The pandemic has forced us all to look more carefully at how we approach relationships at work. In lieu of real-world interactions, we have all shifted to virtual days filled with video calls, emails, and Slack messages.
The drastic change we’re all living through has pulled “outside” reps out of their comfort zone on the road and separated “inside” reps from the critical support of the sales floor. If your sales team doesn’t know how to continue moving deals through the pipeline in this new work-from-home era, you are losing business.
Delegate has been a distributed team since we launched in 2017 and there is a ton that we have learned through this experience. If remote working is new for your sales team, here are a few things that you can do to ensure your team remains both productive and engaged.
1. Keep Salesforce Hygiene a Top Priority
All open Leads and Opportunities should be up to date in Salesforce at the end of each day. The fields containing Stage, Next Step, Amount etc. should be clear for each deal your team is working on. Strict adherence to Salesforce hygiene is a forcing function for reps to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. It’s also the only way to ensure the sales forecast remains an accurate barometer for you and your organization. If this is new for your team, take advantage of the move to remote work to justify the change.
Now is also an opportune time to reevaluate your sales and marketing engine. Are you measuring what matters? Can you help salespeople spend less time on menial tasks and more time connecting with prospects? In a world where you can’t see your team face-to-face, success depends on crystal-clear foundational processes.
2. Create New Forms of Motivation
If you are managing a newly remote sales team, you may find it difficult to energize them in the same way pre-pandemic. In the past, perhaps you relied on daily side chats and in-person engagement to keep each other motivated. While those valuable one-off conversations aren’t happening anymore, there are still plenty of ways to connect with your reps.
At Delegate, we’ve found that holding daily 15-minute standups is an effective way to check in on our team’s focus. This affirmation exercise aligns your team on key activities and can be an energizing way to start your day. Below is a standup format we use at Delegate.
Sales Standup Format:
- What was the outcome of yesterday?
- What is your specific focus today?
- What is getting in your way?
3. Emphasize Clarity and Reply All
We are all now at the mercy of technology like never before. Dropped video calls, misfired Slack messages, and WiFi outages are inevitable. To be successful, reps need to understand the importance of taking time to read emails carefully and seeking clarification when things aren’t fully understood.
Now is also a great time to reemphasize the value of ensuring all stakeholders are copied on communications. Your buyer has fewer opportunities for chance encounters with internal stakeholders, so make sure your team is keeping all parties in lockstep.
4. Connect Before Closing
Any good salesperson knows the importance of understanding a buyer’s pain points. The unprecedented times we are living in only magnify the sensitivities surrounding their struggles. Budgets are being slashed, people are fearing for their jobs, and many are balancing demanding work and family obligations. A little empathy can go a long way, but this is especially true today.
Creating a more personal connection amongst the chaos will help build trust faster. During every call, take a brief moment to connect personally. Share how the pandemic has impacted you and your team. It doesn’t have to be overly dramatic or personal, but creating that bond with vulnerability and empathy will help soften the barrier. People are rightfully on edge these days, so proceed with care and caution.
The ripple effects of the pandemic and the changing shape of work will be far and wide. With fewer office gatherings and business travel, operating costs are significantly lower – could you sustain this way of working indefinitely? Use this opportunity to challenge yourself and evaluate your remote work strategy and the benefits it can provide long-term. You may just discover a more effective way to scale and change the trajectory of your business – for good.
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About The Author: Patrick Hudgins
Patrick is the co-founder and CEO of Delegate.
More posts by Patrick Hudgins