Remote sales teams are here to stay: How to create high energy, high velocity sales teams in a work-from-home world
“Adapt or die” is the phrase Billy Bean, played by Brad Pitt in the movie, MoneyBall, said the Oakland Athletics must do to win.
In many ways, the impact of the pandemic on businesses is no different. The shift to a remote work environment happened overnight for virtually every business. Many roles were affected by this jarring change, especially sales.
The question for sales leaders and CEOs today is: how does your business develop a high energy, high velocity sales environment in a work-from-home world? And how do you sustain that momentum over time?
McKinsey suggests that “many leaders will now need to “show up” differently when they are interacting with some employees face-to-face and others virtually. By defining and embracing new behaviors that are observable to all, and by deliberately making space for virtual employees to engage in informal interactions—leaders can facilitate social cohesion and trust-building in their teams.”
The following is our perspective to setting up and managing high performing remote sales teams.
A culture that supports remote sales teams.
It can be difficult for some to maintain a work-life balance, especially when work is taking place in what was once a refuge from the office. Even Microsoft’s CEO recently said it can feel like you are “sleeping at work.”
It is crucial as a team leader, sales director, or CEO to allow your employees to adapt and develop new norms.
For managers, there is an impulse to measure productivity at a granular level – this can lead to a lack of trust from both the employee and leadership. Instead, we recommend focusing on outcomes, and allowing employees space to achieve those outcomes on their own terms. Avoid micromanagement.
Additionally, create space for informal communication, like a “water cooler” Slack channel. This can empower employees to share their feelings and interests in an inclusive way.
Being intentional about inclusion applies to meetings as well. Take the time to allow folks to share about their home life, what TV shows they are watching, how their pets are behaving at the beginning of meetings, before getting down to brass tacks.
When employees feel validated and can bring their “whole person” to work, productivity improves.
Deepening employee–manager connections.
1:1 meetings between leadership and employees allow for open communication about what’s working and what to improve on, how the employee can be more supported than they already are, and how to have a better, more productive work experience.
At RaaStr, we find value in recurring meetings between sales reps and managers to go over anything the rep wants to talk about.
This could be work related or it could not! To have a positive work culture and environment (which helps you achieve high energy, high velocity remote sales teams), informal communication needs to flourish.
It’s important for employees to understand they have someone to talk to if they need it. Integrate a support system into the work environment.
Managers should look to develop their emotional intelligence, looking for ways to acknowledge challenges employees face in today’s world. At the same time, provide encouragement and affirmation.
If you’re working together to land at a common goal and success, there should be connections between employees, regardless of their role in the organization.
Dashboards and productivity tools for performance.
As remote work becomes the norm, sales organizations are finding simplicity and standardization leads to higher performance.
When it comes to our remote work management, getting the basics right is key. A few of the tools in our seller tech stack are:
- Prospect list building. Too many to name.
- Outreach and engagement solutions. This is a long list too.
- A variety of CRM options for opportunity management and dashboard reporting.
- Google Workspace (G Suite) or Microsoft O365 for email and collaboration.
- Slack for rapid collaboration and instant messaging.
- Zoom for 1:1 calls, team meetings, and customer presentations.
Taken as a whole, these tools empower employees and managers to coordinate, collaborate, and be accountable for results. While the mix may be different for your organization, implementing a virtual toolset is critical for increasing productivity and driving performance.
Tips and tricks to boost individual success.
Traditional office environments provide space to get work done. To emulate and improve upon this concept in a remote environment, we’ve found it is important at the individual level to encourage certain behaviors.
One is outlining a structure for your day. If that means making all your calls in the morning, and sending emails in the afternoon, schedule that out on your calendar. Develop a plan for each day and stick to it.
Make sure that plan offers enough flexibility to take regular breaks, walks, time for snacking in the kitchen. Post something to the water cooler slack channel. Share a photo of your pet. Remember, a culture that supports remote work needs to embrace the whole person, not just the sales numbers.
Stay connected with your team as much as possible – make sure you check in with everyone in your sphere on a daily basis. This can stave off isolation and foster connection.
Use the remote environment to prove to yourself and your team that you’ve got this – this brings energy to the team and creates a high velocity environment.
Critical success factors to high-performance remote teams.
We know from experience that businesses and teams can sustain a high energy, high velocity sales environment while working-from-home.
We tailor every engagement to your sales goals. Every solution relies on eight critical factors that are necessary to succeed:
- Sales playbook – Have a well organized layout of why customers buy your product and what to say backed by clear selling processes.
- People – Having a stand up, high performance sales team who work collaboratively and effectively.
- Environment – Have a vibrant, collective atmosphere to sustain high energy levels.
- Training – Implement a targeted training program to keep your team’s skills sharp.
- Technical stack – Provide handpicked engagement and productivity tools that your team needs to be successful.
- Live dashboard – Remotely monitor sales team performance from anywhere, anytime with dashboards that measure productivity in real time.
- Weekly huddles – Optimize sales operations performance by holding meetings that cover data-driven strategies and potential improvements.
- Account management– Executive-level engagement working with team members to deliver desired outcomes.
Can you afford to wait?
Consider the areas we’ve discussed. Building high energy remote sales teams where all members are engaged and encouraged to do great is key to winning in today’s work-from-home environment.
In some cases, overcoming potential challenges and determining a way forward depends on electing to outsource some or all sales functions.
Drop us a line. We will show you how.