The sales team is an integral part of your business, as they’re directly responsible for the growth of your company in terms of revenue. It is a group of your employees solely dedicated to helping your product stand out in a competitive market.
As more and more companies are transitioning to remote work, it’s business imperative that you have adequate processes in place for effectively communicating and training your remote sales team. After all, you cannot simply walk across the hall to resolve any misunderstandings face-to-face. So how can you ensure that your team members collaborate seamlessly to meet their sales targets? If that wasn’t challenging enough, working from home can be incredibly isolating. And negatively impact overall morale—an essential ingredient in sales success.
As an employer, how can you continue to help your sales team to successfully navigate the ups and downs of remote working?
Here are a few tips for you to maximize your remote sales team’s productivity:
Tips For Training Remote Sales Team:
Adapt to the “new normal” of engaging with your employees:
Making the transition from in-office to a remote work situation is challenging, but adaptability is the key. Remember, this can be a good opportunity for you to explore and try new ways of training with your remote sales team.
Navigating the “new normal” of remote work can be a lengthy, continuous process, however, you can start by making some small changes. Introduce your team to project management platforms like Asana, or Trello to keep a track of everyone’s progress. You can also create online training programs about sales-related processes to prepare your employees for their designated responsibilities.
For example, LUSH, a UK-based cosmetics retailer, emphasizes on product knowledge training for all employees to ensure excellent customer service. According to co-founder Rowena Bird, the company wants to “sell customers what they need and not simply the latest market favorites”. This can only happen if their employees are well-versed with the complete range of products they offer.
Even Apple focuses on periodic product knowledge training for their employees. They ensure that employees are re aware of the latest gadgets in the market, and can explain why Apple is a better choice.
Be empathetic towards your employees’ struggles:
The majority of remote workers are expected to don multiple hats throughout the day. And, we’re not just talking about the work ones. Your team members are constantly juggling household or parenting responsibilities while keeping up with their work-related tasks. As a result, almost 27% of them struggle with “separating work and personal time”.
Remember, people are the backbone of any organization. According to a Hubspot, 69% of employees would work harder if a company was more appreciative of their efforts. Your sales team is likely to perform better if they feel valued. Therefore, it’s important to be empathetic towards their daily challenges without compromising on the quality of work. In the wise words of Maya Angelou—“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
For starters, you can motivate them by acknowledging their hard work during team meetings. A personal check-in (through email or a quick Zoom call) to recognize their progress and understand personal roadblocks can also do wonders. For example, in a bid to increase employee engagement, GE Healthcare created the Employee Forum. It was to facilitate open and honest communication between leadership and cross-functional teams. This established an outlet for discussing the latest business developments, ideas, successes directly with a group of employees (or employee representatives).
Remember, your empathetic leadership will make remote employees feel like they’re “part of the team”. But most importantly, establish that you care about their physical and mental well-being outside of the workplace. “In hard times people will not rush to the aid of a leader if they’ve never felt that he or she had put their interests first,“ explains Simon Sinek (author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action). “My success hinges entirely on the people I work with—the people who enlist themselves to join me in my vision. And it’s my responsibility to see that they’re working at their best capacity.”
Keep your expectations clear
Wasn’t it easy to simply walk up to your sales team and get an update on the ongoing tasks, and share your feedback? This in-person interaction allowed for an effective exchange of thoughts and ideas. And that’s a culture that must be kept alive even when working remotely. Your sales team should have clarity on two things:
For employees who want to reach out to the leadership, what’s the ideal frequency, medium, and timing for communication?
For example, define concrete communication standards like, “We conduct daily check-ins using Zoom/Skype and have Slack for ad-hoc communication during working hours. Additionally, we’ve set up an Impediment Board for employees to share workplace issues that are affecting their productivity and require immediate intervention from the higher-ups.”
Consider creating a quick online training that covers all the points of contact in leadership. Don’t forget to include how an employee can get in touch with them. You can also assign a dedicated space (on Slack, or other communication platforms) for everyone to exchange feedback and suggestions about sales-related topics.
What’s their 30-60-90 day plan that documents their expected work output for the coming weeks and months?
For example, a plan could be: “In 30 days, the sales team should speak to an average of 300 prospects. This will be in addition to solidifying their relationship with existing accounts. At the same time, they should also ask for feedback from their peers and managers to improve their selling strategy”. If you rely predominantly on email for communicating with your remote sales team, then, you can consider using Dragapp. It converts your emails into actionable tasks. Then you can view them as a Kanban Board inside your Gmail.
You can create (and share!) short videos recommending sales practices that your team can implement when talking to a customer. Set up periodic one-on-one meetings with them to emphasize long-term objectives using the 30-60-90 day plan, and check on their progress.
Encourage your sales team to leverage customer reviews
Everyone loves a success story. A BrightLocal survey found that 88% of customers trust customer reviews online as much as personal recommendations when making a purchasing decision. Customer reviews help build trust and loyalty and describe what sets your products apart from your competition. However, many companies simply focus more on perfecting their sales pitch. They never get around to setting up a review-system for customers.
Today, more and more people are open to talking about their experience with a brand if asked. For example, Etsy, an American eCommerce platform, uses a follow-up email or a text message to ask their customers to leave a review. As a result, 25% of the total purchases made on their website get reviewed.
Your sales team spends a reasonable amount of time converting prospects into paying customers. Therefore, are in a better position to make an in-person request for reviews. In fact, in-person requests garner “seven to eight times more reviews than asking via email”. This means you should train your sales representatives on the best ways to solicit customer reviews. They can reach out to your long term, happy customers who have greatly benefitted from your products/services and encourage them to share their experience.
These success stories encourage potential customers to make a purchase. They can also act as case studies for your sales team to learn from.
With a remote sales team, you have the advantage of building a business presence across different cities. And if you do things right, it’s not very difficult to manage.
By encouraging regular communication between your team members, and streamlining your sales processes, you can ensure that your employees achieve their bottom-line targets every single time. Equipping them with the right tools to succeed from the get-go is also important. Therefore, we recommend using Siminars to create easily accessible online training programs for your remote sales team. Using these training guides, they can easily learn at home and apply their skills at work.