The recent development in technology has made distance an irrelevant factor in all kinds of business communication and collaboration. Due to this exact benefit, more companies are likely to adopt flexible workplace structures and extract other advantages that this model delivers, like saving overall cost otherwise spent on infrastructure and maintenance.
So, if you’re thinking of choosing a remote working model for some or all of your team members, ensure that you consider the important related factors. These factors could and will vary as per the department and work nature of the specific teams.
The reporting structure, the KPIs, the rules would be specific and different for your sales, marketing, operations team and so on.
Honestly, managing a remote team can be a tricky business as your team members are located in different locations and aren’t sitting in front of your eyes. Handling remotely-located team can certainly be challenging but it doesn’t have to be!
Needless to say, physical distance with passing time can create emotional distance between team members. For perfect team collaboration and engagement, your organizations should get really creative and make an extra effort to ensure that people still have that connection with one another.
Given that the right remote working policy is created which accommodates flexibility for the team, states effective and clear rules, is designed as per the nature of work of different teams, and includes team engagement in the top priority list, you can certainly have a united and strong sales remote team.
Talking about specific managing factors for specific teams, here we’d cover the dos and don’ts of managing a remote sales team:
1. Change your recruitment approach
Hiring the right candidate for your company’s sales team is an extremely tedious yet important job. Herein, when remote working is written in front of the office location, it is necessary that the hiring approach is changed accordingly. Candidates applying for your sales team should be trustworthy, capable of handling work without minute supervision, and should have the supporting infrastructure for working at their home. With no office workspace, it becomes a necessity to have sales professionals who are independent, takes initiative and has self-discipline.
2. Don’t pick ‘hand-holder’ employees
Let’s face it, training new sales executives become a bigger and difficult responsibility to complete when done through remote locations. Unlike other employees, sales professionals are the representatives of your company and you just can’t afford any incapable person to speak with your customers. Therefore, it makes sense that you hire sales professionals who can handle spontaneous situations arising with your customers smartly. It won’t be wrong to say that remote working is here to stay for long, hence your sales executives should be skilled to work and learn individually and doesn’t rely on supervisors on every small step.
3. Empower your team to make decisions
When as a company you expect your employees to be capable enough to take decisions smartly, then it is your responsibility as well to give them the authority to do so. When team members are geographically widespread, it isn’t feasible to send emails and take permission from the team heads on every small matter. I won’t say that all your employees should be given permission to freely do whatever they find right, but as per their capabilities, they should be empowered to make choices which are best for the company.
4. Take advantage of assisting technology
With the emergence of remote working culture in the business world, technology too has been developed swiftly to make the process much easier and convenient. Starting from monitoring the work hours to team communication to external communication to managing task list, everything can be done on easy-to-use tools. Because when you work remotely, you lose the richness of team communication, something which is vital for a healthy mindset of employees. So, utilising remote working tools would bring efficiency in work, reduce the chances of manual error, and facilitate open team communication.
5. Focus on the working hours
Certain roles like that of sales team demand them to be available at a specific time. Your sales executive can’t function overnight without being present in the day time as most of your customer calls would come in the day hours. However, it is also important that your team doesn’t end up working long unnecessarily. They should take timely breaks and don’t work for long periods of time. This would make them lose interest in their work in the initial few days only. Hence, alongside ensuring that your team works for the minimum defined hours, it is also important to check that they don’t work for overtime unnecessarily.
6. Pay special attention to customer communication
As mentioned above, in the case of the sales team, training and managing them effectively becomes utmost important and non-negotiable simply because they are your frontline executives. They are in direct contact with your prospects and any irresponsibility here can cause severe damage to revenue and brand reputation. Hence, it is important to keep a continuous tab on their communication with customers. And for that, hearing their recorded conversations would be the best way out. Your sales executives’ on-call conversations with the customer will be timely recorded and updated on the live panel. Your supervisors can access it from any remote location and keep a constant tab on your team performance.
7. Include continuous team training in your targets
Training your sales professionals include several topics like teaching etiquettes of communicating with customers, how to handle customer queries, what to say during pricing discussions, how to beat the competition stage and so on. Conveying all these are next to impossible on emails or on word documents. Herein, using video calls to train the employees about changing ways to close deals, sharing with the recorded conversations to exemplify the right way of communicating with customers can make your team training process much more effective.
8. Incorporate trust as the supreme factor
Just because they aren’t working in front of your eyes doesn’t mean that they aren’t working at all. It’s human nature that they find it difficult to trust something which they can’t see. In the case of remote working, this is the first thing you should work on. Develop a mindset that your team is working responsibly from their home. And hence, your team reports should be just a way to confirm your trust and not as the way to keep a thorough check on their task done.
Flexible remote work setup has several advantages to offer. However, it comes with certain drawbacks and pitfalls too. To make sure that you reap the benefits and evade potential problems, you should take into consideration the above-mentioned factors while permitting your sales team to work remotely. If your groundwork and laid rules won’t be in the right direction, you won’t be able to fetch the required productivity and good results from your remote sales team.
Remotely working employees can be a great asset for company’s long term growth, as long as you create the right framework for bringing them on board and managing them in ways that set them up for success.