Companies have remote sales teams are always looking for ways to ensure optimal remote sales productivity. After all, only an organized remote team will deliver good sales results.
Working with remote teams presents unique challenges that working with in-house sales teams does not. With this, each organization needs to discover what methods work best moving forward.
While not all solutions will work well for all businesses, there are some general principles that can improve your team's performance no matter what industry you’re in. Let’s explore these principles.
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1. Remote Sales Productivity Only Works with the Right Employees
Your organization needs to find dedicated remote professionals who have a proven record of being able to work productively while not in a traditional office setting.
Your job listing should be written in a way that targets remote employees who meet your ideal profile. Remember, their personality plays a big role too.
While their professional experience and ability to work remotely is important, the fit of their personality to your organization is crucial. Focus on those who are team players, adapt easily, and are willing to learn new things.
2. Provide Employees with the Right Technology and Software
When it comes to remote sales productivity, implement technology that is a good fit for your day-to-day operations. Ensure that every member of your team is equipped with quality devices, software and network connections that will allow them to work without issue.
With that said, remote workers must be more self-sufficient and knowledgeable about troubleshooting the most common software issues and keeping their tech functioning properly.
Old, buggy software or machines can severely hinder productivity, as can a weak or unreliable signal. Productivity isn’t the only thing at stake here, it’s your reputation, too. If your team members are often using outdated software, they are vulnerable to malicious attacks.
It is incredibly important for all members of your team to perform regular updates on their software, operating systems, and technology, and also upgrade to newer components as needed.
3. Offer Time Management Training to Improve Remote Sales Productivity
One of the keys to remote sales productivity is good time management. This can be a challenging skill to master for anyone, whether they work in a traditional or a home office.
Let's be honest, working from home can be distracting sometimes. Because of this, supervisors of remote sales teams should consider offering or promoting time management training options that help remote workers make better use of their time.
Topics to address include better management of e-mail response time, paying close attention to how long it takes to complete certain tasks and focusing on one task at a time.
Be sure to offer your resources on how to effectively work from home as well, such as how to set up a good home office and set reasonable office hours.
These resources can help them better manage their personal and professional lives as remote employees and be better team members for you.
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4. Be There to Help
With a remote team, it's easy to forget that they may need help as often as an in-house team does.
“The last thing you want is remote sales reps who are afraid to ask questions or don't think doing so is necessary.”
This can lead to costly mistakes that kill productivity as work is put in to correct the error. Supervisors should always make themselves available to their employees. Encourage them to ask questions and approach them if they seem lost or confused about something.
5. Remember to Show Appreciation
There’s no better way to improve remote sales productivity than with some real appreciation. All employees like to know that their efforts are appreciated by their employer. In fact, employees who feel valued are more productive and loyal. In other words, you are less likely to replace them.
Sales reps will typically earn commissions based on sales they make. However, additional incentives from the company for meeting sales goals or being a top seller are a great way to encourage productivity.
Even small, everyday appreciation is beneficial, such as complimenting an employee when he or she does an especially good job on something. This keeps morale up and shows your remote employees that you truly consider them part of the team.
6. Keep in Mind that There Are Drawbacks of Working Remotely
You and your employees need to acknowledge remote work drawbacks and address them realistically. Flexible hours can lead to changes in routine, which often affect remote sales productivity.
Interruptions, such as from pets, family members and personal social media, can be a significant issue as well. Burnout is very common among remote workers because work is always accessible to them.
Discourage long work hours and put measures in place to alleviate these issues as well as play to remote work's strengths.
7. Ask for and Listen to Feedback
As a manager, you need to be open to hearing and understanding how your employees feel about the way things are working.
“Be open to making changes when they need to happen.”
Do your own research on how to improve your team organization but rely on your people as well. Make sure your remote team knows that they can offer suggestions. On your end, solicit feedback from them on occasion.
Perhaps someone on your team has worked remotely before and has some good insight or organizational tips that can now benefit your team. By listening to your employees and being willing to make changes, you can mature your remote sales team into a highly cohesive, productive unit.
Managing a remote team of sales reps is a unique challenge but with the right strategy, managers can exceed at it. Focus on both the technology needed to make remote teams work and the uniquely human element inherent in sales. It's all about doing your part to make your reps' day productive.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels