According to an October 2022 Zippia study, 26% of U.S. employees work remotely, and remote jobs make up 15% of all work opportunities. It also mentions that sales are one of the top industries for remote workers.
As a sales manager or company owner, embracing the remote selling trend is imperative. While doing so, there are various best practices you can follow to position your sales staff for success.
- Provide the right tools
Go back in time 20 years, and remote selling meant spending hours on the phone. As long as you could dial a phone number and had a Rolodex or book of business, you had everything needed to succeed.
Those days are long gone. Today, various tools make for more efficient and effective remote selling. For example, a laptop computer with a high-quality camera allows a sales professional to work from anywhere in the world.
And, of course, there’s no shortage of software applications that provide a more efficient and effective approach to remote sales. Examples include, but are not limited to, sales enablement software, CRM software, online meeting software, and incentive compensation management software.
Take cues from your team regarding what they need if they ask for something that will improve performance, look into providing it.
- Talk to them about remote demos
Remote salespeople must get used to remote demos and selling via video. Sometimes you meet a prospect in person, but online communication is the new normal.
Here are some tips to share with your remote sales team:
1) Have a conversation before demo day: Booking a demo before you have a detailed conversation with a prospect will make it more likely that you do not have all the information and background to deliver the appropriately tailored demo. The more you know about a prospect and their needs, the more you can customize the demo to suit them.
2) Setup in advance: The last thing you need is a technical glitch. Set up and test your computer, microphone, and headset before the meeting.
3) Avoid information overload: Resist the urge to rattle off every feature of your product. Customize your presentation based on the information you’ve gathered from the prospect. Remember that 90% of what your product offers is going to be irrelevant in a basic demo. Focus on providing solutions to one or two primary pain points.
- Help them set up their space
Most remote employees spend the majority of their time in a home office. Those who have never worked in this environment before are likely to face various challenges early on.
Here are some tips you can share to help them get set up in their space:
1) Choose the right (ergonomic) desk and chair: You’ll be working in this space for roughly 40 hours per week, so comfort is important.
2) Find privacy: It’s best to choose a home office with a door and a lock. If that’s not an option, find a space, such as a basement or an attic, that’s secluded from other areas of your home. This helps to minimize distractions.
3) Run an internet speed check: High-speed internet allows you to send and receive emails, chat on Slack, and carry out video meetings without any issues. Spotty audio and video will kill your productivity and reflect poorly on you when communicating with prospects and customers.
- Provide access to sales and performance reports
No matter where they’re working, salespeople are driven by numbers. They want to exceed their quota. They want to earn more money in commissions this month than they did last month. And, of course, they want to be able to track all of this.
Sales and performance reports provide your sales team with everything they need. For example, performance reporting and dashboards create transparency by showing sales teams their performance metrics, leaderboards, commission payouts, estimates, and what-if calculators.
From a company perspective, all of the above helps drive production across multiple sales channels without requiring in-person meetings. Also:
1) Sales ops benefits because ICM software eliminates the need for a manual, labor-intensive process of collecting and sharing data.
2) HR benefits from an increase in retention and employee engagement.
3) The executive team benefits because the employees generating revenue are well-aligned with company objectives and are motivated to exceed those goals.
The sales industry is changing in many ways, led by an increase in the number of remote sales professionals. Continual support of your sales team — through the four best practices above — is critical to their growth and long-term success.