With more people able to and choosing to work remotely, businesses and managers need to be able to effectively manage those remote teams. This applies to every department of an organization, from sales and marketing to content development. Here are five tips for managing your remote sales team effectively.
1. Find Ways To Keep Your Team Focused
Remote workers may find it more difficult to focus on their work for a variety of reasons. If someone works from home, he or she may be distracted by pets, family members or any number of other things he or she wouldn’t be interacting with during work hours in the office. Other employees may work in public spaces such as coffee shops or on-the-go while they travel for work. Look for ways to help each employee stay focused and on-task no matter his or her work situation, such as goal-setting.
2. Keep the Focus on Your Customers
Remote sales teams need to continue focusing on customers even in their new remote work environments. Look for ways you can ensure your team sticks with this customer-centric focus. Technological tools such as sales management and sales automation software can greatly aid in ensuring your sales pipeline stays organized. This will free your employees to focus more on customer needs and interests.
3. Make Sure Employees Have Several Communication Options
When you work in an office setting, you’re able to see and communicate with your coworkers in-person, whether that involves speaking to your desk neighbor or scheduling meetings with other people in the building. When you work from home, this type of communication becomes more difficult, if not impossible. To mitigate this issue for people who work remotely, you should make sure employees have multiple communication tools at their disposal. Email is the most commonly used communication tool, but it isn’t going to be effective when used alone. You need to try to simulate in-person communication as much as possible. This means you need to provide your employees with tools such as video conferencing software, which will provide people with face-to-face interactions. Instant messaging and softphone tools are also useful. You should also make sure employees have access to mobile communication tools in case they need to work while on-the-go.
4. Use Tools To Overcome Virtual Distance
Virtual distance doesn’t just refer to difficulty collaborating effectively. It also refers to the sense of isolation people can feel when they work remotely. Working remotely can make you feel as though you’re working in a vacuum. It can cause you to lose sight of the importance of your work and to forget that you’ve got a team of people working toward the same goals as you. To mitigate this, look for ways to help your employees overcome this kind of distance. Virtual gatherings such as coffee breaks and happy hours can help employees continue to socialize with their coworkers, for example.
5. Introduce Structure
When you work remotely, there can be a disconnect from the structure of the in-person workplace. You should seek ways to reintroduce this structure or develop new structures for employees to work within. Structure is an important method for ensuring work is completed on time and employees stay organized. You can establish a remote workplace structure in a number of ways. One of the most common is to implement a check-in system. You can check in with your employees regularly, such as daily or weekly. At these check-in meetings, gauge how each employee is feeling about his or her workloads, deadlines and other aspects of the job. You should also schedule time for your entire team to meet and check in with each other, though perhaps less often than one-on-one check-ins.
Some strategies for managing remote employees and teams will be applicable no matter the employee or the team. Others may be better suited for specific teams or departments. You may find that a mix of general and specific strategies works well for you and your team.