meeting will go much smoother when everyone is able to use the platform without being confused.
The next step is to create an agenda. Your sales team’s time is invaluable to the work that they do. It’s important that they’re spending as much of their work time as possible finding leads and converting them into customers. While meetings are a necessary component of your team’s success, you don’t want to waste their time by derailing too much from the subject of the meeting or holding them longer than you meant to. To prevent this, create an agenda that lists the talking points you would like to discuss for that day’s meeting, and stick to that.
Lastly, you want to encourage your sales reps to engage in the meeting. The meeting should be interactive with—ideally—everyone talking and sharing their thoughts. You can encourage participation by asking questions, or asking your team ahead of time to come with thoughts that they want to share. Your team likely doesn’t have the opportunity to communicate with each other as easily when they’re working remotely, so use this time as a way for them to do that.
Keep your team engaged
Meetings are just one way to keep your team engaged with each other. It takes a little more effort to get the team excited to do their work when they’re working from the comfort of their own homes. There are a few different strategies to help you keep them engaged, from delegating responsibility to hosting a virtual happy hour.
Delegation is a key component in keeping your sales team motivated at work. Giving your team members responsibility helps give your sales rep work that they can be proud of. Something as simple as letting someone schedule or host a meeting or sending out an email to the team can do wonders for making your members feel like a valuable asset beyond their normal position.
You also want to give your team a space where they can get to know their coworkers on a more personal level. Positive peer relationships are crucial for your sales team to be successful, especially when they’re all working remotely. While you can’t force friendships, it’s your job as the sales manager to create opportunities for these relationships to form.
This can be as simple as offering your team a virtual team-building event at the end of the week where they can check-in and decompress. Additionally, you might devote a channel on your company’s chat to talking about social topics rather than work-related topics.
Ask for feedback
One of the best things you can do for your remote sales team is to ask them for feedback on your leadership. Not only will this give you some insight into how your team is receiving your leadership, but it could also lead to suggestions on how to manage the team more effectively.
You can collect feedback through both formal and informal channels. Something as simple as asking for suggestions during your meetings or gauging sentiment during a one-on-one conversation can encourage your team to be honest about their feelings.You could also get feedback anonymously using free survey software. This will allow you to get more honest feedback since your employees won’t feel pressured to amend their answers in order to be nice. After receiving their critiques, show them that you value their opinions by implementing their suggestions in your managing strategy, and tell your team the changes you plan to make. Regardless of how you choose to get the information, feedback is a valuable tool in measuring your success as a field manager.