1. Virtual remote sales workplace structure
Given that most people have the freedom to work from home - often firms can switch to a remote work plan and completely give employees the freedom to manage their own calendar. Whilst this may be adequate for some senior executives, what we fail to understand from a leadership perspective is the current day to day office life has an inherent structure even if management doesn’t set rigid expectations.
Think about the concept of arriving at work - most employees set foot in the door between 8am - 9am. Any later, this is seen as socially unacceptable. Furthermore, even if lunch time isn’t predetermined - social conditioning usually sees large cohorts of an office population eating at a similar interval.
Working from home throws all structure out the window - even the informal examples mentioned above. For sales leadership - it is important to set standards around expectations to see results early on in your remote sales planning. Some important components to consider are
Daily huddles early in the workday - allows the tone to be set correctly from the outset of the day and prevents people from sleeping in and avoiding critical work time
Increasing one on one meetings from once to twice per week - as people adjust to working alone it is important to keep in regular communication to ensure motivation is high and that further support is provided beyond what can be achieved by “tapping someone on the shoulder in person”
Defining set times for prospecting and recording these behaviours - calls, emails, social activities e.t.c
2. Remote sales Training
If we think back to how we began our last sales role, more than 90% of us started our last position with an in-person onboarding training program - designed typically to last over two weeks. Unless you already have an e-learning system, the likelihood of your training being suitable for sales staff to consume on their own is extremely low.
To overcome this, you should look at doing an update of your training and onboarding program in three stages. The first stage should look at what materials are still appropriate for the team and prioritize these to be elevated in priority now, providing enough time for stage two.
Stage two requires your team to adapt all materials to be fully optimized to suit a remote sales environment.
Stage three requires you to develop a host of new materials specially targeted at combating some of the challenges associated with working remotely this include:
3. Active Engagement
This pillar may not be something you have heard of using this particular term - however the principles will be extremely familiar.
When working remotely - our critical objective as remote sellers is to make sure the prospect is actively engaged in all aspects of the deal cycle; including but not limited to initial email exchanges, discovery call, demonstration and the exploration phases of the deal
Unlike in person selling where we can use first hand accounts from colleagues at the same company, body language, tone and phrasing to deduce the outcome at each stage; doing this in an online context can be a real challenge.
To ensure active engagement - it can be extremely helpful to introduce call recording technology where a scorecard can be filled out to make sure reps are asking the right questions to establish a constant connection with their prospects. Questions for your scorecard can include:
4. Visibility during remote sales
When employees are out of the office - the only way to truly gauge potential results other than receiving first hand accounts from them directly is to look at leading indicators.
From a sales perspective, leading indicators refer to “inputs” which create the “outputs” you desire. Number of dials, emails sent, deals created are all examples of inputs.
In a remote setting, we need to be advocating a collective corporate consciousness around leading indicators and encouraging reps to drive their own results above the average.
Furthermore, we can extend the pillar of visibility towards tracking the way in which our prospects engage with us remotely. Harnessing email opens, consumption of sales documents and activity on late stage materials like proposals & contracts can also help us predict the likelihood of opportunities to convert without needing to interact directly.