Remote selling is here to stay. And let’s be honest, leading remote sales teams is no picnic. On the contrary, it can be quite demanding. There are various challenges, but you can successfully overcome them with some tips and tricks (and a good deal of effort). All your team needs to deliver outstanding results is the right approach and a few adjustments.
So, let’s dive deeper into the main challenges and what you can do to address them.
Remote sales team challenges
You need to fully understand the challenges your team faces. This enables you to successfully deal with potential roadblocks and issues that may arise at any time.
It takes a lot of effort to make communication flow smoothly. Your team is scattered around different locations. That makes it easy to miss a call or misread an email from a colleague, especially when you’re working in different time zones.
When a problem arises, it’s impossible to pop into the next-door office and solve it face-to-face.
Misunderstandings can easily pile up and damage relations between team members. And if there’s a lack of trust, teammates can’t successfully collaborate and close enough deals.
Confusion can often arise in remote sales teams if there’s a lack of face-to-face interaction. It can create a concern that there’s a lack of access to information, especially when it’s time sensitive.
If not managed properly, remote sales team members are more likely to develop a sense of disconnection from the company. This can have a huge negative impact on their engagement, time management, and understanding of expectations and project goals.
Lack of motivation
Working from home can induce a feeling of loneliness due to social isolation.
In addition, remote sales reps usually tend to work longer hours. They don’t always know how or when to stop. That’s why they can get burnt out pretty easily.
Tips for leading sales teams remotely
Can you just give your sales reps a target and expect them to deliver? Of course you can. But that’s just not enough to make them crush their quotas.
So how can you keep your remote team motivated and excited about sales?
Focus on communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are pillars of success for any team, especially remote sales teams. Keep them your top priority.
Use the benefits of multiple digital communication tools to bridge the distance between your team members.
Do you need an immediate response from a colleague? Use instant messaging tools such as Slack, Google Chat, or Flock. On the other hand, use video conferencing platforms for weekly team meetings, such as Zoom, Livestorm, or Microsoft Teams.
It’s a good practice to define common availability hours. This means that all members of your team must be available during that period for real-time collaboration.
Conduct regular one-on-one check-ins
Make one-on-one meetings with each of your team members a regular part of your weekly routine.
It’s a great way to track the performance, progress, and efficiency of your reps. At the same time, you can check whether or not your employees are under a lot of pressure or feel overwhelmed.
Encourage your employees to tell you about issues or struggles they face. Be open and understanding. Offer advice or support if needed. This is a great way to build trust with your remote workforce, and enhance motivation and collaboration.
Set clear expectations
It’s not always easy to understand who’s supposed to do what in a remote sales team.
Communicate expectations to both the team and each sales rep. Make sure everyone fully understands sales targets and processes, priorities, and overall goals.
Define the expectations as tasks in a project management app. Talk to every sales rep via video call about leads, how to start cold calling prospects, what is the next step, and so on.
And don’t forget – be there for your reps if they face any issue or need your support.
Precise sales process
Depending on your circumstances and your customers, the sales process looks more or less like this:
- Addressing objections
- Following up
Talk to your reps about their experience with prospects as they move through these stages of the sales process. Analize prospects’ responses. What works better with prospects from a certain industry? Do they respond better to a product demo or a sales presentation?
This valuable information from your sales reps allows you to build a sales process strategy that can improve the productivity of your remote sales team.
Foster a positive remote working culture
Just because your remote team members aren’t all together in one place, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun team-building activities. In fact, by encouraging social interaction between team members, you can reinforce the company’s culture.
You and your team can enjoy virtual coffee breaks, virtual retreats, virtual awards ceremonies to reward hard work, or even some at-home perks.
Social interaction, albeit virtual, between remote team members can bring them closer and create a feeling of belonging. Non-work-related team activities are a great way to make them feel valued and part of the broader company culture.
It doesn’t have to be hard
Remote selling comes with many advantages, such as boosted productivity, reduced costs, access to the best talents, or the opportunity to sell anywhere in the world.
However, leading a remote sales team is a challenging task. Fortunately, with some tips, training, and adjustments, it’s not too difficult to manage.