Now that we are months into a global pandemic the idea of toddlers running through sales meetings, accidentally muting yourself during calls, and spending time with your wireless provider is simply something that many of us are experiencing now or are looking forward to experiencing in the upcoming months….
Most of our “offices” are filled with distractions, hardships, and constant annoyances considering 90% of sales have moved virtually throughout these months. So how does a sales leader facing a lot of these newfound hurdles properly coach a team in the midst of all this well, expected chaos?
We looked inward at our own practices as well as outward at what seems to be working for other companies in the B2B sales realm. In doing so, we put together a few key points that stood out when it comes to effectively coaching a team of sales reps during times of remote work, digital transformation, and expected “unexpected chaos”.
It’s hard when you operate solely remotely, communication can go in circles and leave your team feeling unrecognized, unmotivated, and unclear on what the present micro and macro tasks are for the organization. In the case of remote communication, assume a lack of information over malice in a misunderstanding. Seemingly “insignificant” interactions that you would have on an in-person basis are no longer present, thus putting an even bigger emphasis on the importance of clear communication.
Understand what remote communication tool to use:
Some assume clear communication simply means more online meetings. While video meetings have a time and place, we believe it is important to know what channel of communication will be the most effective and timely.
- Email-if you can communicate your point effectively in an email, avoid scheduling a meeting. 75% of employees in the B2B sales field feel that their online meetings could be put in an email and are thus a waste of time.
- In order to keep the conversation open, consider writing “If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding this topic, please join me in a brief zoom video at 2 pm”. By stressing a specific time cut out for any additional clarification you are keeping the conversation open and not just subjecting your entire team to an hour and a half of a likely unnecessary meeting.
- Video Call-if you do need to schedule a meeting for a more extended conversation, use video every time. With a lack of verbal expression and contact with others, video allows you to gage your teams’ overall reaction and mood. Additionally, it is motivating for the team to see their manager’s face and know they are there to lead and support.
- Be Present- We get it, virtual meetings are just inherently more distracting….However make sure you minimize any open browsers, put your phone face down, and give your team and other meeting participants the attention they deserve. This will not only improve meeting quality but also shorten the time of the meeting and make it easier to recall any action items that may be necessary to follow up.
Make sure your 1:1 meetings have a clear schedule:
The day before a meeting with a member of your team, take the extra few minutes to outline a clear schedule. Consider sending them a meeting invite that includes an agenda as well as a few questions you have for them to consider prior to the meeting.
- Inclusive Agenda: For instance: “What’s one thing that’s slowing you down? What’s one thing you want to focus on right now? Is there any area in which I can help support or troubleshoot with you?” Allowing your team members to be part of the agenda can further create an open channel of communication and incentivize them to navigate obstacles and work more efficiently.
- Action Step: Conclude each meeting or coaching session with the next action step. If you want your rep to leave the 1:1 with clarity in their next steps, it is important to end the meeting with a call to action.
- Be Prompt: Be sure to end your meeting on time or early. It’s a point of integrity that shows you honor your word and value your team members’ time.
Empathy for Your Team
For a long time work and personal life has historically been able to be more easily separated. However, the “elephant in the room” is something that should not be tactfully avoided in discussions, in fact now more than ever it is crucial to check in with your team and understand both their work and personal challenges. I mean they are in fact now housed in the same location, right? Make a point of checking in with individual team members and allow room for these conversations to take place. Business will return to usual more efficiently if your team is feeling supported and heard.
- Make sure to check in with individual team members and build relationships. It can be challenging when operating solely remotely, but spending time 1:1, understanding your reps will get them to trust you and work harder for you.
- Collaboration Among Team Members.Now more than ever it is important to find ways to make people feel like they are laying the foundation for a bigger goal. Finding ways to transfer individual contribution into collaborative tasks among team members will revive new energies and create incentives to check them off the “to do” list.
- Create a Sense of Community. This will also create a work “community” that avoids team members feeling isolated or alone in their new remote setting.
Develop Automated & Repeatable Processes
Having a strong central infrastructure is now even more important in this remote era. Investing in a centralized place to store data and prospecting information is essential. It is also important to create repeatable processes around this so that your team is kept on track and informed on the most pressing tasks.
Invest In a Dialed In Interface
Stopping by someone’s desk to check in on tasks is a thing of the past…in fact it was even before this pandemic.
- Centralized Interface: However now more than ever it is essential to invest in a centralized place to store information and get everyone on the same page. If you haven’t already invested in Salesforce then now is the time.
- Integrate with other Tools: Salesforce can also be paired with a number of tools to further organize your companies data, reporting, and sales prospecting.
A Continuous Way to Keep Your Sales Funnel Full
- Getting real-time website visitor information will be a huge advantage going into this increasingly digital era. It is even better if you invest in a tool that will continuously provide this information on an ongoing basis. Even better, a tool that does this and also pairs with your salesforce database.
- LeadLander is a tool that provides specific details about each visitor on your website, their journey through your website pages, as well as company details including website, address, and phone number.
- This powerful information arms sales, business development, and marketing teams with the strategic insight to focus on their prospecting and lead follow up initiatives to maximize sales opportunities. Check out the free demo: (https://leadlander.com/demo/)
Enact Individual 90-120 Second Task Talks
Creating a way to share what people within your team are focusing on will help them prioritize tasks as well as inform you of what is being worked on.
- Keep it short and sweet. These concise interactions will provide much-needed clarity and priority without taking much time away from individuals’ workday
- This will also keep individuals on top of their own tasks by having to keep a mental inventory on what their day should look like and what needs to get done.
- Depending on your team, come up with a regular schedule. Some teams benefit from doing this once a week and some once a day. Do not hesitate to tailor the frequency to your team and what they would benefit from organizationally
These different tips are ones that we, along with a lot of other SaaS sales teams have incorporated during these strange times. Ultimately we hope that some of these resonated with you and your own organization’s room for improved remote management. These tips will not eliminate the chaos that will likely continue to come, however, they will help navigate you and your teams’ needs for structure, communication, and support going forward. With that, we wish you success in navigating all that is to come and look forward to hearing your feedback and barking dog over a future zoom call…