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Expert insights: How to properly manage your remote sales team

Even before the pandemic, there was an increasing trend towards remote working, especially among sales teams.

There’s no doubt that having a globally dispersed sales team has many benefits. It can reduce costs and helps you to localize your efforts more effectively to different regions. 

That’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing. With your sales reps potentially based in different continents, getting the results you want can be hard.

The world of sales

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The fact of the matter is sales has never been an easy field to work in. But nowadays, it’s perhaps more challenging than ever before. 

In 2020, a reported 40% of companies didn’t meet their sales targets. What was the reason for this? 

The short answer is… It’s complicated. 

The long answer is, it’s a mixture of concentrating on prospects that aren’t a good fit, budget restraints, competing with low-cost providers, and a lack of good resources.

But this just tells some of the story, really. In fact, you could even argue that none of these challenges really get to the heart of the issue. 

Yes, the world of sales is challenging—but it’s challenging for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, every company is facing most of the same issues. 

What sets the sales teams that succeed and those that fail apart comes down to good management. 

At Pipeline.so, we understand this as well as anyone. We’ve spoken before about how our team works around the clock and how our platform makes that possible. 

But managing a remote sales team is about more than just having a high-functioning CRM platform. It also requires a concerted strategic effort to ensure that everyone knows what they’re doing, stays on task, is content in their work—and gets results.

Here’s our simple (yet effective) guide on how to properly manage your remote sales team.

Managing your remote sales team

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Managing your own remote sales team is a matter of embracing the benefits that distance offers, while minimizing the drawbacks of not being able to meet up in person. 

As with any aspect of your business, planning, organization, and setting clear, actionable goals is essential. 

Be clear on expectations 

The second you welcome a new rep to your team, you must bring them up to speed on everything you expect from them. 

And there’s quite a lot involved in this. For example, you need to make sure that they align with your company’s mission and vision in their communications with potential customers. 

More to the point, they need to have measurable, black-and-white targets that are both challenging and achievable. 

We’ve all heard of S.M.A.R.T goals and there’s a reason for this—they work. They simply work. 

For those of you who need a reminder, S.M.A.R.T stands for:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable
  • Achievable 
  • Realistic 
  • Timely

Create your goals and live by them. This will act as the foundation for everything you want to do. And remember to get creative, using goals to encourage competition or gamifying the sales process. With your CRM, you should have plenty of reporting features that you can turn into games. 

Which brings us to our next point.

Make sure you have a sales team

Just because you have five reps working for you, doesn’t mean you have a sales team. If they don’t actively work together and collaborate, they are essentially just colleagues. 

One of the challenges of managing a remote team is making everyone feel involved. While team-building is always encouraged, it’s not always necessary in an in-person, office environment. People will naturally gravitate toward each other and bonds will form. 

The same can’t be said for remote working, unfortunately. 

You can, if you wish, organize virtual team-building activities if you think it makes sense. But more simple approaches are usually more effective and feel less manufactured.

The first thing you need is a platform for people to communicate easily on. Slack is one of the most popular ones, but Microsoft Teams or similar would also work. 

What’s important is for your reps to have a channel of communication that’s more relaxed, a sort of virtual water cooler that lets them joke and connect. 

Apart from that, as we said above, you should encourage healthy competition among your reps. Turning everything into a game can not only improve results, it can also bring your team closer together. 

Get a CRM you trust

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A powerful, high-quality CRM is quite simply indispensable. It offers so many of the features that are essential for a well-functioning sales team, while keeping all the data in one, easily accessible place. 

Whether for automated workflows, calling options, lead profiling, or even just organizing your calendar, a CRM is your sales rep’s best friend. 

Or at least it should be. The biggest point of failure when it comes to a new CRM often has nothing to do with the platform itself—it’s how well it’s received by your team.

When choosing a CRM, do look to make sure it has all the features you need, but also remember to bring your remote sales team in on the conversation as soon as possible. Also make sure to enquire about training and onboarding as that will be a defining factor in how successful your CRM is. 

It’s clear that remote sales professionals have to contend with unique challenges. But with clear expectations, a united team, and top-quality technology at your disposal, you can cut through the noise and outperform the competition.

At Pipeline.so, we offer a best-in-class CRM and sales automation solution that is built for remote teams. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you take your remote sales to the next level, reach out today!

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