By Robert Gonye
A LOT of managers worry about productivity when making the transition from in-office teams to remote work situations. There is distressing concern that employees are going to be playing around rather than focusing on work.
As more employees are working from home to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and adjusting to the new normal, sales managers have been forced to rapidly adjust to operating remote sales teams. Though the challenges are myriad (especially if your company was unprepared to make the change), the new normal is opening many managers’ eyes to the possibilities that a remote team offers.
To make the shift, managers may need to adopt different systems and tools to keep their teams running smoothly. By having the right communication systems in place and the right tools for engaging your employees, you can set up your remote sales team for success.
Here are the top tips for managing a remote sales team:
1. Calendar Management Is Key.
Managing remote reps is time-consuming. There is an intrinsic value that in-office reps get on the sales floor. They can overhear reps on sales calls and pick up sound bites quicker.
As a remote manager, training and enablement take up extensive time. To combat this, leverage other tenure reps on the team to mentor the newly hired ramping reps.
Plus, you should make yourself available as much as possible. Although the days can be long, especially if you manage reps in several towns, calendar management is key.
Additionally, running each meeting with a structured agenda can help make each meeting as productive as possible.
2. Make Time for Team Get-Togethers.
Remote reps don’t have the opportunity to go out to lunch with their teammates or go out for dinner/drinks after work.
Hiring a private venue, given meetings with limited numbers are now permitted would benefit the team. An example would be a two day breakaway session with a team working remotely with one of the days being spent by going through every rep’s semi-annual business review and the other day being spent on the golf course and at the pool. The team dynamics will cause them to come together after the trip. Many reps meeting as a team allows for bonding and reenergizing physically. I would highly recommend remote teams get together as an entire team once a quarter.
3. Build A Remote Friendly Culture.
As a manager, you should try to enable your reps to collaborate and get to know each other.
Perhaps you can dedicate a portion of your weekly team meeting to highlight a winning story. That rep can then discuss the win (big deal closed, a new opportunity created, and great in-person meeting or presentation) and shares a tip or two with the rest of the team.
Additionally, you can also run weekly happy hours on Zoom. These meetings will have no agenda, and your team can just talk for an hour. This helps them open up and get to know one another.
4. Don’t Forget About Enablement, Training, And Collaboration.
Once a month, run a weekly review meeting with the team. Allow for group dynamics by splitting the team into groups and have them review a discovery call that one rep from each group comes to the meeting with. They can then discuss the call, and jot down a takeaway on a shared PowerPoint deck.
With a follow-up meeting as a group, the last 10-15mintues of the event will allow each team member to share their takeaway with the greater group.
This is a great way to run remote-friendly enablement and training exercises. Plus, it allows your team to collaborate.
Although it can be intimidating when you or your team have to work remotely, it doesn’t have to be a difficult transition. You can still collaborate, grow, and connect as a group with remote sales reps.
Robert Gonye is a Business Growth Expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: Robert@realgrowthsolutions.net