Should Your Sales Team Go Forever-Remote?
As the state of the pandemic is improving and more and more people are getting the vaccine, companies face the decision to remain remote or open up their offices again.
Despite changing circumstances, ensuring high sales performance remains a key goal for most companies. If your company took a hit due to coronavirus, boosting sales might be imperative.
A major part of making sales happen, and happen often, is setting up the right environment for remote sales teams. So, as full-time remote work transitions from the exception to a necessity to possibly an option again, is going forever-remote something that your sales team should consider?
Forever-Remote Isn’t a Walk In the Park, But It Can Provide Serious Benefits
The first thing to note is that transitioning to forever-remote work for sales teams isn’t necessarily easy. Although having no commute or office politics sounds great, building a strong remote work takes serious planning.
While some companies can build remote-first sales teams from the ground up, that’s not the case for many organizations. Transforming a company with a brick-and-mortar office culture into an organization that is 100% remote means revisiting your sales operation with fresh eyes.
Going forever-remote is not quite as simple as turning all your meetings into video calls. There are many intentional shifts that need to take place to make it work. For companies willing to take the plunge, the organizational rethink that forever-remote requires can provide long-term company-wide benefits.
Benefits for individual salespeople going forever-remote
For sales professionals, forever-remote work can bring significant benefits.
With so many salespeople nudged into remote work recently, many of them aren’t in a rush to get back to the office. In a recent survey from the U.K., nearly 70% of sales and marketing professionals said that moving to forever-remote work is a good thing.
From no more killer commutes to being able to live where they want to live, the lifestyle benefits of remote work are obvious. With smart planning, a bit of creativity, and myriad digital tools, many of the noted downsides of remote work (like loneliness) can be mitigated.
Forever-remote advantages for sales managers
Going forever-remote improves salespeople’s ability to make sales (by enhancing productivity).
A comprehensive study on remote work from Stanford University found that remote workers are, on average, 13% more productive than their office-based counterparts.
Transitioning to forever-remote also means documenting the sales processes by default. Mapping core processes turns routine operations into operational assets and allows more efficient analysis and management of sales pipelines for different salespeople.
This is also a huge benefit when it comes to team onboarding and training. With key processes well-documented, you’re saving many hours getting new team members up-to-speed.
Armed with a better understanding of how their teams achieve key sales goals, sales managers can be more effective in remote-oriented companies.
Companies can see significant gains when going forever-remote
The benefits of remote work for companies have been well-researched.
But these advantages are coming into clearer focus more recently amidst shifts during the coronavirus pandemic. Much of the conventional wisdom about the downsides of remote work have been largely disproved.
Companies have realized that going forever-remote helps them compete for talent on a bigger stage. Being able to hire people from all over the world opens the door to a new age of diversity and talent-matching. No longer limited by geographical factors, companies are free to hire the best employees no matter where they’re based.
Remote sales teams also save money. On average, companies can save up to $10,000 per remote team member a year compared to hosting them in an office. Foregoing this cost makes scaling sales teams easier by removing any physical limitations (i.e., office space requirements) on company growth.
The process-oriented nature of remote-first workplaces also allows companies to integrate automation and leverage further cost and time savings.
Digital Tools for Forever-Remote Sales Teams
Gaining maximum benefit from a forever-remote sales team depends not only on having adequate systems and sales processes in place but also using proven digital tools in the right areas.
Here are three key areas where forever-remote sales teams can gain the most benefit from smart technology.
At the center of any remote-first sales team will be an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system. Well known names like Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics allow sales teams to coordinate the countless variables of thousands of prospects and leads remotely.
These kinds of cloud-based systems make it easier for distributed workforces to manage client relationships. While choosing one can be complicated, the time you spend researching the various CRM systems out there is a worthwhile investment.
Be thoughtful and specific about your unique needs when choosing the CRM that best fits your organization as this choice will undergird the foundation of your future success in sales.
Project management software
With forever-remote organizations, much of the work is done in the clouds.
Cloud-based project management software allows sales teams to keep track of where their time goes and sales managers to see how and where the work of individual team members fits into larger projects. Applications like Asana or Trello can enable complex projects to be coordinated seamlessly regardless of whether stakeholders are co-located or in different time zones.
Project management tools can also be integrated with sales trackers and CRM systems to fit prospect behavior into longer-term sales strategies and goals.
The great thing about choosing the right project management software is that it saves a tremendous amount of time that would have been otherwise spent simply coordinating the work. With the right project management tool, the tasks are well-organized, aligned to a larger strategy, and the focus is on hitting specific benchmarks on the way to effective sales.
Remote security solutions
For companies looking at going forever-remote, cybersecurity is going to be a significant concern.
Distributed workforces create new cybersecurity endpoints due to often insecure networks that can be vulnerable to malware and phishing attacks. The burden is on forever-remote organizations to deliver training to all team members upfront so that security is the standard.
Mitigating against these kinds of threats can look like investing in lightweight distributed cybersecurity protection for employees’ devices and rolling out the use of a virtual private network (VPN) through remote sales teams.
Empower Your Forever-Remote Sales Team with the Right Tools
Forever-remote teams are having a moment.
With considerable benefits for salespeople, sales managers, and companies as a whole—it’s clear why. The organizations that invest upfront on CRM solutions, project management tools, and cybersecurity infrastructure will set their sales teams up for success.
The key to going forever-remote is remembering that it’s a fundamentally different work environment. Trying to bring over old processes and tools just won’t work and might make things worse.
From financial and productivity gains to getting a chance to turn processes into assets, forever-remote working environments present an opportunity to rejuvenate sales and help teams close more deals, more often.
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