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Managing remote sales and marketing teams - keeping them engaged and motivated
YouGov shows that approximately 50% of workers are now working from home at least some of the time. This is up from 37% before the Covid-19 pandemic and highlights how different the working landscape has become in just three years. What’s more, 79% of business decision-makers believe that they will never see workers return to the office at the same rate as before Covid-19.
Therefore, managing your sales and marketing teams presents a unique challenge. How do you keep remote workers on task? How do you ensure that they collectively meet their sales targets?
Covid-19 and the remote working generation
Historically, only the lucky few regularly got to work from home. The privilege was reserved for highfliers and consultants, who consistently posted such good numbers that their bosses didn’t mind where they worked from.
Now, entire sales teams find themselves working from home every week, regardless of their credentials. Naturally, this presents a whole new challenge to sales managers, as working from home is very much the new normal.
When you consider the practicality of working from home, the arrangement has pros and cons. While some people feel like they can get away with doing less at home, statistics show that almost 60% of business leaders feel that their teams will be equally as effective when working remotely as they were when working from the office.
No matter how you look at it, remote working is here to stay, and it’s something that you need to adapt to. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and challenges of managing remote teams before examining how you can keep your sales staff engaged when they’re not in the office.
Benefits and challenges of remote sales teams
Just like any professional situation, there are pros and cons to remote working, as we explain below:
- Increased employee satisfaction - Granted, not everyone enjoys working from home, but many of your sales staff will appreciate the opportunity. Providing they stay on task, it can be liberating to allow your sales staff to work remotely.
- Improved efficiency - LSE research found that remote work can increase innovation by 63%, boost engagement by 75%, and increase organisational commitment by 68%. In other words, it can be an asset to your business.
- Expense savings - Historically, sales staff have accrued significant business expenses. While client days and many travel expenses will remain, supporting a remote working arrangement will save your organisation money in expense payments.
- Miscommunication - One of the hardest things about managing a remote sales team is communication. It’s much more challenging to coordinate your team when they’re dotted around the country rather than in the office.
- Employee morale - Sales teams are often in it together. They’re naturally splintered and less likely to develop camaraderie when working remotely. Ultimately, this can affect results and sales targets.
- Task management - Unless you have robust systems to integrate your employees’ tasks and hold your sales team to account, task management can be one of the toughest things about remote working.
The good thing about the challenges associated with remote working is that you can do something about them. One of the most crucial steps you need to take is ensuring that you have a fully integrated CRM system so that your sales team can work towards their KPIs and update their client lists wherever they are, as we explain below.
The importance of using CRM Software
Utilising cloud-based CRM software is integral if you’re going to get the most out of your employees working remotely. By its very design, a CRM system has the following benefits:
- Remote accessibility - Providing your sales staff have an internet connection, they can sign in to your company’s CRM from wherever they are. You can also monitor their work patterns from a central location.
- Seamless integration - Most CRM software can integrate with the likes of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, ensuring your sales team can manage many of their applications from the same place.
- Secure access - Protecting data is crucial when your sales team starts working remotely. Helpfully, most CRM software encrypts data and protects your company from hacks.
- Task management - Another great thing about CRM software is that you can populate the task lists of your sales teams and track their progress. Again, this is a considerable challenge when it comes to remote work, and it ensures your staff are on target to meet their KPIs.
When it comes to effectively managing your sales teams remotely, a CRM is a key foundation to work from. It allows everyone to log in from wherever they are and provides you with the perfect opportunity to keep your team on task. But what about motivating your team and keeping them engaged from home?
How to keep your team engaged when working from home
Every sales manager has a unique leadership style. But this will be tested when your team is no longer in the office every day. Therefore, it’s important to mix things up and ensure your team is engaged on the days when they’re working remotely. Here’s what you can try:
Although your sales team can’t knock on your office door when they need help, make sure they know that you’re available for a quick call or Skype when any problems arise. Many remote workers feel isolated, so the simple act of being available will alleviate some of their fears and frustrations.
Keep everyone in the loop
Some of your staff will be working from home in the current working environment, while others will be in the office. As such, it’s imperative to keep everyone in the loop with the latest achievements, developments, and issues. The transition from face-to-face meetings to Microsoft Team or Zoom meetings ensures remote workers are included in the conversations.
Reward remote achievements
When your sales team hits their KPIs remotely, make sure you’re quick to reward them. Arrange after-work drinks or celebrate with a fancy lunch out on the town as you would if they were in the office. While it can be easy to turn a blind eye to remote achievements, doing so is damaging to your team’s morale.
Encourage group conversation tools
Email is isolating, and it’s challenging to keep track of conversations. Instead, encourage your sales team to chat openly on the likes of Telegram or Slack, which promote collaboration and ensure they can keep up with one another throughout the day. The more integrated your remote team feels, the more motivated they will be.
Ask for feedback
Employee feedback is always essential, but it’s even more crucial when your team works from home. As much as you can, check-in with your team and learn about what you could do better and how their working environment could improve. This will help you resolve issues proactively and support your sales team in the right ways.
There’s no getting away from it; remote working is here to stay. While it can be challenging for your sales staff to adapt to their new working situation, you need to do everything you can to help them feel supported.
By utilising effective CRM software and adapting your management style ever so slightly, you should be able to get the absolute best out of your team while supporting them to achieve their KPIs.
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