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Remote sales – how to keep your sales team motivated when they are working from home

The landscape around remote working in Australia has significantly shifted over recent years, with over two-thirds (68%) of Australian employers saying their company now allows employees to work remotely. Alongside this 2 in 5 employees searching for a new job think it’s important the company they are applying for has a remote work policy, according to a survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed in 2018.

We’ve recently seen this subject come to the forefront of conversations again with the global pandemic, Covid-19, making it vital for all businesses to work from home where they can. Your industry will dictate in this situation how easy or hard it is to conduct ‘business as usual’ with some or all the team working from home. We’ve found that we are able to be business as usual to meeting our clients’ needs. However, internally we’ve found that as a sales organisation keeping everyone motivated when they are no longer in the office can be a challenge.

Sales professionals typically build a ‘buzz’ from working alongside one another, competing, sharing ideas, spurring one another on and celebrating together and that’s very true of our team. We’ve found six key ways to keep the motivation high:

  1. Over-communicate

Communication is more important than ever when sales staff are remote working. Both formal and social conversations are important and help beat loneliness, boost morale and motivation and keep connections between colleagues strong. It’s important to have scheduled time to chat as a team, share celebrations and learn lessons together. But it’s also important to keep a channel open for social ad hoc conversation. We use Slack for example, which allows us to instant message, and chat together. We have separate channels for celebrations, company updates and different team discussions and we find that during remote working, far more communication is needed than when we are in the office.  Providing “extra” communication keeps motivation high amongst all of the team.

  1. Keep a strong focus on culture

Like regular communication, it is also important to focus on your culture. Salespeople can experience a full spectrum of emotion within their position in a ‘normal’ week and these emotions can be intensified for some when they are alone, away from the office. Don’t let anyone feel left alone. Find virtual ways of keeping your unique culture and team spirit alive. That might be finishing the week with a virtual beer and quiz, or starting the week with a buzz session or a virtual workout, depending on the makeup of your team.

Consider what you can do to promote and strengthen your culture during any period of remote working. Finding creative ways to celebrate wins, to provide training to those needing a little more help, will allow you to keep your core values alive regardless of where the team are located.

  1. What are the sales team doing?

If your sales process has had to change quickly or unexpectedly to accommodate remote working, you may have found that some of the team have had to change their roles to align to this. Are they still able to have face to face meetings or are they now conducting their meetings via telephone or by online, virtual meetings? These typically take far less time than face to face meetings (especially without all the necessary travelling), so you may find that some of your team have a lot more “spare” time on their hands.

It is important to find ways of filling their time in ways that are productive for both them and the business. Now is a great time to revisit their pipeline – building new prospect lists, making their own prospect calls, staying in touch and checking in with existing customers, cleaning up the CRM database. If they have transitioned to telephone and/or virtual meetings, they will be able to fit more of these into their day than face to face meetings, so there is an opportunity to communicate with more (rather than less) prospects and clients.  There is so much that they can do to get on an even better footing for when they’re able to get back out on the road. A lack of sales activity this quarter is not going to generate strong sales in the next.  You may find The Ultimate Guide to B2B Sales Prospecting, a book written by FMG Managing Director, Richard Forrest, useful during this time.

  1. Set daily and weekly goals, not just monthly and quarterly

Understanding what motivates the individuals within your sales team, gives you the insight to maintaining their motivation and enthusiasm.

Targets are the backbone of all sales teams. When working remotely, having achievable goals that are easily tracked and reported on can give your team something tangible to work towards in the short term. Also consider having individual and team goals to encourage team work and interaction – giving individuals the competitive edge they are likely to be used to when working in the office.

  1. Sometimes you need more than just motivation

We’ve found that motivation is extremely important for sales professionals, but you will probably need to provide more than just this. Your team need support, empowerment, empathy and understanding. The best sales team leaders in remote working situations still provide their sales team with everything they would usually receive and experience in the office, plus a bit more.

Spending more time than usual with individuals and the team as a whole will help you to build on team relationships, boosting employee loyalty and camaraderie.

  1. Finally, compassion and understanding are important

Whether they are in the office or working remotely, nobody wants to work in a sales environment which is so high pressure and so focused on the end goal for the business that the sales team are merely the ‘machine’ to get the results. Putting too much pressure on a person is not motivational, it’s not good for staff retention and it’s certainly not good for an individual’s health.

A team’s results depend on regular sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet. Check in with them on a human level, make sure they are taking care of themselves and that they do not need anything from you. This care and compassion will build trust which in turn gives motivation.

If your sales team could use more sales leads, please get in touch. Our expert lead generation team are based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and have many years of experience across a broad range of industries. Let us help your sales team reach their sales goals.  Call us on: 1300 396 888 or drop us an email to enquiries@fmgroup.com.au.

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