The remote world we were all forced to adapt to in 2020 was not fun. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater! Remote working is no longer compulsory for most companies, but it’s also not going anywhere. In fact, Forbes cites that remote work opportunities are actually expected to increase through 2023.
As remote work becomes a permanent feature of our new normal, the question of how to keep teams motivated, encouraged, and supported while working from home remains a relevant topic of discussion. Especially in sales, where door-to-door selling has taken a back seat, sales team motivation has become an important point to consider for inside sales training.
In this article we will cover:
- Establishing the basic structures to motivate your team
- Equipping your team with the right tools & sales training
- Creating a motivating team culture
- The future of motivation in remote sales
We’re not going to sugarcoat the fact that working remotely comes with its fair share of challenges. Employees who work remotely will often experience feeling disconnected from their team and company. And they are also more likely to struggle with lacking clarity related to their goals and expectations.
But in spite of these challenges, there is strong evidence to support the many positive benefits of managing a remote team. For instance, a recent Stanford University research study found that employees who worked remotely had a 13% performance increase, improved job satisfaction, and an attrition rate that was cut in half.
In this article, we’ll share examples of how to structure your remote sales team, plan sales trainings to help your team learn new habits and techniques, and keep your team motivated in a virtual environment.
Building motivating processes that support inside sales training
I. Establishing the basic structures to motivate your team
1. Setting up a solid communication structure
The first step to ensuring that your remote sales team stays motivated is setting up a solid communication structure. Ensuring that everyone on the team stays connected and aligned will greatly benefit both your sales reps and the management team.
As a manager, scheduling weekly one-on-ones with your reps will give you consistent insights into their progress and goals. Your reps will be able to receive regular performance feedback and assessments. And you’ll have the opportunity to review sales goals, discuss any obstacles, and celebrate victories!
Depending on the structure of your sales organization, setting up a recurring morning brief, or “stand-up”, could serve as an additional touchpoint to bring your team together on a daily basis.
Recreating an all-hands sales meeting virtually is another way to discuss progress and any necessary updates with your team. This could also be a great opportunity to give shoutouts, kudos, and share overall victories across the team. Don’t forget that these celebratory moments are key to drumming up motivation in your team.
Bringing in outside sales professionals for fireside chats and offering anonymous Q&A sessions can also provide additional opportunities to make team gatherings inclusive and valuable.
It may even be beneficial to invite other department heads to join these meetings and share what they’re currently working on. This can improve the overall sense of interconnectedness within the company and decrease the potential for teams and employees to feel isolated and work in silos.
2. Providing the right resources
Ensuring that your remote sales reps have access to the right resources and are set up for success will go a long way in keeping them motivated.
Providing a clear and concise compensation plan will not only help you attract sales talent, but also retain them. Reps who feel that they are being fairly compensated for their work are much likelier to stay motivated.
Offering stipends or supplies to help them create suitable at-home desk setups is also a worthy investment. This will ensure that they have everything they need to perform at their best.
But material supplies aren’t the only resources your remote reps need. Resources to support their mental well-being are just as important. This is especially the case for remote workers, as they often fall into the trap of overworking.
According to a study by NordVPN, a virtual private network service provider found that US remote workers increased their average workday by an additional three hours. Which is the largest increase worldwide at an almost 40% jump! France, Canada, Spain and the UK also saw the workdays of their remote workers increase by two hours.
Encourage your employees to take breaks from their computers, establish boundaries, and take the time to celebrate their small wins. Consistently, and empathetically, checking in with them on their workload can also help them prevent burnout.
The in-office environment naturally provides a lot of social interaction and stimulation that isn’t accessible to remote workers. So, it’s important to remind them to incorporate whatever they need into their workday to make it feel balanced.
3. Communicating seamlessly
Managing remote workers requires flexibility, communication, and understanding — all of which really boils down to demonstrating that you trust them. A BambooHR survey of over 1,000 employees found that having a boss who doesn’t trust them is the number one cause of frustration. With 80% of 30-44 years old employees finding the situation to be a dealbreaker.
If a relationship of trust isn’t inherently there, it’s important to work on building it up over time. Avoid micromanaging and instead, trust your employees to do their jobs well.
Concentrate on maintaining an open and transparent communication channel without being overbearing. It may help to talk with your reps about how they prefer to communicate their challenges, victories, and progress. Learning which communication path works best for them will keep them open and receptive to feedback and sales training.
Focus on the outcomes and goals, and not too much on closely monitoring activities. This will help to increase your team’s motivation and overall work satisfaction.
II. Equipping your team with the right tools & sales training
1. Teaching new techniques and habits in sales training
In addition to setting up strong communication and teamwork structures, working remotely also affords the opportunity for sales teams to create new habits and improve their selling techniques.
Autonomy is 20 times better than income at predicting happiness at work. So give your reps enough independence to build up the habit of taking ownership for their work. This will help them feel a deeper sense of fulfilment.
Remote selling also provides the opportunity to record sales calls. A very useful sales training tool for reviewing and improving sales techniques that can help improve the seller’s performance and lead to better client relationships.
By definition, remote selling lacks the benefit of being able to meet a prospect or client in person. Not being able to play off of body language cues and the energy that comes from meeting people face-to-face can be a difficult challenge to overcome at first. But there are also creative ways to engage with clients in the virtual world as well!
The remote structure requires more active and purposeful listening from the seller and is more reliant on things like sales playbooks to help centralize the team’s overall strategy and best practices. Using the Demodesk model is a great example — Demodesk allows for more interactive meetings, hands-on engagement, and more streamlined selling, all in a virtual environment.
2. Moving motivational tools online
In addition to setting your reps up for success, you can also digitalize motivational techniques using your existing tech stack. If your team likes to ring a bell in the office at the close of every sale, send an email announcement as the virtual equivalent to celebrate!
If you want to make sure your reps feel included in internal conversations, you can create slack groups that act as newsrooms and invite them to participate in real-time polls or share their opinions.
Working remotely is also a great reason to implement tools to establish clear workflows across teams. Tracking tools will allow sales reps to quickly determine the status of any project from wherever they are. And you’ll also be able to prevent your reps from feeling unclear about the sales expectations and their responsibilities.
3. Virtual sales training
Continual sales training and coaching sessions can benefit all sales reps and support the overall development of your team’s skills and techniques. You can hold these sessions remotely through webinars, e-learning platforms, or mentorship programs to ensure that every sales rep is equipped with the resources they need to succeed.
Group sessions can also be an effective team-building opportunity. Conversations among team members present a great way for your reps to support each other by discussing their obstacles and how they handle rejection. All of these options can be recreated in the remote world and help develop a group of fully functioning sellers.
III. Creating a motivating team culture
Employees who work virtually can often become more disconnected from the company’s core culture. How can you create team-building experiences and sustain a company culture remotely? Here are a few examples:
1. Team happy hours, team lunches, and coffee chats
All of these can be done virtually and are great ways to help team members connect and chat. Team lunches can include employees throughout the entire company, not just the sales team. They can help foster a deeper sense of connection among employees and the company as a whole.
2. Quarterly in-person meet-ups
If you have a number of remote reps who live in the same area and don’t mind a bit of travel, then hosting quarterly meet-ups can be a fun way of helping them build camaraderie over a fun activity.
3. Virtual retreats
A virtual retreat is another option for bringing remote teams together. These digital experiences have become highly sought after as a way to promote team building. Especially since they can be much easier to plan logistically.
4. At-home perks
Think about extending some of those in-office perks to your remote team. Does your office have unlimited coffee? Send some local coffee to your remote workers so they can join in on the caffeine fun. Does your office have a book club? Make it virtual and host online discussions. Offer in-office yoga or meditation? Stream it live so remote reps can hop into the class as well. Encourage sales reps to create recreational groups and extend digital invites to one another!
The future of motivation in remote sales
In a recent survey, Upwork found that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely —an 87% percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, a Global Workplace Analytics study found that two-thirds of people want to work from home, and a poll of 1,500 tech professionals reveals that 37% would take a 10% pay cut if they could work from home.
Based on this growing preference for remote work, creating a flexible sales organization will enable you to reap significant benefits! Keep your team motivated by investing in innovative sales training tactics, building trusting relationships, and celebrating every win. And you’ll be able to build an energetic and high-performing sales team that will be ready to scale when the time is right, and lead to an overall stronger company.