Sales teams across the country are being forced into remote work situations in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This places many of you into a new and potentially uncomfortable situation. Rest assured, you are more prepared than you think. However, for some extra guidance, here are some best practices for managing a fully remote sales team from our very own sales leaders.
Stay in Touch
From Peter Barris, Enterprise Sales Leader at InsightSquared
You don’t realize the true value of effective communication until you manage a remote team. Reps have the same questions, concerns and roadblocks, but no one nearby to quickly share them with. Email, Slack and video-conferencing tools such as Zoom provide direct lines to your teammates, but without the immediacy of an in-person conversation.
Many sales reps are already accustomed to remote work, but the entire sales function, and even your customers, following suit requires extra adjustments. You may see disruptions and delays from both your team and your customers that may impact deals velocity.
Set up daily team standups to promote visibility and transparency across your team. Follow up with one-on-one check-ins with your reps (on a more frequent basis), but focus on coaching them, rather than micromanaging (more on that later). This adds purpose to the meeting and helps to build a foundation of trust and accountability.
While your own communication habits are critical to managing your remote team, so are the communication habits of your team members. Everyone is responsible for inspecting deals, spotting potential issues and proactively bringing them up for discussion. So as you build accountability through communication with your reps, they should apply the same principles to communicate with each other.
Say No to Micromanagement
From Matias Wigozki, Director of Enterprise Customer Success, InsightSquared
Micromanagement doesn’t work! No one likes it — reps and managers alike. However, the line between a diligent manager and a micromanager is thin and only grows more delicate when working remotely. To avoid this issue, focus on inspecting output, rather than input. Act upon data, not your gut feeling.
To help reps move deals forward, ramp up your coaching. Take time to listen to their calls, provide feedback and address weaknesses that will help them develop their skills. In addition, a tool such as Activity Capture can automate data collection and prompt reps for missing data, so you gain full visibility into deals without the need to micromanage.
Strengthen Team Connections
From John Merklinger, Sales Manager, InsightSquared
A prolonged period of remote work with minimum human contact can impact your reps both professionally and personally. Remote workers lack “de-stress” moments, such as a quick chat with their desk neighbor, to balance their mood and recharge during the day. Make up for such moments by being human during your daily discussions. Hop on a video call (it’s more personal) and talk about something aside from work and COVID-19. You will both benefit from it!
The same goes for teammates. We’re all experiencing the same daily life disruptions (who could have predicted the race for grocery?), so open a communication channel to share them with each other. If we can help each other through life problems, we can count on each other to help achieve our sales goals.
Lastly, promote healthy remote work habits. Encourage breaks during the day, or hold team lunches via video call to catch up on life — anything to bring a sense of normalcy to your day. It’s simple, but effective to keep the morale high.
In two weeks of remote work, you may learn more about your team than you have in months of regular office life. Take the chance to build a team of friends, not just coworker
Don’t Forget to Celebrate Wins
From Rachel Senker, Sr. Director of Customer Success, InsightSquared
Some traditions may fall by the wayside as you move to a remote work scenario, but celebrating wins cannot be one of them. Reps may not be able to blast their signature song, hit the gong or receive a round of high-fives (elbow taps?), but you can find alternative ways to recognize hard-earned accomplishments and spread the positive energy to your team and beyond
Give a shoutout in Slack (try our Champ! app), celebrate in your daily standup, or simply send a personal note of congratulations to the rep. Every bit of recognition adds fuel to your sales momentum. During times like these, you can never have enough positive energy!
The current situation is challenging, but with these best practices we hope you can navigate your sales team through this crisis and be ready to face any circumstances. Be agile!