As a solopreneur looking to build a sales team, you may be wondering if you should hire remote reps or on-site ones. Many entrepreneurs have found that with the right management tactics and tools, remote teams can actually lead to higher sales productivity and results.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the key advantages of building a distributed sales squad, the biggest management challenges to watch out for, and actionable solutions to set your team up for success.
The Powerful Benefits of Remote Sales Teams
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of managing remote reps, let’s look at some of the compelling reasons more entrepreneurs are embracing this model:
1. Significant Cost Savings
According to leading workplace research firm Global Workplace Analytics, organizations can save an average of $11,000 per year for every person that works remotely half-time. With a staff of 10 sales reps, that would mean over $100k in potential annual overhead savings by enabling remote work. This includes savings related to office space, equipment, software licenses, and operational expenses. For bootstrapped solopreneurs, managing overhead is imperative for profitability.
2. Global Talent Acquisition
With traditional sales teams, you are limited to hiring reps within commuting distance to your office. But remote teams allow you to source top sales talent from anywhere in the world. You gain access to a global talent pool, opening up more possibilities to build a high-performing sales squad. According to statistics from Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report, 98% of remote workers say having increased flexibility over where they live and work is a top benefit. More candidates means more opportunities to find reps intrinsically motivated to smash your sales goals.
3. Increased Productivity
Multiple studies have shown that remote sales teams drive up productivity. According to stats from Salesforce, more than 80% of their workforce says remote work makes them more productive. A two-year Stanford study also found a 13% performance increase for remote workers versus their office-based peers. With fewer distractions and interruptions plus flexible schedules that allow reps to work when they feel most creative, teams reach higher levels of productivity.
The data clearly shows building out a remote sales team can pay dividends for high-growth solopreneurs. Next let’s explore actionable tactics to manage offsite sales squads.
Managing a Remote Sales Team: Core Strategies
While remote sales teams offer numerous advantages, they also come with management challenges. Sales managers used to on-site teams often struggle with the transition. In order to succeed, implementing these core strategies is key:
1. Select Tech to Increase Visibility
As a remote manager, you lose the ability to oversee reps by casually walking through the office. To compensate for this, you need technology that gives you visibility into your team’s work and productivity levels. A CRM platform like Salesforce is vital – allowing you to look at metrics for call volume, follow-ups completed, deals progressed and more.
I also recommend Whoosh for sales teams. It’s a software that replaces tedious video calls with interactive meetings featuring things like Salesforce integration, real-time annotations for training, and detailed analytics to pinpoint top performers. With visibility technology, you can closely monitor sales activities without hovering over reps’ shoulders.
2. Overcommunicate Expectations
Lack of ongoing communication is one of the biggest pitfalls for remote teams. Without sitting next to each other, key information inevitably gets lost. That’s why you need to purposefully overcommunicate as a manager – being extremely clear, direct and transparent around goals, expectations, deadlines and results.
- Have regular 1:1s to touch base and give feedback
- Send out manager meeting recaps with next steps underlined
- Share examples of standout work by top performers
- Celebrate wins publicly during team meetings
Following a cadenced communication plan is vital for alignment.
3. Prioritize Company Culture
Culture amplifies everything. With a remote team, an unhealthy or disengaged culture can mean decreased productivity and losing your best employees. That’s why you must prioritize company culture from day one when hiring and onboarding new sales reps.
During the interview process, emphasize your cultural values and make sure candidates align. Then after hiring, have extensive virtual onboarding including introductions to the whole team, virtual coffee chats, and culture-focused sessions with the founders. Send care packages to make new hires feel welcomed. Maintain culture by starting meetings with personal check-ins, celebrating wins as a team, and gathering for regular virtual social events. By glueing the team together with culture, you’ll minimize remote worker churn while enabling A-player performance.
The keys to managing a productive remote sales team boil down to implementing visibility software, overcommunicating strategically, and championing a flourishing culture centered around your core values. Embrace these tactics from the start and watch your distributed team thrive.
To discuss building out your own remote sales dream team, schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me via the Calendly link below: