4 Essential Factors For Managing A Remote Sales Force

As you know, managing sales people can be difficult, even in the best of times.

Ensuring every sales person is pulling their weight, and reaching their goals and quota, needs constant monitoring.

During these pandemic times, managing your people remotely is even a bigger challenge for everyone.

So, what to do?

There are many resources, and ideas you can use, to help you manage your remote sales teams. I’m sure you’ve read many.

As a manger of sales teams for over 20 years, let me break it down to 4 key factors that I believe are the most important for ongoing sales and marketing success.

These factors are:

  1. Tools
  2. Communications
  3. Measurement
  4. Training and Coaching

1. Tools

You obviously need the right tools to help your sales and marketing people survive, grow, and prosper during any time. Here are three areas I believe are the most important. There are many tools you can use in each area, but these areas will help you manage your people much better.

  1. You need a robust CRM to ensure you have up-to-date information on all your teams’ activities, and what is happening in each client and prospect. This gives you the opportunity to keep on top of what and how everyone is performing, from your clients, prospects, and your sales and marketing teams. The technology itself is only part of the solution. Usually the more difficult part is having a process that ensures the records are up-to-date.
  2. You need a good tool for communicating visually with your team, and your clients and prospects. Many people are using Zoom to do this now, but there are other tools available. This tool will allow physical viewing, so everyone can keep building the needed relationships we all need to succeed.
  3. You need a tool for monitoring your sales people in their verbal communications with your clients and prospects. These tools need to record the calls your sales people make, so you can help them with their sales techniques. Video web meeting tools such as Zoom can record the meetings, and most VOIP phone systems are able to record calls. If your sales people aren’t yet comfortable with this, reinforce that it’s to help them where they might need some coaching to succeed. Start your feedback with the positive aspects of what you’ve seen or heard. You’re just the “fly on the wall” during the sales call.

2. Communications

Obviously, communication is key for ensuring your sales people have ongoing success. Here are some ideas to keep the right communications flowing between your sales and marketing people and management.

  1. Set expectations and goals for each sales person, on a weekly basis.
  2. Have one-on-one meetings with each of your sales people at least once a week.
  3. Have a team meeting at least once a week to let them know what is happening, and to give positive updates on how different people are performing. And remember, praise in public, criticize in private.
  4. Ensure they are getting all of the marketing and sales material they need to keep their clients informed about your company, and the information to help them succeed.
  5. Encourage your sales people and marketers to “meet” regularly with each other, to discuss ideas about how they handled certain situations. This is part of informal learning and coaching sessions that help people succeed.
  6. Show that you trust them. Lead them to their goals through questioning rather than telling them what to do.
  7. Send them information regularly on what is happening in the company, and send them other communications that can help them with their job, such as new marketing material.
  8. Some companies also use informal team chats to keep each other informed about their daily lives, possibly over a beer on Friday afternoons. I wouldn’t have these too often, as they usually become stale, but they can help to build team chemistry.

3. Measurement

What gets measured, gets done.

Set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) with each sales person. This gives you an excellent source for measuring how each of them are performing. Below are some ideas for KPI’s.

Most sales people are paid, at least partially, on how much revenue they generate.

But there are many other things that need to be measured too. This is why having the right technology makes it easier to measure the activity.

Many sales people are measured on such items as;

  1. Number of phone calls made per day. This is mainly prospecting and ongoing customer communication.
  2. Number of sales calls made per day. These are generally to address prospect or customer needs and may include a presentation.
  3. Number of proposals and/or quotes sent out.
  4. Ensuring the CRM is updated after every call client or prospect interaction. This could be a sales call, an email sent, a proposal sent, etc.

If you pay sales people at least partially with a salary, you need to ensure each of them understands what that salary covers. It could be such things as filling out the CRM, attending internal meetings, working with marketing, getting coaching, etc. Too many companies do not lay out what the salary does cover, and management gets frustrated when these items are not done.

4. Training and Coaching

These days, most outside sales people are not in the field as often and can plan their day without as many office interruptions. That means more time for customer contact and prospecting, and it also means there’s more time available for training and coaching.

Most sales people have had little or no formal sales training. It’s just expected that they know what to do, and so it’s no surprise when they don’t know. When your organization has a process, everyone’s on the same page. There are many programs and systems available to provide basic and enhanced selling skills. We’ve been involved with Sandler for 17 years.

Coaching helps your people apply techniques, learned in training, in the right situation at the right time, and aids motivation by reinforcing what’s being done well.

There are many dimensions to coaching. One very productive (and underutilized) technique is the role-play. Here’s one example.

If a sales representative is describing a difficult or awkward situation, role-play it.

You, as the manager should play the sales person first. This allows your sales person to understand your expectations, and by going first, you take the pressure off. Then, it’s the sales person’s turn. You can do these in groups. You can take turns with each person, or you can do the first role-play and then have the others pair up and each do both the sales person and the prospect side.

Role-play reinforces the selling situation with each sales person, as they are critiqued by a sales manager and also their peers. It is a very powerful aspect of coaching.

Where we can help

Our clients, and other companies we speak with, tell us that they have a pretty good sales staff, but they’re mainly managing existing accounts, busy with proposals and presentations so, they don’t have much time for prospecting.

That’s what we do. We’re experts in helping our clients with their prospecting.

So why not let us do your prospecting for you. Then your sales people can spend more time selling to new accounts while maintaining their current customers.

And instead of cold calling, we can set up warm calls for them to follow up on.

That is what we do best. Lead generation and appointment setting for your sales people with your prospects.

We guarantee that every lead and appointment will be qualified to your specifications.

We’ve been doing it for 20 years. So, we’re pretty good at it.

Let us help you get a jump start for your post lockdown business.

Contact us today and we will get back to you ASAP, to discuss your needs and how we might help you.

There is no charge for this, and most companies learn a lot, just by talking to us.

Send us an email at inquiry@yorkc.com or, to go directly to our contact page,

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