In the past, managing remote sales teams wasn’t a necessary skill for all sales managers. But as the way we work has changed, more and more companies are going virtual or allowing (even encouraging!) employees to work from home.
So if you’re not good at managing remote sales teams, it’s a skill you should be developing.
Here are 5 keys to managing remote sales teams.
1. Be transparent with goals and reporting.
Anytime you are managing remote sales teams, information is critical. Confusion and rumors can spread quickly, and it’s imperative that your team is on the same page.
Develop consistent processes for setting and sharing goals, and build reports that show your team members’ progress toward their goals.
This has gotten much easier in the last few years as CRM systems have improved. Consider building custom dashboards where your remote salespeople can easily see their progress.
For a comprehensive guide on setting and tracking sales goals, check out the following eBook.
The Ultimate Guide to Setting and Achieving Sales Goals
Best Practices for Sales Managers & VPs
2. Schedule consistent one-on-one and group calls.
I’m always surprised when I talk to people who manage remote sales teams and don’t have regular team meetings. Just because your team is remote doesn’t mean they’re not a team!
Having group sales team meetings is a best practice no matter where your team is located.
Schedule recurring calls where you can get the whole team on the line and share information and best practices with each other. You’ll be amazed at what you learn!
In the same vein, make sure you are also scheduling recurring one-on-one calls with each of your remote sales reps. They need a consistent channel of communication with leadership, and you need a regular touchpoint so you know what’s going on.
Unless you are regularly checking in with your sales reps, it’s hard to know how to interpret the information you see in the pipeline.
One simple cadence is scheduling biweekly group calls with one-on-ones on the alternating weeks.
3. Don’t forget to get together in person on occasion.
If you want your remote sales team to feel like a team, they need to get to know each other! Getting together in person is an important start.
Make sure you are scheduling in-person team meetings at least once a year, ideally more often.
And don't make your in-person meetings all informational! Look for ways to energize your team, inspire them, and build teamwork. And don’t forget to include sales training!
4. Share daily stories.
When you share an office with your team, you share daily interactions and stories. What funny/crazy thing happened in the call you just made? What did you learn not to do?
Develop systems and channels to exchange this kind of information with your remote sales team. You could leverage a chat platform like Slack or create forums in your Sales PlayBook.
Consider creating specific threads or forums for different types of content. You might have one area where people share success stories and wins, one where people share lessons learned, and another where they share best practices.
5. Enable coaching and mentoring.
When you are managing remote sales teams, coaching can fall by the wayside. It’s often hard enough staying in touch about leads and opportunities.
But don’t forget to invest in developing your reps. Coaching and mentoring will help your salespeople grow and improve, and you’ll see the payoff in their leads and opportunities.
Get to know your people’s personal and professional goals, and work to understand where they are coming from at any given time. The better you know your team members, the better you can coach them to improve.
I hope these ideas are helpful to those of you who are managing remote sales teams! If you have any more ideas for managing remote sales teams, I’d love to read them in the comments.
The Ultimate Guide to Managing a Remote Sales Team
Managing a remote sales team is not impossible. In fact, remote teams can be incredibly successful.