In the past year, many companies have started to embrace a remote setup. Some, like Twitter, have made this a permanent policy. Others have adopted a hybrid setup with time split between WFH and the more traditional office structure. While much of this move has to do with protecting employees from the current global health crisis, some are starting to discover the value and immense savings that comes with remote work. That said, there are always pros and cons. Which solution is best for your team?
The Pros and Cons of Remote Work
The first obvious benefit that many businesses noted was how much they saved on operating costs. With employees working from home, they no longer had to shoulder electricity, water, maintenance, and even property agreements. While some were generous enough to provide for internet connectivity, it was still a far cry from what they used to spend. For the most part, everything was business as usual anyway with the exception of video conferences and meetings versus face-to-face.
For many teams that generally didn’t require a physical presence to get their work done, it was easy enough to adapt to the change in circumstances. Take marketing teams for instance, where planning could be done over Zoom, presentations shared over email, and collaboration done on many cloud platforms available. The same could be said for nearly every other team within today’s modern office setup. However, many companies were/are still skeptical about how their sales teams would handle the transition.
Much of the worry comes from the downsides of remote work setups. One of these disadvantages is a blurring of the lines between work and home life as reported by many employees. The lack of physical distinction between work and home makes it difficult to keep focus on what needs to be done, while knowing when to ‘call it a day’ and step away from the old workstation. Another disadvantage is the increase in number of distractions. When it comes to the high-performance nature of sales, the remote setup might seem like a no-go.
Thriving Sales in a Work from Home Setting
While it’s true that it can challenging to get a sales team up and running successfully, it isn’t altogether impossible. In fact, we have applied the following concepts which has made the pros vastly outweigh the cons.
Ensure There’s Tech Parity Within Your Team
A key challenge companies list insofar as a remote working for their sales teams are concerned are the technological hiccups associated with the setup. This is particularly true of internet connectivity. The fact is that many of your sales people will have different providers and be located at different areas of a city, region, or even continent. This can mean vast differences in the quality of service received.
The first thing that you need to go is to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as connectivity is concerned. If you need to invest a little more in the right internet provider for any team member in a given area, it will be worth it and cost far less than what you put out for overhead in an in-office setting. More than connectivity, however, make sure that the hardware/software are also suited to the task at hand—including laptops/desktops, noise-cancelling headsets, and whatever else is needed.
Create a Collaborative Environment Through Smart Management
It’s true that with remote setups, there’s the challenge of not being able to manage your sales teams more closely given the distance. For some companies, the solution is to use time-tracking software. While some swear by its effectiveness, others find that they’re employees feel restricted and policed. The best solution really is to indeed track activities but to not be too draconian about your interpretation.
Irrespective of WFH vs. In-Office, the most important KPI is the outcome. If you align with your team members on achievable outcomes, you can hold one another accountable and work together to optimize towards said outcome.
Better, create a collaborative system that allows for communication in order to resolve challenges or problems that the team may be facing and make them feel that they can always reach out to you as needed. This will let you keep tabs on performance without being too intrusive. Also, it’s a great idea to have huddles at the beginning and end of work days (or work weeks, if preferred) in order to get a feel for what needs to be accomplished and what roadblocks there are as well as to be able to address these immediately.
Develop a Clear Workflow to Guide Remote Efforts
Now if there’s anything that can make or break a remote work setup especially with regard to sales, it’s your workflow. This includes every single process critical to the successful operation of your sales team—from gathering leads to qualifying them all the way through your nurturing plan and eventual sales. With everyone so distant from each other, it becomes even more critical that you have this workflow clearly defined and understood by everyone on your sales team.
If you should need to create an infographic or operational document to ensure buy-in at all levels, then do so. Having a clear, solid workflow will allow you to not just spot leaks that need plugging in, it also makes it clear what everyone must do at any given time.
Beyond process, it is equally as critical to clearly define who is responsible for accomplishing key goals along the way. This workflow can also serve as a basis for evaluating what’s going right and what may need to change.
Provide Them with Solid Leads to Work With
Finally, one thing that will really help your remote sales teams start off strong is to provide them with a strong leads list to nurture. Ideally, this would be one that not only fits your ideal customer profile, but also has verified and vetted contact details. This will ensure that no time is wasted trying to find people to reach out to nor will there be any frustrations wrestling with wrong contact information. If you throw in intent data to help your teams determine who’s genuinely interested, you give your remote teams an edge.
We have our own verified, first-party database of over 60 million contacts in 108 countries across all industries. Count on us to help grow your own list of targets with potentially lucrative look-alike lists. Add in intent data that analyzes numerous key data points to show you who’s ready to purchase and you have a recipe for success for your remote teams. We can even help put your content in front of the people who want and need them.