The world has changed drastically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The traditional office setting has evolved, and people are finding new ways to perform their jobs. Technology has played an intrinsic role in making work more comfortable so that staff members can connect and work from anywhere.
Sales departments are uniquely positioned to fully utilize this new virtual environment by re-strategizing, adjusting business processes and continuing to drive revenue. After all, the sales team doesn’t need an office to carry out its daily duties. Today, companies have unlimited options to connect their employees virtually.
Managing remote work properly will retain the sales team and help them to become more productive. Below are five essentials thriving sales departments should implement to function at their best.
1. Promote Employee Engagement and Collaboration
One of the biggest challenges to working remotely is the reduction in opportunities for team members to connect with each other. It is crucial to develop regular, open and honest lines of communication between teams and within the team. Done properly, these cadences enhance cohesiveness and give members an opportunity to discuss challenges openly. Managers can effectively gauge each sales person’s mindset, and quickly make the necessary adjustments to help them find success and focus on driving pipeline priorities.
In most cases, the team will learn to depend on each other to keep and build social relationships virtually. With open lines of communication, senior management can build momentum and motivation towards hitting revenue goals, while maintaining continuity within the sales team.
In addition to regular cadences, keep the lines of communication casual and fun by introducing lunch hour video calls, 15 minute huddles, virtual happy hours, etc. These casual conversations generate new ideas and help team members make the necessary adjustments required to feel rejuvenated, happy with their work and challenged to compete.
2. Give Sales Professionals Information as a Tool to Succeed
It is a common practice within sales teams to evaluate performance based on metrics, and sales professionals are accustomed to relying on these to make their own adjustments. It is vital to not only continue to track metrics, but to communicate them in an even more timely manner. In fact, sales people can thrive even more than their non-sales counterparts in this model as they have access to data that other departments do not and they are comfortable assessing their own performance and identifying pitfalls to their plan.
CRM systems are built to track activity, pipeline management and forecasting. This technology is required for the success of your sales team. It is key to find a balance however – the technology used to track metrics should not be so onerous as to be frustrating. Any metrics you choose to track should provide coaching opportunities clearly to each sales person. This is a great opportunity to lead sales teams into a successful virtual future.
3. Reset Goals
Companies have been scrambling to adjust and build a clear strategy for the immediate and distant future, and therefore it is easy to lose track of key company priorities and goals.. In some cases employees have been laid off adding workload to those that are still employed, distracting the sales person from achieving the initial goal.
Once your business has stabilized and employees have adjusted to remote work, it may be time to revisit and possibly reset your corporate agenda and goals. Take a look at the goals you have set for the remainder of the year and evaluate whether they are realistic given the structure of your team. If not, consider resetting or redefining your goals. Sales teams are driven by goals, and goal setting is like a compass that shows true north. Unrealistic goals not only drive morale down, they also cause doubt among the leadership team as strategy and reality don’t match up. Attainable goals are what is required to build confidence and belief.
4. Celebrate Sales Team Achievements
Nothing motivates a sales team more than celebrating wins. Make it fun by celebrating every win at every opportunity. Sales people often feel the most reward when recognized for their achievement, so make sure you have a process internally set up that matches your corporate culture – for example, a virtual bell-ringing.
These interactions within the team boost morale and enhance cohesion. Sales leaders should create opportunities for team competition, games and celebrations. With so much stress and uncertainty due to the pandemic, it’s a welcome respite.
5. Hire Sales Professionals with Remote Sales Experience
Recruiting your sales organization has just changed for all companies. You are no longer bound by geography for your new hires. You can now hire and focus on hiring candidates who have experience working remotely. Ask for success stories about previous work experience, and working in a virtual environment. This is the new normal and recruiting just got easier because you now have the entire country from which to recruit.
Finally, make sure you rethink your remote onboarding experience. This may mean running module-based training, rather than 8-hour days of presentations; or introducing regular checkpoints in the training process where new employees are tested on the knowledge they’ve just learned.
Thriving sales teams are dependent upon talented leadership. And companies around the globe have figured out how to sustain and grow business. If your team is not, consider these tips to help your company navigate this pandemic and build purpose while facing adversity. While sitting with colleagues one-on-one creates a positive physical experience, working with colleagues virtually can also satisfy our need for basic human interaction.
If you need help hiring top sales talent virtually, Treeline can help.