If you’re managing a remote sales team, utilizing technology is a given. But are you using the right technology systems?
Today I’d like to address the most important technology systems for sales teams and why they’re so key.
3 Key Technology Systems
“You cannot effectively manage a remote team without using and leveraging technology.” – Deanna Maio
Having the right technology systems in place is critical. In my last article, Does Your Remote Sales Force Have the Right Processes in Place?, I detailed which processes to build out for your sales team, so I’ll elaborate on those technology systems a bit more here.
Technology Systems #1 – a Digital Sales PlayBook
Let’s start with your Sales PlayBook.
These days everyone uses the word “Sales PlayBook,” so it’s important to first define what this means.
I liken a Sales PlayBook to a coach’s “game plan” or “playbook.” In sports, coaches put together a binder of winning plays, and they call it their “playbook.” In sales, we believe that you should also put together a “book” full of your winning plays in each of the five success areas.
Think about it this way: you can hire amazing salespeople and send them out into the world to “figure it out.” Or, you can hire amazing salespeople and give them a Sales PlayBook full of winning processes and scripts. Which do you think will have more success?
Take Your Sales PlayBook to the Digital Age
Now that we’ve explored the context of a Sales PlayBook, let’s talk about what your Sales PlayBook should look like.
We’re all familiar with user manuals, right? Well, that’s what we DON’T want your Sales PlayBook to be! And unfortunately, that’s what we see happen all too often. One person gets tasked with typing up the playbook and next thing you know—you’ve got a 50-page sales manual with no way to distribute it or access it easily.
That’s why instead we recommend that you go digital. Use a digital Sales PlayBook platform that promotes collaboration and keeps the team engaged. A digital platform will keep your team engaged and allow them to make changes to the playbook. From new success stories to winning email scripts, your Sales PlayBook should be easy to access and update. Then, as your remote salespeople are traveling around selling, they’ll always have exactly what they need right at their fingertips.
How Using a Digital Sales PlayBook Will Help You Manage Your Remote Sales Team:
- Team Collaboration – this is THE place for your team to collaborate, motivate each other, and share what’s working and what’s not. Your team should update your digital Sales PlayBook in the prospecting and selling areas as methods are tested and new success stories are ready to be shared.
- Coaching – keeping your remote sales team on track is easy with a digital Sales PlayBook. Assigning a coaching journal for each coachee will help keep you (if you’re the coach!) on track.
- Manage Goals & Stay on Track – your digital Sales PlayBook is the perfect place for salespeople to stay on top of quarterly and annual goals. Work along each member of your sales team to break their annual goals into quarters (if not already a practice that you follow), then break each month apart to create a plan that works week-to-week. This means that each salesperson will have a “weekly goals” page where they list and manage their goals. And each coach will have a coaching page to help individual salespeople as they work to achieve their goals.
- Sales Training, Ongoing Training, & Onboarding – your digital Sales PlayBook is so much more than just a place to store scripts! Your Sales PlayBook should be dynamic. It is THE place for you to store any training content, videos, or materials.
Need help getting started? I wrote the eBook on this too! Click here to download a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Creating & Managing a Sales PlayBook.
Want to use a platform that’s already set up and ready to go? Click here or on the image below to learn more about Collavia
Technology Systems #2 – CRM
Having and using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform is necessary if you want to scale and manage a remote sales team.
Your CRM system will keep your prospecting and selling activity at the forefront. The dashboard of your CRM will show you open and closed opportunities along with other pipeline data—and the backend will show you what’s going on behind the scenes.
Note-Taking Activity in Your CRM
As someone who has been on both sides of the “remote sales game” (as a salesperson and as a manager), I can’t say enough about the importance of using the notes function in your CRM.
Early in my sales career, I took notes. Tons of notes. I started with a notepad, moved to taking notes on a tablet, and eventually when CRMs became a thing, used it to capture notes after sales calls. And here’s what I can say about this process: notes are life.
We can only remember so much. But those little computers we carry around with us—they can remember a lot more! In fact, that’s exactly what they’re good for: storing information. And you know what we’re good at? Building relationships with other human beings. So, don’t miss this opportunity. Have your sales team enter notes after every single sales call or visit.
What should your CRM call notes look like?
This is going to be different for every person and every organization. I would recommend starting with the following guidelines:
- Something personal – have your salesperson add a new personal fact after each visit. This could be their spouse’s name, favorite hobby, their kids’ ages, anything. These types of notes are all about bonding and rapport. And in my experience, the something personal trumps all other information.
- Important details – were there any other important details from the visit that should be documented? This could be a change or a new discovery.
- Next visit/call – this is a game changer right here. Rather than waiting until the next time your salesperson visits to decide what will happen next, have them plan it! I always round notes out with what I’ll do the next time. For example, say I just had a great visit with Sally, and Sally is right on the edge of using my product or service. I know from my note about her something personal that she’s going on vacation, and from my important details that as soon as she gets back, she’s ready to buy. This means I should note down that final piece of collateral that will push things over the edge, along with a little “welcome back” gift for her. My next meeting is going to rock!
Using Your CRM to Manage
Your CRM is an incredibly useful tool for managing your remote sales team. Just peaking at the dashboard alone will give you tremendous insights into what’s going on with your sales team and specific salespeople.
Your CRM dashboard can tell you things like:
- Current lead status (open, attempted, contacted, disqualified, etc.)
- Opportunities by stage (proposal sent, contract review, final negotiations, etc.)
- Pipeline value
But again, just like with note taking, it’s critical that the sales team adopts your CRM best practices from the get-go. We recommend having some internal policies around your CRM.
Some policies you might consider implementing:
- Entering new leads
- Updating leads as they progress through the sales cycle
- Entering new opportunities
- Updating opportunities as they progress through the sales cycle
- Following up on assigned leads
- Maintaining clear notes after interactions
Route Planning with CRM
Your CRM can also help tremendously with route planning. There are many industry-specific CRMs—like iRestore for the Property Damage Restoration and Cleaning Service industries—that were designed with routes in mind. CRMs like iRestore are great for remote sales teams because they offer quick and easy ways to build a route based on where prospects and customers are located on a map.
CRM platforms like Salesforce also offer integrations for things like route planning. MapAnything is a Salesforce friendly integration company that’s great for route planning based on geography. The platform lays right on top of Salesforce—so you get the power of Salesforce with the visual capabilities of route planning through MapAnything.
Using platform integrations will help you customize your CRM to fit your sales team and the needs of the team.
What else can your CRM do for you?
Here’s what Salesforce says about the benefits of using CRM:
- It will improve the data you have
- Allow you to take action on data
- Manage sales team activity
- Grow sales
- Make more informed decisions
- Manage revenue or pipeline
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Manage market share
- Increase customer retention
- Hit quotas
Technology Systems #3 – Inbound Marketing Platform
Clear sales and marketing alignment is important, and it’s even more critical for remote teams that don’t interact on a day-to-day basis with other departments.
Using an inbound marketing platform, like HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot, is great for marketing. But these tools also provide incredible insights to salespeople too. Platforms like HubSpot even provide a special portal for the sales folks—allowing them to send emails that are tracked behind the scenes. They’ll never have to wonder if the prospect or customer opened or read their email—these platforms will tell them!
Your inbound marketing platform is also a great place to simplify the email process in general. Simply take a script from your Sales PlayBook and drop it into the email template tool. Then when it’s time for your salesperson to send an email, all they need to do is choose a template, customize it, and send.
Selling Using Inbound
Inbound platforms are great for data, insights, and lead nurturing, but they’re also chock full o’ leads for sales! Have your sales and marketing directors meet quarterly to discuss inbound sales techniques and how the sales process will support the buyers’ journey.
You might consider following HubSpot Inbound Sales Techniques:
- Define your buyers’ journey
- Develop a sales process that supports the buyers’ journey
- Identify your ideal buyer persona(s)
- Lead with a helpful, customized prospecting message
- Craft customized questions to uncover the prospects’ pain
- Give a tailored presentation
Align Sales and Marketing
One last note on marketing—don’t forget to align!
I recommend meeting with your CMO or Director of Marketing regularly to ensure that both teams are aligned. Especially with the pace that marketing platforms are moving today!
You’ll want to review processes and make sure that your Inbound and CRM platforms are working together the way they should be.
Now–what technology systems are you using to succeed? Share with us in the comments!
Want to keep the momentum rolling as you manage your remote sales team? Check out our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Managing a Remote Sales Team.