How to Build a Remote Sales Team: 7 Sales Management Tips you can Apply to Improve your Team’s Remote Selling Skills

Now that remote selling is here to stay, how can you as a Sales Leader build an effective Sales Team with the right skillset to adapt to the new normal?

With the 2020 pandemic forcing many sales teams into a remote environment, an increasing number are beginning to think about implementing this sort of approach full time. But does your team really have what it takes to succeed with remote selling?

It’s important that sales leaders understand that traditional sales skills don’t always translate easily into remote selling skills, which means it’s vital to know how to build a remote sales team that’s not only driving results but also motivated to succeed in the long term. The good news for many is that you may not have to spend out on new hires, it could be a case of rethinking how you train your sales team and what sales technology you place at their disposal. 

Upskilling and retraining - enhancing the knowledge of your existing team - is an excellent solution, although it works best when used alongside changes to your own sales management approach. By applying these 7 simple and proven sales management tips to your own way of working, you can improve your former face-to-face sales team’s remote selling skills while motivating them to succeed and further boosting your sales team’s performance.

1. Be Clear

Managing sales with vision and clarity is key to boosting resilience and performance, according to insights firm McKinsey, highlighting the vital importance of providing remote teams with clear and transparent instruction. With disconnection from the core business being one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the success of remote operations, it’s critical that leaders manage sales with a clear sense of purpose, ensuring that sales people are focused on the right activities, and on actions that generate results. Making the effort to manage sales with greater clarity can help to keep the team focused on the end results, driving success and boosting motivation. 

2. Be Resource Conscious

HubSpot notes that ‘if you give someone a task, and you provide that person with an array of resources to use and refer to while they work to get it done, it’s probably safe to assume they’re going to complete it more efficiently and effectively than someone without those resources’. That’s why leaders should be looking at adapting their sales management approach to invest in solutions that drive results in the new remote environment. While the right resources will vary, sales enablement solutions focused on knowledge and information delivery can help. It’s said that there are ‘significant differences’ between how outperformers and underperformers invest in sales teams

3. Be Available

If your current approach to sales management is to drive results through productivity, when moving to a remote environment you may find that creating a better balance between productivity and employee support can be more effective when it comes to skills building and motivation. Blocking out some time each day to check in, listen, and nurture the team through 1:1 touchpoints is one of the best sales management tips for supporting sales reps through change. When remote sellers feel unsure, it can create delays in engaging with prospects, and may result in missed windows of opportunity. Adapting your management approach to be more available to your team can help. 

4. Be Social

Encouraging socialisation between team members can be beneficial, but in terms of remote skills development and motivating to succeed especially, encouraging socialisation between teams themselves is even more vital. Greater collaboration between sales and marketing is often said to be the ‘key to success’, although currently these functions largely exist in silos. By bringing these teams together - along with other associated departments such as product development, remote teams are able to gain a greater understanding of the product and the buyer journey, allowing them to develop their selling skills, create empathy between teams, and celebrate successes. 

5. Lead by Example

Perhaps one of the very best sales management tips is to not engage in sales management at all. While that may sound strange, if you’re looking to motivate your remote team and help them to embrace change, it may be necessary to take a step back from sales management, and take a step towards sales. If you’re not used to ‘getting your hands dirty’, now is the time to dive in, leading by example. “As leaders, we can foster resilience by getting directly engaged… I urge you to lead by example” says Forbes Council Member Julie Thomas. Inspire your team to try new tactics by being amongst the first to move from product selling to solution selling, for example. 

6. Maintain Commitment to Growth

We’ve previously touched on the importance of upskilling and retraining in developing the skills of remote workers, and this is closely connected. A vital sales management tip that all leaders should be applying to their approach now is to look at sales from a more people-focused perspective. Investing in people through the identification of new training opportunities demonstrates a commitment to investing in employees’ futures, motivating them to do their best work for leaders that value them. According to McKinsey, some of the most critical skills that remote teams need in order to succeed are digital and cognitive skills, social skills, emotional skills, adaptability, and resilience. 

7. Invest in Tech

Sales management to date has largely been supported by technology. But sales management in a remote environment must actually be shaped by technology. Tech no longer has a supporting role, and if you’ve been getting by using challenging and outdated CRMs, then now is the time to adapt your approach and prioritise digital. Invest in improved sales technologies that naturally help your team to develop their skills while motivating them to achieve more. Bringing onboard great tech motivates workers by making their tasks easier; by reducing the need for in-person meetings, cutting down travel time, minimising the effort needed to find information, enabling chat, and more. 

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