Anyone who has followed the news in recent times is aware of how the Internet of Things (IoT) has begun to transform everyday life.
From smart home security systems to instantaneous wireless communications, this is indeed excellent news. These very same advancements have already started to make their presence known within the professional business community.
A growing number of organizations are now encouraging their employees to work remotely. This will help to reduce in-house expenses while providing the workforce in question with an increased level of flexibility.
Still, managing a remote sales team can be challenging and some unique tactics will often need to be employed. Let us look at some powerful strategies to keep in mind and to examine the advantages associated with each.
5 Ways To Effectively Manage A Remote Sales Team
1# Adhering to Clearly Defined Processes
In terms of “processes”, we are referring to a set of parameters and guidelines which should be introduced in order to provide remote employees with direction and to streamline client engagement.
This will often involve the use of collaborative software that can be shared between sales staff and management. Some of the metrics which these platforms will contain can include:
- Meetings and appointments
- Client contact details
- Closed and/or pending deals
- New prospects
- Individual and team sales goals
It is also wise to encourage remote accountability so that teams and sales representatives know where they stand in terms of targets.
The good news is that there are many cloud-based software systems which can easily be used to define, refine and carry out specific sales strategies.
2# Proactive Oversight
Simply outlining intended processes is not normally enough. Similar to traditional in-house sales teams, employees will require more guidance. This is why developing a proactive approach is extremely important. Managers need to know how the status of a pipeline is progressing to make any changes as they see fit.
Furthermore, employees who know that their activities are being monitored will be much more likely to embrace a solid work ethic. Here are some of the variables which can be monitored with modern CRM technology:
- Scheduled sales appointments.
- Whether or not a recent deal was closed.
- Which leads are providing the most positive results.
- Employee time usage (such as how long is required to travel between two different locations).
Of course, it is just as important to employees are comfortable using such systems so that they will be happy to provide the necessary data. Choosing to leverage the utilities associated with user-friendly CRM software packages such as Nimble, Salesforce and Time Doctor is therefore a wise choice.
3# Encourage Outside Employee Engagement
Cohesion is critical with any sales team. This is even more important when employees are no longer needed to adopt a typical 9-to-5 workday. One of the best ways to keep a sales staff motivated is to encourage them to bond with one another.
Friendly sales competitions, pot luck dinners, a night out at a restaurant, and business-relevant retreats are some worthwhile options to keep in mind.
In the same respect, employees should be encouraged to seek out one another in terms of sales queries, questions and support (management may not always be available). This can help to further develop a sense of team cohesion.
Furthermore, it will be much easier to identify small sales-related issues before they evolve into more profound problems.
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4# Develop an Environment Which Fosters Trust
As sales professionals are competitive by their very nature, it only stands to reason that trust and teamwork enjoy a hand-in-hand relationship.
An employee who is not able to trust his or her co-workers is less likely to speak up if a concern arises. Furthermore, management could be left in the proverbial dark in regards to a specific set of leads or insufficient levels of customer service.
Communication is key in this respect. Make it a point to regularly update all employees in regards to your expectations as well as any strategies that may have recently changed.
Encourage them to express their opinions in regards to CRM solutions, the quality of the leads and if there are any other issues which need to be addressed.
5# Determine Clear Goals from the Very Beginning
On a final note, management must ensure that all sales goals are clear from the start. Whether referring to the number of closed deals, how many customers need to be contacted each day or aggregate project margins, employees who are aware of your expectations are much more likely to exhibit peak levels of performance.
Setting realistic goals is also an excellent way to foster a friendly sense of competition between staff members; one of the keys to any successful remote sales team.
As remote management is now becoming commonplace within the sales community, the recommendations outlined above are now more important than ever before.
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Author Bio: This article was written by Ciaran Hourican of H-Training. Ciaran has been providing expert sales training to large corporations for over two decades.