How to Manage a Remote Sales Team
Fast forward to now and COVID-19 has still overhauled the way we do business. That applies to how we manage sales teams too. Now that most sales teams are remote, managers and leaders need to equip themselves with the latest tips and tricks to successfully manage a remote sales team. We’ve compiled some pointers to level up your sales management playbook and ease your way into managing a remote sales team.
Invest in the Best Tools for Your Remote Sales Teams
Before anything else, it’s crucial that you and your team invest in the right remote sales tools and communication tools. It all starts with software, right? But we get it, with the mounting amount of new shiny apps that promise to boost your productivity and close more deals, it’s hard to even know where to start.
And part of your role as a sales manager is to equip and train your team on the best available tools in order to automate processes and ultimately make their jobs easier. That’s especially more salient with remote work: salespeople whether they’re SDRs or Account Executives, need to collaborate, reach out to prospects, talk with them, and close deals. All done completely online.
We’ve compiled a list of the best remote tools for you.
We use Salesforce to manage our customer database. It’s the industry leader and the standard for CRMs – for a reason. We manage our entire leads, opportunities, and deals in one centralized platform. It’s also highly customizable, the possibilities are endless!
Salesforce makes it really easy to manage remote sales teams. It improves communication and collaboration by allowing team members to share insights, documents, and any relevant pieces of data with managers and team members alike.
Bonus: Salesforce integrates with Bonjour. It automatically updates salesforce with our notes, transcripts and call data. Easy peasy.
We couldn’t write this article without including our own tool – obviously. We don’t know how we would have transitioned to being fully remote without it. Bonjour is a videoconferencing tool designed for salespeople with built-in sales intelligence. We use it to give great demos and coach our sales team.
With the ability to record video calls, generate transcripts and take notes directly in Bonjour, we’re definitely not missing any data points to manage and coach our sales teams. Managers use Bonjour to create sales playbooks and replicate best practices across the team.
We believe that the future of sales will be dominated by video calls and the last few months have truly fast-tracked it.
Alternatives: there really isn’t any 💁♂️
Salesloft is our CRM’s co-pilot. It’s a sales engagement platform that allows us to automate and personalize our sales outreach. We route our prospects and customers into workflows based on the strength of the relationship. It’s an awesome tool for following up with prospects in a truly automated way.
It also gives manager a clear overview of the prospecting activity, making it easy to understand sales outreach, at a glance.
You can use Intercom for a myriad of things. The Live Chat is especially great. We use it to identify, qualify, and engage with our prospects. It also integrates with a ton of other tools like Salesforce and Salesloft.
Apart from the Live Chat, we use Intercom to nurture and re-engage our customers with targeted messages and email campaigns. Equipping your remote sales team with Intercom means your team will be empowered to fast-act communicate with prospects and customers alike.
Sales Process Tools
Time to get creative. Sending personalized videos to prospects helps cut through the noise in today’s current remote times. In just one click, your sales team can record a video and send it to their prospect. It’s a great way to introduce oneself and the product in a completely asynchronous way.
Congrats! You’ve closed a deal. Now for admin part… We’re big fans of Yousign for their easy e-signature tool that lets us in a few clicks send a contract to our customers and get them signed. No more printing, faxing and getting a pen out. Our team has been raving about the ease of e-signature for a while and they’re not going back.
Being a remote team means you’re exchanging way more emails and messages than before. To cut down on back and forth when you’re speaking with a prospect and trying to schedule a meeting, try Calendly. Just share your Calendly link with your prospect via email, they pick a time and the event gets added to your calendar.
Notion is the hub for asynchronous communication. It’s where all of our team writes, collaborates and gets work done – wherever they’re located. All of our company knowledge is on Notion. It’s especially useful for keeping an asynchronous culture.
A staple of remote life: Slack. Instant communication is its best, we leverage Slack to collaborate in real-time. Our sales team uses it to get notifications whenever there’s a new sign up to a webinar, a new hot lead, or anything that they might need. That’s also where we celebrate wins, whether it’s a new client won or to give daily kudos to our sales team.
There are a lot more sales tools that are great but we wanted to specifically look at the ones that help to make remote work more enjoyable for salespeople and their leaders. One of the ultimate one we haven’t mentioned is, of course, LinkedIn Sales Nav, to identify prospects.
Related article: 10 Best Practices When Selling Remotely
Coach your Remote Sales Team
Sales coaching is the process of giving regular feedback and support to the salespeople in your team. Now that everyone is remote, it’s become even more crucial. There’s no more casual coaching done on the sales floor after a manager overheard a rep pitch. With the switch to online, managers need to leverage tools such as recordings to fully reap all the benefits of sales coaching.
Why Sales Coaching is So Important
Sales coaching is important for two main reasons. First, it improves sales performance. Companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates. Second, it prevents employee turnover, 60% of sales reps say they’re more likely to leave their job if their manager is a poor coach. Training, feedback, and coaching are no longer ‘nice to haves’ but are becoming ‘must-haves’ for companies. And that’s especially true in today’s remote times. Remote salespeople are demanding more from their managers when it comes to sales coaching. If leaders want happy and motivated remote sales teams, they’ll have to invest more and more in sales coaching.
Leverage Call Recordings to Coach Your Sales Team
Making the most of call recordings is key to delivering effective sales coaching while being remote. Shadowing calls is a thing of the past and a tad more difficult when you’ve gone full remote… When a manager shadows a call, reps feel like they’re being watched and their performance subsequently suffers. It’s inefficient and real-time coaching is barely impossible as a result.
With recordings though, managers can view and listen to their reps calls in their own time and deliver tailored coaching in 1:1 sessions – which is particularly suited to managing remote sales teams. Plus, it’s been proven that managers can actually coach more in less time with the use of recordings.
Related article: 14 Ways to Use Call Recordings to Crush Your Sales Quota.
Create a Library of Remote Sales Best-Practices
Onboarding and ramping up reps while being remote used to be a challenge. But with the use of call recordings managers can now coach their newly recruits remotely by creating a library of best practices. At Bonjour, we made onboarding playlists for discovery, objection handling and demos. Our AEs are ramping up at a speed much faster than the average 4.5 month SaaS AE. While it might take a bit of time to create that library of best practices, the results are definitely worth the time.
Pro tip: Don’t use your library of best practices solely for ramping up and onboarding purposes. Promote its use for experienced employees too. No matter the level of experience, everyone can benefit from each other’s wins.
Team Wide Sales Coaching
Sales coaching should not be the sole responsibility of managers. Reps and AEs should use and view their own recordings for self-improvement. They should also help each other out, if an AE crushes their demos and found a product messaging that particularly worked with their target, then it’s important that they share it with the rest of the team. Fostering a culture where everyone spontaneously shares tidbits of what’s been successful or not, can be extremely rewarding. In a remote setting, this should be done using a wide variety of tools: Bonjour for recordings, Slack for sharing insights, etc.
Create Effective Routines for Your Remote Sales Team
Sales team management involves implementing clear and consistent routines to make sure everyone is on the same page and feels part of a team. That’s why you’ve got to double down on remote team communication. Everyone’s got to talk to each other and leverage all the remote sales tools to do that. Especially as research suggests that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal. Yep, that’s pretty high. So ultimately, you’ve got to make sure you don’t miss out on the serendipity moments office life can bring. The best of both lives is possible, we swear!
Whether it’s on Slack, Notion, or videoconferencing on Bonjour. To effectively manage a remote sales team you’ve got to go -a little bit- overboard with communication. It’s easy for your sales team to start feeling isolated at home, no more water cooler or coffee breaks with their peers, now everyone is behind a computer and every exchange seems transactional. So go for it and don’t hold back.
Pro tip: Read a cool article? Share it. Did something cool over the weekend? Share it. Not sure if you want to thank a colleague? Just do it.
Celebrate All The Wins
No matter how small, celebrating your team’s wins fosters a positive and winning remote culture and motivates your team. With call recordings, it’s now so much easier to identify your team’s shining moments. You’ve spotted a sweet part of the call where your AE truly impressed the prospect with an amazing demo script? Go and praise your team member, they’ll appreciate it! We also love Steli from Close’s idea of using Snapchat to share wins within the team. Leverage all the tools to make sure celebrating wins becomes part of your remote culture.
Create Remote Sales Routines
Daily stand-ups, weekly team kick-offs, 1:1 sessions, specific coaching sessions, pipeline reviews… It’s about creating a structure that works for you and your team. Sure, it’s important for your team to not feel isolated but you don’t want to overkill the week with meetings. More and more companies are embracing the joy of asynchronous communication, implementing a culture of writing ensures transparency and allows everyone to be proactive. We’re increasingly trying to be asynchronous at Bonjour and that means writing everything down in Notion so that everyone can be up to date on their own terms.
Set Clear Objectives and KPIs
This obviously goes for non remote sales teams as well: as a manager you have to be crystal clear when it comes to expectations, objectives and KPIs. It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks when the team is scattered all over, that’s why you need to put communication processes in place to regularly go over your sales process and sales targets with the team. In the remote routine you’ve set up for your reps and AEs, you should have sessions where you look at weekly goals, do an overview of the pipeline and have personalized 1:1 sessions. Those can be an opportunity for the team to ask questions they might otherwise forgotten to ask on Slack and this ensures every team member is clear on targets and goals.
Don’t Forget Happy Hour
Last but not least, remote communications should be fun and not have to focus on work all the time. Make some time for some Zoom happy hours – we use Bonjour though ;). Implement a random coffee chat so that everyone gets to know each other much more informally. Design sales contests to keep your team motivated. The bottom line: a happy team will always outperform a non-happy one, so do everything you can to boost your employees’ experience.
Remember that we’re still living in really strange times, remote selling today is not ‘normal’ selling. The climate is very uncertain and no one knows what tomorrow will be made of. If you feel like someone’s not performing to their best of abilities, it’s not necessarily because they’ve gone remote, but it’s more likely because of new pressures that have been put on them. Worry not though, it’s also an opportunity to test things out and optimize processes. And more than ever, it’s an opportunity to become even closer to your team – even while apart.