Keeping teams engaged & motivated
With ‘YouGov’ data suggesting that approximately 50% of workers are now working from home at least some of the time, ensuring you are managing hybrid or fully remote workers effectively is crucial to the success of your business.
Before Covid-19, only the lucky few got to work from home, with this privilege being reserved for highfliers who were consistently posting good enough numbers that their bosses didn’t mind where they worked from. Now, entire sales teams find themselves working from home every week, regardless of their credentials. Naturally, this presents a whole new challenge to sales managers, as working from home is very much the new normal.
When you consider the practicality of working from home, the arrangement has pros and cons. While some people feel like they can get away with doing less at home, statistics show that almost 60% of business leaders feel that their teams will be equally as effective when working remotely as they were when working from the office.
No matter how you look at it, remote working is here to stay, and it’s something that you need to adapt to.
So, what are the benefits and challenges of remote sales teams?
Just like any professional situation, there are pros and cons to remote working, as we explain below:
Increased employee satisfaction - Granted, not everyone enjoys working from home, but many of your sales staff will appreciate the opportunity. Providing they stay on task, it can be liberating to allow your sales staff to work remotely.
Improved efficiency - LSE research found that remote work can increase innovation by 63%, boost engagement by 75%, and increase organisational commitment by 68%. In other words, it can be an asset to your business.
Expense savings - Historically, sales staff have accrued significant business expenses. While client days and many travel expenses will remain, supporting a remote working arrangement will save your organisation money in expense payments.
Miscommunication - One of the hardest things about managing a remote sales team is communication. It’s much more challenging to coordinate your team when they’re dotted around the country rather than in the office.
Employee morale - Sales teams are often in it together. They’re naturally splintered and less likely to develop camaraderie when working remotely. Ultimately, this can affect results and sales targets.
Task management - Unless you have robust systems to integrate your employees’ tasks and hold your sales team to account, task management can be one of the toughest things about remote working.
So how do you keep your team engaged when working from home?
Every sales manager has a unique leadership style, but this will be tested when your team is no longer in the office every day. Therefore, it’s important to mix things up and ensure your team is engaged on the days when they’re working remotely. Here’s what you can try:
Be present and available
Your sales team can’t knock on your office door when they need help, so be sure they know that you’re available for a quick call or Zoom when any problems arise. Schedule advance meetings to ‘check in’ and maintain a great working relationship – this will also help alleviate any isolation feelings too!
Keep everyone in the loop
With staff working different patterns and from different locations, its imperative to keep everyone in the loop with latest news, tasks, developments, and issues. The transition from face-to-face meetings to Microsoft Team or Zoom meetings ensures remote workers are included in the conversations.
Reward remote achievements
When your sales team hits their KPIs remotely, make sure you’re quick to reward them. Arrange after-work drinks or celebrate with a fancy lunch out on the town as you would if they were in the office. While it can be easy to turn a blind eye to remote achievements, doing so is damaging to your team’s morale.
Encourage group conversation tools
Email is isolating, and it’s challenging to keep track of conversations. Instead, encourage your sales team to chat openly on the likes of Whatsapp or Slack, which promote collaboration and ensure they can keep up with one another throughout the day. The more integrated your remote team feels, the more motivated they will be.
Ask for feedback
Employee feedback is always essential, but it’s even more crucial when your team works from home. As much as you can, check-in with your team and learn about what you could do better and how their working environment could improve. This will help you resolve issues proactively and support your sales team in the right ways.
There’s no getting away from it; remote working is here to stay. While it can be challenging for your sales staff to adapt to their new working situation, you need to do everything you can to help them feel supported.