As a company or organization grows in size and expands to new locations - domestic or global; in-house sales team management can become a mess. But thanks to the advancements in technology, seamless communication is always possible irrespective of distance. Therefore, team managers can not only manage in-house teams but also remote teams easily and efficiently
However, managing in-house sales teams is different from managing remote teams. And it is this difference that poses more problems in managing remote teams at times.
If you are a remote sales team manager, your first responsibility is to keep your sales team ‘together’. While every team manager has their own way of handling and managing remote teams, there are several mistakes that they can’t afford to make.
Read on to know those seven crucial mistakes you ‘must’ avoid to prevent your sales team from falling out and help them achieve sales targets.
1. Failing to Check In Regularly
A good manager always understands the importance of checking in regularly with team members - no matter whether they are; in-house or remote. Remember this - following up on your team members regularly doesn’t imply being ‘bossy’ demanding data and info every now and then. Rather, it implies presenting yourself as a ‘resource’ who is ready to lend a helping hand to your teams as and when they need it. This attitude won’t only make your team feel comfortable but also look forward to your check-ins.
Here’s how you can check in with your team daily effectively.
- Setting Daily Goals
Managers must know what they want their teams to do every day. So, the very first thing you should do is to set a daily goal for your sales team to achieve.
Picture this. You have to cover 20 clients spread across 4 territories on a particular day. What would you do? Would you randomly assign territories to your team and let them set off on their ‘clueless’ sales journey with confusion?
Nope, you won’t.
You would rather think of a plan and assign these four different territories to your different team members keeping in mind various factors like territory size, team members’ potential, etc. And only then would you start the working day to give them a clear idea of what they have to cover by the end of the day.
- Getting and giving feedback
Without proper feedback, remote team management is incomplete. Your duty is to ensure that you are collecting feedback from your remote team on a timely basis to stay updated about their progress. This will help you properly assess where your teams’ sales efforts stand and the steps you can take to strengthen them.
While receiving feedback, presenting yourself as a ‘resource’ rather than just a ‘boss’ works better. As using an imposing tone can make them feel hesitant and uncomfortable - and they may not feel free to give their ideas, suggestions, or raise their genuine objections and concerns. See to it that you encourage them to indulge in brainstorming sessions with them to make them feel that you are ‘one’ of them in some ways.
In the same way, a gentle and calm tone to give your feedback on sales progress can work wonders. Understand the person’s potential first before you give your feedback to him. Make them ‘understand’ you and not just ‘hear’ you.
2. Failing to Convey Expectations
A communication gap between you and your team can lead to unclear expectations. The expectations can include work deadlines, goals, support plan or commitment.
Your job, as a team manager, is to convey to your remote teams your expectations properly and clearly. You should ensure that your definition of success resonates with your remote teams’ and there’s no scope for any differences. As these differences can lead to confusions and challenges - and above all - underperformance.
Summing up your conversation with your remote teams or an individual sales rep can help. For instance - if you end a 10-15 min. phone call with your sales rep; you can shoot a message summing up the key takeaways in a line or two. This won’t only help you remember what you had conveyed but also make work easier for that rep.
3. Using the Wrong Sales Tools
Managing remote teams is an uphill task indeed! Nevertheless, a plethora of sales management tools can simplify it for you. While picking the tools, you must test them for their features and be assured that they have got all the features you are looking for. Or else they won’t be of much avail.
Right tools help simplify management of remote teams to a great extent.
For example, a Dynamics CRM mapping integration like our Quick Maps can help Dynamics CRM users define and assign territories to remote teams. You can track visits, movements, check-ins and check-outs of your remote teams in real time. Moreover, you can even create optimized routes and share them with your members to save their time and energy.
Similarly, our plugin Calendar 365 for Dynamics can help you reduce your time by letting you manage all activities, tasks, appointments, etc. right from within your CRM without the need to maintain a separate calendar.
4. Failing to Build a Relationship
‘Lead by an example, not just by words’ - the success mantra for all managers and leaders.
If you want your remote teams to look up to you and feel comfortable with you, you should first give them that ‘comfort’. An ideal leadership always demands a healthy relationship between the ‘leader’ and ‘followers’.
They have their goals, you have yours. But we all are humans - not machines.
Respect that universal truth and take some time out to involve them in healthy creative discussions beyond the regular ‘shopping talk’. This will strengthen your personal connection with your remote teams and fill in them a sense of duty and admiration.
You must have heard - All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Don’t make your Jacks those ‘dull’ boys.
5. Being ‘Too’ Casual
As the adage goes ‘Excess of everything is bad’; too much ‘casual’ behavior can also backfire.
You must not forget that you are the team manager at the end of the day - and you have targets!
Draw a clear and distinct line between ‘professional’ and ‘casual’ to not let your authority dampen. Be clear and authoritative when it comes to assigning your remote teams their tasks and specifying their goals. Acknowledging their efforts and being grateful to your team members is absolutely necessary, but preventing ‘casual’ behavior from taking over sales progress is also indispensable.
6. Missing Out on Involving Remote Teams in Major Decisions
Failing to keep one or more of your team members in the loop can be a huge setback.
If you forget to inform them of the latest developments - and your plans, your members may start feeling undervalued and ignored. Encourage them to share their viewpoints and suggestions when planning any future strategy or roadmap.
This will help you bring more transparency in your management and make your team members feel that they matter. When valued by you, they would look forward to giving more suggestions and inputs - which they otherwise might hold back.
7. Depending Too Much on Sales Management Tools
While sales management tools can be of great help, they still can’t outsmart humans. As nobody else but humans only have created them!
So, always remember that though you can use these tools to manage your remote teams and sales, you can’t let them overpower your intellect, logic, instincts and inherent decision-making power.
Make it clear in your mind - all the sales tools are there to just help you, not to dictate you or your remote teams.
Ready to Manage Remote Teams?
Now that you have understood the major mistakes you can avoid while managing remote teams; it is time you streamline your remote team management. Our Dynamics CRM plugins like Quick Maps - a Dynamics CRM Mapping Integration and Calendar 365 can help your remote team management seamlessly.
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