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Employee Engagement Strategies for Remote Sales Teams

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

2020 has been a crash course on how to rethink everything. 

From the way we work to the way we collaborate; this year has seen a complete overhaul of everything familiar. 

For frontline workers, such as people who are in sales, this shift has been tougher to navigate. They had to unlearn the old methods of working and learn new strategies – this year has been really challenging on multiple levels. For organizations, the challenge has been to retain high engagement levels of these sales teams as they move into the new normal of digital selling. 

So, what can organizations do to drive employee engagement for their remote sales teams?

Cross the ‘process’ chasm

Processes are one of the most important things to implement to help a remote sales team. Processes bring structure and direction and help to get work done, especially when teams are spread across geographies or time zones. 

Defining processes on lead generation, doing demos and presentations online, conducting negotiations and closing deals, and enabling customer success are important parameters to help remote sales teams do their work successfully. 

However, along with defining processes, it is also important for sales teams to follow these processes. 

Sales managers need to coach their teams to adhere to processes and build accountability to do their jobs better. Providing these teams with additional coaching to help them become digitally-savvy is also important as this drives enablement and enablement drives engagement.

Navigate the new rules of engagement

Physical meetings between team members and even clients have taken a backseat now. 

Even star sales performers have to rework, re-evaluate, and re-structure how to communicate effectively with team members and clients to have relevant and outcome-driven conversations. 

Organizations have to help their sales teams adopt the right communication strategies and develop their intuitiveness to identify passive cues even when they are over video or phone conversations. They have to help the sales teams further develop their innate capability to pick up implied needs along with the explicit needs of the client. This can be achieved with coaching. 

Helping teams realize and internalize the importance of seamless communication and how it impacts collaboration becomes essential to drive out feelings of frustration. 

Managers have to work closely with team members, identify their coaching needs, especially for technical and power skills, and ensure that team members are connected to the right coaches who can help them adapt to this new world of work. This consequently drives employee engagement since the teams see that the organization is invested to help them navigate this new world.

Develop a coaching culture

Developing a strong coaching culture is imperative to drive employee engagement for remote sales teams. 

Statistics reveal that such a culture can increase employee engagement by 56%, impact employee retention rates by 45%, and drive an increase in productivity by 51%. A coaching culture also impacts the leadership pipeline positively and results in 36% faster leadership development. 

However, there is an art and science behind creating such a culture. One of the most critical aspects of this is to ensure that the remote sales teams get relevant and contextual coaching. For this, it is essential to move away from guesswork and employ data-driven strategies (such as Personality Assessment tests or Behavioral Analysis tests) to identify the exact coaching needs of the salespeople and ensure the right, skill-specific coach-mentee pairing. 

Read: The Key Characteristics of Meaningful Sales Coaching and Mentoring Interactions

Adopting an AI-driven coaching platform can alleviate this burden and help organizations join the right dots to help their remote sales teams become more enabled.

Charter a growth plan

Salespeople are highly growth-driven. They thrive in high-pressure environments and are motivated by the number games. Their growth plans have been suddenly tossed, because of this new world of work. Most sales teams are grappling with how to nurture sales leads, meet sales projections, and overshoot their targets. The inability to help the sales teams navigate these hurdles will lead to frustration and disengagement at work.

As such, organizations have to design clear growth plans for their sales teams, identify their high-potential employees, and help them develop critical leadership skills to help them understand how they can grow professionally within the company. This becomes especially important to drive engagement for the most dominant demographic within organizations – the millennials and Gen Z. 

Build trust

Trust is a big motivator of engagement, especially for remote sales teams. 

When teams are not spending enough time together, there is a lack of visibility, individual accomplishments do not get recognized. If managers do not walk the talk themselves, teams can become susceptible to internal conflicts and mistrust. While this is bad for any team, in a remote setting, this can be disastrous and lead to seriously disengaged and unmotivated employees.

Organizations thus have to build bridges to promote teamwork and collaboration, take active steps to acknowledge individual and team achievements, recognize discretionary efforts, and be open to receiving feedback. Frequent and clear communication, prompt response to messages, and being available for team members to help them manage the challenges of this new work environment demonstrate commitment and investment towards employee success and help to build trust. 

Additionally, it is equally important to help managers understand the value of trust and coach them to fine-tune their team management skills to meet the needs of this new normal. 

It is equally important to give leadership coaching in the COVID overhaul and focus on building things like emotional intelligence and empathy. Taking calculated and measured steps help in building trust and this trust begets engagement.

Engagement Strategies for Remote Sales Teams 

There is always a silver lining in every dark cloud. While managing and engaging a remote sales team may seem like big challenges, but they also present the opportunity to expand the sales footprint and organizational presence. 

Setting accurate goals, encouraging seamless communication, and establishing the right processes mean half the job done. The rest can all be managed by focusing heavily on coaching and helping employees do their jobs with ease. Provide the support they need to move along their career path and help them navigate the frustrations that emerge in this new normal. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can super-charge your remote sales team and keep them engaged, productive, and invested.

 

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