I read recently two quotes that I fundamentally disagree with. First, “remote work encourages healthy work-life balance”; secondly, “sales is perhaps the easiest team to set up remotely”.
If managed incorrectly, remote work can kill a healthy balance. Either you can get distracted easily, or you get so engrossed in your tasks, that before you know it, you’ve hit the 12-hour shift, thinking you have made progress whereas in fact you have “confuse[ed] motion and progress” as Alfred Montapert highlighted.
Secondly, sales needs interaction with colleagues, customers and the wider team whilst it is easy to set up cloud-based CRM systems, to maintain productivity and performance without colleagues and customers is one of the hardest things to do hence there being so many articles on how to manage a remote sales team. In my sales leadership roles, I have found these 4 things to help:
1) Clear Ideal Customer Profile
During these unprecedented times (what other context have you ever used this tired phrase?), double down on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) so your sales team knows exactly who and why you are going after them. Especially if you are pivoting right now.
2) Calendar Management
Compartmentalise your reps calendars. Get them to start with a blank calendar, populate with all their non-negotiables (Gym, walk, meal times, dinner with friends) and then start filling in with specific prospecting hours, and other activities to see where efficiencies can be brought in.
3) Objective Setting
Consider a quota relief and therefore activity-based metrics as opposed to revenue. Remember you cannot directly manage revenue. But you can manage the objectives and activities that go into hitting that revenue.
4) Productivity Tools
Consider pulling in collaboration tools like Asana to keep people on track, accountability and responsibility of tasks visible to everyone. At Sales for Startups we use this tool specifically for our own consultancy and on client engagements because it significantly reduces the need for multiple platforms reporting the same information.
Remember, if you’re in a position of sales leadership, you probably have over 5 (maybe 10?) years of sales experience under your belt and so you know what a high performing sales floor is like. Put yourself in the shoes of a new SDR who is having to prospect at home, maintain motivation and keep a positive attitude whilst maybe sharing a house with a number of other people also working at home? That’s hard and as a sales leader you shouldn’t forget this. Help them, coach them, mentor them and come out stronger.