Virtual Sales Management
As you are reading this blog, it is our hope that you are both safe and healthy, and also following the guidelines for helping to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. For the majority of workers, this likely means that we are now working from home – carving out a corner of our living space to continue to MAKE a living.
In our new normal of Zoom calls and Slack messages, sales managers are grappling with an essential truth: How do I keep my now-remote employees productive and engaged? And, in particular, how do I bridge the distance between us with the kind of curated connection that keeps us communicating with purpose?
I’ve had some time to ponder these questions as I, too, look to reach out across technology and collaborate virtually with my sales team here at The Brooks Group.
5 Virtual Sales Management Best Practices
Establish the Ground Rules
Though many of us have likely, with little notice, sent our workers packing, it’s critical to make sure we’re all working from the same playbook. Sales Managers need to communicate – clearly and in black-and-white – what our day to day schedule and activity looks like, what our accountabilities are to management and to each other, and what are considered to be working hours. This is not to say that micromanagement is the new world order – to the contrary. We are simply looking to set expectations that even the balance and reassure us that commerce is continuing.
Establish a Meeting Cadence
We are all going to be spending a LOT of time in front of our computers, staring into a pinhole camera while connecting with our clients and coworkers. When it comes to the latter group, how much virtual connectivity is too much? Now is the time to ensure a manageable diet of meetings. To start, agree on how to shape these conference calls – I recommend deploying the video function, so you can read body language better while fostering greater engagement (and minimizing multitasking and distractions). Next, decide on the slate of meetings – with my team, I am having a weekly team meeting of one hour; then weekly one-on-one meetings with each team member; and very short huddles, as needed. By the way, the key with those weekly team gatherings is to make them engaging – start with an icebreaker of sorts, incorporate some inspiration, especially now, and then assign different sales team members to take a portion of the agenda - so you're not the only one talking.
Invest in the Right Tools and Technologies
Many of us in sales have already become familiar with the variety of virtual tools we deploy in our trade. But what should be in our essential “virtual work” toolkit in these current times? As we’ve now drilled home several times in this email, some sort of video conferencing tool, clearly, is an absolute must. Secondly, consider a live-chat collaboration tool, like Slack, or Skype Messenger, so it’s easy to quickly ask and answer questions. Further down the list – but also important, include things like a stable and high-bandwidth Internet connection; an appropriate type of chair to maintain your comfort; a good keyboard and monitor to connect to your primary work computer; and so on.
Tune into Each Team Member’s Unique Personality
If you have completed personality indices in the past (we at The Brooks Group offer a variety of ways to measure and gauge personality types and motivators, including tools that can be administered virtually), now would be a great time to revisit those. When you are working remotely and not directly with each other, you need to be even more mindful of what makes their personalities tick, and what motivates them – since you don’t always have the visible triggers directly in front of you. In my review of their assessments, I’m taking note of things like how they best like to work; what their biggest fears are; what their strengths are; what are their challenges; and so on.
Elevate Your Level of Empathy
These are extremely challenging and uncertain times, and many members of your team may be operating with an undertone of fear. It is essential to have a deeper level of understanding of how your team members are feeling – if that means increasing your accessibility for one-on-one coaching. It will go a long way in boosting sales effectiveness and morale.
Looking to boost the effectiveness and performance of your remote sales team? Our IMPACT Selling Virtual Instructor-Led Sales Training Program is the perfect solution. Our expert facilitators can train your team online from anywhere, in a live, collaborative, virtual classroom. Learn more about our Virtual Instructor-Led Training with our requesting one of our helpful information packets below.
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