As the economy improves, more companies will start to add to their B2B sales forces. Many companies will be expanding into and testing new markets by adding remote sales people. While adding remote salespeople is a lower-cost way to enter a new market, it does come with its share of management challenges.
We’ve identified three areas that challenge sales teams and potential solutions to drive more sales from remote salespeople below:
Challenge – Remote teams can be unwieldy. Creating communication channels and practices that rope in all the scattered players can be difficult to manage. Both formal (plans, objectives, feedback) and informal (relationships) communication issues have to be planned and managed with great care to keep remote reps engaged help them integrate into the company culture.
Solution – Today’s telecommunication tools make it easy to connect via Internet workplaces, email, mobile and instant messaging. Make sure your remote salespeople have the best phone technology both at their desk and mobile. Home office phones should include a quality headset and easy options for conferencing calls and transferring calls if applicable. Many remote sales people prefer a wireless or bluetooth option with their phone.
Mobile phones should allow salespeople to access multiple email accounts, an easy way to sync with their company email and calendar, GPS for those that travel, internet access and access to social media if it’s required for the job.
They also need to have the right applications so they can easily communicate with clients online. If your remote salespeople will be making presentations by phone, they need to have an app like GoToMeeting or Webex. This allows them to schedule online meetings with their clients/prospects, make presentations and deliver training. These apps integrate with most calendars and email systems so it’s easy to track and manage meetings.
Using cloud-based sales management applications allows easy central management and gives the remote sales people instant access to the most current information about their sales funnel, communication with their prospects, and sales data. Having access to this data makes communication with the head office efficient and effective as everyone is looking at the most current and relevant data.
Challenge – Of all the crucial aspects of B2B sales management when dealing with spread-out team members, motivation ranks is the most important. There’s nothing like being in a room when all the phones are engaged and sales are closing right and left. Enthusiasm is infectious and learning is constant as reps assimilate effective techniques. Obviously, remote sales forces do not have this energy source to tap into.
Solution– The best salespeople are those that are self-motivated. While being in a buzzing, competitive sales office definitely helps with motivation, these salespeople only need three things to stay focused and motivated;
- Crystal clear goals
- A steady stream of qualified leads
- A score card.
Make sure your remote sales team has access to great tools for lead management. Also, let them know where they are in relation to their goal at any given moment.
Challenge – Remote workers can be incredibly difficult to hold accountable. They may meet sales goals but you might never know how long they spend on the phone and with whom. Keeping an eye on reps in multiple places added with the effect of micro-management can be both difficult and negatively affect motivation to top producers.
Solution – Using a cloud based sales management software system like Salesforce helps companies hold salespeople accountable no matter where they are located. The system can be set up to track sales leads, activities at any level of detail and provide real-time feedback through reporting and online dashboards. This makes accountability conversations easy and objective.
Ultimately, the pros and cons of using remote salespeople affect different businesses in unique ways. Understand the challenges and opportunities of incorporating a remote B2B sales force, then create the perfect sales strategy to fit your company’s goals.