Supporting Remote Sales Teams: Insights from CEOs and Execs
How do you support your sales leaders when your company is operating in a remote setting, whether as part of your business strategy or an adaptation to the current times?
This is what we asked of business leaders in industries ranging from adult education, bookkeeping tools, and as specific as mold remediation services for real estate. We’ve gathered the top responses and now share them with you here as a guiding light on how to ease this transition for motivated sales-driven individuals.
Increase Meaningful Communication
Across the board, the business leaders we surveyed mentioned the importance not just of communicating but of increasing communication. And they mean really communicating with a purpose – strengthening corporate culture, providing educational content, taking action on feedback, supporting their staff as individuals and sometimes even just giving employees a space to get it out of their system with no judgment when something doesn’t go right. Whether through video conferencing, audio calls, chat, email or smoke signals – it is important to evaluate how you and your team are communicating and look for areas of improvement. Be sure to include your employees in these decisions and then go back to them for feedback because, as our first business leader explains – you can’t just make assumptions.
“Our team is spread out all over the US, so we stay connected daily in messages but weekly on our virtual sales calls. It’s critical to me that our team feels supported each day and week. Covid was a big challenge as we went full remote, but our constant communication made the difference. Sales leaders need support. The assumption that they can figure it out on their own is a real problem for organizations.” – Todd Mitchem, SVP Sales at AMPLD.com
Develop a Consistent Structure
Another common theme that has come from talking to executives is the need for some structure. When someone is working from home, the lines can be blurred in regard to business time and personal time. And the burden shouldn’t all be placed on the employee to navigate any remote work challenges alone. There are several employer-side tactics to overcome these challenges such as scheduling routine check-ins, setting clear goals, monitoring productivity and being consistent with structuring your team’s workweek.
“Now, more than ever, there is no question that sales teams need more support, attention, and regular communication than they ever used to have. Due to the need for remote working that has been brought on by the pandemic, it is important to keep the team highly motivated, reassured, but also productive at the same time. In this respect, I always try to set daily tasks and timelines with my team, which ensures that my employees remain somewhat focused, and carry with them a sense of urgency while working.
I also make sure that I put together a routine weekly schedule to contact members of my team and check on them to see how they are doing and if they are meeting their quotas without any problems. Since most of them work remotely, I initiate contact through Skype or Zoom. The benefit of which is they can see and hear from each other, thereby allowing them to see for themselves how the rest of the team is coping and handling things. This then tends to create good familiarity and a positive work culture that only makes the team stronger and allows me to retain most of my workforce over the long term.
Additionally, I also try to take the time to upskill some of the members of my team by using online, short courses. This helps keep them well stimulated and their focus in the right place, especially when stuck indoors for extended periods of time. I then instruct my team to report back on what new methods and processes they’ve learned each week and share them in our online team meetings.” – Eden Cheng, Founder of We Invoice
Value & Support Individual Strengths
I am a huge fan of this tactic for supporting your remote sales team whether you decide to return everyone to the office one day, continue on with a hybrid workforce strategy or remain 100% remote beyond the pandemic. Especially with the current labor shortage in the U.S., to which some businesses are going to great lengths in order to recruit new talent – the best strategy is to retain the talent you already have and are invested in. Imagine your boss not just telling you that you are valued but walking the walk with actually showing you that you are valued. How about if they supported you to the point that they allowed you to have the work environment of your choosing? Would you be more inclined to stick around? I’m going to guess you said yes. Well, that is exactly the remarkable step our next executive took for his sales leaders.
“The greatest way to support your sales leaders is to evaluate them individually and create the perfect environment to thrive. We have one inspector that is on the quieter side whose sales numbers have jumped since the pandemic hit. Making follow-up calls and setting inspection appointments from the quiet solitude of home was the perfect space for him to thrive. Naturally, we have offered him the option to continue to work remotely. We increase retention through making certain that our employees feel valued by the company, and creating individual structures for success is a major factor in this.” – Charles Leduc, Chief Operations Officer at Mold Busters
Reduce Workload with Virtual Assistants
Ok, first of all, I am suddenly in the mood to shop for some nice weather-proof seating for my garden. Second of all, our next insight involves what we do best here – streamline processes and alleviate workload with remotely-based global talent AKA virtual assistants AKA the stuff magic is made of. CRM platforms were another hot topic with our business leaders, but the trend is to not stop at simply having one and then consuming your sales leaders’ time with maintaining the data. Instead, an increasing number of executives are understanding they need to delegate the administrative work – in many cases to virtual sales assistants – in order to help their sales pros focus on their prospects.
“Reduce their administrative or CRM-related tasks. Provide them with leads so their entire focus is to negotiate or convince the customer only. Bringing in a mentor or sales expert for increasing their marketing knowledge. Approving funds for their marketing initiative if it’s reasonable. We’ve started to use virtual assistants for the work that can be done remotely.” – Andy Griffith, CEO of Garden Furniture
If you are interested in learning more about our services and what we can do to help your business go remote-first (or just delegate some of your not-so-favorite tasks to us), while saving you time and money, shoot us your questions.