How to Manage a Remote Sales Team - A Complete Guide
November 24th 2021
Remote Selling
COVID-19 pandemic has globally transformed B2B sales strategy across different industries. As a result, the shift in B2B sales interactions is inclined towards remote sales teams. Changes are quicker, essential new technologies are adopted, and strategies are optimized for managing sales teams. Sales teams are rapidly evolving their strategies for remote selling. Since 2020, the need to digitize, automate, and evolve processes has enhanced customer experience. But, before we get into the details, let's learn the basics.

Table of Contents:

  • What’s new in Remote Selling?
  • Challenges faced by Remote Sales Teams
  • Benefits of Remote Selling
  • Best practices for Remote Sales Productivity
  • Remote Selling Technology

What’s New in Remote Selling?

Remote operations have made B2B marketers and sellers evolve their processes and move towards digital transformations. While several B2B sales teams exceeded their targets in past years, 2020 drastically affected their customer acquisition and retention approach. It led to a change in customer interactions. Adopting technology to improve existing operations has become a norm. Closing deals in the digital and remote selling environment has become the 'new normal.'

To leverage the benefits of remote sales, you must standardize processes and centralize support functions. Optimizing cost for data integration, sales outreach through a consolidated tech stack can enhance the scalability of remote sales productivity. Organizations that implement remote selling at the start of the sales outreach process can enhance the prospect journey in the competitive landscape. But the transition from traditional sales to remote selling can be challenging at first.

Challenges faced by Remote Sales Teams

The transition to working remotely can be challenging for sales teams as in-person conversation has a human touch.

Some common challenges of remote for sales managers include:

  • Overstressing while managing sales team: Pressurizing themselves to be accessible or working at all times
  • Engaging with team members: Ensuring the team feels comfortable, supported, and productive despite working remotely
  • Lack of collaboration: In the absence of in-person interactions, proximity, the opportunities to collaborate get fewer

Challenges for Remote Sales Teams Include:

  • Lack of Content
  • Engaging prospects in an in-person meeting helps in providing instant insights. You can attract prospects by showing valuable data and social proof. Whereas in remote selling, you need to engage prospects virtually. Let's take an example to understand why this can be challenging.

    Suppose you are reaching out to a prospect on LinkedIn, and they raise a pricing objection. What's the best way to answer? Should you share a canned message or personalize it at the moment? Content plays a critical role in such situations. The right content at the right time can contribute to engaging prospects throughout the sales cycle. Micro-content in such cases can help in retaining their attention.

    Tip to overcome this challenge: Create a SWAT team that aligns sales and marketing teams together. Make sure your sales team has micro-content in various formats for quick response to prospects.

  • Unable to Identify Customer Requirements
  • The traditional sales method allows sales reps to visit the prospect's office, look around the setup and get a basic idea about their requirements. It provides a chance to speak to more than one person and identify the organization's pain points that are relevant to your product or service. However, in remote sales you will follow a different approach. You need to ask the appropriate questions on virtual meetings, follow prospects on social media, understand the organization's existing setup, and much more to identify their pain points.

    Tip to overcome this challenge: Companies new to remote selling need to train sales reps to ask the right questions and identify the most preferred communication channel. Creating a prospecting playbook can also benefit sales reps to identify customer pain points and requirements.

  • Inconsistent Motivation
  • Working in silos can result in low productivity for some sales reps while others may even thrive. Since there is a lack of supervision, sales reps may not be able to communicate well. Identifying where they're going wrong may get challenging.

    Tip to overcome this challenge: Sales leaders or managers need to create a comfortable environment for their sales reps to communicate their issues. Other things that can help include:

    • Setting smaller goals
    • Increase the frequency of feedback
    • Provide essential training
    • Gamify the goals and achievements
    • Celebrate success
  • Lack of Efficient Sales Tools
  • Tools work as a basic necessity for streamlining remote sales productivity. From prospecting to closing a deal, from identifying requirements to collaborating with different teams — remote sales reps need tools. Lack of knowledge of these tools can be a critical challenge for remote selling outcomes.

    Tip to overcome this challenge: You can start with a basic tech stack to help your sales team to streamline the process. You need to have a virtual meeting channel like Google Meet, Zoom, etc. Identify other places where technology and tools can simplify the process and increase the outcomes.

Benefits of Remote Selling

Remote selling offers a faster turnaround for prospects improving the sales rep productivity. Your sales representative will appreciate job satisfaction by focusing on delivering value to customers. Remote sales can do everything from identifying prospects and organizing information to automating follow-ups and increasing engagement. By adopting sales tools in your outreach process, your sales representatives can focus on their primary task selling to book a meeting.

The increase in remote work has increased the importance of building relationships to augment revenue from anywhere worldwide. Sales engagement, sales enablement, and revenue intelligence have transformed into a remote setup. Let's understand the benefits of remote selling in detail.

  • Cost Efficient

  • Remote sales techniques are rather cost-efficient by filtering out expenses like renting office space, equipment, travel, etc. The expenses now include identifying and implementing the best sales productivity tools. Optimizing your remote selling technology can streamline your sales process and ensure consistent outcomes. It can further help in making revenue a predictable process with insights and intelligence on improvements.

  • Improves Efficiency

  • Eliminating the hours of traveling frees up valuable time to concentrate on bringing more revenue to your business. The time saved can be used to qualify prospects, reach more people, segment and prioritize prospects based on their persona. Remote selling refines your selling strategies by giving it a structure that covers all the sales cycle stages.

  • Reach Global Markets

  • Remote sales teams can bridge the gap between global prospects through virtual meetings. With essential tools like the internet, video calling, your sales reps can easily reach out to a target audience globally. It simplifies scaling sales and business growth by automating repetitive manual tasks, managing the sales pipeline, and organizing communication.

  • Empower the potential of sales reps

  • Remote selling creates a favorable environment for sales reps with comprehensive resources to aid their tasks. In 2020, at least 61% of businesses that leveraged automation for sales exceeded their revenue targets. Remote sales productivity increases considerably as sales reps have the flexibility to choose their work environment and set their schedule. It empowers the sales reps to bring out the best potential by focusing on things that amplify their performance.

Best Practices for Remote Sales Productivity

The increasing adoption of remote work has made it all the more important to build relationships with prospects. With multi-channel communication and quick response time, you can reduce churn. Accurate sales forecasts help in identifying high-quality leads for remote selling. You can follow these best practices to create a framework for remote sales productivity.

  • Setup Processes
  • An unorganized process requires guesswork leading to miscommunications and inconsistent results. Streamlining the sales process can help in effectively communicating through their preferred channel. You can keep the frequency of follow-ups consistent based on a predefined process. It helps in making revenue a predictable process. Every sales workflow or process step can be predicted, and getting the desired results gets simplified.

  • Clear Communication Channels
  • Hubspot's 2019 Report on Remote Work has identified that 29% of remote workers find it most challenging to communicate with coworkers. Knowing the preferred channel of communication and using multiple channels can increase your chances of getting a response in terms of sales. It's essential to keep your communication consistent to build a relationship with your prospects.

  • Set Measurable Goals
  • Measuring performance helps in identifying the gaps in your sales workflow. Informing your sales reps about their performance using metrics will provide clarity on how they can improve themselves. It creates transparency among your teammates and the overall organization.

  • Ensure Virtual Interactions
  • Keeping your team engaged is essential to keep them motivated. Frequent feedback calls, ensuring managers are approachable, appreciating small achievements, and ensuring transparency can build trust with your teammates. You can continue building rapport within the team through virtual interactions.

  • Encourage Sales Reps to Create their Workflows
  • Work from home is a significant transition that requires sales reps to build new schedules and habits. Empower your sales reps to create their remote working methods to reach their sales quota. They can identify the best practices by sharing their experiences with colleagues.

Remote Selling Technology

Importance of Remote Selling Technology

The transition from in-person sales to remote selling requires the right tools and technology in place. Remote selling technology can help you streamline operations and maximize revenue-generating opportunities. Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • Communication Tool
  • Working remotely requires an efficient way to communicate internally within your team. Slack can help you connect with your team. Features like group chats, communication threads, file sharing, integrations, and much more can ensure internal communication on the go.

  • Tool for Video Calling and Virtual Meetings
  • Virtual meetings with video calls are the closest one can get to in-person meetings. Zoom and Google Meet are go-to-apps for remote meetings. You can use them to connect to prospects from anywhere worldwide.

  • Video Recording and Sharing Tools
  • You can create videos using your camera or share your screen, and both at the same time. It's essential for a hybrid workplace that is transitioning towards remote selling. It can help you stand out by personalizing the sales experience. Loom in an effective, efficient, and expressive way to move with a modern approach to selling.

  • Sales Engagement Tools
  • Master your sales conversation with a sales engagement tool. You can have a one-stop solution to create workflows, automate tasks, track progress, and acquire insights. From prospecting to closure, you can ensure you have meaningful conversations with prospects through multiple channels. Upscale is creating the next normal of sales outreach that helps in streaming repetitive tasks so that your sales team can focus on what matters - closing deals.

Final Words

When sales activities are virtual, the progress is also quicker. In comparison to in-person sales, remote sales reach the closing stage sooner. You can follow up through emails, calls, text messages, or other digital channels to increase the probability of a reply from prospects. You can set up time-specific sales processes and workflows to streamline how you book meetings and close deals.

Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
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