How to Successfully Manage Your Sales Team When Everyone Has Gone Remote

Veronika Traublinger
November 17, 2020

Managing a remote sales team doesn’t come naturally to all team leads. This is why we put together our best tips and how to implement them.

Managing and coaching a sales team often has to do with regular sales status meetings, call shadowing, and roleplays. However, when the team is spread all over the place, it’s no longer business as usual. Managing a remote sales team doesn’t come naturally to all team leads. Communication becomes difficult, misunderstandings are common, and personal coaching is nearly impossible. For many sales leaders around the world, this is an entirely new situation, and the lack of experience and suddenness makes the already difficult task even harder.

This is why we put together our best tips and how to implement them so you can keep everyone aligned and the energy up.

1. Define a clearly structured process

Processes are by far the most crucial aspect you should implement when managing a remote sales team. Clearly structured processes provide the guidelines and directions for getting work done and, even more importantly, ensure task and data transparency. But be careful to not only define and share process guidelines, but also implement a way to check that people are following them. A couple of ways to do this can be through sharing online task boards or hosting weekly video calls with the whole team where everyone discusses what they achieved in the past week and what they’re planning for the upcoming week.

Tip for implementation:

To ensure a structured process, Ciara provides you with smart conversation templates and objection battle cards, which can be 100% customized to your needs. This way, the sales messaging stays aligned even when working remotely. The CRM integration reduces the hassle of updating the CRM by auto-logging notes and with Salesforce, Ciara allows reps to update the fields directly from within a call.

2. Empower your team with the right software

Every sales team needs software to succeed - no matter if working remotely or in the office. But for remote teams, the right tech stack is of even higher importance.

Tip for implementation:

We put together a list of the most important tools for remote sales teams, and how to use them effectively. Each of these tools helps your team to:

  • Connect with prospects and customers through different channels
  • Update and manage customer data
  • Keep the internal communication up-and-running
  • Align sales messaging and processes
  • Manage to-do’s and stay productive

Many of these tools offer packages for startups and small businesses so that you can benefit from them no matter how big your team is.

3. Manage sales performance

Tracking sales performance is especially crucial for remote sales teams when you can’t physically see what your sales team is doing. However, you should be careful about what you track. Many sales leaders believe that focusing on only results is enough. Then, when you notice that your team isn’t hitting their quota, it might already be too late. So as a remote manager, you want to focus on not only the results but also the behavior that drives those results (or lack thereof). For example, you might have an expectation of the number of calls made, proposals sent, or new accounts contacted per week.

Also, take into account which specific activities you track and ensure they are valuable enough to even be asking about them in the first place. Asking every sales rep how many calls they made might not be ideal, as first, you can get that information from your CRM system, and second, you could come across as being a micromanager. Instead, try to dig deeper and have a conversation with them about the quality of the tasks they are completing.

Tip for implementation:

Instead of only having your regular pipeline meetings where you take a quick look at your KPI’s, make sure to make room for conversations where you think strategically with your rep on what to do next. For example, you could ask every rep to share one success story and one “blocker” per day with the team on Slack. This way, the whole team can develop strategies that work together.

4. Promote teamwork and a sense of belonging

If you don’t spend time together in the office, it’s even harder to build trust and promote a sense of belonging. It’s more important than ever that the management encourages and recognizes teamwork. Over-communication is key here. Sharing information, even on an “FYI” basis, is the secret weapon of high-performing remote teams, if in sales or not.

Tip for implementation:

Encourage your team to hop on a video call instead of having a back and forth conversation via email or Slack. If you use an internal chat tool, ask your team to move discussions to group channels rather than 1-on-1 messages. Other team members might be able to help as well, and it helps to keep the team informed on what’s everyone working on. (PS: Try to use threads to remove the clutter from team channels).

5. Implement 1-on-1 remote coaching sessions

Many common coaching strategies, such as call shadowing, don’t work well when everyone is at home. Team leads need to get creative and find new methods of practical training. A lot of managers tend to just briefly go over the available information on their reps’ deals in a quick call. But what really helps your reps is tactical, hands-on advice about how to close a certain deal. Quality over quantity is best in this case.

Tip for implementation:

An easy and effective way for remote sales coaching is deal coaching. We created a hands-on guide for a successful deal coaching session for you, which you can find here. In addition, Ciara offers a free deal coaching conversation template in its Content Library. Now, you can make sure that every coaching session is on point!

We hope you found these tips useful, and now go hit your revenue goals with your remote sales team!