Managing a remote sales team is not only possible, but it can thrive.
We comfortably live in a world where commute times are reduced to a few steps from the bedroom to the coffee machine, and business attire becomes a blur of pajama bottoms and professional tops.
While the pandemic forced us into remote work, what began as a temporary measure has now become a flourishing trend.
The allure of the remote work lifestyle has captured our hearts and minds, leaving us wondering why we ever wore pants with zippers to work in the first place.
On the whole, we’ve discovered a taste for the freedom of remote work, and they’re not ready to surrender it.
So, managing a remote sales team can be a cakewalk and you can conquer the challenges, build a dynamic team, and drive sales success—all from the comfort of your (preferably ergonomic) home office with the right strategies.
Let’s dive right in.
Preference for remote work
According to FlexJobs career pulse survey, 65% of respondents wanted to work remotely full time, while 32% want a hybrid environment.
It’s no wonder that the preference for remote work has skyrocketed.
The office commute has transformed from a battle against traffic into a leisurely stroll from the bedroom to the kitchen, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air like a productivity potion.
Gone are the days of rigid schedules and the occasional visits to the pantry for chit-chats.
Instead, remote work offers the tantalizing promise of flexibility, a work-life balance that feels less like a distant dream and more like an achievable reality.
The remote work revolution has unleashed a newfound sense of liberation indeed.
The preference for remote work is not just a fleeting trend; it’s a paradigm shift that has forever altered the way we approach our professional lives.
So, if you find yourself daydreaming about ditching the office attire for your comfiest sweatpants, you’re not alone.
Impact on sales teams
One word: mixed.
The impact of remote work on sales teams has been mixed. Some sales teams have seen an increase in productivity and morale, while others have struggled to maintain relationships with customers and close deals.
Major benefits in managing a remote sales team include –
Increased productivity – You can work from anywhere with an internet connection, which can save time and money on commuting. You can also plan your work around your personal commitments.
Improved morale – Sales reps who work from home often report being happier and more motivated. This is because they have more flexibility and control over their work-life balance.
Some potential challenges in managing a remote sales team could be –
Maintaining relationships – Initially, it could be more difficult to build and maintain relationships with your teammates when you are not in the same room.
Managing time and distractions – It can be easy to get sidetracked when you’re working from home. You may need an environment where you can have conversations with your customers smoothly without any distractions.
Establishing a Strong Foundation
As a sales manager responsible for managing a remote sales team, establishing a strong foundation is crucial for navigating the new normal of remote work.
So, grab your virtual hardhat, because we’re about to build the blueprint for success.
1. Set clear expectations and goals
Defining clear goals and expectations is like handing your team a treasure map. In this digital landscape, where physical presence is replaced by pixels on a screen, it’s essential to provide a clear direction.
Outline specific sales targets, key performance indicators (KPIs), and deadlines that align with the overall organizational goals. This not only sets a roadmap for success but also gives your team a sense of purpose and motivation.
When everyone knows what’s expected of them, they can navigate the virtual wilderness with confidence, knowing they’re working towards a shared objective.
2. Be flexible
Adaptability and flexibility are the secret weapons in your remote sales team arsenal. Like chameleons of the digital realm, your team must be ready to adapt to shifting market conditions, customer needs, and technological advancements.
Encourage a growth mindset and a willingness to embrace change. Provide ongoing training and resources to equip your team with the skills they need to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.
Remote work requires nimble footwork, as sales professionals dance through virtual meetings and digital touchpoints. And by being flexible, you’re giving your team the power to pivot, adjust, and conquer whatever challenges come their way.
3. Strong team culture
Creating a strong team culture is essential for managing a remote sales team.
Foster a sense of trust and collaboration within your team. Encourage regular virtual team meetings where ideas are shared, victories celebrated, and challenges overcome together.
Utilize collaboration tools to facilitate real-time communication, document sharing, and brainstorming sessions.
Emphasize the importance of open and transparent communication channels, where everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
Especially if your team members are scattered across different time zones, a strong team culture is the glue that holds them together.
As a sales manager in the remote work era, your role is not just about managing numbers and metrics.
It’s more than that. It’s about leading, inspiring, and creating an environment where your remote sales team can thrive.
You need to be proactive if you are managing a remote sales team. You have to oversee the challenges faced by your team and address them proactively.
Let’s quickly run through the challenges you might face when managing a remote sales team and how to overcome them.
1. Lack of interactions
Remote sales teams encounter unique challenges that can test even the most resilient professionals. One common hurdle is the lack of face-to-face interaction and the associated loss of non-verbal cues.
To combat this, as a sales manager, you can schedule weekly meetings to check if your SDRs are on track or if they need any help.
Additionally, ensure clear and consistent communication channels, such as dedicated chat platforms or project management tools, to foster collaboration and minimize misunderstandings.
2. Work-life imbalance
Another challenge is maintaining a strong work-life balance when the lines between personal and professional space blur.
Encourage your team to establish boundaries, create designated workspaces, and maintain regular schedules to prevent burnout and promote well-being.
3. Lack of fun
Working remotely can be isolating, so it’s important to find ways to have fun with your team.
Plan virtual team-building activities and social events to strengthen relationships. Celebrate achievements, whether big or small, and provide regular recognition to keep motivation high.
Encourage self-care practices and stress the importance of work-life integration. Conduct regular 1-on-1 meetings with your team members and identify any challenges individuals may be facing and provide necessary support.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t be available only for the scheduled meetings. Be open and welcoming always and let them know that there is always a shoulder to lean on.
Managing a remote sales team in the new normal of remote work presents both unique challenges and incredible opportunities.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote work, with many employees now embracing the flexibility and freedom it offers.
As a sales manager, it’s essential to adapt to this changing landscape and establish a strong foundation for your remote sales team’s success.
So, if you are planning to widen your sales team or you are a founder looking to make your first sales hire – go ahead and mention “remote” in your job description.
You can do this!
Managing a remote sales team is not just about adapting to the new normal—it’s about embracing it and harnessing its full potential.
With the right mindset, strategies, and support, you can navigate this virtual landscape and guide your team towards growth, innovation, and sales triumphs.