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The 4 Essential Factors For Managing A Remote Sales Force

As you know, managing sales people can be difficult, even in the best of times.

Ensuring every sales person is pulling their weight, and reaching their goals and quota, needs constant monitoring.

During these pandemic times, managing your people remotely is even a bigger challenge for everyone.

So, what to do?

There are many resources, and ideas you can use, to help you manage your remote sales teams. I’m sure you’ve read many.

As a manger of sales teams for over 20 years, let me break it down to 4 key factors that I believe are the most important, for ongoing sales and marketing success.

These factors are:

  1. 1.Tools
  2. 2.Communications
  3. 3.Measurement
  4. 4.Learning

 

1.Tools

You obviously need the right tools to help your sales and marketing people survive, grow, and prosper during any time. Here are three areas I believe are the most important. There are many tools you can use in each area, but the tools will help you manage your people much better.

  • You need a robust CRM to ensure you have up-to-date information on all your teams’ activities, and what is happening in each client and prospect. This gives you the opportunity to keep on top of what and how everyone is performing, from your clients, prospects, and your sales and marketing teams. The technology itself is only part of the solution. The other part is having a process that ensures the records are up-to-date.
  • You need a good tool for communicating visually with your team, and your clients and prospects. Many people are using Zoom to do this now, but there are other tools available. This tool will allow physically viewing, so everyone can keep building the needed relationships we all need to succeed.
  • You need a tool for monitoring your sales people in their verbal communications with their clients and prospects. These tools need to record each call your sales people make, so you can monitor their calls to help them with their sales techniques. Video web meeting tools such as Zoom can record the meetings. Most VOIP phone systems are able to record calls. Ensure your sales people understand that you are not using this tool to spy on them, but to help you and them, where they might need some coaching to succeed. You’re just the “fly on the wall” during the sales call.

2. Communications

Obviously, communication is key for ensuring your sales people have ongoing success. Here are some ideas to keep the right communications flowing between your sales and marketing people and management.

  • Set expectations and goals for each sales person, on a weekly basis.
  • Have one-on-one meetings with each of your sales people at least once a week.
  • Have a team meeting at least once a week to let them know what is happening, and to give positive updates on how different people are performing. Always keep in mind this motto; “Praise in public, criticize in private”.
  • Ensure they are getting all of the marketing and sales material they need to keep their clients informed about your company, and the information to help them succeed.
  • Encourage your sales people and marketers to “meet” regularly with each other, to discuss ideas about how they handled certain situations. This is part of informal learning and coaching sessions that help people succeed.
  • Show that you trust them. Lead them to their goals through questioning rather than telling them what to do.
  • Send them information regularly on what is happening in the company, and send them other communications that can help them with their job, such as new marketing material.
  • Some companies also use informal team chats to keep each other informed about their daily lives, possibly over a beer on Friday afternoons. I wouldn’t have these too often, as they usually become stale, but they can help to build team chemistry.

3. Measurement

Another old saying is; “What gets measured, gets done”.

Set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) with each sales person. This gives you an excellent source for measuring how each of them are performing. Below are some ideas for KPI’s.

Most sales people are paid, at least partially, on how much revenue they generate.

But there are many other things that need to be measured too. This is why having the right technology makes it easier to measure the activity your sales people.

Many sales people are measured on such items as;

  • Number of phone calls made per day. This is mainly prospecting and ongoing customer communication.
  • Number of sales calls made per day. These are generally to address prospect or customer needs and may include a presentation.
  • Number of proposals and/or quotes sent out.
  • Ensuring the CRM is updated after every call client or prospect interaction. This could be a sales call, an email sent, a proposal sent, etc.

If you pay sales people at least partially with a salary, you need to ensure each of them understands what that salary covers. It could be such things as filling out the CRM, attending internal meetings, working with marketing, getting coaching, etc. Too many companies do not lay out what the salary does cover, and management gets frustrated when these items are not done.

4. Learning

Because your sales force can now plan their day, without a lot of office interruptions, reinforce the objective of learning, and getting coaching to help them when necessary.

Most of that learning should be related to sales and becoming better at it (see below). But some of it can be about other things that affect their job, for example; leadership ideas to help them grow; AI to allow them to better understand how it works, and how it is going to affect their working environment moving forward; ensure they understand marketing and work with the marketing people to get both departments working together; etc.

It is also very important that you have ongoing coaching, especially in these times. Coaching remotely obviously has its difficulties, but these can be overcome by using the tools suggested above.

Coaching after sales’ calls can ensure that sales people know what went right and wrong, and to enhance and correct both situations.

Also, role-plays can have a very positive impact on how sales people advance in their career.

To start role-plays, you, as the manger should play the sales person at first. This allows your sales people to see and understand your expectations from them in a sales role.

Then, you can run role-plays where one person plays the sales person, the manger plays the client, and 3 to 4 other sales people watch the role-play and critique the call too. This can easily be done on Zoom.

Then one of the other sales people plays the sales role, and keep going until everyone has had a role-play.

This reinforces the selling situation, with each sales person, as they are critiqued with a sales manager, and also their peers. It is a very powerful way to coach.

These 4 items may look like a lot of work. So,

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This article was adapted from a blog post at York Consulting. You can see their original post HERE.

Ian Dainty
Kind regards,
Ian Dainty
Ian Dainty’s Email

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