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A Remote Sales Team: The Science Behind The Phenomenon -...

A Remote Sales Team: The Science Behind The Phenomenon

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What is a remote sales team? The answer to this question is simple: It is a virtual team of salespeople employed by the same company that works from home or rarely meets in a shared space.

This trend has existed since digitalization took part in our everyday business, but its expansion was evident during Covid. One remarkable thing that Covid showed is that the remote sales teams perform equally well as in-place ones or even better.

Therefore we have decided to bring you closer to this ongoing phenomenon and take you behind the scenes on what a remote team is, how to manage one, and the main benefits and challenges of running this kind of team for your company. Lastly, we will offer tips and tricks to run a team in this setting successfully.  

Stay with us on this blog and discover whether a remote sales team is a solution for you! 

What is a remote sales team?

The sales team is an essential part of any company’s structure. They are a group of sales representatives that stand behind revenues and profit. As mentioned in almost all businesses, the primary function of the sales team is, as the name implies, “selling.” 

Sales teams represent the company’s core as one of the main elements for exquisite revenues. They are making the idea behind products more approachable to the customers. This skill, together with an exceptional knowledge of the company’s main products, is a win combination.

It is time to introduce the “remote” component to the equation. Essentially remote can mean that the members of the sales teams are simply working from the comforts of their homes without being in the office full time. Remote can also mean that members of the same group are not in the same country yet working together. 

The “remote” component can include variations depending on the company’s preferences and rules. In some definitions remote sales team can also be perceived as a particular category:

Team of people employed full time for the same company together in the same team without meeting in office.

The statement needs to be carefully considered because some people may define remote teams as those that opt to visit the office only occasionally or once a week. For those supporters of the remote sales team as a particular category, any variation to that work arrangement is called a hybrid team.

Nevertheless, for this article, we will define a remote sales team as a full-time team employed by the company, which rarely meets in the same physical space, such as an office.

The Pros and Cons of Remote Sales Reps

An increasing number of people who hold corporate job positions are switching to remote jobs. It is visible in many types of research, showing that over 65% of employees want to work remotely full time. Additionally, Salesforce found that (46%) of sales reps say they’ll be selling virtually from that point on.

Unsurprisingly, a “test trial” during Covid resulted in an excellent outcome for sales teams to stay home for better work-life balance and productivity or because they’ve relocated away from the office. 

People, especially those working in sales, want to stay home because of the benefits of better work-life balance and better productivity in most cases. For companies, this means hiring reps based in any corner of the world, which can also be cost-effective by not paying for office space in some cases.

The Benefits of Remote work

If we talk about the benefits of remote work for the company and employees in the sales team, there is a significantly wide area of factors that you might not consider.

Primarily you as an employer have access to all people who fit your criteria without worrying about geographical challenges. It may also include the financial benefits of lower salaries or tax benefits. 

For employees, this means flexibility to work from the comfort of their homes without needing to move and disrupt their family life. Flexibility and balance of professional – private life is a big reason people shift to remote work.

The ability to take care of your parents, pick up your kids or go to the dentist without disrupting the entire team is very impactful. It also relates to salary and cost efficiency because while working from home, there is no need to pay for fuel, transportation, overpriced coffees, lunches, etc.

A remote sales team, which includes international members stationed remotely, additionally widens the scope of your sale. Hiring a local expert remotely actually makes your chance to sell locally extensively higher without paying the costs of traveling. Plus, these people understand the local business culture.

Remote work also gives adaptability to both company and sales representatives. Primarily company has space to adapt the system to the potential crisis without the burden of infrastructure. On the other hand, representatives can be flexible to adjust to their customers’ changing schedules and availability while also adapting to the productivity period, which varies from employee to employee. 

Lastly, the important reason for remote sales team setup is productivity. It has been confirmed that all remote sales teams have around 30% more sales than traditional sales teams. 

If we talk about conditions that foster this productivity, the environment plays a huge role. Some people prefer to work in silence from the comfort the office can never provide. It is also related to mental health, which is improved by the environment and somewhat less stress. 

The Challenges of Remote Working

These benefits are significantly accompanied by the challenges that go both ways – for the companies and the sales representatives. 

Almost all of the challenges remote working brings for the sales team include the lack of face-to-face communication. Firstly, the lack of interaction makes teammates feel disconnected from each other. It can disrupt the dynamics, lead to the isolation of individuals, a lack of team culture and interaction and eventually impact sales.

This challenge is also connected to another possible side-effect of working from home: ensuring team members feel supported and productive when working in a non-professional environment. Managing a team online and remotely is one of the biggest challenges.

Another difficulty when doing sales using a remote sales team is the buyer’s trust. Surveys have discovered that only 26% of buyers believe sellers are skilled at leading sales procedures, while 84% say sellers are ineffective at explaining ROI virtually. It causes a lack of will for the company to explore the remote sales team setup. 

On the other hand, the employees can have issues managing obligations and making themselves available 24/7, which is not beneficial for you or the performance since you can suffer from burnout. 

Additionally, tracking the performance of every member of the remote sales team to ensure the best results. It is further complicated because remote sales team members can be in different cities and continents, including different time zones.

Unlike working without a break and making yourself available, the remote component of sales teams can also lack visibility in the company. That could result in a situation where you are not considered for big projects or promotions.

Last but not least, the great challenge of remote sales teams is managing and building trust, especially within teams that never had a chance to work together on an in-place base.

Tips for Successful Remote Sales Team

After defining the best practices and significant challenges in having a remote sales team, we want to help you and offer some tips for running the team smoothly.

  1. Establishing a great remote sales team 

First and foremost, the entire process of running a successful remote sales team requires great team members, which is why the selection process for remote positions is the most suitable candidate.

The searching process for a remote position is a bit different than for the in-place team knowing that trust, communication, and team culture are harder to build in the online space. Therefore the detailed plan of action and goals you seek to achieve.  

After a successful recruitment process, the core strategy requires an actionable training program to ensure quality work and boost employee satisfaction and productivity. 

      2. Know how to communicate

Once you have set the team and done the introductory training, the one factor that determines the most visible challenges is communication. Since a successful remote sales team requires excellent communication, regularly providing information on all levels will help.

This communication can easily be fostered using the right tools and apps at your disposal, which can help with information load and connect with the team’s management.

Speaking about shared information and management, several issues and challenges occurring with a remote team appear due to daily inadequate management and supervision. 

      3. Establish frequent chances for discussion

Making yourself available to your team members and handling this daily issue can lead to significant obstacles such as not meeting your sales targets. This can be achieved using techniques such as arranged and fixed weekly meetings online, review of the success, and many more.

This goal can be achieved using apps such as Dialpad to provide immediate support or Slack for overall team communication. It combines video, text, and interactive communication linked with different projects. 

A review of success and obstacles can indicate that you need specialized meetings with your sales team – to be more precise. All team members can review performance indicators, update, and tackle any sales development issues.

Similarly, hosting optional team events can help combat team members’ isolation and contribute to building the team’s culture. 

       4. Mentorship program

Another tip for a successful management team is a mentorship program. Remote sales teams can occasionally have a disrupted communication culture and feel isolated, which can be prevented using a mentorship program. It is especially suitable for new employees during their first month with the company.

       5. Maintain performance requirements

Related to the management comes the ability to track the performance of the employees and make sure that all tasks are completed and that your employees are compensated for overtime. It can be achieved by time-tracking online tools such as Everhour. Ensuring that all team members use the same apps for tracking their performance is essential.

      6. Feedback

Finally, you can better manage your remote sales team by asking for feedback. It can help you change things that are visibly not functioning together by fostering an atmosphere where your teammates feel valued. It enables you to maintain happy employees; therefore, they will perform better in the environment they like. A simple employee engagement form can help you learn your strengths and weaknesses.

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