This article was originally posted on Destination CRM on July 7th, 2020.
More than 50 percent of employees are working from home right now as a result of the coronavirus, according to an MIT survey. When your sales team has to shift to remote work overnight, adjustments must be made.
Working from home was likely a refreshing perk in the past, but sitting at home for weeks on end is taking its toll on your team’s focus and engagement. There’s a difference between working remotely in normal life and working from the kitchen during a global pandemic because every other room in the house is occupied.
To help your sales team stay successful, it’s critical that you accommodate this learning curve with compassion and plenty of communication. Ensuring a smooth and consistent journey for prospects and clients starts with aligning your organization during this difficult time.
Coordinating Remote Sales Teams
An abrupt shift like this disrupts structure and creates time management issues. Your employees may not be used to setting their own goals and managing their own time—at least not without oversight. Come to an agreement with your team on how their days should look, what results they should work toward, and how those results should be measured. It can be helpful to create this plan together to get more buy-in from the team and foster transparency.
As a sales leader, you have to be willing to undergo a mental shift, too. Effective managers are always focused on output. However, you shouldn’t micromanage the process right now (and you likely can’t with your entire team working remote). Try to take a step back and look at the overall results, not each individual step. It’s up to you to assign clear deliverables that can be completed and assessed remotely.
Support is the foundation of a successful remote sales team strategy. Here are four ways you can help boost your team:
1. Amp up your empathy. This environment is new for your team, so business will naturally occur differently. This reality is affecting your prospects as well, so sales reps will need to find new and creative ways to market to them. Set an example for your team by being empathetic to their new situation (i.e., being trapped at home) so you can also encourage them to show that same empathy to prospects. Tell them to put themselves in their prospects’ shoes. What would be helpful that they can offer? What could come across as intrusive or overly “salesy” that they should avoid?
2. Create clear structure. In remote situations, it’s especially important that you outline crystal-clear goals and objectives for your sales team. Define your productivity goals for the week, establish checkpoints to accomplish your objectives, and create a measurement system for KPIs. Then, schedule weekly team stand-up meetings to report on your results. Employees will work harder if they understand how their personal efforts impact the broader company’s success.
3. Overcommunicate. Under these circumstances, salespeople don’t have the luxury to lean across their desks to chat with managers and coworkers. When working remotely, communication is key. It’s up to you as a leader to establish expectations and also to foster an environment that supports communication. From regular stand-ups to video meetings and Slacks, overcommunication creates connectivity and efficiency in your team.
4. Maintain your company’s culture. As much as you can, find ways to maintain the aspects of your in-person work culture that made it fun. Did your sales team go out for a monthly happy hour? Have a virtual one instead where everyone makes a fun cocktail and shares the recipe. Did your team trade funny memes? Don’t stop now. Just because the rest of the world is changing doesn’t mean the way you relate to one another has to.
Working remotely is a big shift for anyone, especially socially driven salespeople. Help support your team by giving them the resources they need to be successful and by becoming more empathetic, scrappy, and creative yourself. We are all in this together, and we will come out the other side more resourceful and compassionate people.
Want more information on growing your sales pipeline? Check out our guidebook for eight crucial tips we used to 3x our sales meetings using cold email alone.