Motivating and Inspiring A Remote Sales Team – Bridging the Virtual Divide

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By Katharine Janisch, Head of Sales and Marketing, CloudSmiths

Read Time: 3 minutes 30 seconds

Remote work isn’t a new concept, however, pre-2020, it was more the exception than the norm. The upsets of the previous year proved, however, that a remote work setup is not only possible but is also preferable

With the total number of remote workers set to increase to 70% by 2025, the consensus is clear. Remote work is here to stay, at least in some form. While it does offer considerable benefits, some challenges come with it, particularly in the industry of sales. 

In a position that’s traditionally been based on face-to-face conversations, interactions and thrives on a sense of camaraderie and team unity, how do you keep your sales reps motivated and engaged without ever physically meeting them? 

Keep reading to find out our suggestions for motivating and inspiring your sales team, from anywhere in the world. 

What are the Most Common Roadblocks that Remote Teams Hit?

Research conducted by Statista found that some of the most common challenges experienced by remote workers include:

  • Collaboration/communication challenges
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Disconnecting properly from work and getting adequate rest

It’s a given that finding and maintaining motivation is a challenge for all remote workers across the board. But in an industry like sales, which is especially driven by a shared sense of motivation, this is a particular concern. 

Sales managers and leaders need to establish consistent and dependable communication and management frameworks to help remote sales reps adjust and thrive in their remote work environments. 

How to Motivate Your Sales Team From Anywhere in the World

Solidify your communication

In a remote team, clear and consistent communication is even more important for maintaining motivation. As a sales manager, you’ll need to ramp up your communication efforts with individual sales reps, and with the team as a whole.

Schedule a weekly all-hands-on-deck meeting with your sales team, where general announcements, target reviews and obstacles can be discussed. This is also the time to celebrate any team or individual victories. This will help the sales team feel connected and encourage a sense of team spirit.

You should also arrange one-on-one review sessions with each of your sales reps at least once a month to review their progress, listen to their experiences and input and help them work towards their personal goals. 

Remember that lines of communication are not as solid in a remote team compared to an in-office team. Reps may not feel as comfortable approaching you virtually as they would in person, so take extra time to facilitate communication touchpoints that ensure everyone is on the same page.

Provide any necessary resources

If you want your sales team to succeed, you need to make sure they have access to the resources they need. In a remote organization, this extends to resources we would take for granted in an office. Make sure each rep has a working laptop and home office set up, and offer stipends to help reps who may need help acquiring these assets. 

Your sales reps will need more than physical resources to succeed, however. Particularly in a remote team, where physical and emotional isolation can flourish, it’s essential to provide mental and emotional resources to your team as well. 

Encourage your team to take breaks from their screen and to get up and move around. Booking a weekly virtual aerobics or yoga class can encourage your reps to prioritize their physical and mental wellbeing, which is essential for long-term success. Otherwise arrange for virtual coffee breaks, where employees can talk to each other about things other than work and get much-needed social stimulation. 

Prioritize trust

Managing a remote sales team won’t work without a shared sense of trust between you and your team and between team members. The nature of remote work means that you’re not able to check in on team members on the fly, as you would in an office setting. 

In a remote work environment, constantly checking in can be interpreted as a sign that you don’t trust your team or a team member. This could significantly impact motivation and productivity. 

Avoid micromanaging your sales team and rather make it clear to every team member that you trust their ability to get the job done. 

Invest in digital project management tools and whiteboards to track team progress and encourage your team to update them for you to review, so you can avoid manual check-ups. Work on establishing solid communication structures and encouraging open communication between your team members, and shared trust will naturally evolve from these foundations.

Maintain a company culture

An inclusive company culture and shared working experience are invaluable for making the remote work experience more inclusive and connecting. To build a thriving remote company culture, encourage the team to do things together. 

Schedule team lunches, coffee chats, virtual team building sessions to encourage them to connect and develop relationships. Digital platforms like Slack are a great way of encouraging your reps to engage and interact through social channels, opinion polls and quizzes, and celebrating small and big wins together. 

No matter how you choose to do it, it’s important to get your team members to connect and feel part of the team and larger company they work for. A shared mission, value system and experience will help keep your remote team focused on their targets and motivated to achieve them.

Leading an inspired and motivated sales team will help your sales reps to remain adaptable and agile, no matter what gets thrown their way. Setting up a remote sales team also provides unique benefits and opportunities that your reps may not have otherwise got in a physical office.

Remote sales can help your reps discover new sales techniques and habits tailored for virtual selling. It also creates a more suitable environment for visual learning. Selling online means your reps can record sales meetings, allowing the team to identify and analyse their strengths and weaknesses more easily. Keeping your sales team engaged and motivated is important whether they’re working from an office or halfway around the world. It’s all a matter of refining already existing communication and management techniques in a way that successfully bridges the virtual divide and benefits every member of the team. 

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