When you're looking to organize a remote sales team, it's important to keep certain things in mind.
Everyone has a responsibility when it comes to maintaining an organized remote sales team. For salespeople, it's important to remain accountable, especially if they are working alone in an unsupervised environment. Additionally, the sales manager should help their remote sales team by providing tools and mentoring and be available to resolve issues quickly. Finally, the company should provide training on a user-friendly CRM system, on LinkedIn, and on the company Sales PlayBook.
At the end of the day, using these tools effectively drive consistent sales growth.
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Best Practices for Organizing a Remote Sales Team:
1. Using CRM to Organize a Remote Sales Team:
The marketing team should generate and pre-qualify leads and assign them to individual salespeople via the CRM. Marketing should also “scrub” those that don’t meet your company’s qualifying criteria.
Similarly, salespeople should log lead activity into the CRM, including calls made, emails sent, and follow up reminders.
Marketing, Sales, and Senior Management can run reports to determine the status of leads. This includes how much time it took to follow up and work leads, so they aren’t sitting dormant. These reports can be reviewed in one-on-one and team conference calls.
Leads that were worked correctly should be converted to opportunities or archived for future drip-marketing campaigns.
Use the CRM to manage opportunities through the pipeline. At CFS we use our proprietary UCAN method (as in, “U-CAN do it!”). Here are the stages:
- U – Unqualified – opportunities that were created after a meeting or qualifying event is scheduled with a prospect. These are bona fide opportunities.
- C – Confirmed – opportunities that have met your qualification criteria with a proposal or quote submitted to the buyer. These are quantified opportunities.
- A – Advantage – opportunities that both the sales manager and the salesperson have agreed are likely to close, based on the buyer’s feedback. These opportunities are looking good to close!
- N – Notified – the salesperson has been notified by the buyer that the deal has been approved. This is the last step prior to an official sign-off, such as an executed contract or purchase order.
The final stage is closed/won or closed lost. At this point, the opportunity has come out of the pipeline tracking process.
Some CRM systems include a “follow” feature. This provides email alerts to anyone interested in knowing about any updates to activity on customers, leads, opportunities, etc. It’s a good way to stay on top of key sales activity performed by the remote sales team.
Most CRMs include the ability for salespeople to schedule tasks associated with leads, opportunities, and active accounts. Each salesperson should work their stay up to date on these tasks.
2. Using LinkedIn to Organize a Remote Sales Team:
LinkedIn is a good way to look for and research information about prospective customers. Remote-based salespeople should spend more time on prospecting activity. This is because they aren’t dealing with interruptions from others at the office.
Furthermore, every salesperson should receive the proper training on LinkedIn. This becomes even more important if they are using a feature-rich, premium version, such as LinkedIn Navigator.
Remember, the goal is to enable salespeople to generate viable prospects through proper targeting and warm introductions.
3. Using a Sales PlayBook to Organize a Remote Sales Team
Your Sales PlayBook should detail best practices and also save time by providing shortcuts to these tools, via HTML links. These links can all be accessed from one common area in the PlayBook.
Here are some links to consider:
• Reports or views that are accessed on a frequent basis
• Leads – Links from the CRM to qualification scripts stored in the Sales PlayBook when working individual leads
• Email templates for introductions
• Email templates for posting content
Lastly, allow for flexibility in the salesperson’s work day. Remote salespeople often create their own work schedule and begin and end their work days at different times.
However, make sure that people are actively working during a core group of hours. This helps to make people more available to the company on a consistent basis. An example of core work hours are from 10am to noon and from 2pm to 4pm.
Ultimately, organizing a remote sales team isn't rocket science. It's a team effort between Sales, Marketing, Senior Management, and the company culture.