Prior to March of 2020, executive teams were indecisive on whether to enable employees to work remotely. The pandemic forced every executive to work remotely partially or full-time at some point during the past 18 months. Some salespeople have flourished; some have struggled. Challenges consisted of everything from time management to tech support, but most executives have adapted.
From a management perspective, leadership still struggles to manage teams remotely. Here are some guidelines to help manage teams. This can be applied not only to sales teams, but also operations, marketing and other departments with just a few adjustments.
8 Guidelines to Manage Virtual/Remote Sales Teams
- Do not make business decisions or judge the team based on one person who may abuse a working remotely. During the pandemic, working remotely is a necessity to keep your staff healthy. Keep in mind, if you are a small firm and require people to report to the office, if one person becomes ill and has contact with others, it could halt the entire business for a period of time.
- When a salesperson abuses your remote working situation (like working on their golf game instead of their sales pipeline), get your facts documented. Don’t make any assumptions. Let the facts drive your management decision.
- Manage by metrics. Increase your paperwork reporting on cold calls made, appointments set, and proposals submitted. Managing remote teams is about managing by sales metrics.
- Hold regular sales meetings by Zoom and require them to attend. If weekly, schedule it for Monday morning so team members can prepare for the week. Hold semi-monthly meetings so you can review deals in progress, roadblocks, and areas with which they need help in order to move prospects along and close business by the end of the month.
- When holding Zoom meetings, require your team to dress business casual and to respect the time online as if they were reporting to the office. Working remotely can result in executives becoming too casual, which then results in diminished professionalism in front of prospects.
- Provide ongoing sales training by Zoom or self-paced. Working remotely by its nature detaches your team and forces salespeople to sink or swim. By providing sales training, you create a support system to help your team with their skillsets.
- Hold your team accountable for their numbers.
- Once you have set up these measures, trust your team.
For mature, experienced salespeople, remote working will enhance their productivity and can create a positive work experience which increases their sales revenue capture success. They no longer have stress or wasted time for commuting and can use that time more productively.
For immature employees, working remotely will be a grand opportunity to be unproductive and will create high maintenance salespeople for the management team.
Working remotely is here to stay. Use these guidelines to help connect your team, increase production, and improve your sales objectives.