How to Manage a Remote Sales Team

With more and more B2B sales teams moving remote, there are many questions that still exist about how to manage a remote sales team effectively. A lot of those questions can be answered with better sales measurement.

Measurement is one of the biggest drivers of remote sales performance, and it’s even more important when you’re not together in a physical space – butts in seats isn’t a productivity metric anymore (it never was). While managing a remote sales team, it’s crucial to measure what’s happening with sales activity and sales process compliance.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss the 3 things you need to focus on in order to manage a remote sales team effectively:

  1. Structure

  2. Accountability

  3. Change behavior

Give your remote sales team structure

In order to manage a remote sales team effectively, it’s a good idea to provide some structure to your teams day so they can manage each day as it comes. Remote sales work is inherently more flexible than working in a physical office, so giving your sales reps some structure can help them keep on top of all their responsibilities and balance their day. 

You can choose how strict or flexible you’d like to make your schedule, but it will help your remote sales team with a few things, and to start things out you can think of it a bit like school.

Create a your sales school schedule

  • Set the schedule
  • Create core hours for availability, e.g. 10-3
  • Do a daily stand-up to start the day, like Homeroom at school
  • Create an end to the day (this one is important and often forgotten!)

Auvik Networks’ BDR Schedule

Mercedes Geimer, the Director of Business Development at Auvik Networks, put this daily schedule together for her team:

8:30AM — Homeroom, Zoom drop-in

9:00AM — Calling

10:00AM — Small-pod stand-ups

10:15AM — Calling

12:00PM — Lunch, Zoom drop-in

1:00PM — Calling

2:00PM — Admin

3:00PM — Cold call power hour

4:00PM — Final calls and wrap-up

5:00PM — Post your call count, number of meetings booked, and sign off

Give yourself some structure as well

Don’t forget to create a schedule for yourself. As a leader within your organization, you’ll want to be available for your team as much as possible. It’s noble, until you burn out and can’t be there for anyone – so remember to manage your own time and set boundaries. 

Keep your remote sales team accountable over more than just a sales target

Keeping a sales team accountable over all the different actions they need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis is crucial. When sales reps are working remotely, they have so many added distractions that don’t exist in the office – family, roommates, Netflix, pets, errands, household projects – the list goes on. 

A lot of companies will continue to hold their sales reps accountable over some sort of sales target, but there is this idea out there that if you have a remote sales rep that hits their sales target, then you’re fine. But that’s the wrong way of looking at it, because that only works until they don’t hit their number. That’s why we suggest putting a bigger focus on measuring and managing the things that lead to sales targets being hit – like sales activity and sales process compliance. That way, when a sales rep fails to hit their number, you have some data to look at, learn from, and improve on. 

Of course hitting the sales target is still the goal, but by keeping your sales reps accountable to the inputs your team is in full control of – like sales activity and managing a healthy pipeline – you’re putting yourself and them in the best position to consistently hit sales targets.

In addition to measuring and keep sales reps accountable over sales inputs, you’ll want to make sure you keep or create these meetings to help how you manage your remote sales team:

  • Daily Slack/Zoom stand-ups
  • Weekly pipeline review as a team
  • Weekly one-on-one meetings with each rep
  • Monthly and quarterly forecast meetings
  • Monthly and quarterly business reviews
  • Annual sales kick-offs

Help your remote sales team change behavior

If your team is moving to be fully remote, take this as an opportunity to reset bad habits and create new, healthier ones. By focusing on the behaviors that drive sales performance, you’ll set yourself and your entire remote sales team for long term success. 

As discussed above, when managing a remote sales team and working towards a sales target, it’s important to focus on the sales inputs your team is taking action on each day. But another important factor is the fluent communication of those sales inputs so they can be managed. How do you make sure that communication happens? Make it a habit.  

Create new, healthier habits with your new best friend: tools

The number one habit that sales teams should work on while working remotely is communicating consistently and accurately through tools that are used everyday – like logging data into Salesforce. Maybe in the past you’ve tried to improve Salesforce adoption, and it failed, but now you have to because it’s how you communicate while working remotely. 

The same is true for the rest of your tools: 

If you’re using Slack, integrate everything you can into it to keep a single place for communication streams. 

Use tools like Zoom for consistent video communication with your team and to get some facetime in, even though it’s not the same as in-person. 

Use a sales engagement system, like Outreach or Salesloft, to facilitate task completion and logging of activity into your CRM.

Use a call coaching system, like Chorus, to facilitate call coaching.

And use a management system, like Varicent Lift, to keep your funnel clean and drive the right behaviors to help you manage your remote sales team. 

Managing your remote sales team effectively

There is no doubt that managing a sales team remotely adds new pressures that don’t exist while working in a physical office, but high performing teams will take this opportunity to make improvements and roll out improved sales processes.  

Whether you’ve been managing a remote sales team for years, or are new to it, there are three things you need to focus on each day, week, and month to manage your remote sales team effectively:

  1. Provide structure for your sales reps

  2. Keep your remote sales team accountable over more than just a sales target

  3. Continuously improve sales rep behavior with some help from your tech stack

By giving your team structure, you’ll help reduce the added distractions they have while working from home and keep them focused on the actions we want them to take. 

By keeping sales reps accountable over their sales inputs – like sales activity – you’ll make sure the team is taking the actions they should be in order to keep pipeline healthy and consistently hit sales targets.

And by improving the use of tools your team is using everyday, you’ll create better sales rep behaviors, improve communication, and set your remote sales team for long-term success. 

Manage sales performance with The Sales Rep Grader – a free app by Varicent

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  1. Sales performance

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  3. Pipeline hygiene