The Complete Guide to Leading a Remote Team

Whether you're a startup or an established business, sooner or later you'll have to build a sales team. And doing so is no easy task, especially when creating a virtual team. You need the right people with the right skills in the right places, all coordinated and working towards common goals. But if you get it wrong, your team of salespeople can easily become a drain on resources instead of a force for growth, So how do you get it right?

The Complete Guide to Leading a Remote Team

Remote sales teams: the basics

At its heart, a sales department is an engine that drives growth. And like any engine, it needs the right parts to run smoothly and efficiently. So when it comes to assembling your superteam, you want to be sure to include all the necessary pieces.

First, you need to understand the fundamentals: what a virtual sales team is, what a sales manager should be like, and what challenges the remote sales process can bring.

What is a remote sales team?

A remote sales team is a team of salespeople that are not physically located in the same place. In some cases, such teams may have all their members in different states or countries. As for remote selling in 2022, hybrid teams consisting of in-office and remote workers are also becoming popular.

This type of setup can be beneficial for both the employer and the employee. For the employer, it means lower overhead costs since there is no need to pay for office space or related expenses like furniture, equipment, and supplies. For the employee, it means more flexibility in terms of working hours, which can contribute to a better work-life balance.

3 must-have traits of great sales managers

Sales managers are the backbone of any sales group. They are tasked with onboarding, coaching, training, and managing their sales reps to boost the sales process, achieve quotas, and entice new customers. However, what traits make a great remote sales manager? And how can you be sure you possess them?

To answer these questions, let's take a look at some of the key qualities that are crucial for success in managing remote team members:

1) Empathy

There are many essential skills for a great sales manager, but empathy may be the most important. After all, sales is all about relationship building, and you can't do that without understanding other people. So what makes a great empathizer?

It's not just about being able to feel someone else's pain or joy; it's also about the ability to put yourself in your salespeople's shoes, gain a better understanding of their needs, and create a more supportive work environment. This ultimately leads to increased motivation and productivity among employees.

Colleen Stanley, president and founder of SalesLeadership and the author of the book Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership, says that the best practice to improve empathy skills and understand clients better is to roleplay the most challenging sales scenarios. For example, during a remote dealing meeting. In this way, sales leaders can be confident that their employees will handle similar situations perfectly in real life.

2) Trustworthiness

The setting may be different, but the concepts of trust and respect are still the same when it comes to managing a remote sales team. But how can you build trust with people you've never met in person? Here are four keys to success:

  • Be transparent
  • Communicate often
  • Use video conferencing
  • Get to know your team

3) Emotional intelligence

The traits that make up emotional intelligence - self-awareness, empathy, positive outlook, and self-regulation - are just as important for those who sell remotely as they are for those who sell face-to-face. Therefore, the best remote sales leaders should be masters of emotional intelligence. They build trust and rapport with their team members, clients, and prospects by understanding and responding to their emotions. They know how to communicate effectively, empathize with others, and handle stress and conflicts wisely.

Challenges of managing remote employees

Though working remotely has many benefits, it can also pose certain challenges for managers, particularly those in charge of teams.

For one, it can be difficult to ensure that employees are staying on task and productive when they're not physically present in the office.

Additionally, remote workers may feel isolated or disconnected from their team, which can lead to a loss of communication and collaboration.

Finally, it can be more difficult to build trust and relationships with remote employees. Being scattered around the globe or even the country is not conducive to maintaining relationships at the same high level as in real life.

Addressing these challenges can be tricky, but with the right tools in place, it is definitely possible to create a productive and cohesive remote team. Let's move on to some helpful tips and tricks for building and managing a successful remote sales workforce.

Hiring the right people

Sales is one of the most critical functions of any business, yet it can be challenging to find and hire appropriate people for the job. When searching for candidates who can fill a sales role, companies often look for people with experience in the industry and a proven track record of success. However, what if your company doesn't have a physical office and is looking to hire remote sales reps? How do you go about finding promising candidates and vetting them? Here is some advice from our team:

PRO tips

#1 Clearly define your criteria

Before you start looking for new team members, make sure you know what you're looking for. This will help you to screen applicants more effectively and speed up the whole process. Define the skills and experience required for the position, as well as some key qualities and role responsibilities. By being clear about your expectations, you'll be able to better assess candidates and find the best fit for every position.

#2 Ensure your company culture is remote-friendly

Not all companies are cut out for having virtual sales teams. Culture is key, and if your company's culture isn't conducive to remote work, you'll have a very hard time succeeding. Before you even begin your search for the right candidates, make sure your company is ready for change. This includes things like fostering a culture of trust and communication, promoting collaboration and teamwork, and providing employees with the tools they need to do their job effectively from home, including video conferencing software, good communication channels, and powerful and reliable software and hardware.

#3 Conduct a trial period before extending the offer

The best way to determine whether a potential remote team member is right for your company is to have them work with you in a remote setting for a trial period. This will give you a sense of their capabilities, how they handle customer interactions, and if they are a good cultural fit. If things go well during the trial period, then you can proceed with extending your offer. If not, thank them for their time and move on to the next applicant.

Training your remote employees

Sales teams have always been an important part of a company’s success, but with the rise of remote workforces, it has become even more crucial to have a well-oiled sales machine. And that means training your sales team effectively. Here are some tips to help you:

PRO tips

#1 Invite experienced sales reps to hold workshops

When your team is involved in virtual selling, it’s important to provide your reps with the proper training and development opportunities. One way to do this is to invite experienced sales reps from other companies to hold training sessions and masterclasses for your crew. This not only helps your reps study the best practices but also gives them the opportunity to connect with other sales professionals and learn from their experiences.

#2 Organize a knowledge-sharing meeting

Sales teams that work remotely often struggle with maintaining cohesion and organization. You can help overcome these challenges by arranging a knowledge-sharing meeting. This is a meeting where team members can share what they’ve learned with one another, discuss challenges, and come up with solutions. This can be done in person or over a video conference, for example, on platforms like Whoosh or GoToMeeting.

#3 Work on the onboarding process

The best way to train a remote sales team is by creating an effective onboarding process. This procedure should include all the necessary materials and tools your reps will need to sell your product or service. It should also outline the company’s values and expectations, and provide rep training on how to use your CRM, close deals, and much more. Finally, it’s important to offer continual support to your reps, so they can always be learning and growing.

Motivating your sales crew

Keeping remote teams motivated can be tough. They can’t just pop over to your office for a chat or a quick pep talk, and you can’t always be there in person to support them. So how do you make sure your team stays on track and motivated?

PRO tips

#1 Reward active sellers

Sales teams can be motivated in many different ways, but one of the most effective methods is to give out rewards. When sales reps know they have the opportunity to earn a financial bonus or other forms of incentive for selling more products, they are more likely to work harder and achieve better results.

#2 Build a motivating company culture

With employees working remotely, it can be difficult to create a company culture that is both motivating and engaging. However, it's possible to build the one that will inspire your remote employees to do their work more efficiently. Try doing the following:

  1. Define your company values and make sure they are reflected in your actions.
  2. Celebrate successes together. This could be as simple as sharing a quick victory email or a shout-out from every team member at a company-wide meeting after a big deal is closed.
  3. Foster a sense of community within the team by organizing regular virtual happy hours or team-building activities.

#3 Manage goals and incentives

When it comes to goal-setting, be sure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them and can measure their progress. This will help to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common objectives. Also, don't forget about incentives. They are essential for inspiring salespeople to continue performing at a high level.

Managing your sales team

The ability to manage a remote sales team can be the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful business. Sales teams that are in close proximity to each other can easily collaborate and build relationships, but this is not always possible when members are distributed across different states or countries. Fortunately, following some best practices can help managers successfully lead such a virtual team.

PRO tips

#1 Invest in modern technologies

Aside from providing your workforce with the necessary tools and equipment, you’ll also need to make sure that they have the right software in place:

- A CRM that allows you to track leads and measure the success of campaigns

- Tools that enable collaboration, like Slack, Whoosh, and Asana

- Email clients, like Gmail or Outlook

- Quick messengers, like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or WhatsApp

#2 Build trust and rapport

As a remote sales manager, trust and rapport are essential for motivating and managing your team. Trust is built through transparency and communication, while rapport is developed by understanding your team members as individuals and showing that you care about them as people. Encourage open communication between team members to develop these vital connections within your team.

#3 Encourage communication

Sales teams that work remotely often feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues. As a manager, you need to find ways to encourage social interaction among your team members. Here are a few ideas:

- Host a weekly video call or online meeting. This is a great opportunity for team members to catch up on news and progress reports.

- Encourage team members to connect on social media. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can help salespeople stay connected.

- Foster team members to share personal updates with each other regularly. This could include anything from recent vacation photos to updates on family members or new hobbies.

Rewarding your virtual sales team

When working remotely, sales reps can also feel disconnected from company goals and unmotivated when they don’t see tangible evidence of their contributions. Moreover, traditional recognition tactics (like speeches or plaques) often don’t translate well in a remote setting.

Thankfully, there are many other ways to reward your remote sales team that are both meaningful and effective. Here are some of them:

PRO tips

#1 Recognize achievements

When someone does a great job, make sure they know that! Achievements should be recognized with public praise, as well as with rewards such as bonus payments, gifts, or even just an extra day off. Recognition can go a long way in keeping someone motivated and encouraged.

#2 Thank your team for their work

One downside of running a sales team remotely is that it can be difficult to show your appreciation for the work they do. After all, you can't just walk over to their desk and hand them a gift or say 'thank you' in person. However, there are plenty of creative forms to show your remote sales team that you appreciate their efforts. Send a quick email or take some time to write a personal note thanking them for contributing to the overall success of your business.

#3 Provide opportunities for growth

Another way to reward your sellers and keep them motivated is to offer opportunities for career growth. This could mean anything from providing additional training and development programs to giving them the chance to work on special projects or try themselves in job shadowing or rotation programs.

It's your turn to act

Remote work is becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. It can save businesses money, increase productivity, and help with recruiting. If you're thinking of starting a remote team or expanding your existing workforce, this guide is for you. Take advantage of our helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of working in a remote environment. And with a smart and innovative video conferencing app, like Whoosh, you'll always be sure you're on the same wavelength with your employees, no matter where they are currently located.


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