Welcome to the Zoom era! As work moves - and increasingly stays - online, some have whole-heartedly embraced the convenience of home office life. Others openly mourn the loss of efficient, in-person office dialogue. Which team are you? For better or for worse, remote working is here to stay. Sales teams looking to adapt to the “new normal” will have to look beyond past practices and adopt winning strategies to thrive in this unprecedented digital era.
While change can be challenging, it’s important to stay positive and see the opportunities unique to leading a remote team. Here are 5 tips for coaching your sales team to success, remotely.
Being restricted to digital mediums can stifle meaningful team conversation. To avoid stale and impersonal group correspondence, find and provide accessible communication channels that work for you and your team. Be creative! Don’t just rely on traditional mediums like calls or email. Seek out new ways to connect that allow for candid and clear discussions, and make an effort to connect frequently with each team member.
Don’t get lost in digital translation. Body language, facial expressions, and tone are important for conveying meaning in our daily lives. Without the crutch of these nonverbal cues when speaking with your team online, misunderstandings can arise, injuring group dynamics and taking up valuable time. Encourage team members to leave their cameras on when possible. Avoid vague, verbose emails, and be mindful of formulations that can be easily misinterpreted. Repeat key points at the beginning, middle, and end of training sessions to facilitate understanding.
Finally, make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s easy for team communication to become fragmented when you’re not in the same room. To address gaps in communication, articulate goals and expectations on a regular basis. Always leave time for questions, and follow up individually with members of the group who may feel as if they are lagging behind the others. Be sure to incorporate feedback from the team into future training sessions. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street.
Virtual sales training can be difficult for several reasons. For starters, it’s harder to get a feel for what sales reps are struggling with, it can be clunky to adjust existing programs to a virtual format, and of course, it’s tempting to succumb to a minimally viable approach to training, compile some materials, and click send. However, the switch to virtual sales training is an opportunity to move away from an over-reliance on direct observation and intuition-based teaching.
Addressing the challenges of virtual sales training will require digital solutions. When it comes to remote coaching, software is your new best friend. Adopt technology that helps you train your reps more efficiently and find the sales software that’s right for your training needs. Some criteria to keep in mind: look for a digital tool that offers real-time feedback, provides tailored analytics, and enhances engagement.
Attention uses AI that perfectly integrates with your team’s favorite remote working tools, including Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams. Leveraging technology to offer condensed insights from millions of past sales conversations, Attention can take your junior sales reps’ performance to the next level.
Performance metrics matter even more in a remote working context. The days of joining a colleague by their desk to offer step-by-step personal instruction are behind us; in today’s remote working environment, scaling conversations across your team will be essential.
But without clear markers to guide young reps, it’s hard to give them the concrete and relevant advice they need to become better performers. Sales software that measures engagement, tracks progress and pitfalls, and provides relevant feedback will be crucial for your team’s growth.
Attention lets you track metrics like questions asked, speak share, engagement, and overall performance. Keeping relevant metrics in sight will enable you to offer sales reps the customized coaching necessary to become top sellers.
As your sales team continues to mature and develop, a focus on performance metrics will help you understand and respond to your sales reps’ needs over time.
Distance and uncertainty can take a toll on group morale. Sustain motivation by reminding your team of shared goals and past accomplishments. Share praise and celebrate successes as a group. But be sure to give credit where credit is due, and bring attention to the specific traits that help top reps consistently surpass their targets.
Having a few exceptionally talented sales reps carry the weight for the whole team won’t be enough in today’s sales environment. So encourage super-sellers to share their best practices during group calls. Enthusiasm is highly contagious; senior reps who are open about their professional journeys will reassure struggling junior team members and help them build confidence.
Above all, foster an inclusive environment where each team member feels comfortable sharing their experiences with other members of the group. If team trust is low, a lack of transparency will impede group progress. Is everyone’s voice being heard? Why do some reps struggle to speak up more than others? Has a hesitation to engage with the team had repercussions on individual performance? If necessary, consider spending some time on virtual team building exercises to strengthen bonds within the team. A little investment in team building goes a long way, especially for a team that seldom meets in person.
Navigating a remote future will require boldness and reinvention. Don’t let being busy keep you from making vital changes. Test and experiment what works for your team, and adjust your remote sales training strategy as needed.
Take time to assess shortcomings in your current program, and engage actively with your reps to determine what can be improved. Be quick to circulate important lessons beyond your immediate team to minimize confusion and boost performance on an organization-wide level. Enlist the help of leadership to secure any additional resources necessary to reach full productivity while training remotely.
Be sure to revamp tools and streamline processes to help your new hires succeed in a digital era. What has helped you survive the transition to remote sales training? Share your insights in the comments below!
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