2020 commenced with a hopeful note. Sadly, as the months passed, it turned into the worst nightmare that many didn’t see coming.
The world witnessed a series of unexpected events starting from Australia’s devastating bushfire, the civil unrest over the killing of George Floyd to the deadly explosion in Beirut. One catastrophe after the other.
Oh, how can we forget the deadly pandemic “Coronavirus” that wreaked havoc across the globe.
The COVID-19 crisis turned the world upside down. It disrupted human activities, stifled the global economy, dampened demand for various goods, impacted sales, and forced businesses to adopt a remote working culture.
Though remote working isn’t a new concept, many employees have never worked remotely in the past for this extended period of time. Several employees find it hard to adapt to the recent trend, especially the sales reps who are expected to achieve their sales quota.
“Around the world,
44% of companies don’t allow remote work at all.”
As the world continues to deal with the deadly disease, most sales reps struggle to maintain high productivity levels while working remotely. Their declining productivity is negatively impacting the sales of the company.
So, how to save the sales reps from drowning and boost their productivity levels?
Well, here are a few ways to make your sales team more productive.
1. Sharpen the saw – Provide regular training
Traditional sales techniques won’t help survive the crisis; it will lead to wastage of time and affect productivity. Besides, competitors are changing their game plan to stay in the race.
So even you need to level up your game and provide regular training to your sales reps.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” – Abraham Lincoln.
Investing a little time in training your remote sales team can prevent time wastage and lead to better sales results.
Interact with your sales reps to understand the sales techniques they are currently using. Asking the right questions can reveal the knowledge and performance gap in your team.
Through Training Need Assessment (TNA), determine what training is required to fill up the performance gap, and increase productivity.
By spending 40 minutes to an hour on virtual sales training every week, you can sharpen your metaphorical saw and achieve the sales team goals.
2. Bring the best performer under the spotlight – Give recognition
We are aware that closing a deal, that too, during a crisis, isn’t an easy task. Besides, remote sales are challenging when you don’t have your manager and teammates around you to discuss complicated sales scenarios.
Sales reps who succeed in converting potential prospects into paid customers deserve appreciation for their great work.
When sales reps aren’t appreciated, they are less likely to continue their effort and more likely to switch the job.
“The lack of recognition and engagement is driving
44% of employees to switch jobs.”
It only takes a few minutes to write a professional email or praise the top sales performer during a virtual team meeting. Sales reps feel motivated to work harder when their work is recognized. So acknowledge achievements and share your sentiments with the rest of the team.
3. Encourage sales reps to walk the extra mile – Highlight improvement areas
Are your sales reps trapped in a vicious circle of failure while working remotely?
Do they need to put in more effort to achieve the sales quota?
Sometimes sales reps feel stuck at a single point. The path ahead seems blurred due to constant disappointments. A little guidance and push can make a big difference.
So keep track of the performance of your remote sales team. Create insightful sales reports and share the feedback with each sales rep. Be explicit about what more they should do to achieve their sales quota.
For instance, you’ve found out that a sales rep meets the clients and gives presentations but isn’t able to move deals ahead from that stage and close them.
There are chances that the sales rep might not be giving effective presentations or he or she isn’t following-up after the presentations.
Ask the sales reps to move beyond just giving sales presentations. Encourage them to invest time in improving their presentation skills and share tips to follow-up consistently to convert a deal.
4. Arm your team – Provide automation and productivity tools
As a sales manager, you expect your remote sales team to maintain productivity and fulfill the targets you’ve set. However, make sure you arm your team with the right tools to gain victory in the sales field while working remotely.
With the help of automation and productivity tools, your remote sales team can conquer their to-do list, save a lot of time and reduce their daily grind.
So after analyzing your remote sales team’s needs, research for the best sales automation and productivity tools. Once your shortlist a few tools read reviews about them on sites like Capterra, TrustRadius, and FinancesOnline to make the right decision.
5. Keep everyone on the same page – Share weekly team updates
Don’t let your sales reps be lost in their world while working behind the locked doors. Try to maintain transparency and make sure everyone is aware of what’s happening in the team via team collaboration sessions.
Every sales rep should be updated with the status of each deal managed by the team members.
Have a weekly stand-up using various video conferencing tools. Convene everyone virtually to share their updates and discuss new strategies to improve sales results.
Weekly stand-ups not only keep everyone updated but also boosts collaborative productivity.
6. Show your human side – Provide emotional support
Working in isolation can be depressing and mundane for many. Besides, the sales pressure and the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 add ups to the misery. This emotional turbulence hampers the productivity of the sales reps.
Sometimes the team feels the need for emotional support. So be available for your team. Try to step down from the authoritative chair and make the prospects comfortable to share their concerns.
A problem-solving approach can prevent acute stress from turning into chronic stress. Be as flexible as you can, and try to avoid miscommunication. Convey your expectations clearly and have regular check-ins to find out how your sales rep is coping with the current situation.
7. Clear the pathway – streamline processes
Streamline the process so that your sales team knows in which direction they need to go and what they need to. A streamlined process reduces complexities and improves the productivity of the team.
To make the challenges less daunting during a crisis, you need to show a clear pathway to your team that leads to lucrative outcomes.
So, to increase your remote sales team’s efficiency, examine your current process, and define a plan. Outline the steps that everyone in the team needs to take to convert a deal into sales successfully.
8. Raise the bar – challenge the team
Do not lower the bar just because of the crisis. Challenge your team and motivate them to move beyond their boundaries.
Empower them so that they can find opportunities in crisis. Difficult situations often make a person stronger and propel them to think differently.
“70% of people experience positive psychological growth from difficult times”
The best examples are the companies that survived the recession and became big names in the industry. Be it Microsoft and Apple during the 1970’s recession or Airbnb that stood strong and survived the 2008’s Global Financial Crisis.
So, keep your sales team on their toes and challenge them even during a crisis.
Like the captain of a ship, you need to lead your team in the right direction. Make sure they stay productive even while working from home. Maintain a healthy relationship with your sales team; they should be able to communicate freely about any concern. Only when you know what’s bothering your sales reps, you can provide help and guide them to achieve their sales quota every month.