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Managing Remote Workers: Top 10 Tips

managing remote sales professionals

Amazing sales teams aren’t only formed in the office. In today’s work environment, technology makes remote working more accessible and team locations now encompass different countries and time zones. Managing remote sales professionals creates unique challenges and is a skillset which can take time to perfect, but by exploring the ideas in this article you can set your team on the path to great success.

1. Individual Communication

It’s important to schedule weekly 121s with every member of your team, but when you have remote workers or teams in different locations it’s even more important to make sure they know that you’re available to jump on a quick call or connect face to face when it’s needed. You have to think of these team members the same way you do about your office ones. If a team member based in your office needed your advice they can generally walk across to your desk and quite simply ask. Remote workers do not have this option, so make sure they know that if they need to ask any questions you’re ready to take the time to have the discussion.

2. Open Calendar Access

Make sure your team has access to your calendar and encourage them to block out 121 time with you as and when this is needed. Having access to your calendar for remote workers is like being able to pop their head up in the office to see if you’re at your desk or in your office.

3. Team Reflection Session

Once a week organise a team reflection session where you and all your team members can interact and discuss any challenges, successes, company and/or industry updates, competitor information, etc, in an open forum type atmosphere. This can be arranged on a Friday afternoon so there is more to discuss from a full working week. If you have teams that are based abroad and working on a completely different time zone you could think about agreeing that on this Friday they will work different hours or have TOTW (time off for time worked) so they can be involved. If this is not a suitable option you could record the meeting and then send them this so they can catch up with what was discussed and provide their input separately. Whichever decision is taken, the main objective here is to include all team members.

4. Visits

When looking after remote workers, make sure you organise time so you can travel to meet them face to face or they can come and spend time with you and other members of the team. This will of course vary based on the location of your team and budget restrictions. If you have remote workers based in the same country as you then it will be easier to have more regular visits. But if you have teams based in different countries (and even continents), then these will be less frequent. However, it’s important to arrange these meetings at least every six months, but ideally once per quarter if your company’s budget allows. Make sure these are organised in advance and that the days you will be together are structured with both work and social agenda’s set out. This will go a long way to build a strong relationship with each individual and will make them feel less isolated.

5. Group Channels

Set up a group channel on available sharing platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Twist, etc, so everyone can feel part of the same team. These are great tools especially for teams or individuals working from different time zones. They can read the information posted by other team members and then add their input when they start their day and vice versa. Posting the sales board on the group channel weekly can help maintaining the competitive environment, seeing who’s the leader and where everyone stands compared to the others is a great way to make sure everyone in your team knows where they stand. This should be posted at least once a week.

6. Team Communication

Encourage team members to chat with each other when they need help, and even set up a video call if possible. It could be that a team member knows something of interest to another on the group and that person has a few questions; it could be some clarification on successes or suggestions shared via the group channel. Instead of sending emails and messages all the time, get them to speak. This will go a long way to building comradery within your team and in turn greater success.

7. Competitive Incentives

Incentivise your teams to include remote workers. Although your team is not all based in the same office, putting in place competitive incentives are pivotal to success! Think about setting an incentive for ‘sales person of the month’ and rewarding them with prizes like vouchers, which are easy to distribute. A raffle is always a fun way to motivate your team too. Providing raffle tickets for achieving or exceeding KPIs and then having prizes drawn at the end of the month really brings a team together.

8. Set Expectations

When setting expectations make sure you include sales objectives, specific procedures and tips on how individuals can manage their time efficiently. Where possible remote workers should have the same targets and KPIs as your office team, but this will of course depend on your company’s set up and whether their roles are the same or similar.

Set out clear processes around prospecting, updating the CRM and procedures on what to do if they experience any problems. Clear guidance should be laid out within your company’s Sales Playbook.

9. Training

Hold regular training and/or refresher sessions for the entire team. These should ideally be done once a quarter depending on the training programs your company has in place. Your remote workers also need to know that you are willing to give them an equivalent amount of individual training that you will with your office staff. “This is impossible” I hear you say, it’s not impossible it’s just different. An example would be that you are sitting with a team member in the office call coaching during a call block, this can also be done with a remote worker. Open up and connect with the remote worker through a videocall, then dial into the calls using Outreach or Five9. If your company doesn’t have anything similar, then I would highly recommend putting the case forward. With these platforms you can listen into the calls and then discuss the outcome together face to face, same as you would sitting next to the member in the office.

10. Team Ideas

It’s important that your remote workers feel they can put forward their ideas to improve and help develop the team and ultimately the company. When you work remotely you can feel isolated, so along with the other ideas suggested in this article let your entire team know that they all have a part to play in developing the organisation, you can even implement a small incentive for ideas they put forward or a large incentive for ideas that are actually implemented. Your company may already have something like this in place, but if you want to build a strong competitive team (and you have the budget) it’s definitely worth adding an incentive of your own.

To conclude…

Communicate with and motivate your team and they will crush their quotas!

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

– Tim Gallwey

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Managing Remote Workers: Top 10 Tips

by Ben James time to read: 5 min