Written by Ben Harper: a sales specialist and founder of lead generation company meethugo.com
Working remotely has been the new normal for professionals all over the world. As we continue to adapt to our unique working practices, sales professionals will still be judged upon their ability to meet and exceed quotas and targets.
The best sales work is arguably done outside of the traditional office environment. However, as a sales manager, it’s important
that – as the pandemic continues – you’re helping your remote team continue to adjust, all the while helping them hit sales quotas.
What Challenges Come with Remote Sales?
Working remotely is an incredible challenge for any team, let alone a sales team. Equally, managers who are not used to working with a team without face-to-face contact will have a considerable learning curve to ensure they’re supporting the team in the best possible way.
As a sales manager working from home during the pandemic,
you may face the following pressures:
- The inability to switch off – the lines between home and working life can become blurred the longer the pandemic continues.
- Staying engaged – ensuring everyone in the team feels supported and productive is crucial when working from afar.
- Collaboration obstruction – as the absence of face-to-face interaction continues, the opportunity for creating and formulating ideas can become few and far between.
How to Oversee & Smash Sales Quotas When Managing Remotely
1. Refine Communication Methods
According to a report from Hubspot about the challenges of
remote working, 29% of remote workers claim that communication with co-workers is one of the most significant issues when working remotely.
Although by now, you’ve probably created plenty of communication processes, these must be continually refined as we continue to work remotely.
To lead a successful team remotely, strong communication and
understanding should be at the top of your agenda. Previously sales reps could stop by a colleague’s desk to exchange information, but since we’ve been required to work remotely, it’s a good bet that you now have a whole host of digital tools to bridge the proximity gap.
However, as time goes on, you may notice that some employees
prefer using different communication methods. Whereas one person may prefer email, someone else may prefer something more instant such as WhatsApp or Slack.
So long as you are able to contact them and vice-versa, you should always be refining your approach to communication to ensure that everyone is comfortable.
When it comes to remote working, it’s certainly better to overcommunicate than under-communicate.
2. Formulate Consistent Schedules with the Room for Development
Consistent schedules and routines are absolutely essential for ensuring that everyone is working to their best ability.
If you aren’t regularly sitting down on Zoom performing one-to-one’s, discussing deals and generally staying abreast of what’s occurring, then it can be challenging to ensure that each member of the team is getting the support they require.
As the pandemic continues, you may find that working schedules
need to evolve with what’s going on in your local area, so be sure to continue to keep this under review. Of course, it’s essential to remain as consistent as possible, but also be wary of pivoting whenever you’re required to, to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
3. Set Realistic & Measurable Sales KPIs
Does each member of your team know precisely how they’re measured in terms of performance? Do these existing metrics reflect the current economic climate and the adjusted priorities of the business?
In the current situation, we find ourselves in, there’s no use in setting overly ambitious sales targets. So now is the time to refine those metrics and KPIs to ensure everyone is crystal clear on what is expected.
Learn to work closely with that data you have at hand. Just because you can’t pop over to someone’s desk, it doesn’t mean the work isn’t taking place. By using data and reporting tools to track your reps’ progress, you can see who is moving towards the goals you’ve set, who will exceed them and who might need further support.
4. Remote Team Building
During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s thought that up to 19.2% (one
in five) of us will be experiencing some form of depression. Additionally,
the latest statistics suggest that 24% of us have reported feelings of loneliness and isolation during 2020.
This is why it’s crucial to come up with ideas and opportunities for your sales team to connect with each other and try to recreate some of the day-to-day interaction they’d experience in the office.
My company, Meet Hugo, experienced huge growth over the
initial lockdown period in the UK, around March and April. We tripled our staff members in head office, so it was a big challenge for us to integrate so many new people who’d never met.
We introduced watercooler meetings, icebreakers, and activities using video software, to help keep everyone engaged and feeling like a team.
5. Create Remote-Centric Sales Strategies
One of the biggest things an effective manager needs to
understand, is how to give their employees all the tools and resources they
need to be successful.
As we move headlong towards 2021, with no clear picture on when we might be able to head back into the office safely and consistently, now is an excellent time to ensure you have a remote-centric sales enablement plan in place for now and the future.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Document & Optimise Sales Literature – Ensure
that all of your team have the correct information they need, precisely when they need it. For remote teams, this will often mean ensuring that a robust and secure online environment is in place to share everything.
- Use Video for Training – Since your team can’t just
sit by your desk while you walk them through the latest sales procedures, you can perform a share screen with you so that you can resolve their issues instead.
- Define & Refine – It’s important to review your current sales process to ensure that it makes sense for both a changing market and your team. Take a look at each step and work to make sure each phase of the sales process is as simple as possible.
6. Look for New Ways to Form & Solidify Relationships
Building trust with your employees is crucial for ongoing
success. In fact, according to Business Insider, teams who can trust their superiors are more relaxed, more motivated and have fewer sick days.
Building trust with anyone that works in my business is a
massive focus area for me. And something that I really pride myself on is
trying to get to know my employees early on. This takes a little more time when working remotely, so it’s really up to you to make that relationship happen.
Scheduling ice breakers and interactive activities over Zoom, has been incredibly helpful in helping our team bond during 2020. This is a great way to make up for losing that daily office chit-chat.
Ben Harper is a sales specialist and founder of lead generation company Meet Hugo.
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