This is a Guest Post from VanillaSoft CMO, Darryl Praill
Working in sales from home is both a blessing and a curse. And if we’re honest, the novelty of spending Mondays sitting on the sofa in your PJ’s tends to wear off pretty quickly. Reality sets in, and the truth is that not everybody is comfortable with a remote lifestyle. Routines are disrupted. Being removed from the heart of the action makes it hard to stay motivated. Human connections are missing.
Well, we get it – and we’re here to help. Whether this is your first time as a remote sales professional, COVID-19 has forced you to work from home, or you’re just exploring your options, we’ve got you covered with some of our best tips to stay productive and keep the quality of your work up to par.
Part One: Tips for Sales Reps Working from Home
Old-timer or newbie, you’re going to want to save not only your quota, but your sanity as well when working remote sales.
Set Up a Dedicated Work Space
Let’s face it – if you were employed in the last few months, you’ve probably heard this already. But let’s reiterate for the newcomers: you need a personal home office space.
You’re going to need a quiet, isolated corner away from noisy housemates and tempting distractions. You’ll want to organize a desk area with a comfortable chair and all of your necessary equipment.
Pro tip: You might even want to spruce it up with a plant or two. Having an aesthetically pleasing space is great for productivity. And don’t forget to make sure that your background is work-appropriate for video conferencing. Your manager might not appreciate your college-days memorabilia as much as you do.
Structure Your Day
We’re not asking you to join the 5 AM Club. We’re just saying that you should be smart in the way you organize your daily routine, especially working in a busy environment such as sales.
- Your morning ritual can and will save your day. Get started early, exercise, shower, get dressed, and have breakfast before you log on.
- Take a minute to write down your goals for the day. Create a task list and estimate the time each task will take.
- Pro tip: You’ll want to tackle your most difficult assignments first.
- Never skip your lunch break. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, or call a friend.
- Take the time to plan your next moves. Put some effort into preparing for the next days to come, that way you’ll have more time to concentrate on actually selling.
- Remember to switch-off at a sensible time. Don’t go overboard; you need a strong work-life balance if you want the best results.
There are no excuses – you either hit your target, or you don’t. So, stack the odds in your favor, and set the tone for a successful next quarter. You’ll need a trusting and open relationship with your managers and colleagues. You’ll also need to be crystal clear on what is expected of you.
- Realize that quotas don’t change because you’re now remote. Stay on top of your attainment and on pace with your goals.
- Attend all those weekly meetings with your team. The more you communicate, the better… Even if they’re little updates.
- Have a chat with your manager about your activity expectations and how they will be tracked. It’s important that you understand (and hit) your metrics.
- Put a little more attention into your notetaking and be aggressive with your updates – this will help your manager track your work.
- Be mindful of what your customers are going through. A lot has changed in the past few months, and a little catching up can go a long way.
You should also take advantage of messaging and video platforms to stay connected with your colleagues. When you’re out of sight, you have to work to stay top of mind! We recommend organizing weekly virtual games or lunch-and-learns to keep things interesting.
Part Two: Tips for Managing a Sales Team from Home
We’re not going to lie – managing a remote sales team takes extra commitment. But you probably already knew that. So, let’s get straight to the point and talk about the best ways to manage a distributed team of sales representatives.
Trust Your Team
Fundamentally speaking, do you believe that people are naturally good or bad? Your answer probably defines how you view managing a remote sales team.
Those of you looking for the good in people are more likely to believe that a remote team can be efficient. The more cynical of you probably suspects that your staff is either binging on Netflix shows, going on incredibly long walks, or otherwise goofing off. Well, we have one thing to tell you: don’t be a Debbie Downer. If you want your sales team to be successful, you need a strong remote work culture of trust and honesty. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a positive relationship with your team if you want results.
Set Clear Expectations
You want your sales representatives to know exactly what is expected of them. Meet with each member of your team one-on-one to discuss sales objectives, goals, and general company guidelines such as meeting rhythms, data capture requirements, technology tools, and sales processes. You’ll also want a strong system in place to measure your sales teams’ progress and track their results. Because failing to check-in with your team can be a slippery slope towards disaster.
Make Communication a Priority
We’ve already talked about the importance of over-communicating when working remotely. And we’re going to repeat it because it’s THAT important. A good sales leader makes an extra effort to engage with their team. You should continue planning weekly sales meetings over video conference options. (Just because your team has gone remote doesn’t mean you’ve gotten out of meetings!)
Pro tip: Seeing one another’s faces makes the session more personal and engaging. Even so that 87% of remote workers feel more connected through the use of video conferencing. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
Provide Structure and Productivity Tools
Providing structure does not mean turning into a micromanager. It means giving your team access to software and solutions that will help them keep the focus on the job, so they meet expectations. We’re talking about product management tools and sales activity trackers. CRM, for instance, is an essential platform for sharing contact records and information. But CRM alone isn’t enough to drive productivity when dealing with a remote sales team.
A sales engagement platform keeps your sales team active and focused on engaging the next lead when you aren’t physically there to guide them through the process. With powerful selling tools such as automated lead routing, scripting, and sales cadence management, the system makes it almost effortless for reps to automatically reach the right prospects with the right messaging at the right intervals. A sales engagement platform will also allow you to manage your WFH team better. You’ll have easy access to dashboards tracking call activity and individual sales performances. With interactive listening and monitoring features, you’ll also be able to coach your reps along the way properly.
Well, there you have it – the honest truth on how to navigate through working in sales from home. The bottom line is this: communicate, communicate, communicate. And maybe go for walks. No, but really. With the right environment, mindset, tools, and expectations, you might just cross over to the dark side: the sales professionals who actually prefer doing their job from home.