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How to Manage a Sales Team Remotely

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to adapt to remote work environments — and fast. With outbreaks reaching their highest levels yet*, it’s not likely that office workers will be leaving their home offices and makeshift workspaces any time soon. For sales teams, changes like that can put a huge dent in overall work and profitability. In fact, it already has.

A recent study from the Revenue Enablement Institute found that the pandemic has disrupted business for 98% of sales leaders and will continue to do so for at least a year and a half. On top of that, productivity amongst sales teams has shrunk by 20% as they work to overcome hurdles like all-digital work environments, a shaky economy, and an unstable future for their business. According Salesforce’s 2020 State of Sales report, 79% percent of sales reps say they’ve had to quickly adapt to new ways of selling, while 58% expect their role to change permanently.

Fortunately, sales teams are resilient — as are their leaders. Although the sales world has been turned upside down, all it takes is some adjusting and adapting to manage your sales team more effectively (and remotely).

How to Manage a Sales Team Remotely

Set Your Sales Team Up for Success

For your sales team to be successful, they need to be set up for success. Like in any work environment, it’s crucial to define and set clear expectations. And — more importantly — ensure they understand those expectations. One study found that at least half of all employees don’t even know what’s expected of them, making it that much harder to engage and perform at a higher level.

In addition to clear expectations, you should also set sales goals and targets. Whether it’s a certain number of leads, sales, or any other performance metric, your team should always know what they’re setting out to achieve. It’s also important to make it clear how goals ladder up to higher-level company goals. Once they understand the goals, make sure you support them along the way by implementing accountability checks and helping them prioritize tasks.

Revisit Processes

It’s never a bad idea to periodically review internal processes with your entire team. But in a remote setting, those processes may look a lot different. If any process has changed or is entirely new, make sure you level-set with every member of your team. You’ll want to review critical processes like:

  • Lead generation

  • Internal communications

  • External communications

  • Sales pitches, presentations, or demos

  • Closing sales

  • Data input

  • File organization

  • And anything else needed to help get your team on the same page

Pro tip: Instead of outlining processes in pages-long documents, set them up as recurring tasks, so they always stay top-of-mind for your team.

Promote Collaboration

When a team isn’t in an in-person work environment, collaboration becomes an entirely new hurdle. No longer can you gather around a whiteboard and bounce ideas and energy off of each other. However, you can still work to promote collaboration as much as possible. How?

Encourage employees to reach out to you — or to each other — if they need help with something. Schedule weekly team check-ins where everyone can give sales updates, discuss any issues they may be having, and have a safe space for creative brainstorming and problem-solving. If you use Slack or Zoom, encourage employees to stay connected and take advantage of features like video calling and screen-sharing to collaborate and stay connected. You can even look into free tools (like a whiteboard app) that allow everyone to work in the same (virtual) space at the same time.

How to Manage a Sales Team Remotely

Over-Communicate

In remote work environments, teams don’t have the ability to have a quick chat over coffee, a huddle in your office, or in-person meetings where you can pick up on others’ non-verbal cues. And while your team may be Zoomed out, it’s better to over-communicate than to leave them in the dark.

Remember: This isn’t about micromanagement; it’s about being ever-present. Letting your team know you’re available in any capacity can help keep them engaged. To make it more impactful, opt for video chats or phone calls over long emails and message threads.

Set Boundaries

While remote workers are more productive, they also…work more. A study published this summer on remote workers found that the average workday extended nearly an hour, and employees are attending 13% more meetings. Of course, higher productivity is great for any team, but it can also lead to employee burnout.

The lesson here? Just as it’s important to be present for your team, it’s important to not always be present. In other words: Set (and communicate) boundaries. It not only helps you maintain a work/life balance, but it sets an example for the rest of your team that their work/life balance is just as valued.

Use an Effective Sales Engagement Platform

In today’s technology-driven world, the right tools and software are essential for success. Your Sales Engagement Platform is no exception. With Groove’s platform, your sales team can be more productive and cultivate stronger relationships — no matter the work environment. With key features like email and calendar sync, workflow management, account-collaboration tools, and seamless Salesforce integration, you can ensure your team stays productive and engaged — all while closing more deals.

Ready to help take your (remote) sales team to the next level? Request a demo to get a first-hand look at Groove’s powerful capabilities and how they can boost your team’s success.

*November 2020

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