October 21, 2020

How to Manage a Sales Team Remotely

Remote workforces were one of the biggest trends of the 2010s, as many employers and employees embraced work from home. Now, remote workforces are the new normal during the pandemic. They also promise to be a major workforce model in the future.

This structure provides many benefits, but can complicate things a bit for sales operations. While any business function and process will need to acclimate and adjust to the lack of in-person interaction, sales in particular thrives on experiences and engagement. 

Taking away that in-person element can prove difficult not only in external situations, but also internal ones. Managing a sales team remotely is a challenge that managers will need to rise to meet. What happens to sales team engagement when there’s no water cooler talk or high-fives after a deal close? How might team-building and mentoring be impacted? 

These are all questions that decision-makers will need to address — and ultimately find solutions for. To help your sales operations modernize, here’s some advice for how to manage a sales team remotely.

Have a weekly all-hands virtual meeting

It’s too easy to grow disconnected when so much physical space separates your sales team. That’s why it’s important to have a weekly meeting with all hands on deck. Even if you can’t gather together in the office, you can at least meet face-to-face (to-face-to-face-to-face) with everyone in a virtual meeting room.

Dustin Deno, Showpad’s Vice President of Sales for North America, has some helpful tips for managing such meetings so that they’re productive and useful:

  • Over-communicate: Always send a meeting agenda and make it known that attendance with a video camera is mandatory.
  • Start with an icebreaker: A little fun to begin the meeting can help amp up the energy that can be lacking in virtual settings.
  • Make it worthwhile: Use this meeting to make new announcements or deliver essential information. 

Some additional things to think about include getting everyone to participate and managing control of the room (i.e., muting attendees with background noise).

Accommodate employees with families

The pandemic disrupted our personal and professional lives in all number of ways. With schools largely employing distance learning or hybrid models, it’s likely you may have employees who are working parents with new, additional home duties. 

It’s worthwhile to check in with each employee and ask if there are any accommodations that would support their working life. For example, flexible schedules can be arranged, as well as a stipend or other form of assistance to create a home office environment free from distractions.

Transform how coaching and onboarding is delivered

It can be particularly hard to coach and onboard reps when a manager can’t simply pull up a chair. However, if anything, the importance of such programs and initiatives is more emphasized in managing a remote sales team. Reps needs to be enabled and empowered, and managers need the right tools and perspectives to do so.

Coaching remote sellers means you need to turn the engagement and personalization up a notch further. One great way to do this is with Showpad’s Coach’s Pitch IQ®. Reps can record themselves delivering a pitch and then watch their performance. Managers can then give feedback to help them improve, as well as show them how top-performers deliver the same pitch. All of this can happen virtually and seamlessly.

Thorough and effective onboarding is particularly important for new remote sales reps. There’s no welcome party to be thrown, so managers will need to pay particular attention to progress. With Showpad, coaches and managers can more easily share feedback and gain insight into how new reps have performed and interacted with training materials.

Continue to recognize wins and build team spirit

Right now, it’s not possible for team members to lunch together or gather at a favorite local hangout. But that doesn’t mean you can’t host a virtual happy hour where everyone can bring their drink of choice. 

It can be easy to fall into a lull when not in close proximity and contact with one another. Yet, sales teams feed off camaraderie and experiences. It’s your job to ensure your sales operations still foster this type of engagement. 

In the same vein, it’s critical to continue to share wins and recognize employees for their efforts. Again, there are many alternative forums for recognition than simply gathering everybody together. You can share wins in a virtual all-hands meeting or post on an internal social network. 

Build a culture of peer-to-peer feedback

One way you can inspire collaboration and communication between your sales team is by instituting a program of peer-to-peer feedback. Evaluating and helping colleagues can help bring salespeople together in meaningful and productive ways.

For remote teams, this time can grant sales reps the opportunity to develop deeper coworker relationships, or help top performers share their best behaviors and practices with others.

Encourage mental health awareness

Finally, it’s essential to check in on the mental health of your sales team. We’re all human and stressful times can bring many challenges. It’s a good idea to have periodic 1-on-1s, whether weekly or biweekly. Managers can use this time to talk about more than job performance. Doing so will show employees you care and are invested in their well-being.

Manage a remote sales team better with Showpad

Having the right technology is central to successful management of a remote sales team. A sales enablement platform is a major advantage to have. With the right platform, you can better track the impacts of coaching, develop new training modules and better manage content.

Showpad is that comprehensive solution to power your sales success. Want to learn more? Contact us today for a demo or to request information.