Play #045 Five Tips for Managing Remote Sales Teams
Winning As A Virtual Sales Manager
Each week, I bring you battle tests, sales plays, and learning lessons from my experience as a Founder, VP of Sales, and my current role as the VP of Sales at Leadium where we help world-class B2B sales teams drive revenue through our done-for your top-of-funnel services.
Managing remote sales teams has always been a challenge. Today, however, more people than ever—about 13%—work remotely. Luckily, team leaders also have better technology to help coach sales professionals and more experience as it has become more common.
I recommend following these five best practices to make your remote sales team more effective.
1. Establish Clear Communication Channels
Team members must know the most efficient way to reach you with questions. In the past, you might have relied on phone calls and email. Now, choosing more flexible communication channels that allow everyone to see answers and concerns makes sense.
Consider some of these stand-out options:
Slack ( my preference)
Each application has unique advantages and disadvantages, so I encourage you to try them before committing to one.
2. Use Technology for Virtual Coaching
There are a lot of tools that can make coaching your remote team easier, so do your research and see what will work based on your needs.
Consider leveraging platforms like:
Remember, coaching sales teams require more than just excellent software. Your approach to coaching your team should be unique based on each person. There is no “one size fits all” coaching method.
3. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
You want your remote sales team to win and stay motivated while working remotely. However, setting unrealistic goals and expectations will only undermine their confidence and make their jobs seem impossible.
Remember that what counts as realistic varies depending on your industry, products, services, and economic trends.
In some situations, expecting your remote team to grow sales by 10% within the year may make sense. In others, you might want to set a lower rate.
Additionally, try to break down goals into smaller, more achievable milestones. This way, you can keep your remote sales team focused and motivated.
4. Promote Collaboration and Teamwork
Many companies unintentionally undermine their sales funnels by pitting team members against each other. For example, if Michael knows he will get a bonus for converting a lead into a paying client, he might not want to work with Sarah. Doing so could mean he loses or has to split the bonus.
While this is a contentious position in the sales world, it is more effective to encourage collaboration and teamwork that converts more leads.
If you currently give bonuses to individuals, consider shifting toward a more collaborative framework that rewards everyone for meeting goals. Individual team members might not initially like the change, but it will ultimately make your business more successful.
5. Provide Regular Feedback and Support
Have you ever worked with a boss who never gives you feedback? At most, you might get some advice during your annual review. That's not very helpful. You probably felt unsure whether you were doing a good job. Without feedback, how can you know?
Set up official meetings with the team—and individuals when needed—to check in and give them feedback. A virtual meeting once per week will probably do the trick.
You can also send frequent feedback and support to keep your team on the right path. A short message like, "You did a great job on that client meeting this morning!" could improve morale.
Similarly, offer advice to teach sales members to work more effectively. For example, you might send an email saying, "I loved how you handled client questions this morning! Good job! The sign-off felt a little awkward, though. Let's schedule a time to improve that skill."
Coaching sales teams is complex, and doing it remotely brings additional challenges, so stick with things that would work in the office, use technology, and make coaching a priority. You’ll be doing better than most. Also, remember you’ll make mistakes all HUMANS do, so take it easy on yourself.