How to Motivate Your Remote Sales Team Remotely
Companies have long since known the benefits of remote sales teams. The ability to have someone on the ground right across the country, whilst saving costs and travel time is a tried and tested formula for success. The downside of distance is that it can mean a lack of rapport and competitiveness crucial to the success of sales teams. Throw in a difficult market and the fact that for many teams right now working remotely is not the norm - you’ve got a perfect storm of poor motivation and poor sales.
So exactly how do you motivate a sales team remotely?
Clear communication is essential. Without being able to walk across the office to iron something out, it’s fundamental that you are still available for your team. In a sense, you want to over-communicate - send regular email updates, encourage your team to talk to you and amongst themselves, and jump on a call instead of having back and forth exchanges on email or chat. This can help clear up a misunderstanding or incorrect presumptions, and clear any communication roadblocks. It’s important to have a routine of 1:1 calls with each of your team members. Set the frequency and time in advance and stick to it.
Establishing targets is always a given - remote working or not - but make sure to be extra clear about what the goals and expectations are from each member of your team. Plus, don’t forget the importance of having some virtual watercooler call times built into the week. It’s those moments of unstructured communication when teams and relationships are built, and individuals can get to know each other and build trust. Sometimes it’s when the best ideas come to light too.
Give structure to the working day
The solution for procrastination and low activity for remote sales teams is giving a structure to the working day. Try starting and ending each day with a group huddle so everyone has a clear beginning to start their day and can finish their working day together too. This is great for team rapport and support and it is also a good opportunity to share any important news.
If there are daily sales targets split them into hours and have Zoom running in the background so your team can check in on the hour. Or have your teams make their calls in the morning to give a sense of purpose when energy is up, and leave any admin or meetings until the afternoon. It instills good discipline to eat that frog and tackle the hardest jobs of the day first.
Ensure your systems and processes are in good shape
If your team is new to remote working or you are considering the transition to more remote working, it is essential to have the technological tools in place to do the job. Sluggish systems or constant software crashes are demoralizing and drain productive working time - and sales. Look at investing in professional versions of video conferencing, file sharing, and project management tools - there is a host of these on the market. Importantly too, have enough adequate security to keep communications secure over public channels and store critical or market-sensitive data. You might also want to consider a time tracking tool to understand exactly what your teams are working on and help them avoid distraction - one of the biggest challenges of working from home.
The other important point is to make sure your processes are crystal clear. Everyone needs to know the correct procedure for lead generation, how to do a demo, parameters of negotiation, and to close a deal, for example. Rather than keeping your processes in a folder gathering virtual dust in a shared drive somewhere set them up as tasks in a workflow management system. Good processes get the job done. Period.
Keep investing in your staff
Motivated staff feel valued and rewarded for their efforts. Recognize achievements in a meaningful way by making time for celebrations. Consider basing any rewards not only on sales results but for activity too because it’s important for morale and motivation. Invest in your staff by having ongoing coaching and training, for example, they may need to brush up on their video conferencing skills if they have been used to building relationships face-to-face.
If you can keep your team motivated, remote working even has the potential to be more productive. Your team could do five virtual meetings in a day instead of one. Potential prospects could also be working from home and by sharing common ground it’s possible to build relationships. Sales are harder right now, but they are not impossible. Keeping your team cooking on gas means that your company could be well-placed for the bounce when it happens.
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