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Staying focused in a remote sales environment

Kevin Malone, head of business development at ISI Emerging Markets, manages a remote sales team. Here are some of his best practices for remote sales teams. 

Kevin Malone, head of business development at ISI Emerging Markets, manages a remote sales team—and a family. We were able to get his opinion recently about how to adjust your approach to sales during a time when working remotely is your only option. Here are some of his best practices for remote sales teams:


Structure your day for success whilst working remote

Even if you get pulled in different directions, when you’re in the office, it’s relatively easy to stay focused on work. But when working from home, especially if you have children or other family members who live with you, that can change at a moment’s notice. To keep your head in the game, try these examples of ways to maximize your productivity:

  • Set specific goals to accomplish over the course of the day. Everything you do “on the clock”—every call you make, every email you send—should be relevant to furthering that goal. This ensures a base level of purpose for your work day.

  • Time yourself. For example, let 8:30–9:30 be specially for prospecting; 9:30–10:30 for email follow–ups; from 10:30–10:45, take a break. Plan your lunch in advance. You want to perform at your best, and an organized daily routine will keep you alert and focused on what’s next.

  • If you’re a leader of a team within your business, encourage your team to do the same. Having a regularly scheduled conference call with each other, even if the topic changes from week to week or from day to day, can be an effective way to push that structured mentality.


Now is the time to connect with prospective clients

Chances are, you’re not the only person working from home right now. Your customers, like you, will be more or less accessible at different times of day. Take advantage of the time you have to talk with them. Even if your pipeline seems to have run dry, people are more willing to engage right now. So offer what they’re looking for: a positive outlook and a helping hand.

  • Try, try again. Reach out to prospects going back, say, two years, who fell through for whatever reason. Restart the conversation with them. Acknowledge the effects of COVID on daily life right now, and with that in mind, offer your services at no charge for a brief period of time. This gives customers the chance to reconsider whether they’ll want your product in the long term after all.
    (Under normal circumstances, this tactic might not be particularly effective. But according to Malone, it’s gotten two to three times more responses than normal.)

  • Be direct in your sales conversations. You never know when something will come up for somebody that wouldn’t otherwise happen if you were meeting somewhere in person. So be personable, but direct and goal-oriented. Keeping a list of points to hit can be great to keep you and your prospect on topic during a call and ensure that you don’t forget to cover anything before the call ends.


Kevin Malone manages the sales team for ISI’s North American division, but he’s also a founding partner of NorthStar Consulting, which provides strategic business and marketing solutions for Caribbean companies.

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