Sales Strategy
6 min reading

How to manage a remote sales team?

Paul Berloty
Published on
10/6/2024
remote sales team manager

Our five practical tips from our field experience

It's not easy to manage a sales team from a distance. Sales is the job par excellence where you need to see each other on a daily basis, to pass on information and compare strategies, share successes and recover from failures. 

In short: managing salespeople who work from home is almost unnatural. However, it can be managed very well, if you adopt a few good habits. At Modjo, we've studied the issue and come up with a short list of 5 practical and easy-to-use tips based on our experience in the field.

Our goal: to make you the Didier Deschamps of your team. Or the Claude Onesta, if you prefer handball. We don't judge.


#1 Manage yourself

To put it simply and without pressure: the success of your team depends... on you. This was true in person, it is even more true at a distance. Especially in a blurred context where everyone is looking for their bearings. 

In order to transmit energy to your team members, you must first know how to manage yourself. That is to say: set yourself a framework that is as clear as possible. 

Here are some questions for you to think about: 

  • What are my working hours, taking into account my distance learning constraints? 
  • Do I tend to make extension cords or never cut? 
  • Are my work tools in order? 
  • What breaths can I give myself? 

With this foundation in place, you can turn to your team with a clear mind and full energy.


#2 Communicate your expectations clearly

It's natural: the change of context generates doubts in your team. What are the schedules? Is there any flexibility? What about the objectives?

Your role is first to set the new rules and communicate them clearly.

Beware: some managers may be tempted to fall into the "nothing has changed" trap. Except that many things have changed: the work environment, the economic climate and the lifestyle of your team members have been turned upside down. So forget about it and ask yourself the right questions.

For example: 

  • Are the objectives tenable? Is there a need for a short adaptation period? 
  • Do team members have constraints that will make them less present at certain times (such as children, for example)? How to manage these variations of schedules?

To get the new messages across, here is our little house speech, to be adapted to your style: 

I know this is a complicated time. I look forward to the time when we can all work together again.

In the meantime, I would like us to continue to give our best in this new context.

But if you have any difficulties in working from home, or any new constraints concerning your installation or your surroundings, I am at your disposal to discuss them.


#3 Pay attention to the proper flow of information

Perhaps the biggest problem with working remotely is communication. Your team members can no longer pass on the latest news over their morning coffee. Nor can they catch up on the latest news by popping into your office. In the long run, this can be detrimental to everyone's efficiency.

So you need to make sure you keep everyone up to date.

To do this, you can consider implementing new tools and keeping existing ones up to date.

Preach the word: encourage everyone to keep their colleagues up to date on the latest happenings Slack for instant messaging and communicating the latest closings. Aircall, Zoom or Livestorm for your calls and video conferences and finally Modjo to help your teammates improve their sales pitch and ask for your help on certain opportunities.

Make communication a habit. In this area, too much is better than too little. For example, you can use a solution such as Kannelle, which helps you to produce professional videos in 15 minutes with ready-to-use scenarios. Combine real-life interactions with practical advice in videos that your employees can watch whenever they want and as many times as they want.

Note: A fluid sharing of information is as useful to you as it is to your team members, because it makes it easier for you to manage the pipe without having to fish for news from each vendor. 


#4 Focus on face-to-face exchanges

You were certainly doing regular updates with the whole team in person. Remotely, it's the same, but on Zoom. With the little adjustments that go with it. 

The regularity of these meetings depends on your management style and the functioning of your team. In my opinion, it's unplayable not to have a minimum weekly review, I recommend to organize at least one per week.

In terms of content, it is useful to start by checking in with everyone. A little "How are you doing?" puts everyone at ease and can help you detect problems. 

Then discuss the collective topics: the context, the objectives, the KPIs, etc. You can also hold meetings focused on a particular issue, illustrated by the replay of the week's calls. 

Encourage group reflection with open-ended questions:

  • "How can we do a better job of answering objections, negotiating or closing?" 
  • "Are we on top of our game?"

As a manager, avoid setting yourself apart. You are part of the team. Your job is to coordinate and propose, not to assert your authority. Instead of saying "You're not doing enough of X", use phrases like "We're not doing enough of X even though we all have the ability to do it".

Finally, use these team points to acknowledge victories and congratulate those involved. Working remotely limits the opportunities to celebrate successes, so do it on video! 

Generally speaking, be prepared to accept that virtual communication is different from face-to-face. It may feel a little awkward at first, cut off, change the subject... Stay open and flexible on this point, without excess of course. 


#5 Strengthen one-to-one feedback and coaching... by staying more positive than ever

Your team members may react differently to working remotely. Some may feel uncomfortable and lack direction. It is therefore important to continue to provide them with feedback and coaching.

A good practice is to hold weekly one-to-one reviews. This is an opportunity for each employee to tell you how they feel, and for you to validate, encourage or question their track-record for the week.

During these points, be sure to let the person you are talking to speak: what problems did they encounter, how did they react, what needs to be changed? Be constructive and use positive language: for example, prefer to talk about "points of improvement" rather than "negative points". Reassure the person that you trust them. 

Some examples of phrases to use: 

  • "Where are you at on your goal, how do you feel? Do you feel like we're going to make it?"
  • "How can I help you?"
  • "I'm convinced we're going to make it, you're more than up to it and you've already proved it. Let's take this as an opportunity to excel.

Our in-house advice: keep these points on Friday, as much as possible, because it's the best way to see everyone off on the right foot on Monday! 

Finally, be sure to follow up on the actions taken by each person and collectively the following week.

=>At Modjo, we use our own tool to follow up on our latest coaching initiatives.

Is everyone applying the new way of pitching our product? Is everyone using the right practice to answer the price objection? If some are behind, we take the opportunity to coach them individually by showing them each week how fast they are progressing!

In conclusion:

👉 Manage yourself:

What are my top priorities, what can I delegate, what do I choose not to do?

👉 Force yourself to be as clear as possible about the goals:

Is it clear what your goals are? How do you feel about it?

👉 Set a weekly point and put on the coaching suit:

How do you feel? How do you feel about your goals? If you're feeling behind, I suggest this action plan.

👉 Equip yourself with the right tools:

  • Slack: for communication 📬
  • Aircall: for telephony ☎️
  • Zoom: for video conferencing 💻
  • Modjo: for coaching and data 🍍

Best.

Paul Berloty
CEO & Co-founder
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