Dos and Don’ts of Managing Virtual Sales Teams
Virtual selling—working a deal remotely when you can’t be there in person—is the new normal. But the rapid shift to virtual selling has not been easy. When it comes to sales, remote work presents a unique set of issues.
Maintaining momentum can be challenging. Sellers also have less contact with prospects, colleagues, and their industry. It’s harder to keep everyone focused on the right targets and manufacture team spirit remotely.
Sales managers leading geographically dispersed sellers are doubling down on the fundamentals. You want to help your salespeople succeed with the right skills, the most up-to-date information, and the best tools.
How do you know if you’re ready? Focusing on the right things will help you stay productive and drive results heading into Q4. To make sure you’re on track, check out the dos and don’ts of managing a virtual sales team for success all year round.
Don’t skimp on coaching.
Insufficient coaching interactions between managers and reps are among the greatest obstacles to productivity. It’s not enough to check in, you need to identify specific competencies that need to be improved and support managers’ delivery of that coaching.
Do use video to coach asynchronously.
Scale remote coaching by asking sellers to record practice videos for existing products or new offerings. Instead of adding another virtual sales meeting to the day, you can review sellers’ videos and leave feedback when you have time. You’ll see whether they’re delivering consistent messaging and where their pitch needs refinement.
Don’t overlook the importance of collaboration.
When sellers don’t have the luxury of brainstorming with colleagues in the office or getting quick tips as they head out to meet with a prospect, you need to beef up opportunities for collaboration in other ways. When you encourage high performers to share best practices with others, you capture valuable intel that would otherwise be lost.
Do scale up content sharing.
You can free up managers’ schedules by tapping into internal subject matter experts and peer networks. Use video and PowerPoint together to share win stories, bounce ideas off of colleagues, and brainstorm when it’s convenient for sellers. You also ease the burden of coaching for managers, while increasing the velocity with which new ideas are adopted by the field.
Don’t rely on Zoom to keep messaging consistent.
Consistent messaging for value propositions, presentations, and new products is essential. Sales managers need the ability to share information in a timely manner, and help reps hone their talking points. Relying on PowerPoint and video conferencing tools such as Zoom isn’t enough.
Do use pre-recorded video to reinforce messaging.
Roll out new product training via pre-recorded video to allow sellers to watch and learn the new pitch at their own pace. Ask reps to submit practice videos so managers can give point-in-time coaching and feedback to ensure everyone is delivering exactly the right message.
Don’t lag on getting new hires ramped up.
It’s a challenging time to recruit, interview, and onboard new salespeople. But you must continue to build your team. Whether you’re hiring new reps or shifting existing ones into new roles, reducing the time it takes to get sellers ramped and productive is critical.
Do pre-board new reps.
Instead of flying new hires into corporate, take advantage of mobile and video tools for pre-boarding. Have new reps practice their pitches, learn your company’s systems, get to know the executive team, and receive coaching and feedback without having to step out their front door.
During times like these, it’s important for leaders to be present, calm, and reassuring—to “over-communicate” and share updates on a regular cadence. You’ll reinforce training and align your team when you share timely information that’s accessible across locations and time zones.
Do create a centralized content repository.
Equip sales managers with a content repository that allows all members of the team to create, comment on, and share important messages and relevant collateral. Fresh, relevant content that sellers can tap into around the clock on their mobile devices will give them the answers to questions at their moment of need, no matter where they are, and the confidence to win the deal.
Don’t assume things will go back to “normal.”
All signs point to a long, slow recovery from the pandemic. Sales teams—and customers—will continue to work from home and rely on technology to prospect, nurture, and close deals for some time to come. Even after the virus has run its course, buyers may not return to “business as usual.”
Do prepare for a new era of virtual sales management.
It’s a new era of sales management for virtual teams. Now is the time to rethink and upgrade your approach to coaching, collaboration, and communication. Even if your business has been selling virtually, it now has competition from every other vendor. Review these dos and don’ts to prepare your team for virtual selling and you’ll see success—both during the pandemic and in the future.
Download our eBook to learn more: 4 Ways to Manage a High-Performing Team … Virtually.