Thanks to cloud-based software and digital communication, working remotely has never been easier or more popular and allows staff to work in a more flexible way. This, however, comes with careful and mindful planning , and requires investment in the form of time and money. Particularly when thinking about your sales team which comes with its unique challenges. So here are six ways to manage and structure remote sales teams in your company:

1. Managing calendars

Managing your reps remotely can be seriously challenging. This is because something intuitive and very important happens when reps are on the sales floor: They hear other reps making appointments and closing deals. This ignites innate competitiveness and drives calendars. So as a sales manager, it now becomes essential to simulate this in the form of structured daily meetings and making yourself available at all times. This not only makes staff accountably but also motivated.

2.Create simple and clear processes

Working remotely does not exclude sales reps from following systems. In fact this is crucial. By implementing clear and simple processes, reps will understand exactly what is expected from them on a daily basis. It will structure days, months and overall targets. This comes in the form of structuring proposals, follow-ups, sign-offs, scenario planning and reporting.

3. Schedule in-person team meetings

A huge downside of working remotely (particularly when reps live in different cities and even countries) is that staff don’t get a chance to connect personally with lunch and break times. A great way to combat this is with quarterly in-person meetings. This helps staff connect to the bigger picture, to build relationships and encourage morale.

4. Create a culture that bonds remotely

If the Pandemic taught us anything, it’s that relationships can thrive at a distance. As a business owner or manager it is so important to help your reps collaborate and become more familiar with each other. This can be done with reporting wins, motivational talks, remote happy hours or monthly agenda-free Zooms where people can talk, vent and bond on non-work related matters.

5. Train, collaborate and empower

Training is one of those things that can be left by the wayside when staff are working remotely. But now, this is more important than ever. Because training can happen remotely it should be implemented on an on-going basis. Once a week you could also get one of your reps to report on a real- scenario from the month prior which can then be presented as a case study. This helps others learn and encourages the team to collaborate, empathise and support each other.

6. Communicate and establish very clear expectations

The nature of sales reps is loving targets as a way to self-motivate. As a business owner or manager it is vital that you make it very clear, exactly what your expectations are on a short and long terms basis. Reps must be held accountable. From your side this requires ongoing motivation and support and a whole lot of energy. This can also helped by explaining the company’s bigger picture and demonstrating how with each of their small wins, they are contributing to this overall vision.

The bottom line

Working remotely can be cost-effective and convenient, but it does come with its drawbacks. The good news though, is that with careful planning, hands-on involvement and daily structures, your sales team can really thrive while working remotely.

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