Top Strategies to Lead a Successful Remote Sales Team

By Andie Phoon, Strategic and Digital Marketing Lead

October 30, 2020

Many organizations and businesses are adapting a remote work model, especially since the current situation of 2020 negated it as a necessary action. As a result, thousands of sales leaders and managers have found themselves suddenly managing a remote team. This can prove to be a challenge for a sales team who aren’t used to remote selling, especially when the team feels unprepared. 

However, remote selling, when done right, can prove to be a factor that elevates the selling process, your team’s productivity, and your sales pipeline.

How does one achieve success with a remote sales team? If you’re looking for some practical ways that can be implemented almost immediately, then this article is perfect for you. 

Set clear goals and communicate them effectively

When working with a remote sales team, you’ll need to ensure that you establish a line of clear communication. Emphasize what your expectations are as a sales leader/manager and what actions you want your team to take in order to achieve those expectations.

For example, the end goal may be for your team to meet a specific short-term sales target, but you may have expectations that your people will need to have a set number of secured appointments, an agreed number of proposals, open up X new accounts, and all the other factors that contribute to achieving that sales result.

However, without correctly communicating those expectations, your team can end up missing the mark, and then suddenly, you’re behind. Therefore, as a sales leader or manager, you’ll want to focus on the behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets of your team members, because those elements drive results. 

A Gallup poll discovered that when a manager sets clear priorities and expectations for their employees, there is an increase of 19% in sales, a 29% increase in profit, a 15% increase in engaged employees, and much more. 

In order for your team to reach that level of productivity and success, you must also be willing to hop on a video call with your remote sales team(s) to discuss expectations and provide a detailed report of their tasks and goals to each member. 

By establishing clear expectations for your remote sales teams, you’re providing them with a standard to maintain. Remember to go over the ground rules on how to find sales qualified leads, the cold-calling etiquette for prospects, when to follow up, how to close the deal, and what to do if they run into any challenges. 

Zoom call

Utilize the resources you have available (CRMs, office messengers, etc.)

Most companies would already have an established CRM, collaboration apps, cloud storage system–the works. Take advantage of that by leveraging the resources you have at your fingertips. 

For example, as a sales leader, your CRM can help you save time and money while simultaneously providing you with a way to monitor the progress of your salespeople and their efforts. By employing the features and analytics your CRM has to offer, you can generate comprehensive sales reports in order to have real-time, useful data in your hands. It’s especially helpful in monitoring and tracking the progress of your team for practical coaching insights. So, it’s crucial that your salespeople are vigilant in their activity and data entries into your CRM. Remember, you can only manage what you can measure.

Coaching to empower 

Having one-on-one coaching with your team members can be extremely beneficial to their productivity, competency, performance, and so forth. The idea of coaching is to empower your team and to have them seek solutions–to own the answers themselves. 

There are several different types of coaching you can implement into each individual session. One of them is opportunity based coaching. 

For example, you can perform an opportunity based coaching moment by using your CRM system to examine the pipeline and review your salesperson’s performance. Perhaps your salesperson is attempting to close with a customer but finds himself stuck in what the next step should be. By reviewing their individual pipeline, you’ll be able to turn these situations into coaching opportunities.

Then, you can tailor your coaching questions to relate to how your remote salesperson can advance these opportunities. Here are some examples of questions you can ask: 

1. What are the customer’s needs? What are their pain points? (If your salesperson cannot articulate or identify their customer’s needs, then they may need to work on having stronger fact-finding skills.)

2. Who are the key decision-makers? Is the customer that you’re working with able to reach all the people necessary to get a positive outcome?

3. What is the unique selling point or value that our product/service brings to that customer? (Your salesperson must be able to verbalize your organization’s USPs and value proposition–and how it specifically ties in with a customer.)

You could also help your salesperson by skills coaching. You can discover what your salespersons’ skills are by doing an assessment or having them conduct their own self-assessment. From there, you can develop a coaching plan that is focused on a few key selling skills for each quarter.

Though your time may be limited with the salesperson in the field, you can still go out and observe their sales calls via a ‘virtual ride-along’ to monitor their progress in real-time. Perhaps, after each call, you’ll want to debrief your salesperson, so remember to encourage them with something positive you’ve seen on the call. After, gather their thoughts on how it went and what are their areas of improvement before adding your advice as a coach as to how they can do it differently in future calls. 

By imbuing them with an experience that is positive with intention, purpose, and execution, your team members are more likely to improve and take your advice to heart.

Lead and inspire by example

Nothing is more effective than leading by example. While it may be easier to walk the walk when your team is in the same office, you need to maintain that same level of leadership for a WFH team, since they are disconnected from your office. 

Utilize the beauty of modern technology by setting up video calls so you can see your salespeople’s facial expressions and energy levels.

Use that opportunity to share and update them on the coming and goings of the company and its products, and what is going on in the industry overall. Remember to ask them for their input and thoughts. This can lead you to see if there are any underlying concerns.

Great leaders make a personal connection, which will inspire your team to work harder, smarter, and better. 

Invest in development programs online

The answer to continuous success is to continue to improve your team and yourself. Teams only thrive when their leaders are:

1. Leading them well

2. Skillful, knowledgeable, and competent

One way that you can always remain competitive and succeed as a sales leader is to constantly improve yourself in ways that are beneficial toward you and your salespeople. For example, you could attend some sales coaching programs to help elevate and enhance your own coaching skills. Perhaps you find yourself not having the time to go for in-person sessions–that’s not a problem.

Look into investing in some noteworthy and content-rich development programs online. They can make a huge difference in the end-of-year quotas and results. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about different kinds of online coaching or sales development programs, click here. 

The bottom line

Running a successful remote sales team is just as possible as running an in-person one. Leverage the resources you have to continue to help your team to grow and meet each sales goal, long-term or short-term.

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