5 Tactics To Create Accountability for Remote Sales Teams

Well before the age of coronavirus — it seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? — we were seeing a steady, rapid increase in sales teams who were transitioning to remote work.

And for good reason: It can benefit everyone. Employees, especially millennials, appreciate the flexibility to work from anywhere, and sales orgs open themselves up to a much larger pool of talent when they’re not limited to hiring locally.

But sales teams face unique challenges when they go remote — even when they’ve had plenty of time to plan for the transition. It’s always a challenge, for example, to put the right tools in place and hire people who can handle a certain level of independence.

So when your sales team unexpectedly and hastily goes remote… well, that’s even harder.

One of the biggest challenges sales managers face? Keeping tabs on their teams from afar. Especially if you’re a manager who wasn’t prepared for the remote shift, it can feel like you’re suddenly wearing blinders. How do I know what my reps are doing all day? How do I know if they’re staying on track?

The good news is the same basic sales coaching principles and best practices still apply, and they’ll still help you maintain a system of accountability. They just may require a few tweaks.

Here are 5 tactics every sales manager should implement to keep your reps accountable, aligned, and on a path to success — even when you’re not sharing a sales floor.

 

  1. Set daily activity targets
  2. Add a little (more) structure
  3. Reinvent your 1:1s
  4. Shore up your tech stack
  5. Leverage your team

1. Set Daily Activity Targets

Many sales teams set daily activity targets to keep reps on track. It’s a great way to ensure your people hit their longer-term objective targets and ultimately achieve results.

Remote sales managers may want to take daily activity targets one step further. Why? At 8 a.m., 5 p.m. feels like it’s a long way off. Your reps may overestimate what they can get done if they don’t pace themselves as they would in the office.

To help, consider setting multiple activity targets throughout the day. One Ambition customer runs a “10×10” program for their remote reps: Every morning, reps need to make 10 calls by 10 a.m. Managers get a private alert in email or Slack when reps haven’t hit their target, so they can jump in if they need to help a rep get back on track.

2. Add a Little (More) Structure

Every sales manager has a unique coaching style. It may range from total independence — essentially setting your reps free — to complete micromanagement. Of course, the most effective sales managers tend to have a style that falls somewhere in the middle.

If you’ve found your sweet spot, that’s great. You don’t need to overhaul your approach or methodology. In fact, that could do more harm than good since your team is already trying to adapt to the substantial and stressful changes COVID-19 has introduced.

But do consider adding more structure to your existing coaching program.

What does that mean, specifically? For starters, weekly 1:1s just aren’t enough if you want your team to stay connected, aligned, and motivated. A few ideas:

“Brown bag” lunches

You don’t have to be in the office to share a meal together. Set up regular (and casual) “Lunch and Learns” with your whole team — webcam required. Pick a topic to cover or skill to hone. Or better yet, crowdsource ideas from your reps.

Peer-to-peer coaching

Peer learning often happens organically in an office setting, but working from home can feel like working in a silo. Jump in and help newer, less experienced reps connect with more experienced reps by designating time for peer coaching opportunities on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Then, step back. The magic of peer coaching happens when your manager isn’t looking over your shoulder!

Cross-departmental meetings

Make an effort to stay abreast of what’s happening in tangential departments, like Marketing, Sales Enablement, and Product.

Sure, you may hear updates during all-hands meetings or via Slack, but since you’re no longer absorbing important details through osmosis at the office, consider setting up time for your team to interface with a representative from another department.

Keep in mind, no one likes pointless, fluffy meetings. Adding in extra, structured opportunities to coach and connect is smart when your team is distributed. Just make sure that every calendar invite has a clear objective and agenda.

3. Reinvent Your 1:1s

Your 1:1 “template” should be a living, breathing thing. No, you don’t need to change up your questions every week, but these meetings should evolve as your team grows and changes.

That said, when your team is going through a major transition, it’s a prime time to rethink your 1:1 format. A few things to keep in mind:

Strike the right tone

Be empathetic. We’re all dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and it’s adding stress to everyone’s lives, on both a professional and personal level. Of course, your 1:1s should be much more than a temperature check — but start there.

Ask how your reps are doing. Show you care about their physical and mental wellbeing during this trying time. Right now, there’s no such thing as “business as usual.”

Source - Read More at: www.saleshacker.com