Remote sales is changing the world of selling for the better, but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. There’s something magical about the energy on the sales floor, the buzz a tribe of reps creates. How do you light that spark while sitting alone in your room in front of your laptop?
While WFH became the theme of 2020, this trend towards remote work certainly isn’t something new. In fact, before the pandemic, remote work had already increased by 159% in just 12 years.
In the years prior to 2020 (the year everybody and their parents started using Zoom on a daily basis), more and more salespeople were trading in the hustle of the in-office sales floor for a quiet home office with their own private espresso machine and a happy pet beside their desk.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic turned this trend into a necessity for many. A study by Gartner at the end of March 2020 found that 88% of organizations were encouraging or requiring their employees to work from home. In the months that followed, big-name brands like Facebook, Twitter, Square, Slack, Shopify, Upwork, and more announced their shift towards a remote-first working environment.
Is your sales team remote? Were you already doing remote sales before the pandemic hit? Are you the new sales manager in charge of guiding and training a remote sales team?
If so, then this guide is for you, and here’s what you’re about to discover:
Learn how to define your key requirements for remote sales reps, hire for culture fit, and set up processes for hiring that you can repeat and scale.
Sales managers need to set the kind of goals their reps can actually reach. Learn why performance goals work, how to set clear KPIs, as well tips on building an atmosphere of accountability and autonomy in your sales team.
Maintaining high-energy in a remote setting may be difficult, but not impossible. Get proven advice from today’s top sales managers on setting clear expectations, making 1:1s and team meetings more productive, enabling peer learning for your team, and more.
A remote team’s tool stack should empower them to do their jobs better, not slow them down. Get a glimpse of today’s top tools for customer relationship management, prospecting, enablement, communication, and more.
Learn proprietary tips from a company that’s been doing remote sales since 2014. This big list of tips includes ideas for remote sales reps as well as sales leadership.
Companies around the world are succeeding at remote sales, and so can yours. For even more great advice on going (and staying) remote, check out this list of extra resources.
If you want to start with the basics before you jump into this discovery of advanced remote selling and management, check out these quick bits of information about remote sales, including:
- What is remote sales?
- How does virtual selling work?
- What to consider when building a virtual sales program
What is remote sales?
Remote sales is a type of selling that’s done in a separate physical location from the person you’re selling to. A remote sales rep may work from home, a coworking space, or their favorite cafe. Communication with prospects and customers is done via phone calls, video meetings, text messages, emails, or any other form of digital communication.
What is remote sales not? It’s not binge-watching Netflix while you casually send a couple of emails. It’s not perusing the internet for information on the latest Apple event while you listen to your boss chatter on an all-hands meeting via Zoom.
Remote sales is hard work: it requires just as much skill, motivation, energy, and focus as normal selling. And most virtual salespeople are absolutely killing it. (Yeah, you know who you are!)
Taking sales work remote was not only done for the convenience of sales reps, but also as a response to how buyers prefer to interact with reps. Digital communication is part of our everyday lives, and thus the buying process for both individuals and companies has changed. So, virtual selling is simply a byproduct of the environment we live in.
How does virtual selling work?
So you get up in the morning and… what? Here are some quick answers to your top questions about virtual selling:
What does a remote sales rep’s job look like?
Basically, it’s very similar to the job of an in-office sales rep.
Remote salespeople still need to go through the basics of the sales process, including:
- Generating leads
- Qualifying prospects and discovering pain points and challenges
- Developing a truly powerful sales pitch
- Speaking directly with internal champions and decision-makers
- Conducting meetings or product demos
- Negotiating terms
- Getting a contract signed
Remote sales reps still need to build relationships with their prospects, understand their wants and needs, and deliver a solution that actually helps them.
What makes virtual sales teams different from in-office teams?
The main difference is the means of communication. While in-office sales teams have the ability to quickly chat with their coworkers or jump into their car for an in-person meeting with a customer, remote sales teams are separated physically from each other and the people they’re selling to.
This sales team structure has both advantages and disadvantages. But when the right strategies and tools are in place, the sales process can run just as smoothly in a remote setting as it would in the office. A remote salesperson just needs to be willing to build their digital communication skills, which is something we’re going to teach you in this guide.
What to consider when building a virtual sales program
Here at Close, we’ve been fully remote as a company since 2014, so we’ve been through the process of discovering how to make a remote team
Throughout this guide, remote sales leaders will get an inside peek at the methods and strategies we’ve been using for years to make virtual selling work for us. From setting up your remote team, hiring sales reps remotely, virtual coaching, and motivating your team, we’ve got all the tips you need to become a successful remote leader (and avoid becoming a micromanager).
That said, here are the main steps new remote sales leaders need to focus on:
Step 1. Set up processes for your team to keep selling remotely
Your sales process is unique to your business and your customers. However, if you’ve been tasked to set up or transition a remote sales team, you’ll need to adapt these processes to virtual selling.
For example, what will replace your in-person meetings with prospects and customers? How will product demos be run? What will be the standard process for implementing your solution remotely? At what stage should reps switch from email contact to a phone call or video meeting? How will you as team leader stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the pipeline and with each deal?
Setting up a specific virtual sales process will help your team stay focused and productive throughout the workday. (Skip ahead to Chapter 2 now to learn more about leading and managing your sales team remotely.)
Step 2. Build a foundation for regular communication with your team
In-office communication is synchronous: you can speak face-to-face with your reps and find out what’s going on. In-office communication can also be spontaneous: a quick pop-in to a rep’s cubicle can get you the answer to a question in less than 5 minutes.
Remote communication, on the other hand, must be set up and planned, and is often asynchronous.
That’s why it’s essential for sales leaders to set up a solid foundation for good communication. In fact, we like to use the term ‘over-communication’.
So, new remote sales managers need to consider questions such as:
- What process will your reps use for in-team communication?
- How will you decide whether a topic needs to be discussed in a meeting, in an email thread, or on Slack?
- How often will you meet with the whole team and with individual reps?
When your process for internal communication runs smoothly, reps can get answers to their questions and managers have a clear view of what’s happening on the team and in the pipeline.
Step 3. Define key technology for remote selling and WFH security
Tech and tools are a huge part of remote sales. Whether it’s the tech for a virtual sales meeting, VOIP services, internal communication tools, or reporting and dashboards to help you measure sales KPIs, it’s the job of sales leadership to discover and implement the right tools for their team.
Tech is a big world, and there are more sales tools geared towards remote selling now than ever before. So, virtual selling leaders need to clearly define what tools are necessary for their remote team based on the needs of the individuals as well as their unique sales process.
Are you ready to build your digital selling skills, learn how to manage remotely, and build a high-performing remote sales team?
Then let’s dive in. Jump to Chapter 1 →