By Olivia Mascarenhas on Mon 31 January 2022 in Sales
It's a well known fact that a Sales team notoriously thrives off an office environment, so how do you make a success of managing a remote or hybrid-working team? We’ve put together just 5 key elements to successfully managing a remote Sales team – scalably, efficiently and effectively
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a monumental impact on the way we work. Long gone are the days of waking up painfully early and embarking on lengthy commutes, five times a week. In fact, it’s been reported that almost half (44%) of UK full-time workers plan to work a full five-day working week from home, with 55% planning a more hybrid role with one to four days in the office.
These unprecedented changes have certainly shed light on the benefits around working from anywhere. Yet many businesses are facing the challenge of balancing this with delivering a faultless customer experience. In other words, customers don’t expect this shift to compromise productivity or quality…but customer-facing teams are feeling the full effects of this change – and the ever-growing expectations they need to meet.
But a Sales team will notoriously thrive on an office environment, so how do you make a success of managing a remote or hybrid-working team? We’ve put together just 5 key elements to successfully managing a remote Sales team – scalably, efficiently and effectively!
The first and most crucial element to a successful remote working strategy is to overcome any barriers to effective communication. In a role so heavily orientated around teamwork, without effective channels in place to facilitate communication, there’s a real risk of inefficiencies and a morale dip. It’s difficult to keep track of all Sales team members when they’re in different parts of the country, let alone if they’re working in different time zones!
Holding regular check-ins with the team and on a one-to-one basis, even virtually, can help set clear actions and remind the team about end goals or targets. Establishing regular contact can ensure everyone in the team knows where they are and what’s expected of them, but also allows for more group discussion to help achieve a goal or resolve an issue.
2. Centralised Database
Having the right system in place for Sales teams to collaborate on is critical for business growth. Most importantly, systems shouldn’t operate as silos. Where possible, they should integrate with existing systems (like back-office accounting or inventory) so the Sales team are fed with important customer/stock info, but in a user-friendly format.
An essential tool for a Sales team in any business is a CRM system. In its basic form, a CRM system helps customer-facing staff to manage customer interactions. Acting as a centralised database for the whole team, a CRM is a place to log interactions, sales opportunities, and even manage customer service queries. But different types of businesses have unique challenges, meaning a CRM must offer the right features and functionality to support and facilitate these specific needs. If you’re a business selling physical products B2B, check out our video here to learn more about traditional CRMs vs. a “Stock-Aware” CRM.
3. Cloud-based Tools
Using cloud tools can be very helpful in ensuring all members of a Sales team are connected, second by second. Even better, many are actually free to use! From document storage to project management, work is easily accessible and can be updated by multiple people at any one time. Crucially, things don’t need to be manually sent around as attachments. This in turn provides an extra layer of security, and there’s less chance for human error.
Below are a few tools we’d highly recommend if you want to get started with cloud-based tools as an SMB:
- Internal Chat: Microsoft Teams or Slack – great for rapid, informal feedback within a Sales team and for use company-wide. Quick queries and questions that would ordinarily be answered in seconds face to face aren’t left unanswered!
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Prospect – the #1 CRM for B2B Wholesalers, Distributors & Manufacturers! If you run a Sales team for a product business, make sure you try it for free here!
- Inventory Management: Unleashed, Cin7, DEAR Inventory, Katana MRP – all of which integrate with Prospect!
- Project Management: Trello – ideal for managing workload collaboratively, where you can see who’s working on what and what stage they’re at.
- Document Storage: OneDrive & SharePoint – perfect for storing Word documents like proposal documents.
- Process Documentation: Confluence – good for documenting internal processes that the team need to follow.
- Password Storage: 1Password – secure and easy to use!
Learn more here on why you need to embrace the cloud now!
4. Transparency & Accountability
With a remote Sales team, it’s easy for declining productivity to be swept under the carpet and go unnoticed when there’s less accountability day-to-day. To keep on top of this, it’s essential to have regular team updates/check-ins.
Building trust and accountability will allow progress to be tracked. With employees being transparent, sales and progress can be tracked easily and quickly, meaning improvements can be made where necessary.
5. Motivation & Targets
Keeping your team highly motivated and positive can sometimes be tricky when you’re not all in an office together. So, celebrating accomplishments within the team where you can help restore a sense of achievement and motivation going forward. Whether it be monthly social media shoutouts, appraisals in company meetings, or just emails giving recognition, these can go a long way in keeping your employees motivated, particularly in a remote working setup. Some cloud tools (including Prospect!) even feature some kind of Leaderboard or ranking system to help build up some friendly competitiveness within the team!
Targets also help with accountability too, as team members can see how close they are to reaching this goal and can track their progress along the way.
Motivating your team, whether it be virtual or in-person, will put your team in the right mindset and help boost productivity.