A question I get asked frequently is, “How do I manage and mentor my remote sales team?” First, recognize that managing your sales force is like managing any other adult.
As someone with two college-age children, I know that while I’d love to constantly monitor them, all I can do is provide a framework where I check-in and provide some mentoring. I set a solid direction for their success, but I don’t manage every aspect of their lives.
That same principle applies to managing your sales team, whether remotely or in person. Just as my children would not enjoy me meddling in every aspect of their lives, your sales team wants to be treated with respect and allowed the freedom to make decisions.
Plus, you don’t want to be that kind of leader. So here’s what to do.
Developing a framework for success
The first thing we want to develop is a framework for our team so that they know what to do, how to do it, and when to ask for help.
3 important pieces to this framework:
- Have a defined method or process for your sales team to follow. This makes sure that tasks don’t fall through the cracks, and that all clients are being handled similarly, regardless of which member of your team they are working with.
- Have a playbook that explains how to deal with situations that come up repeatedly with clients. There are certain situations that come up over and over in sales. Having a playbook makes sure that your sales team is handling these effectively each time, and doesn’t have to waste energy or resources trying to improvise solutions that already exist.
- Make sure each member of your team has the opportunity to participate in role-playing exercises. This allows them to get guidance from you on necessary changes or improvements and stops them from experimenting on your clients.
When you have this framework in place, there won’t be much value in asking about individual activities, but you’ll be able to measure accomplishments.
Set your remote sales team up for success
One mistake I see, when it comes to managing salespeople, is that we only begin to intervene when someone is underperforming.
By then it’s often too late to do much about it.
Instead of waiting for this to happen, we want to co-build a plan together before they even start selling.
If their goal is to sell two million dollars a year, we should ask them how they plan to achieve that goal and set up a plan for success together.
We might discuss how they plan to break up their goal, what industries they should be focused on, or what additional training or resources they need to achieve success.
The best way to reach people — whether in person or remotely — is to ask questions!
Checking in with your remote sales team
After we have the framework and a plan in place, our management really just becomes a matter of checking in with our sales team. We can find out how the plan we built together is going, what in their path has changed that could affect their success, and how we can help support them.
That way, we don’t spend our time telling people what not to do, or trying to course-correct someone when it’s too late.
Instead, we take the time to set them up for positive results by creating a plan with them to deliver the outcome we want. When we manage and mentor our sales team in this way we all get to experience the feeling of success.
If you want to see how your team measures up, go take the assessment. You can also contact me there with any questions you have.