Here’s a compelling statistic for you: Research from Stanford University reveals that remote workers are 13 percent more productive.
Remote sales teams are no exception. And with the advent of new tech, unlimited data, and what amounts to pretty much universal Wifi, telecommuting has become more accessible than ever. In fact, salespeople in particular may benefit from remote work—they can fly to Seattle for a conference one day, meet with a prospect in New York the next, and spend the following day touching base with clients in Europe.
Ultimately, remote salespeople enjoy flexible schedules, diverse experiences, and fulfilling work—but they still need to feel motivated.
Leaders Must Get to Know Their Remote Salespeople
Some sales managers believe that if they employ remote salespeople, they only need to focus on their team members’ results—that is, on the actual sales.
But employee success is a little more complex than that. Your team members are human, after all. And no matter the size of your sales team, chances are the people you employ have a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses can help you identify the underlying factors behind your sales team’s success (or lack thereof).
You see, while sales quotas are vital, they represent just one piece of the puzzle. The most committed remote sales teams understand their customers’ business needs. They understand the unique value their company brings to the table, and they’re able to communicate that value proposition. They also understand their competition and how they stand out.
This is why it’s so important to coach and motivate your remote sales teams. If ever one of your team members doesn’t meet their quarterly goal, you want to understand why they fell short. Maintaining an open line of communication, and fostering a culture of transparency and trust, can help you achieve just that.
3 Strategies for Motivating Remote Sales Teams
Sound communication will put your company in a position to thrive. This is especially relevant for those who manage a team of people scattered across the country (or across continents).
Zara from Boston, for instance, is facing a different set of challenges than Rashid from London. Some of these differences may be cultural, some may be personality-based, and—as a founder, director, or sales manager—it’s up to you to understand them.
It’s up to you to understand what drives all of your remote sales staff. This, of course, starts with the understanding that sales teams don’t need to work in an office to thrive. Consider the following strategies to motivate your remote salespeople:
Build Relationships of Trust
You value your remote sales staff enough to have hired them. But have you really gotten to know them?
It’s important that founders and managers take the time to connect with their remote salespeople—that is, to make each person feel seen and heard. It’s equally important that sales teams get to know one another. Even if they work remotely, they should feel like a key part of the company.
What’s the logic behind this? A 2013 Harvard Business Review report revealed that people are more resistant to assisting others when they don’t trust their teammates or supervisors. This means that if your salespeople trust you, they’ll be more likely to open up to you. And if they trust one another, they’ll be more likely to lean on each other, share resources, and exchange tips and strategies.
Because when it comes to motivation and trust, communication is critical. Face-to-face communication in particular can be highly beneficial. Yes, it’s easy to rely on text and email, but there’s a lot to be gained from connecting on a more personal level. Biannual retreats and daily video chats, for instance, allow managers to gauge their people’s facial expressions and energy levels, and act accordingly so they can better motivate their staff.
Practice Active Management
While founders and sales managers should steer clear of micromanaging, they must still be present for their team members. Here are some tips for practicing active management:
- Schedule your workday to overlap with the majority of your team members’ days. This will put you in a position to respond quickly to questions or issues. You want your people to feel like you’re there for them—so make a point of truly being there.
- Encourage your team to work freely. While you should be communicating with your remote salespeople, there’s no need to check in too frequently. Some powerful research indicates that team members who have autonomy over their schedules are more productive. It’s still essential, though, that you set clear expectations from the get-go.
- Assess your remote sales staff’s strengths and weaknesses—and discuss them when necessary. Maybe Phillip has an impressive close ratio, but he struggles to find new sales leads. After further discussion, you may learn he has a hard time navigating changes in the market, and with this in mind, you can help him make empowering adjustments.
- Ask your remote salespeople for their input on companywide decisions. Whether you’re launching a new product or looking to adjust your sales training procedure, don’t overlook the importance of requesting feedback. Your remote sales team will experience a boost in motivation when they feel their voices are heard.
With these active management best practices in your arsenal, you’ll be in a solid position to engage your teams.
Prioritize Sales Training
You can be flexible in the way you structure your training program, but you should have a proven method in place to hold your people accountable and ensure their progress. Here are some training methods that will drive your remote sales team’s success:
Courses are a flexible, highly-effective form of sales training. By allocating part of your training budget for in-person or online courses, you can encourage your people to take their skills to the next level on a timeframe that works for them. Tracking their progress is simply an added bonus.
The benefits of conferences are twofold: Your salespeople can network with other teams, and they can learn a great deal from leaders in your sector. This means they can bring back key takeaways and industry best practices that will serve your company moving forward.
Like conferences, workshops can be a valuable source of information. Consider giving your remote salespeople a few hours off from time to time, having them meet with a consultant or a sales trainer, and urging them to build new skills in a small group of likeminded people.
Onsite training can be powerful as well—particularly right after the hiring process. If you have a headquarter location, you might have your sales staff spend a week or two onsite before they dive into their remote work. This will help your people get comfortable and give them a sense of the company culture.
Here at Pronto, motivation is at the core of what we do. From task management to group video chat, our focus is on keeping team members driven and engaged in their work.
Have questions about our corporate and educational solutions? Interested in learning more about the benefits of motivating your remote sales team? Please contact us for a free demo.