Becoming an expert leader for a remote sales team means you have to adapt. This includes adjusting to new situations and figuring out the right ways to empower your employees.
Launched in 2017, WeTravel is a payment platform for everything related to trip planning. After adopting remote selling, the company managed to increase its sales considerably. In just one year, the company achieved a 600% increase in sales volume.
That’s not bad for a new startup – and the company did it without investing heavily in sales! Instead, the founders took a modern approach and hired international remote workers.
You can accomplish a lot with a small team, but it all depends on how well you manage them. Here are five lessons you can learn from WeTravel’s success story about successfully managing a remote sales team and getting more out of it.
Remote Team Management Tip #1 – Invest in a Great CRM (and Show Your People How to Use it)
It’s not difficult to find a good CRM software. Startups have it even easier, as many can get one at a big discount. However, a cheap CRM does not mean a free CRM. Do your best to stay away from free offerings, as they often have limited functionality.
Why is this important? Because remote teams don’t interact physically. Your salespeople need to be in touch with you, and with one another. If you hire an international team, either to save money or expand your business, having a great CRM system becomes even more important.
If your sales representatives don’t have experience with your CRM software, take your time. Get everyone up to speed on how to use it to increase their productivity and stay informed. The investment will pay for itself in the long run.
Remote Team Management Tip #2 – Establish a New Sales Pipeline (and Provide the Tools Your People Need to Use It)
Why do you need to establish a new sales pipeline? Because remote teams don’t have the luxury of all working under the same roof. It’s not as easy to get information from coworkers. You can’t just tap them on the shoulder, for example.
This means that, in addition to CRM training, your people also need remote sales training. When you introduce a new tool, you absolutely have to train everyone how to use it. Failing to do so can hurt the performance of your sales team.
So, learn how to run your pipeline meetings in a more efficient manner. Gather all sources of information, such as emails, notes, calls, and CRM. Plan your meeting and make sure you update everyone about the team’s status and prospects.
Help your sales reps communicate and share with one another. Group discussions offer unique perspectives and make it easier to spot risks and figure out solutions. This is how your sales team can thrive. Just make sure they know how to use all the tools you put at their disposal.
Remote Team Management Tip #3 – Communicate with Each Team Member at Least Once Per Day
How much should you communicate with your sales team members? For a remote team, at least 15 minutes a day is necessary. You may even want to dedicate one day per week to training in the use of new tools and techniques.
Most of all, set aside some time in your day to talk to each team member. Whether it’s someone that’s barely performing, or someone that’s bringing in new clients with ease, you need to be aware of success stories and failures. Use examples of both as learning opportunities, and share them with everyone if your team members aren’t exchanging ideas among themselves.
Remote Team Management Tip #4 – Implement Remote-Specific KPIs
It’s always important to assess the contribution and performance of team members, but it’s even more important when you have to manage remote employees. You need to use remote-specific KPIs for your evaluations.
That means tracking not just your lead generation, but also the client acquisition rate. Leads don’t mean much if your remote team isn’t converting them into sales. Also factor in the average order size.
Job satisfaction is another KPI that matters more in a remote environment. You can track employee performance, but it’s harder to track their job satisfaction. That’s why it’s important to communicate with all your team members as often as possible.
Either engage in a team conversation online, or create a survey for your remote employees. Allow them to give you feedback when it fits their schedule. Only when you become aware of problems can you start to address them.
It’s not always easy to find the right balance between intervening and keeping your distance, but it’s your job as a remote manager to know what’s going on with your team. Open communication is the key.
Remote Team Management Tip #5 – Celebrate Wins (and Use Them as Examples for Others)
Always celebrate wins! A success story is something that everyone can learn from.
Some sales reps can learn what they did wrong and others can learn how they can do even better next time… And it’s so easy to do this in a remote workspace! You don’t have to throw a party and disrupt the workflow.
Use the CRM and virtual workspaces to your advantage. Sending a team notification is sometimes acknowledgment enough. Give the rep a shoutout and then a personal congratulatory note.
Tell the story at the next sales meeting and use it as an example to inspire the other reps. Point out the key winning tactics that the rep used to secure a new account. It’s not hard to offer recognition in a digital medium. Just remember not to stop at recognition, and use the success story to benefit everyone.
Use the same approach with failures. Turn them into success stories by presenting them as lessons on what not to do – for the benefit of the team and company.
B2B sales today rely heavily on remote sales teams and digital tools. Although many people quickly pick up on new sales techniques and tactics, team leaders may have a harder time managing their team.
The transition to managing a remote sales team, especially one with employees from different parts of the world, is challenging – but it’s not impossible if you understand your role and the tools you need to make everyone’s job easier.