In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic played a key role in workers leaving the office and working from home. According to Forbes, 74 percent of employers believe that working remotely is the future. Even more shocking, 97 percent of employees have no desire to return to the office full-time.
However, working remotely can be a challenge for sales teams, groups designed to thrive on each other's momentum. "Iron sharpens iron" is a proverb that definitely applies to sales reps.
How can sales managers ensure their team will thrive in this new work environment? It's essential that you set your team up for success. Here are five ways to keep them connected, productive, and competitive while working remotely.
1. Nurture Your Team's Competitive Nature
It is harder to foster a sense of competition in your sales team when each member is at home alone. However, salespeople are competitive by nature and need that dose of healthy competition to stay motivated. Get creative and find new ways to maintain momentum and recognize each person's successes.
Single-out top performers in a team email, group chat, or during a weekly video conference. Consider celebrating each sale. This type of nurturing will make each of your team members strive harder to receive their own recognition.
Read more about why ringing the figurative bell is critical to motivating your team and tips on how to do it effectively in this recent blog.
2. Provide the Right Tools for Working Remotely
It's up to you to set your team up for success, and that means the right tools to get the job done. From laptops and tablets to apps and security programs, your team needs access to tools to continue selling from home.
Not all the tools you offer your employees are tangible items, though. "Tools" also include access to coaching, managerial support, brainstorming sessions with other reps, and interaction through video chat.
Create an open-door policy. Ensure your team feels comfortable coming to you when they need something to be more effective at their jobs, whether it's a tangible item or a listening ear.
3. Continue Training and Learning New Skills
Training is a big motivator to go out and try new things in your sales routine. When your team works remotely, it's easier to let training slip off the schedule. It's essential that you continue training your staff and introducing new methods of making sales.
Schedule training on a weekly or monthly basis during an online meeting. If you've had a member of your team experience success with a new technique, consider asking them to lead a training class on it. This builds goodwill and helps your team learn new selling methods.
Many well-known sales training courses have shifted to a virtual environment. Offering formal training demonstrates an investment in your team. Identify training that your team would benefit the most from.
4. Define Your Expectations and Goals
When you're in an office setting, it's easy to create a visual system that shows the team's goals and their current progress. Keep this trend going in the virtual environment.
Define goals and how the team performed during the previous period at sales meetings. Many managers prefer to schedule a quick meeting early each week to build momentum and encourage the team to get tasks accomplished and sales closed.
5. Create a Water Cooler
When you have a sales team that works in an office together, they have time to bond and learn to trust each other. They do this through basic socialization. The team discusses sports, family, hobbies, and other topics. In the past, you see this kind of talk going on around the water cooler, in the break room, or just in the hallway.
Create a space for your team of remote workers to have this type of social interaction. There are a variety of apps that you can use to accomplish this. Slack, one of the most popular platforms, reports 12 million daily active users and 156,000 subscriber organizations.
You could also hold a team lunch once a month. If in-person is not possible, meet online and share a meal.
Help Your Team Flourish
Keeping your remote sales team engaged is essential to its success. With a little planning and encouragement, your team will flourish. If you'd like more insights on how to improve sales performance for your SMB, sign up for our newsletter. Contact us directly, or explore our website for other valuable resources and webinars.