Sales is a personal job. Sales representatives typically know their clients’ names, pets’ names, and where their kids go to college, as well as the last five years of their order specifics. So when a sales team goes remote, it can be frustrating to watch those dynamics change. Not only do sales reps have to adjust the way they communicate with their customers, but they must also navigate a change in their own work environment.
During a shift to a remote workplace, sales leaders must adapt to accommodate their team’s changing needs in order to stay on track, but also ensure their well-being and engagement. So what are some steps sales leaders can take to train their remote B2B sales team?
- Sales leaders must adapt and maintain open and accessible communication with their team to set expectations and stay on track with their assigned goals.
- In order to avoid feelings of disconnect and disengagement among their sales reps, leaders must keep building rapport through personal connection.
- A remote team doesn’t have to be isolating. Generating team spirit and fostering a virtual community can keep a team running smoothly and cohesively.
These tips can help alleviate the stress of shifting to a virtual sales model, and ensure that no matter how far apart, the sales team remains cohesive, productive, and engaged in order to put their best foot forward.
Challenge: Maintaining Communication
When face-to-face meetings are no longer an option, communication becomes even more essential to keeping every member of the sales team on the same page. Sales leaders should plan ahead and frequently communicate clear expectations for their sales teams, just as they would in person.
Maximizing sales teams’ strategies through services and tools such as Hubspot can help provide support and guidance to remote team members.
And while in-person meetings might not be possible, regular check-ins are necessary beyond simply ensuring targets are being met. Sales leaders should make sure to touch base with all members of their team—including those with high results who appear self-sufficient.
However, communication shouldn’t be limited to formal meetings. Casual communication is also essential in combating feelings of isolation and to continue building rapport at a distance.
Tips for maintaining communication:
- Set clear expectations
- Host regular virtual meetings
- Focus beyond the results
Challenge: Building Rapport
Sales reps are inherently social individuals—meeting clients, building relationships, and staying in touch are all essential aspects of the job. Because of this, remote work can feel especially isolating. Building rapport shouldn’t just be limited to sales reps and their clients, but extended to include the entire sales team.
Informal check-ins can help sales leaders gauge the energy levels of their team members and read between the lines to spot any potential concerns, as well as making their team feel more connected. Sales leaders should also make their own “office hours” and availability known and easily accessible.
And while team spirit might be harder to come by virtually than in person, there are ways to get everyone engaged and motivated as members of a cohesive and supportive team.
Tips for building rapport:
- Allow time for informal check-ins
- Read between the lines to identify potential concerns
- Remain accessible and available
Challenge: Generating Team Spirit
In order to boost team spirit and engagement, sales leaders must be proactive about fostering a positive and open environment. By taking the time to connect with each member of the sales team as individuals, sales leaders can ensure that their employees feel valued and recognized.
When sales leaders vocalize individuals’ contributions and successes within the organization, they provide everyone with the opportunity to be seen and celebrated. In fact, a study done by Gallup revealed that teams with strength-based management practices had 12.5% greater productivity.
Remote sales teams don’t have to sacrifice a sense of community just because they’re virtual. Online communal spaces can act as a substitute to break room chats, providing employees with the opportunity to connect, get to know each other, and share their interests and personalities.
Tips for generating team spirit:
- Keep employees engaged
- Vocalize individual contributions and successes
- Create a virtual community
A remote workplace should not mean a disconnected workplace. As naturally social individuals, sales leaders and their teams can apply familiar skills to new circumstances. Finding innovative ways to stay in touch can go a long way in maintaining strong relationships and staying engaged and productive.
By tracking metrics, communicating clearly and frequently, and finding new ways to build rapport within their team, sales leaders can support a cohesive and productive work environment, no matter how distant. A smooth transition into a fully remote B2B sales team won’t happen all at once, but through patience, perseverance, and communication, new routines will fall into place and everyone can continue to grow and develop within the team.