For a multitude of reasons, hiring remote employees has become more common – even in sales.

If you’re headquartered in a location without a large talent pool, you might have to hire sales reps elsewhere. Or, sales reps may not live close enough to commute to the office every day. In the Bay Area, the high cost of housing and grueling traffic put many employees outside of a 60-minute commute – one way.

However, sales people thrive on energy, engaging with others, and a team culture. If you have remote sales reps, how can you effectively manage them and create the unique sales culture that’s so vital to success?

To explore the topic, I turned to former Oracle sales executive and LiveHive CRO Jennifer Brandenburg. In her years running sales organizations, Jennifer has managed teams around the world. Here are the top six takeaways:

Go for the happy medium

In the best-case scenario, a remote rep can come into the office at least a few days a week. With reps coming in on a regular basis, it’s easier to build a team culture, and you’re still able to give reps flexibility. Additionally, by having the reps come in regularly, you keep your executive team exposed to all the sales “buzz” and give other employees a better understanding about sales.

Build a connection with remote employees

The more you have remote employees, the more important it is to bring them together as a team. If it’s not feasible for your reps to be in the office on a weekly basis, sales leaders need to look for other ways to bring them together – and this should be in-person not over the phone. Sales leaders should consider quarterly visits to headquarters. Perhaps you can set up on-site meetings around QBRs or ongoing team training programs?

Sales leaders also need to prioritize building a connection with their remote reps.

In addition to bringing the whole team together for weekly forecast calls, you still need weekly 1:1s. Sales leaders should have an ‘open door policy’ for remote reps, as well as reps in the office. If a rep texts, calls or emails you at any point, you need to follow up in a timely way to let them know you’re listening and to build trust.

Use technology

If you have remote sales reps, use technology to help build a stronger connection. If you can’t meet in person, don’t just rely on the phone. Use Skype or another videoconferencing technology to cultivate an “in-person” feel.

Also, use technology to keep informed about how your remote reps are engaging with prospects. LiveHive’s sales acceleration platform gives sales leaders real-time insight about individual rep email and call activities and activity levels.

If you see conversion rates aren’t at the right level, you can reach out to remote reps and work with them to course correct before the end of the quarter. Likewise, engagement analytics also give you insight to better understand your average conversion rates and what activities you need to move prospects from one stage to the next.

No matter where reps are located, sales leaders get instant visibility into rep activities and prospect engagement. Using tools to see activity levels is critical for remote teams.

Make sure reps have the discipline to work remotely

According to Jennifer, it’s also important to make sure employees have the discipline to work remotely. Even though they’re remote, reps still need to call on the calling time.

More seasoned reps, especially former field sales reps, can do better working remotely than junior reps. Without the same level of sales experience, telecommuting can be difficult for junior SDRs. They may not grasp the discipline of making those 50-60 daily calls or fully understand a corporate culture.

Establish ground rules of telecommuting for the team

If you expect your sales reps at headquarters to always be in the office and you’re hiring remote employees, you need to explain that situation.

If you let one person telecommute, you have to let all employees telecommute. You don’t want it to appear as favoritism or do it as a one-off situation. You need to be sure that you’re fair and establish the ground rules.

For sales leaders, the key is staying connected with your reps. You need to work to establish a culture among the team if reps aren’t based at headquarters. Keep an ongoing and open channel of communication and be sure to have the right sales tools for you and your team to succeed – from wherever they’re based.

This article was originally published here.