Awesome sales teams are not bound by the physical confines of the office cubicle or premise; they can work effectively from disparate work locations as remote teams. Thanks to the rapid advent of technology and solutions such as Salesforce CRM, a growing number of organizations, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, were making their offices accessible to their sales teams through telecommuting/ remote work. Doing so is enabling them, especially small and medium businesses, to improve their overall efficiency, cost-effectiveness and productivity, reduce attrition rates, expand to newer locations and massively amplify sales and profits.
Are you a business with a remote sales team that you are unable to effectively manage? Are you a business that is considering setting up a remote sales team? Are apprehensive about the future of sales and work, given the present unprecedented circumstances? Then, you are in the right place. In this article, we help you understand why remote teams are successful, what are the unique challenges they face and how to effectively manage a remote sales team.
5 Reasons Remote Sales Teams Are Successful
According to a Stanford University research, employees are 13% more productive while working remotely. The research further found that performance and productivity improvement can be chiefly attributed to more minutes per shift and more calls per minute. Think about it. The salesperson can attend a meeting with the CEO or manager over teleconference, update the CRM in between client meetings, meet an important client for coffee or engage in cold calling prospective leads, while saving immensely on their commute to and from work. Essentially, they can be more productive and get more done when they are equipped with the right technology and tools for remote working.
Remote sales teams function with maximum efficiency when equipped with the right tools such as Salesforce CRM that are cloud-based, can be accessed from their mobile phones/ smart devices and help them get the right insights at the right time. They do not have to spend hours scouring through disparate and siloed sources to get insights. Tools like Communicat-O, a holistic business text messaging solution from Manras, enables salespersons to effectively engage with customers, deepen customer preference profiles, build effective conversations with a personal touch and close deals faster.
Additionally, sales managers do not have to meet their sales reps on an everyday basis for verbal updates, briefing and work assignment; it can be done virtually with the help of CRM tools. Thus, giving them more time to take on additional responsibilities and develop effective strategies to improve sales.
Salespersons are in the driver’s seat
Remote work puts the salespersons in the driver’s seat and empowers them to schedule their work and craft their own path for success. This flexibility empowers them to balance work and life while also incentivising them to be more productive. They will have the opportunity to develop their skillsets, network and grow professionally which, in turn, enhances their productivity and output.
Attracting and retaining the best talent
Remote work with the help of technology enables organizations to liberate their sales teams from the physical confines of the office. This, essentially, opens up hitherto untapped or under-tapped talent pools to the organizations. For instance, organizations may be forced to hire from a limited set of candidates from urban settings for sales rep positions even when better candidate pools are available in faraway locations or in suburban/ rural settings. This is usually because the long commute erodes employee efficiency and relocation/ long commute prevents the best talent from applying to such jobs. With remote work and technological advancements, organizations are not bound by geography. They can hire and retain talent from anywhere.
Collaboration, cooperation and camaraderie can thrive
With communication tools ranging from Salesforce Chatter, Skype and Zoom to Slack and WhatsApp, remote sales teams have a plenitude of ways to stay in constant touch with one another from anywhere across the globe. Face-to-face team meetings can be minimized and replicated virtually. Using cloud-based models similar to CRM, teams can access the spreadsheets and word processors at the same time with no version control losses.
Remote Sales Teams Are Not Without Problems
Remote sales teams have their own unique challenges which, if not addressed effectively, can quickly erode benefits and opportunities of remote work and heighten the risk of turnover and losses.
- There could be a loss of personal touch and the team may have a feeling of loneliness and isolation.
- The team leaders and sales managers cannot stand behind the salesperson and keep nudging them to get work done.
- Constant monitoring, micromanagement and the ‘Where are they – What are they really upto Syndrome’ can erode the productivity and performance of the managers and team leaders.
- Ensuring continued employee engagement and trust among remote sales teams can be challenging.
- Compliance and information security issues may arise, especially because oversight is significantly more difficult with remote workers.
How to Ensure That Your Remote Sales Team Is Successful?
For your remote sales team to be effective and successful, you must set clear expectations, define ground rules and standard rules for various activities (cold calling, follow up, closing a deal, etc.), and establish clear goals for individual salespersons and the team from the very beginning. This will set a clear benchmark for performance amongst the team members who are working autonomously. While daily activities can be monitored with the help of a CRM, the manager must have weekly/ bi-weekly check-ins with the team and with individual salespersons.
Invest in the right technology and tools that everyone in the remote sales team can use. The effectiveness, success and outcomes of remote sales teams depend on what tools and technology you equip them with. A comprehensive, intelligent and customizable CRM like Salesforce is a must.
Salesforce CRM is cloud-based, mobile-optimized, has intelligent automation, integrates all sales and marketing data from disparate sources into a centralized database and empowers salespersons with the right insights to make expedited decisions. This tool enables managers to monitor remote sales team’s activities and movements effectively and helps overcome the ‘Where are they – What are they really upto Syndrome’. Based on the actionable insights about activities and performance, managers can give salespersons the right nudges without micromanaging and devise ways to engage salespersons better. With the help of Salesforce Gold Consulting Partners like Manras, you can customize the CRM tool for the unique needs of your business and develop maintainable and scalable plans for long-term success.
Ensure that you have standardized tools for communication within the team and with the customers/ clients. Salesforce Chatter is a powerful tool and the leading enterprise social network that empowers employees to do more from wherever they are and collaborate seamlessly across departments and roles to boost business results. Its power-packed features include
- Seamless file/data sharing across roles and departments in the organization that enable quicker decision-making, break information silos and help keep everyone in the loop.
- Polls, groups, community discussions, etc. that help accelerate innovate.
- A unified space to capture and share all knowledge about the organization.
Encourage your team to engage in more social interaction on designated tools and build strong relationships with one another. Whenever you buy or subscribe to a tool/ technology, ensure that it has all necessary compliance certifications and is trustworthy while also educating your sales team about data/ information security and compliance standards.
In conclusion, remote sales teams are a fast-growing reality and their effective management will define your business outcomes and success in the future of work. Are you well-equipped for it?