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Tips to Effectively Manage a Remote Sales Team

Remote work is still very prominent in today’s workforce. Many companies have adopted flexible work schedules and even fully remote teams. One of the most common remote teams is sales. With a remote work environment, businesses are able to not only hire talent in all geographic areas but are also able to expand their business into those areas and service clients on a more global scale.

This makes a remote sales team even more valuable. As your sales team expands, so does your business. We’ll provide everything you should know about managing a remote sales team from what it is to best practices to challenges and benefits.

Virtual Sales Team Defined

Your virtual sales team is simply that—a sales team/department that is not physically in the same office but operate remotely. A virtual sales team operates in a separate location(s) than your main operations or headquarters. It’s different from a hybrid team which includes some members physically in the main office locations and some remote.

This team may still go through the same training and development as an in-office sales team would, but team members are operating from different locations, allowing for much more flexibility and greater regional coverage. This may also include virtual selling, where members of your sales team are meeting with prospective clients and customers virtually as well.

How to Manage a Remote Sales Team

Here is a list of our expert tips and best practices for remote sales team management so you can set your team up for success.

  1. Hire the right people: Your virtual sales team begins with hiring the right team members. When hiring a remote sales team, make sure you ask questions specific to virtual selling. Not all in-person sales reps will transition perfectly into a virtual role, so it’s important to determine which candidates are comfortable with and will be successful in one. Some questions to ask can include:
    1. Do you have any experience selling in a virtual work environment?
    1. What projects have you completed under remote supervision?
    1. How do you perceive the selling process to change in a virtual environment?
  2. Set clear expectations for performance: Once you’ve hired your team, it’s best practice to set clear expectations on what is expected of them. In addition to your sales quota goals, you’ll want to determine what is manageable for each virtual sales rep to accomplish. To determine each rep’s individual goals related to your quota, you should ask:
    1. How many closed deals does each rep need to make to reach your quota?
    1. How many cold calls do reps need to make in order to secure a meeting?
    1. What percentage of those meetings turn into closed sales?
  3. Track KPIs: Goals are only effective if they can be tracked and measured. Tracking remote sales metrics and KPIs will give you greater insight into how your team as a whole is doing, as well as the performance of individual team members. Some KPIs and metrics you can track include:
    1. Sales activities per rep.
    1. Pipeline conversion rates.
    1. Sales by contact method.
    1. Average conversion time per rep.
    1. Sales by lead source.
  4. Develop a clear virtual sales process: With remote teams, the ability to walk over to a colleague and ask questions is nonexistent. With productivity being a high priority for virtual teams, it’s important to have a process in place that is available and accessible to your team so they can remain consistent. You’ll first need to define your sales process, then define the activities that move a prospect from each stage. Creating a framework for your team to follow will set them up for success when selling virtually.
  5. Offer training when needed: Training for your remote sales team is most effective when it’s based upon a foundation of processes and best practices that have proven effective over time. In other words, train your team to master the fundamentals and offer additional training and guidance when requested.
  6. Leverage the right tools: Just because your remote sales team is not in your office doesn’t mean they don’t need the same tools and platforms that your local team would. For example, having a centralized platform to store customer and prospect data will help your team track their leads, access the information they need (e.g., sales presentations), and access training videos.
  7. Promote strong communication: As mentioned earlier, your virtual sales team doesn’t have the option to walk over to a colleague’s desk. It’s important to make sure your remote team doesn’t feel isolated or siloed. Utilizing communication tools like Slack, Teams, or Zoom will help replicate the feeling of being in the same office and allows your team to stay in contact with each other.
  8. Foster Collaboration: In addition to communication, hosting virtual meetings will help foster remote team collaboration and build relationships. Holding one-on-one meetings will ensure your team members feel connected and supported. You can also host virtual team building events to help promote camaraderie and ensure your team still feels like a team.

Benefits of a Remote Sales Team

You might be wondering what the benefit is of having a remote sales team? There are actually a number of benefits to building a remote sales team. Some include:

  • Cost savings: With remote teams you don’t incur the same expenses you would with a physical office space such as rent, equipment, and utilities.
  • Access to greater talent: Operating remotely means you don’t have to hire employees in your business location only. You have the flexibility to hire in areas all over, even globally, which opens you up to more talent.
  • Regional expansion: Remote sales teams enable you to expand your business without have to physically add office locations. When you hire a sales rep in a different geographic area, you’ll essentially be expanding your business to that area as well.
  • Increased productivity: Working remotely means your sales team has the capability to better manage their time. There’s less time wasted and reps can spend more time in their day working on leads.

Challenges of Managing a Remote Sales Team

In addition to all the benefits, there are also some challenges when it comes to managing a virtual sales team.

  • Maintaining communication: With your team being in multiple locations, it can become difficult to know how much in on each sales rep’s plate. Managers and supervisors need to take an active role in maintaining communication and building trust with their team in order for their sales reps to feel supported and comfortable bringing up any concerns.
  • Burnout: When working remotely it’s hard to completely “turn off” at the end of the day. Oftentimes, employees feel obligated to be available at all hours and take on more work than they have the bandwidth for. It’s important to promote a work-life balance and discuss with your team when they can be “offline” and what that entails.
  • Building a team environment: Again, not being in the same physical office space presents challenges when trying to foster a team-like environment. It’s important to hold virtual team events that build trust, boost engagement, and promote collaboration.

Mastering Remote Sales Team Management

Building a remote team allows you to expand your customer base and hire the best talent, giving your business a serious competitive advantage. If you’re considering implementing a remote sales team, Solvo Global can help. Our remote staffing solutions include sales support, so you can start building your virtual sales team with us. From sales specialists to appointment setters, with our remote sales services you’ll work with the right professionals to fuel your growth and reach your goals on a much more cost-effective scale. Contact us to get started.

References/Additional Resources

Hubspot- The Ultimate Guide to Building and Managing a Virtual Sales Team