Remote work is the future format, so managers must adapt and build cooperation in a way that is as comfortable as possible for both parties. Managing a remote sales team is challenging. As a manager, you have less visibility, less direct contact with your people, and less control over their work processes.
Remote sales depend on applications and online processes much more than in-office sales. Managers leading remote sales teams must strictly adhere to the business processes available to the team. Team communication should be a priority, with clear agendas and goals to make meetings more effective. Let’s review the key elements that will help you manage remote sales teams.
Make a Work Algorithm and Rules
The systemic approach is essential when working remotely. Having clear and understandable rules for all team members will help solve this problem.
Create norms within the work process, criteria, and evaluation system.
- what time an employee should be in touch;
- the division of duties and the distribution of roles with areas of responsibility;
- who and how is responsible for setting and completing tasks;
- measurable KPI;
- templates for assigning tasks and reporting;
- notifications of deadlines;
- a labor evaluation system: how much each completed task template is valued.
This entire set should be systematized in writing, publicly covered, and always available on a shared Google Drive or other cloud storage. Inform each new employee that there is such a guideline, and it is imperative to familiarize yourself with it.
Treat Remote Employees Like In-House Employees
Remote employees are still different from in-house employees. They don’t meet with you every day; they don’t come into your office, have lunch with you, or have access to you at all times. You need to take this into account.
For remote employees not to feel like outsiders, try to respond to their messages as quickly as possible and keep them informed of what’s happening in the company. Let them know that they are part of the team. This will help establish a sense of team spirit and make them feel like a valuable team member.
Involvement In The Workflow
Involve your remote employees in work-related discussions daily. With so many communication methods at your disposal, it’s easy to do these days. You can also schedule regular face-to-face meetings — weekly, monthly, or yearly. Meetings can be timed to coincide with attendance at conferences or seminars.
Constant interaction and active participation in the work process will help remote workers feel part of the team.
Video chats are essential with remote workers. Face-to-face conversation allows you to understand each other better and make visual collaboration more productive and comfortable for both parties. Use Whoosh or Zoom when you want to contact the team.
Communication only by correspondence and sudden silence from your side will inevitably cause questions and doubts among your employees about their professional competence or transparency. As a rule, such doubts quickly grow into worries and affect the quality of work.
Make Sure Your Technical Base Is Reliable
If remote workers can’t download files, participate in a conference call because of poor connectivity, or receive invitations to meetings at night, you definitely have some work to do. Your priority must be providing your remote sales team with all the necessary equipment for comfortable and uninterrupted work. This concerns both hardware and software. Make sure you pay for their subscription plans and control the operation of their devices.
Motivate Your Sales Managers
A shared mission and values create a bond in a remote sales team. And it’s the leader who plays a vital role in this.
You should often broadcast the ideas you want to share with your team: hold motivational speeches at the end of video conferences, and summarize the week’s results with messages.
Never forget to praise your employees:
- celebrate successes in general chats;
- hold a tender for monthly bonuses for meeting KPIs or special achievements;
- give corporate training courses.
Establish Trusting Relationship
Remote work will only be productive if there is mutual trust between management and employees.
If you’ve already set specific requirements, milestones, and performance benchmarks, then give the team time to demonstrate their responsibility and productivity. Show that you trust them as professionals and hope for mutual respect in working together. At the same time, analyze what’s going on systematically.
With this approach, your employees will work at a relaxed pace without constant twitching. And you will see how things are progressing on time and, if necessary, make your adjustments and decisions on the productivity achieved.
To sum things up, you must include these conditions for the smooth remote operation of your sales department:
- the availability of all the required services;
- a sense of connection to the team and a unified process;
- a clear structure, where everyone has a role to play;
- an ability to monitor performance without pressure and to motivate employees.