Most managers think they have it all figured out when it comes to monitoring remote sales. That’s because they think that managing someone remotely is pretty much the same as managing them in person. However, that’s far from the truth.
Over years of experience in helping corporations transform and lead their remote sales to new heights, we’ve made a comprehensive guide to managing remote sales teams. Here you’ll find a list of challenges you’ll face as well as actionable steps that can become your North Star while sailing unpredictable sales waters.
Why would you want a remote sales team?
Who wouldn’t want a highly efficient sales team with a professional talent pool that can open doors to new, undiscovered markets?
Outsourcing your sales team and going with a remote one gets rid of one mind-bothering question many managers face — “Where on Earth am I going to find highly-skilled salespeople? And even if I find them, how do I properly train them?”
Opting for a remote sales team lets you sleep soundly at night, knowing all those issues are taken care of. And did you know they come with bolt-speed results and turnover? This is a make-or-break thing if you’re in a rush to establish a sales team.
All the sexy things mentioned above sound great, but how do you manage your remote sales team while watching out for the most common traps and pitfalls?
A how-to guide for successfully managing your remote sales team
Here’s the truth: Leading, not managing, your remote sales team, is one the most significant challenges companies face. It takes a lot of effort, communication, accountability, and constantly showing up at daily stand-up meetings.
Revamping sales channels and integrating new easy-going CRMs into your workflow while having specific goals and targets is a challenge if you’re doing it alone. Without an experienced team, it’s a journey paved with struggles.
But why go the hard way when you could receive a helping hand from professionals that have done it a thousand times?
Managing a successful remote team is somewhat similar to managing a regular one, but with a twist. With remote ones, incorporating different kinds of communication and processes is UNSKIPPABLE.
Most of the steps we’re about to lay out aren’t big-brain stuff and don’t require the use of some fancy AI tech, but are rather simple, yet incredibly effective, meaningful, and bulletproof.
Here are the steps for managing a successful remote sales team:
- Create an onboarding process that brings envy to your competition.
- Pick a communication channel, and adapt it to your workflow.
- Combine your CRM, communication, and sales processes into one uniform ecosystem.
- Data transparency is king.
- Strive to hear the feedback your sales team has to share.
- Invest in quality sales training and improvement.
Create an onboarding process that brings envy to your competition
Dumping sales quotas and expecting magic to happen isn’t smart.
There are these expectations among managers from remote sales that demand leads and results to appear in no time without introducing them to the products, services, and assets they possess.
Be different from those managers. Stand out from the crowd! Craft a unique onboarding process to help your new remote team achieve those lightning-fast results. Here are a couple of ways to do it:
- Bring into existence a comprehensive online sales course filled with things they need to know, a complete rundown of all your products or services, and the best sales practice you’ve tried so far that brought results. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but, once done, your onboarding process becomes wholly automated!
- Leverage the ebook industry. Make your own manuscript of selling, containing sales practices that work in your industry and the approaches you’ve tried so far.
- Conduct onboarding webinars. Last time I heard, Zoom was free. Well, relatively free, but yet still powerful for onboarding your remote sales team. Making a presentation about your core values and the target audiences your new sales team should look out for helps the process.
Pick a communication channel, and adapt it to your workflow
Communication with your sales reps through email is a thing of the stone age and you should leave it there. Replace emails with Slack or Discord chats and voice channels.
It’ll make your team more productive and efficient.
There’s more than meets the eye with this approach. A new opportunity opens up with these communication spaces — automated check-ins and effortless daily stand-up meetings.
Meetings, you say? That’s so boring, and sales reps hate daily meetings! Just let them sell!
Let me explain before you frown: With daily stand-up meetings, you define the most crucial matters needing to be done that day with a cheerful, focused, and sweet tone. Of course, meetings are more effective if you keep things incredibly short: 10~15 min short, no more or less. No salesman or saleswoman on Earth likes to be in an hour-long meeting every day when they could be out there in the field, punching numbers and sales leads.
Stand-up meetings come with an ace up their sleeve, bringing you better insight into how your sales team feels and what challenges they face.
Here’s an example: Posting some or all of the questions below paints a perfect picture of where your team might be stuck, how everyone is doing, and who needs guidance and assistance at the end of the day. Another unseen benefit of this strategy is that it positions you as a leader, not just another manager cracking a whip over their backs. And people respect that.
The questions to ask are:
- How are you feeling today?
- What obstacles did you face yesterday?
- What’s your game plan for today?
- Do you need a helping hand with anything?
Combine your CRM, communication, and sales into one uniform ecosystem
Creating a flourishing communication channel without silos is one thing, but incorporating it into your CRM and sales process that makes one uniform ecosystem is a feat of its own.
Using the holy trinity of remote work (Slack, Zoom, and a management platform like Jira or Asana) with your CRM software of choice sets an environment for that ecosystem.
Search for ways enabling you to integrate all critical information from Google Drive or Dropbox into your Slack channels, or link sales engagement systems with your CRM lead activity.
Here are some thoughts to spark your ideas: “Is there an option for combining tasks in Asana with my sales pipeline so I know specifically what tasks are connected to ongoing deals and leads? How can I leverage asynchronous video communication to increase productivity while maintaining work fatigue and burnout at the bare minimum?”
Remember to keep an eye on KPIs. How your sales team meets KPIs directly tells you how to alter your ecosystem and which workflows or processes to improve.
Remember: Watch out for Zoom fatigue. This is a condition most talked about since 2020 and due to which many remote sales teams get beaten down. #zoomfatigue is one of the popular hashtags on TikTok, topping almost 6M views, making it a real hazard to avoid.
Data transparency is king
Being transparent about your information destroys the chance of forming communication silos.
If you set a space where your team members reach out to one another freely and have access to out-of-the-oven information, a bond of trust and high morale develops.
One of the wise things to do to avoid chat bottlenecks and email distractions is to create a vast repository containing contact info for each of your team members, including yourself: their online hours and the resources that would be helpful if they’re unavailable.
The less you have to hide how many leads and closed deals belong to whom, and how many cold calls are done by each team member, the stronger the bond of trust becomes.
Strive to hear the feedback your sales team has to share
There’s a saying: “A sales rep’s feedback is worth a thousand deals .” It isn’t far from the truth.
Having the most high-tech-cutting-edge CRM, communication, and AI-powered lead generation is great, but everything crumbles if it doesn’t sit right with your sales team.
Listening to their feedback, you’re signaling that you care about their opinion, that there’s a safe space for it in your organization, and room for improvement.
Invest in quality sales training and improvement
“A team that doesn’t improve is a dead team” – a wise sales philosopher somewhere.
Always keep an eye on the current selling trends, and discover how your team can generate more leads and meet sales targets following them.
Maybe you’ve found a new sales course on the Masterclass or a coaching seminar your team would benefit from. Share it with them and embrace their feedback. Keep in mind that forced improvement isn’t an improvement.
But before you jump onto the improvement boat, ask yourself these questions:
- How fluid is our sales workflow?
- How much has the remote sales team adapted to my business ecosystem?
- What current sales practices worked well, and which new ones can you adopt?
- What did my remote sales team find to be most crucial during the onboarding process that they used later on in sales calls?
Managing remote sales — it isn’t as hard as it seems
Managing a remote sales team is NOT a walk in the park. Still, once you begin creating a culture of high productivity, accountability, and effectiveness, step by step, you’ll receive what every business wants — sweet closed deals and new leads that come pouring in.
Final warning: Don’t implement all the steps detailed in this guide at one go. Build one step at a time, communicate with your team, and see their point of view through their feedback. Besides crafting a mean-lean selling machine, a side benefit you’ll get is an unbreakable company culture most competitors would die for.